FAA considers changes after pilot shortage - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

FAA considers changes after pilot shortage

MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) -

With the high demand for air travel, early pilot retirement and the air industry growing worldwide, experts say it's creating a pilot shortage. 

The Federal Aviation Administration is now considering a proposal to lower the amount of cockpit experience required for commercial co-pilots.

One of the proposals focuses on military pilots being able to become commercial co-pilots with 500 hours of experience, rather than 750.

SIU Aviation Safety Information Officer, Mike Robertson believes reducing hours could be a good idea.

“I don’t think it’s going to change the safety for the flying public really, I think it’s actually going to be a benefit because then you’re going to see a lot of flights that can’t go, that might be canceled," he said.

Robertson says it really depends on where you get  the time, what type of time that is.

"And so the best time that a pilot can get is flying in the system, so flying IFR, cross country, in weather, in different types of air spaces is going to prepare them best to become an airline pilot," he said.

Corey Wolfe, who's finishing up his last year at the SIU Aviation school says the change could be a huge benefit for future students.

“It would help just a little bit more if they reduced it because you know it’d just be the time that you are spending to fly when you could potentially become, you know getting training early on and getting that more experience in the airline world," Wolfe explained. "So I think it’s a good thing because you definitely want that airline experience as soon as possible.” 

For non-military pilots, it's 1500 hours of flight time in order to become commercial co-pilots. For the SIU aviation program, the FAA actually reduced that number to 1000 hours back in 2014 because the program met certain requirements. 

Robertson says typically how they build flight hours is through flight instruction.

"That's a pretty good way because it keeps them in the structure of the training environment that they were in as a student, so I think that's a healthy way to do it," he explained. 

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