[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 25 (Monday, February 8, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 6164-6166]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-2643]



Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Parts 61 and 121

[Docket No. FAA-2010-0100; Notice No. 10-02]
RIN 2120-AJ67

New Pilot Certification Requirements for Air Carrier Operations

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).


SUMMARY: This advance notice of proposed rulemaking requests public 
comment on possible changes to regulations relating to the 
certification of pilots conducting domestic, flag, and supplemental 
operations. The purpose of this notice is to gather information on 
whether current eligibility, training, and qualification requirements 
for commercial pilot certification are adequate for engaging in such 
operations. The FAA may use this information to determine the necessity 
of establishing additional pilot certification requirements and to 
determine what those new requirements might include.

DATES: Send your comments on or before April 9, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments identified by Docket Number FAA-2010-
0100 using any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
follow the instructions for sending your comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West 
Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
     Hand Delivery: Bring comments to Docket Operations in Room 
W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, 
SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

For more information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.
    Privacy: We will post all comments we receive, without change, to 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you 
provide. Using the search function of our docket Web site, anyone can 
find and read the comments received into any of our dockets, including 
the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment 
for an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78) or you may visit http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.
    Docket: To read background documents or comments received, go to 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to Docket Operations in Room 
W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, 
SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Holmes, Certification and 
General Aviation Operations Branch, AFS-810, General Aviation and 
Commercial Division, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation 
Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; 
telephone (202) 493-5385; e-mail to [email protected].


Comments Invited

    The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this 
rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also 
invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or 
federalism impacts that might result from adopting the initiatives in 
this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific question 
number, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include 
supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate 
comments, please send only one copy of written comments, or if you are 
filing comments electronically, please submit your comments only one 
    We will file in the docket all comments we receive, as well as a 
report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel 
concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this initiative, 
we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date 
for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period 
has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or 
delay. We may change this initiative in light of the comments we 

Availability of Rulemaking Documents

    You can get an electronic copy using the Internet by:
    (1) Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov;
    (2) Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/; or
    (3) Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.
    You can also get a copy by sending a request to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence 
Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9680. Make 
sure to identify the docket number or notice number of this rulemaking.

Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is 
found in Title 49 of the United States Code. This ANPRM is promulgated 
under the

[[Page 6165]]

authority described in 49 U.S.C. 44701(a)(5), which requires the 
Administrator to promulgate regulations and minimum standards for other 
practices, methods, and procedures necessary for safety in air commerce 
and national security.


    The Federal Aviation Administration is initiating this rulemaking 
project to request recommendations from the public to improve pilot 
performance and professionalism, issues which were also highlighted in 
the Colgan Air (dba Continental Airlines Express) DHC-8 accident that 
occurred on February 12, 2009, outside of Buffalo, New York. The 
accident focused attention on whether a commercially-rated copilot in 
part 121 operations receives adequate training. Specifically, does a 
copilot's training include enough hours of training in various weather 
conditions to be able to recognize a potentially dangerous situation 
and respond in a safe and timely manner. The FAA requests 
recommendations on whether the existing flightcrew eligibility, 
training, and qualification requirements should be increased for 
commercial pilots engaged in part 121 operations.
    In issuing this ANPRM, the FAA notes that we are currently 
considering public comments to a notice of proposed rulemaking on the 
Qualification, Service, and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers 
(74 FR 1280; January 12, 2009). It proposed to enhance traditional 
training programs for air carrier crewmember and dispatcher training by 
requiring the use of flight simulation training devices for flight 
crewmembers and including additional training requirements in areas 
that are critical to safety. That NPRM did not address basic 14 CFR 
part 61 pilot certification. This ANPRM is seeking comments on issues 
relating to basic part 61 pilot certification, not air carrier hiring 
or training requirements. Additionally, we are not seeking comment on 
other existing part 121 requirements such as Pilot Record Improvement 
Act (PRIA), drug and alcohol testing, mentoring, or crew pairing.

