An FAA committee has proposed 500 hours' flying time as the minimum for a new commercial co-pilot -- twice the previous standard but just one-third the level mandated by Congress. Some safety advocates insist 500 hours is not enough. Rather than actual flying time, the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee would substitute training courses for about two-thirds of the hours required to obtain an Air Transport Pilot license. The FAA says its sole mission is "to promote aviation safety," and noted that the advisory committee is just one facet of the rule-making process.

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