Jones & Swanson

FAA Increasing Co-Pilot Requirements

Before becoming a passenger or cargo co-pilot in the United States, one must obtain an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Until very recently, the requirements to become a first officer, or co-pilot, were less strenuous than those to become a pilot. After the recent crashes involving Colgan 3407 in 2009 and the more recent Asiana Airlines flight 214, the FAA has finalized the ruling.

Instead of being required to have 250 flight training hours to become a co-pilot, one must now obtain 1,500 hours. This new number is the same that is required to become a pilot. The FAA hopes that this new requirement will provide better foundation for first officers so that they are more prepared to fly an aircraft, especially those transporting civilians. They are also required to obtain an aircraft type rating and be 23 years old at minimum.

Many believe these stricter requirements may aid the safety of United States airlines, but others are doubtful. It may also lead to a shortage of pilots, which may be concerning for some. Regardless, the FAA has decided to make put these requirements into place and will uphold them.

Georgia personal injury attorneys sometimes hear from potential clients who have been involved in a commercial flight accident or that have family members who were. These airplane crashes must be investigated so that a cause can be determined for the crash. If it is the fault of a pilot or airline, there is often potential for a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the airline. Pilots are often involved in these types of claims when they make mistakes, operate planes while fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or anytime that they cause the crash.

Although the chances of being injured in a crash involving an airplane are much lower than in an automobile accident, the injuries associated with plane crashes are often severe and life-threatening. These injuries lead to high medical costs, loss of wages from missing work due to injuries, and more. Airlines usually employ insurance companies that are experienced in offering settlements to the injured parties or families that lost loved ones in a crash. Before accepting an offer, it is important to contact Georgia airplane crash attorneys to determine whether the offer is fair. At Jones & Swanson, we offer free consultations at (770) 427-5498 or online at

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