Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Lisa Whittaker

Second Advisor

Gil Sinclair


pilot shortage, airline transport pilot, regional airline, Federal Aviation Administration, Colgan Air 3407, pilot training


This study provides background and analysis of the legislation enacted following the crash of Colgan Air 3407, and the impact that the more stringent qualifications have had on aspiring professional pilots. Participants in the study include professional pilots and aspiring professional pilots, governmental law-making agencies such as the United States (U.S.) Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), major and regional airlines, and collegiate flight training programs. The study drew from the National Transportation Safety Board investigation (NTSB) of Colgan Air 3407, federal regulations regarding pilot training and certification standards, and current airline hiring and training programs.

Findings of this study show that the reaction to the Colgan accident imposed high barriers to entry for aspiring professional pilots, but it is unclear what impact this has had on the industry. It is recommended that the FAA and other industry leaders conduct additional research to reduce total flight hour requirements for entry-level airline pilots, and credit valuable flight experience such as flight instruction given. In addition, this study recommends an industry-wide pay increase, and continuation of hiring and retention bonuses at the regional airlines to attract qualified pilots to their workforces.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access