New rules on flight hours create pilot shortage for regional airlines
February 18, 2015
By Jerry Siebenmark
The Wichita Eagle
Andrew Loder wants to be an airline pilot. But the 23-year-old Kansas State University senior, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical technology from the school’s Salina campus, will have to wait before he can sit in the right seat as a co-pilot of a regional airliner. That’s because of a rule implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration in July 2013. It requires pilots to have a minimum of 1,500 flying hours – up from 250 hours – before they can sit in the cockpit of a regional jet as a first officer.
As it stands, the Lindsborg native estimates he’ll have to wait another year after graduation before he can get on with a regional airline and begin working toward his ultimate goal of becoming a pilot for a major airline. “When I officially graduate in May, it would be nice to have 550, 600 (flight) hours,” Loder said. “It’ll really depend on the weather and scheduling.” Even then, Loder will need to accumulate another 400 to 450 flight hours – for a total of 1,000 hours – before he can get on with a regional airline, where he said he can get a restricted Air Transport Pilot certificate and start flying a passenger jet.
And that’s the rub for regional airlines. They say the higher flight-hours requirement is creating a shortage of pilots for them, in some cases prompting their regional airline members to cut flights because they don’t have enough pilots.
For more information: http://www.kansas.com/news/business/aviation/article10620434.html