Pilots will need more cockpit and other training to become fully certified first officers for passenger and cargo airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday.
In a rule that was ordered by Congress to boost safety and in the works for some time, the FAA is mandating that co-pilots complete 1,500 hours total time as a pilot.
Previously, first officers were required to have only a commercial pilot certificate, which requires 250 hours of flight time.
The new regulations grew out of the 2009 crash of Colgan Air 3407 near Buffalo, N.Y., which killed 50 people.
The National Transportation Safety Board report on the crash cited pilot error as a factor, adding, "the pilots' performance was likely impaired because of fatigue, but the extent of their impairment and the degree to which it contributed to the performance deficiencies that occurred during the flight cannot be conclusively determined."
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said, "The rule gives first officers a stronger foundation of aeronautical knowledge and experience before they fly for an air carrier."
"With this rule and our efforts to address pilot fatigue -- both initiatives championed by the families of Colgan flight 3407 -- we're making a safe system even safer."