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FAA credits additional military flight experience toward air carrier qualification

The FAA has issued a final rule expanding credit for military flight operations that pilots may use toward airline transport pilot certificate minimums and FAR Part 121 pilot in command qualifications.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jonathan Appleby and Beta Technologies test pilot Camron Guthrie flew Beta's Alia prototype at Plattsburgh, New York, on March 14, the first flight of an eVTOL (powered lift) aircraft by a military crew under the Agility Prime program. An FAA rule change allows military pilots to credit hours flown in horizontal flight toward qualification for air carrier service. Photo by Brian Jenkins, Beta Technologies, via U.S. Air Force.

A final rule published September 21 (effective October 21) allows additional options for military and Part 135 pilots to credit flight time toward the 1,000 hours of air carrier experience required to qualify to serve as pilot in command of a flight conducted under Part 121.

The final rule “broadens the existing 500-hour credit for military pilots of fixed-wing airplanes and can count towards the1,000-hour air carrier experience requirement by permitting certain powered-lift experiences to be credited,” the final rule states. “Additionally, in response to comments received, the FAA is also permitting a pilot to credit PIC time in certain part 135 eligible on-demand multiengine aircraft operations to count towards the 1,000-hour air carrier experience requirement.”

The final rule allows military pilots to credit up to 250 hours flown in powered-lift aircraft toward the time required for an initial ATP certificate. Of the 1,500-hour total time required for an ATP certificate, 250 of those hours must be flown as pilot in command or as second in command performing the duties of PIC. Powered-lift time must be acquired in horizontal flight to be credited.

In the past, military pilots of powered-lift aircraft seeking to earn an ATP certificate were required to obtain the 250 hours of PIC time in the airplane category. Because the FAA designated powered-lift aircraft in a separate category, military pilots were precluded from crediting any powered-lift flight time toward the ATP certificate.

The 1,000-hour requirement in § 121.436(a)(3) was established in 2013 to satisfy the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010, to improve qualifications and training for pilots flying in air carrier operations. This rule prohibited pilots from using any flight time obtained as PIC in Part 121 operations prior to July 31, 2013, and prevented military pilots from crediting any flight time obtained in nonqualifying aircraft. The new ruling does away with the July 31, 2013, cut-off, and allows military pilots to credit their flight time acquired while flying as PIC in multiengine and turbine powered-lift aircraft to be used toward the 1,000-hour air carrier requirement.

Niki Britton
eMedia Content Producer
eMedia Content Producer Niki Britton joined AOPA in 2021. She is a private pilot who enjoys flying her 1969 Cessna 182 and taking aerial photographs.
Topics: Advanced Training, Career

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