Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has established the first direct-hire programme for its student pilots under an agreement with US regional carrier Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACA). Candidates selected in joint screening by the airline and university will be given a conditional offer of employment and provided training tailored to ACA's requirements.

The agreement with Dulles, Virginia-based ACA establishes selection criteria, course requirements and minimum flight-experience levels for aeronautical-science graduates at the university's campuses at Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona. The deal will help ACA meet its pilot needs at a time when major airlines are "poaching" from the regionals.

Type-specific training for first-officer qualification on ACA's Aero International (Regional) Jetstream 41s will be included in the aeronautical-science course at no extra cost to students. "This will effectively eliminate the 'pay for training' issue facing so many of our graduates," says Embry-Riddle president Dr Steven Sliwa. Frequently, graduate pilots are required to pay for a type rating to qualify for a job.

Embry-Riddle has been picked by the US Federal Aviation Administration to lead a team which will develop a unified, one-step, curriculum combining the current private-pilot and instrument-rating courses. The curriculum is expected to cut training costs by 25% and to make learning easier.

Project costs will be divided evenly between Government and industry, with NASA providing $1.5 million in the first year under its Advanced General Aviation Transportation Experiment programme. The industry team, which includes Cessna and Raytheon Aircraft, will also develop training modules for multi-function cockpit displays and single-lever engine control.

Source: Flight International