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FAA Approves Fast-Track Associate Degree to Meet Critical Shortage of Airline Pilots

 American Winds has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to allow students to be hired by the airlines with reduced flight hours of 1,250 hours.  The critical shortage of airline pilots in the U.S. prompted regulators and the aviation industry to re-evaluate the requirements.  Pilots with a Bachelor’s Degree may be hired with 1,000 hours; those with an Associate Degree may be hired with 1,250 hours and non-degreed pilots with 1,500 hours.

“Simply graduating from a two-year or four-year aviation program does not automatically make a pilot eligible,” said Denise Hobart, chief flight instructor for American Winds College of Aeronautics. “American Winds underwent a rigorous FAA certification process to qualify for the R-ATP. Our students must complete the majority of total flight experience while enrolled in our Associate Degree of Applied Science in Aeronautics.”

Hobart explained that pilot hiring has always been market driven, and historically, pilots have been required to possess minimum experience close to the ATP requirements to be competitive for pilot positions. 

“Commercial airlines prefer hiring students with a degree over someone without a degree,” she said. “Our Associate Degree program, which may be completed in as little as 15 months, is the fastest route to a career in aviation.  Our aim is to meet the growing demand for commercial pilots through our comprehensive training program, internship courses and professional programs, as well as career employment assistance after graduation.”  



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