Competency will ensure public safety, not flight hours

The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) has submitted a detailed response to the FAA ANPRM entitled, “New Pilot Certification Requirements for Air Carrier Operations”. Earlier this year, the FAA solicited input on proposals to enhance air safety through improved pilot qualification and training requirements. Two of the issues under consideration include a requirement for pilots who transport passengers to hold an Air Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate with the appropriate aircraft category, class and type ratings, as well as a requirement for an air-carrier-specific authorization on existing pilot certificates.

SAFE summarized its conclusions as follows:

  1. Hours alone are NOT an indicator of competency or public safety.
  2. Competency IS the indicator that should be emphasized to ensure public safety.
  3. Responsibilities lie with both the FAA and Air Carriers to ensure that the proper training and competencies are achieved prior to placing pilots into the Part 121 aircrew environment.
  4. It would be advisable for the Administrator to convene a panel of experts to determine the specific competencies that should be included in pre-hire decision-making as well as post-hire training and certification of Part 121 aircrews.
  5. The FAA should play a more aggressive part in monitoring and assuring that the competencies and training are, in fact, being carried out.

The full text of the SAFE response to the ANPRM is available on the organization’s website at You can also view the complete Docket Folder Summary provided at

SAFE is a member driven organization open to aviation educators of all types and from all levels. For more information, please visit

About the author 

Rich Stowell (Lifetime Member)

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