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FAA weighs increased co-pilot training measures

October 3, 2011, 04:21 pm

In an effort to improve safety standards while simultaneously avoiding a pilot shortage, the Federal Aviation Administration recently announced new experience requirements for commercial co-pilots, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the source, members of congress had sought requirements of up to 1,500 flight hours for co-pilots to be licensed, but experts in the industry noted that increasing requirements to that extent would likely dissuade many potential pilots, a group already suffering from a shortage. Under current FAA regulations, some co-pilots can be licensed with 250 hours of flight experience. Captains already require 1,500 hours of flight experience.

A special FAA group was appointed to weigh safety and come up with new practices to increase pilot capabilities. Proposed initiatives included pilot mentoring programs - placing newer pilots with experienced aviators, and aircraft type specializations - required for captains, but not currently for co-pilots.

With airline pilot numbers expected to drop as retirements spike in the coming months, financial stability is a concern for many pilots. Pilot insurance and pilot estate planning are unique financial endeavours for aviators, and pilot unions and organizations can often help commercial and independent pilots plan their financial futures adequately.

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