As you may have heard, there have been some significant changes in the airline industry regarding how future airline pilots will become eligible for employment. In short, Congress passed Public Law 111-216 which mandated that any pilot operating an aircraft at an airline (either regional or major) would be required to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. This law was passed in 2010, but the ATP requirement for airlines became effective in August of this year.
Traditionally, a pilot could obtain their ATP certificate after accumulating 1,500 of total time as well as 500 hours of cross-country time (among other requirements). While these requirements are still in place for the issuance of an ATP, the FAA recently enacted a rule which allows for some reduced flight time requirements and the creation of a new type of certificate known as a Restricted ATP (R-ATP). Pilots who obtain an R-ATP are also allowed to operate as pilots at an airline.
So, how does one become eligible for reduced flight time and an R-ATP? The answer is to attend, train, take certain prescribed classes, and graduate with an approved degree from an approved university. UND was the first university to receive authorization from the FAA to certify its graduates for this reduced flight time requirement. So long as you graduate with a degree in Commercial Aviation, Aviation Management, Flight Education, or Unmanned Aircraft Systems, you have an approved degree.
What are the new reduced flight time requirements for graduates with these degrees? That depends on how many credits you have accumulated from the list of approved courses while in residence at UND. If you have at least 30 credits from the list of approved courses, you are eligible to obtain your R-ATP with a total time of 1,250. If you have taken 60 or more credits, you will be eligible for a reduced flight time of 1,000. In all cases, the new cross country time requirement for an R-ATP is 200 hours.
Those planning an airline career should take the ATP written examination prior to August 1, 2014. After that time, anyone who wants to take the ATP written will have to complete an ATP Certified Training Program (CTP) which entails among other items, 30 hours of specialized academic ground instruction, four hours of specialized training in a Level 4 or higher Flight Training Device (FTD), and six hours of training in a full-motion Level C or higher flight simulator. If you take the written before August 1, 2014, you will have 24 calendar months after the completion of your exam to obtain your ATP without having to complete an ATP CTP. By James Higgins
For more information, or to see the list of approved courses, visit the department’s ATP information website at www.avit.und.edu/atp or visit with your Advisor.