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Abstract

This report is the first article in a series called Pilot Source Study 2015. Public Law (PL) 111-216, passed by the US Congress in 2010, and the subsequent FAA Regulation, Pilot Certification and Qualification Requirements for Air Carrier Operations Rule, abruptly changed the pilot hiring situation for US air carriers operating under 14 CFR Part 121. PL 111-216 became effective on August 1, 2013; thereafter, pilots were not eligible to be first officers in Part 121 air carriers unless they were certificated as Air Transport Pilots (ATP) with 1,500 hours of flight time, with some flight hour reductions for specified military and academic experiences. Recognizing that the rule had a notable impact on US regional airlines, the researchers visited 19 Part 121 regional airlines to extract data from their documents and records. De-identified background and corresponding performance data were recorded for 6,734 pilots hired after August 1, 2013. These data were analyzed in three articles, exploring the background characteristics of these pilots and determining to what extent there were differences in these background characteristics between post-law pilots (hired after August 1, 2013) and pre-law pilots (hired from 2005 to 2011). Besides the mandated increase in total flight hours and the requirement for an ATP certificate, the post-law pilots had less aviation-related academic experience, a lower proportion of flight instructors with more instructor experience, a larger proportion of military pilots, and a large range of flight experience suggesting career switching or returning to aviation. Among pilots with less experience, there was a significant reduction in multiengine time. This report is a preliminary article on the shift of pilot background characteristics as a result of the pilot certification and qualifications requirements mandated by Congress. Two future articles are being prepared. One article will analyze the success of post-law pilots in initial training for Part 121 operations, and another article will compare background and success factors between pilots hired before PL 111-216 and those hired after the law was passed.

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