Not a single airman could say that they did not see this coming.
According to various sources, there have been no ATP knowledge exams administered since August 1, the first day of the FAA’s new policy regarding ATP certification.
In a typical knee-jerk reaction to the Colgan Air crash in 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration—along with members of Congress and special interest groups—issued new regulations for taking the FAA ATP pilot knowledge test. In order to take the new multiengine ATP written exam, applicants must have first completed the ATP Certification Training Program (CTP).
There are three accredited providers of the CTP program—Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, AeroSim, and ABX Air Inc.—none of which have begun courses as of mid-October. These programs are expected to run students between $15,000 and $30,000 out of their own pocket, and with a looming pilot shortage already being felt at the regional airlines, the timing on these regulation rollouts could not have been worse.
The FAA has said that there are several programs that have applied to offer CTP programs, but the FAA has yet to approve them. With each passing month that no ATP written exams are administered, we are missing out on about 500-700 new ATP pilots entering the ranks.
At a time where flight training costs are at an all-time high, along with climbing fuel prices, recruiting new talent to the aviation industry is already difficult. With several thousand additional dollars being tacked on to individual training costs, flying as a profession seems far less appealing than it should.
The aviation accident attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten continue to follow this story, and hope that the FAA can reach a deal with airlines to take the burden of the ATP knowledge requirements off of pilots.