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Monday, 15 July, 2013

FAA Finalizes Rule Affecting Airline Transport Pilot Certificates and Training

Regulatory Report


July 15, 2013

What’s at Issue
Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a Final Rule titled Pilot Certification and Qualification Requirements for Air Carrier Operations.

Why It’s Important
This final rule amends federal regulations to increase the certification and experience requirements for eligibility to act as second-in-command (SIC) in Part 121 operations.  This Final Rule also includes significant changes in the training and experience requirements for the issuance of an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.  This rule change will dramatically alter the current training path and practices for all individuals seeking to obtain an ATP or employment with a Part 121 air carrier.

Major Provisions
New Requirements for Part 121 SICs
As required by the Airline Safety & FAA Extension Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-216), the FAA is amending regulations to require all airline pilots to hold an ATP certificate. Currently, serving as a SIC in Part 121 requires only a commercial pilot certificate.  The FAA is also mandating that all pilots operating in a Part 121 environment must hold a type rating (if the aircraft requires a type rating) for the type of aircraft flown.  Currently, only the PIC is required to hold a type rating.

Changes to the Experience and Training Requirements for ATP issuances
The FAA also modified the experience and training necessary to obtain an ATP certificate.  These changes will impact any pilot seeking to obtain an ATP certificate.

  • ATP applicants must have a minimum of 50 hours in the class of airplane for the ATP certificate sought
  • The FAA has established a new ATP Certification Training Program (ATP CTP) that applicants must complete prior to taking the ATP knowledge exam. Only Part 141 flight schools, 142 training centers or Part 121 or 135 air carriers would be eligible to develop and have an ATP CTP approved by the FAA. An ATP CTP must include:
    • 30 hours of classroom instruction on topics related to flying in an air carrier environment.
    • 10 hours of training in a Flight Simulation Training Device (FSTD) that represents a multiengine turbine aircraft, including at least 6 hours of training in a level C or higher flight simulator that represents multiengine turbine aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of at least 40,000 lbs
  • The creation of a restricted privileges ATP certificate. This certificate would allow former military pilots with 750 hours of total flight time and graduates of a four year aviation degree program from an authorized institute of higher learning with 1,000 hours of total flight time (1,250 hours for graduates of a two year program)  to serve as second in command in a Part 121 environment.

NATA Position
Congress, through the 2010 Airline Safety Act, mandated significant portions of this rule including the requirement that all pilots operating in a Part 121 environment have an ATP Certificate and type rating. NATA is pleased that the FAA provided reduced hour pathways for potential airline pilots to achieve ATP certification. NATA remains concerned about the cost being placed on individual pilots with these rules and will work with flight training providers and the FAA to gauge the impacts on pilot training as these rules are implemented.

This rule is effective immediately with the following compliance dates:

  • After July 31, 2014, pilots applying to take the ATP knowledge exam will be required to have completed an approved ATP CTP.
  • Compliance with all other provisions of this rule is required by August 1, 2013. (The FAA has provided additional compliance time for current 121 pilots to come into compliance with certain provisions of this rule).

Additionally, the FAA has published Advisory Circular (AC) 61-138 to provide guidance to entities developing an ATP CTP.

Staff Contact: John McGraw
Director, Regulatory Affairs

For general press inquiries, contact Shannon Chambers at 703-298-1347 or

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for over 75 years. Representing nearly 2,300 aviation businesses, NATA’s member companies provide a broad range of services to general aviation, the airlines and the military and NATA serves as the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.