With regards to the flight crew on board the Ethiopian flight, I have read many times that the young F/O with only 200 hrs wouldn't have been allowed to transport passengers if he were a pilot in the USA. Like in this article:

In the Ethiopian Airlines crash this week, one of the pilots had just 200 hours of flight time, less than a seventh of the time the F.A.A. generally requires to fly a passenger plane.

I don't know about FAA regulations, but cadets that come out of MPL or Integrated ATPL route have around 250 hrs and hold an ATPL frozen that allows them to be a co-pilot of a jet with hundreds of pax. Even stranger for pilots with an MPL who are not allowed to fly in single pilot planes until 1500 hrs.

Are Ethiopian requirements really so different compared to western countries (North America, Europe, Australia, NZ)?

On Mar 18th 2019 the airline clarified, the first officer had accumulated a total of 350 flight hours

from AVHerald

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    $\begingroup$ IIRC in the USA until couple of years ago one also only needed CPL with multi-crew and type-rating to fly as F/O. The reason for change was apparently to adjust the job market and not related to safety—two many new pilots wanted to fly so F/Os on regional lines ended up working for peanuts. Yes, the F/O in Ethiopian 302 accident was a complete beginner with just 200 hours, but was appropriately paired with captain who had about 8000 hours. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ @JanHudec It was not due to the job market. The regulations were changed due to a number of regional airline accidents, particularly Colgan 3407, where inadequate pilot skills were identified as a major cause. A significant change in the industry was that the smallest regional aircraft are now much larger, the 19 seater first plane became, 30, 50, and is now effectively a 70-seater. $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 21:17
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    $\begingroup$ @user71659 The pilots of Colgan 3407 had more than the 1500 minimum however and wasn't a factor in that crash. The main issue with Colgan 3407 was the violation of the sterile cockpit rule (the captain and FO were chatting and not flying the plane). $\endgroup$
    – DLH
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ I am asking whether Ethiopian requirements are much different compared to developed countries (North America, Europe, Australia, NZ) $\endgroup$
    – Afe
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 21:28
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    $\begingroup$ @DLH - The primary issue for the Colgan 3407 crash was pilot fatigue and crew rest period. While the crew did chit chat (they where talking about their pilot fatigue) and became distracted, once the stall occurred it was lack of skill and pilot error on the part of the FO and pilot fatigue of the pilot that ultimately killed all on board. $\endgroup$
    – jwzumwalt
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


For Commercial Pilots: 250 hours; For ATP: 1500 hours.

Source: ecaa.gov.et (PDF; see Sections 3 and 6).

The flight hours requirement does not seem to be different for Pilot and Co-pilot. (See Section 6.6)


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