I reported in an earlier post that I had attended the yearly meeting of the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA) in Phoenix Arizona. While there I learned a lot about the airlines that make up RACCA and the new place they have taken in the airline industry in the US.
For the last few decades the regional airlines have served as the place that pilots go to build time and properly position themselves for advancement to the Legacy Carriers such as Delta, United and the new American Airlines.
Then the “1500 hour rule” went into effect and changed a lot about the industry as we knew it then. In the time since Public Law 111-216, as the new law is titled, was signed by the President the number of pilots who meet the new regulations have dwindled and caused many new problems for airlines to face. Specifically, the Regional airlines at the present time cannot fill their classes and some are parking airplanes because they can’t find enough pilots to fly them.
Before “the rule”, Regional carriers could hire pilots with as little as 250 hours and a Commercial Pilot License to fly as first officers. Many pilots would get their initial training and then instruct for a few hundred hours before going to the Regionals to build time to move on to the Major Airlines. Now the Regionals need the same qualifications from their new-hire First Officers as the Major airlines.
That is where the airlines that make up RACCA have come in to fill the gap left by the new law. You don’t need as many hours of experience to fly as a Captain for one of RACCA’s members who fly under FAA Part 135 instead of Part 121 as the Regionals and Majors fly under. You can be a Captain at 1200 hours with a Part 135 Carrier, and the RACCA members that ATP is closely associated with will hire a new F.O. with as little as 500 hours of experience if they have trained with ATP.
Flight instructing for 15 months to meet the new standards that Regional airlines have to operate under is not for everyone looking to fly for the Major Airlines. Flying for a Part 135 Carrier is just as interesting and will teach you a lot about flying in the Air Traffic System that you will be working in at the Regionals as well as allow you to experience things unavailable to the average CFI.
By entering the world of aviation now, you will have a spectrum of options available to you that may not have been available in the past. The one thread that is woven through every option is getting your initial flight training with ATP. Here you will learn to fly as a professional, whether you end up flying for an Air Cargo operation, a Corporate Flight Department, the Regional Airlines or one of the Legacy Carriers you will get there ahead of your competitors by training the way those focused on flying professionally train. Get there first with ATP.