As of August 1, first officers for U.S. Part 121 air carriers will need to have logged at least 1,500 hours as well as meeting other requirements. The new regulations, however, do not address the quality of the logged time, and cargo operator Ameriflight has petitioned the FAA to allow pilots to log more time when flying as second-in-command (SIC) in Part 135 cargo operations where just one pilot is required. The petition was filed in February but just recently went live for public comment.
Under certain circumstances, SIC pilots can log a small amount of time when flying on single-pilot cargo flights, but Ameriflight believes that aviation would benefit from the exemption, which, if approved, would allow other operators to file similar exemption petitions.
“SICs…would gain real-world flying experience under the supervision of a qualified captain,” Ameriflight noted. And future airline pilots would gain experience far more beneficial than logging time teaching, flying traffic watch, banner towing and so on to bridge the gap between freshly licensed sub-300-hour commercial pilots and the new 1,500-hour minimum.