FAA wants to boost airline pilot qualifications

JOAN LOWY Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal officials are proposing to increase the minimum requirements to become an airline co-pilot to the same threshold as a captain, but they're also carving out some large exceptions.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposal, published Monday online, would raise the experience threshold required to fly for a commercial air carrier to 1,500 hours of flight time. Captains already have to meet that threshold, but first officers currently need only 250 hours to fly for an airline.

The proposal says ex-military pilots can get hired with half that experience and graduates of university flight schools can have a third fewer hours.

The new threshold is required under an aviation safety law enacted in 2010 in response to a regional airliner that crashed near Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009, killing 50 people.