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by instructing students in general-aviation aircraft. This new system would also benefit such pilots, because even though regional first-officer pay might still be low, it would be far better than spending a couple of years eking out a living as a flight instructor.Furthermore, the endless hours spent watching students drone around traffic patterns does little to prepare a pilot to assume airline first-officer duties.

ATC applicants should also undergo a minimum of 25 additional hr. Finally, these applicants would be required to pass ATP-like check rides conducted in glass cockpit-equipped multiengine aircraft and/or simulators capable of representing modern turbine-powered airliners.

The hiring carrier would then be responsible for ensuring that ATC-rated airmen, after careful screening, are type-rated in their assigned equipment.

The cost of this program might be funded by an increase in the federal passenger boarding fee.

With more than 764 million enplanements per year, a $2 increase in the levy would generate more than $1.5 billion annually and could produce thousands of additional pilots. As a research psychologist in the FAA’s Office of Aviation Medicine, I reviewed much of the data used to modify this regulation.

That program allows military aviators to become airline pilots with as little as 750 hr., or aviation majors with degrees from four-year colleges with 1,000 hr., and those from two-year programs with 1,250 hr.

In fact, the ATC concept should become an element of the Restricted ATP program to comply with the congressional mandate resulting from the Flight 3407 accident.

Furthermore, several major international carriers have used similar ab initio training programs for decades, and the U. military has always allowed first officers with less than 300 hr. While the MCP standards are minimal, an enhanced version of the program would better address the needs of U. This ATC license would require that instrument-rated, commercial pilots pass the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) written and knowledge exams and obtain first-class medical certificates.

These applicants should then receive a minimum of 25 additional hr.

Regional carriers now operate more than half of all U. Would an increase from the current ,000 range to, say, ,000 be adequate? Thus, it is doubtful that enhancing starting salaries per se is the answer, but we need to get the data to know the real impact.

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