General Discussion and Request for Information

    In this ANPRM, the FAA requests comments and recommendations on the 
following concepts for the purpose of reviewing current pilot 
certification regulations. The sequence of these proposals does not 
reflect any specific FAA preference. When submitting comments on any of 
these concepts, please refer to the specific question number.
    1. Requirement for all pilots employed in part 121 air carrier 
operations to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate with 
the appropriate aircraft category, class, and type rating, or meet the 
aeronautical experience requirements of an ATP certificate:
    Section 61.155 describes the aeronautical knowledge required to 
qualify for an ATP certificate. Section 61.159 describes the 
aeronautical experience requirements, which specify a minimum of 1,500 
flight hours. Currently, a pilot who serves as a Second-in-Command 
(SIC) pilot crewmember is required to hold an instrument rating and 
commercial pilot certificate. We request comments and recommendations 
on the following issues relating to the option of requiring ATP 
certificates for all pilot crewmembers in part 121 air carrier 
    1A. Should the FAA require all pilot crewmembers engaged in part 
121 air carrier operations to hold an ATP certificate? Why or why not?
    1B. If a part 121 air carrier pilot does not hold an ATP 
certificate, should he or she nevertheless be required to meet the ATP 
certificate aeronautical knowledge and experience requirements of Sec.  
61.159, even if he or she is serving as SIC? Why or why not?
    2. Academic Training as a Substitute for Flight Hours Experience:
    The FAA seeks public comment on the concept of permitting academic 
credit in lieu of required flight hours or experience.\1\ In 
particular, we request comments on the following issues:

    \1\ On October 14, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives 
passed bill H.R. 3371, the Airline Safety and Pilot Training and 
Improvement Act of 2009. The bill is currently being considered by 
the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Under 
this bill, all flight crewmembers who are engaged in part 121 air 
carrier operations would be required to hold an ATP certificate. The 
bill includes a provision that would allow credit toward flight 
hours for an ATP certificate for specific academic training courses, 
if the Administrator determines that the academic training courses 
will enhance safety more than requiring full compliance with the 
flight hours requirement.

    2A. Are aviation/pilot graduates from accredited aviation 
university degree programs likely to have a more solid academic 
knowledge base than other pilots hired for air carrier operations? Why 
or why not?
    2B. Should the FAA consider crediting specific academic study in 
lieu of flight hour requirements? If so, what kind of academic study 
should the FAA accept, and to what extent should academic study (e.g., 
possession of an aviation degree from an accredited four-year aviation 
program) substitute for flight hours or types of operating experience?
    2C. If the FAA were to credit academic study (e.g., possession of 
an aviation degree from an accredited four-year aviation program and/or 
completion of specific courses), should the agency still require a 
minimum number of flight hours for part 121 air carrier operations? 
Some have suggested that, regardless of academic training, the FAA 
should require a minimum of 750 hours for a commercial pilot to serve 
as SIC in part 121 operations. Is this number too high, or too low, and 
    3. Endorsement for Air Carrier Operations:
    The FAA believes that, although the flight hours required to 
qualify for an ATP certificate can benefit pilots, experience is not 
measured in flight time alone. Other factors, such as certain types of 
academic training, practical training/experience, and experience in a 
crew environment, are also important. A pilot's skills and abilities 
may also be enhanced by exposure to specific operational conditions, 
including icing, high altitude operations, and other areas common to 
part 121 air carrier operations.
    An endorsement on a commercial pilot certificate may be an option 
for addressing concerns about the operational experience of newly-hired 
pilots engaged in air carrier/commercial operations. Under this 
concept, a commercial pilot would not be able to serve as a required 
pilot in part 121 air carrier operations without having obtained an 
endorsement attesting to successful completion of additional training 
and qualified operating experience.
    The FAA is therefore considering the creation of a 14 CFR 61.31 
endorsement for a commercial pilot certificate that would require 
specific ground and flight training, as well as additional experience 
in specific areas, in order to receive part 121 air carrier operating 
privileges. The additional training for the endorsement could include 
operating experience in a crew environment, training and exposure to 
icing, and flight experience in high altitude operations. The current 
Sec.  61.31(g) endorsement for additional training for operating 
pressurized aircraft capable of operating at high altitudes might serve 
as a model. Additionally, the FAA may consider the type-specific 
aircraft training endorsement in Sec.  61.31(h) as a model. The FAA 
believes that an endorsement approach would target specific skill sets 
needed for part 121 operations, and

