Aviation Program Reaches Another Milestone with Award of Newly Created FAA Certificate

certificate presentation photo

Eastern Kentucky University’s Aviation Program has reached another milestone.

Cody Barnes, who earned a baccalaureate degree in aviation-professional flight in 2011, recently became the first EKU aviation graduate – and “probably the first in the nation,” according to Program Director Ralph Gibbs – to receive one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s newly created 1,000-hour restricted Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificates. Barnes now has a flight training class date with Chautauqua Airlines.

This summer, EKU’s Aviation Program, the only university-based program in Kentucky, became one of the first three universities nationally authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to designate their aviation graduates as candidates for the 1,000-hour restricted Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.

EKU boasts the only university-based aviation program in the U.S. to offer both the 1,000-hour path, plus 100 hours of multi-engine time in its commercial pilot certificate training.

“The impact on EKU aviation students is a savings in cost and/or time, equal to 500 flight hours, when compared to non-EKU pilots working toward their 1,500-hour ATP and an airline career,” said Gibbs.

The revised ATP pathway came in response to a congressional mandate stemming from the Colgan Air crash in Buffalo in 2009.  Accordingly, the FAA now requires that all Part 121 air carrier pilots possess an ATP certificate. No longer will a pilot with only a 250-hour commercial certificate be able to fly “right-seat” for regional or major air carriers.

However, because the change triggered concerns about a pilot shortage, the FAA created three restricted-ATP tiers. All former military-trained pilots can apply for their ATP at 750 total hours; all university professional flight graduates with at least 60 aviation semester hours can apply at 1,000 total hours; and students with an associate or bachelor’s degree and 30-plus aviation hours can apply at 1,250.

An additional requirement is that prospective restricted ATP candidates must have earned both their commercial certificate and instrument rating at a part 141 flight school, such as EKU, while all other pilots with commercial certificates must wait until they reach 1,500 total hours. In all three cases, ATP candidates must have received 50 hours of multi-engine training.

“In EKU Aviation, we like to say, ‘You can get there sooner with our 1,000-hour power,’” Gibbs declared.

For more information about the program, visit aviation.eku.edu.

Published on October 22, 2013