Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics


Applied Aviation Sciences

Committee Chair

Guy M. Smith, Ed.D.

First Committee Member

Charles L. Westbrooks

Second Committee Member

Gregory A. Zahornacky


Following the Colgan Air accident in February 2009, the U.S. Congress and the traveling public called for increased flight experience requirements for pilots of regional airlines. In response, Congress enacted the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Act of 2010 . This legislation required that regional airline pilots, inclusive of first officers, have an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and a minimum of 1,500 total flight hours. This legislation had a provision that allowed the Federal Aviation Administration to create credit toward flight hours for pilots who had specific academic training courses above normal pilot certification. The Pilot Source Study was initiated to determine the credits that should be made towards the 1,500 total flight hours requirement. This study analyzed the records of 420 regional airline pilots who went through training between 2005 and 2010 and found the pilot source (background) factors that affected success in regional airline initial training, initial operating experience, first-year line observations, and first-year recurrent training. Results showed that pilots who had a college degree, a degree in aviation, a flight degree accredited by Aviation Accreditation Board International, a flight instructor certificate, or between 500 and 1,000 total flight hours were more likely to complete training. Results also showed that pilots who had an Airline Transport Pilot certificate had fewer extra events during training.