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establish the associated standards for content and quality of training. 
The FAA notes that the endorsement option would also eliminate the 
time-based requirements that aviation universities argue is not a 
reasonable requirement for graduates of their four-year aviation degree 
    We request comments on the following issues regarding the 
possibility of establishing an endorsement for SIC privileges in part 
    3A. Should the FAA propose a new commercial pilot certificate 
endorsement that would be required for a pilot to serve as a required 
pilot in part 121 air carrier operations? Why or why not?
    3B. If so, what kinds of specific ground and flight training should 
the endorsement include?
    3C. The FAA expects that a new endorsement would include additional 
flight hour requirements. At a minimum, the FAA requests comments on 
how many hours should be required beyond the minimum hours needed to 
qualify for a commercial pilot certificate. Some have suggested that 
the FAA require a minimum of 750 hours for a commercial pilot to serve 
as SIC in part 121 operations. Is this number too high, or too low, and 
    3D. The FAA is considering proposing to require operating 
experience in a crew environment, in icing conditions, and at high 
altitude operations. What additional types of operating experience 
should an endorsement require?
    3E. Should the FAA credit academic training (e.g., a university-
awarded aviation degree) toward such an endorsement and, if so, how 
might the credit be awarded against flight time or operating 
experience? We are especially interested in comments on how to balance 
credit for academic training against the need for practical operating 
experience in certain meteorological conditions (e.g., icing), in high-
altitude operations, and in the multi-crew environment.
    4. New additional authorization on an existing pilot certificate:
    The FAA may also consider proposing a new authorization on a 
commercial pilot certificate for any pilot employed as a required 
flight crewmember for part 121 operations. This new authorization would 
be limited to a specific part 121 operator, and would be issued only 
after the pilot successfully completed that part 121 operator's 
approved training and qualification program. The pilot would surrender 
this authorization upon leaving the employ of the specific part 121 
operator. The purpose of such an authorization would be to ensure that 
each air carrier has provided its pilot employees with the training and 
qualifications specific to its operating environment (e.g., aircraft, 
routes, meteorological conditions). The FAA seeks comments on the 
following question:
    4A. Would a carrier-specific additional authorization on an 
existing pilot certificate improve the safety of part 121 operations? 
Why or why not?
    4B. Should the authorization apply only to a pilot who holds a 
commercial certificate, or should it also apply to the holder of an ATP 
    4C. Should such an authorization require a minimum number of flight 
hours? If so, how many hours should be required?
    5.Other actions:
    The FAA is seeking comment on whether existing monitoring, 
evaluation, information collection requirements, and enforcement 
associated with current pilot performance could be modified to achieve 
improved pilot performance.
    5A. Can existing monitoring, evaluation, information collection 
requirements, and enforcement associated with pilot performance be 
modified to improve pilot performance?
    5B. If so, what specific modifications should be considered?

Regulatory Notices

A. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    We are soliciting comments on the potential costs and benefits on 
the initiatives in this ANPRM. This ANPRM has been reviewed by the 
Office of Management and Budget and is considered ``significant'' under 
the Department of Transportation's Regulatory Policies and Procedures.

B. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This ANPRM has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 (``Federalism''). Any 
rulemaking proposal resulting from this notice would not propose any 
regulations that would (1) have a substantial direct effect on the 
States, the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government, (2) impose substantial direct compliance 
costs on State and local governments, or (3) preempt state law.
    Therefore, the consultation and funding requirements of Executive 
Order 13132 do not apply.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires an 
agency to review rulemakings to assess their impact on small entities 
unless the agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
We invite comment to facilitate our assessment of the potential impact 
that these initiatives may have on small entities.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 2, 2010.
John M. Allen,
Director, Flight Standards Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-2643 Filed 2-4-10; 8:45 am]