A special authorization by the FAA announced last week grants Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University the authority to certify its Aeronautical Science degree graduates the opportunity to apply first officer status upon reaching 1,000 hours and therefore eligible sooner to work for commercial airlines.
Effective immediately, pilots with 1,000 flight hours rather than the 1,500 hours identified last month by the FAA will be eligible for a Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license and opportunity to apply for a first officer position with an airline.
Under the July rule, aviation degree-granting four-year universities like Embry-Riddle were allowed to apply for flight-time reductions for its graduates based on its comprehensive and a rigorous training curriculum that includes the nation's only full-motion simulator training at an accredited academic higher educational institution. The FAA notified the university's Colleges of Aviation officials at both its Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., campuses just prior to students heading back to campus to start the fall semester.
"This further shows how the governing bodies and leaders in the aviation industry value the quality, hands-on education our students receive," said Embry-Riddle President Dr. John P. Johnson. "Our graduates represent the highest level of professionalism, experience and standards that the airlines have come to expect and want in their job force.
"This rapid action taken by the FAA demonstrates that our degree programs and students are at the forefront of collegiate aviation," Johnson added. "We are pleased to receive this validation as the preeminent aeronautical and aerospace academic institution in the world."
The new ruling comes just one month after the FAA increased qualification requirements for first officers – also known as co-pilots – who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines to 1,500 hours in conjunction with holding a restricted ATP. It included allowances for reduced hours for pilots holding bachelor's degrees from Embry-Riddle's two residential campuses. (Previously, first officers were required to have only a commercial pilot certificate, which requires about 250 hours of flight time.)
To be hired by the airlines, candidates will need both the ATP license and an airline aircraft type rating. Embry-Riddle graduates will be able to meet each of these training requirements with their access to full-flight simulation via a full-motion simulator installed this month at the Daytona Beach, Fla., campus and a long-standing contract with a Phoenix-based pilot training center with full-motion simulator training alongside airline crews for students at the Prescott, Ariz., campus.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit www.embryriddle.edu.