Airline/Transport Pilot Certificate

What Does the ATP Certificate Allow Me to Do?

An ATP Certificate is just like the Commercial Pilot Certificate; it allows you to get paid to fly. If you plan on making a career out of flying, this certificate is the final step in becoming a professional pilot. Imagine taking one of your favorite hobbies and getting paid to do it! Careers in flying are not limited to airlines. Other careers include flight instructing, air taxi/charter, cargo, air ambulance, military, pipeline patrol, or law enforcement. It's a great time to start training for a career as a professional pilot as we are on the cusp of one of the most extensive hiring booms the industry has ever seen. Click here for more information on this exciting news!

The ATP is the academic equivalent of a PhD/Doctorate. It is the highest pilot certificate possible to obtain, and requires the most stringent and refined professional attitudes and responsibilities, skills, and further development through your own research and review of the aviation industry. Comparatively, a Private Pilot's certificate is equivalent to an Associate's degree, an Instrument rating is equivalent to a Bachelor's degree, a Commercial Pilot certificate is equivalent to a Master's degree, and a Certified Flight Instructor is equivalent to a Master's/PhD teaching degree. 

What Are the Requirements for Getting a Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate?

-Must be at least 23 years of age

-Must be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English Language

-Be of good moral character

-Hold a commercial pilot certificate AND an instrument rating

-Hold at least a current 2nd Class Airman Medical Certificate

-Log at least 1500 hours of total flight time, 500 hours or cross-country flight time, 100 hours of night flight time, 75 hours of instrument  flight time, and 250 hours of PIC (pilot-in-command) or SIC (second-in-command) flight time in airplanes.

-Receive ground instruction as appropriate to pass the knowledge and practical tests 

-Pass a written knowledge test and a practical (flight) test (no instructor sign off needed to take the test, the ATP applicant determines when they are ready, and they go take the tests)

-Click here to see detailed requirements on earning your ATP certificate and scroll down to "Subpart G - Airline Transport Pilots" 


When Can I Start Classes to Earn My ATP Certificate?

As soon as you begin logging flight time as a student working on your Private Pilot Certificate, that time counts towards the 1500 hours required for the commercial certificate. An Insrument Rating is required to get an Airline Transport Plot certificate. A typical progression is earning a Private Pilot Certificate, then an Instrument Rating, followed by a Commercial Pilot Certificate. The training process is similar to private, instrument, and commercial lessons. 

Does Having an ATP Certificate Allow Me to Fly for the Airlines?

Basically, yes. Although a requirement to land an airline job, significant experience and flight time is usually required to fly for the airlines after receiving your ATP certificate. Most airlines require more flight experience than the 1500 hours, etc. needed to obtain an ATP certificate. They may also require a minimum of a 2-year or 4-year (more typical) college degree as well. The ATP does allow you to fly some private aircraft that are rated as "transport" category, such as business jets and cargo carriers.

The regional airlines used to allow their First Officers (co-pilots or SIC: second-in-command) to be hired with only a Commercial Pilot's certificate. New legislation in the wake of the Colgan 3407 crash in Buffalo, NY in February 2009 makes it mandatory for ALL pilots wanting to work at an air carrier Part 121 airline to posses an ATP certificate.

The Airline Transport Pilot certificate is the highest pilot's license possible to earn. The training is essentially refines your Commercial Pilot flight skills, aircraft handling tolerances, and overall professionalism. If you choose to do it in a single engine airplane, you will need to to multiengine add-on. Most ATP check rides are done in multiengine aircraft, and you ultimately will get/want to have an ATP multiengine certificate if done that way. Having a single engine ATP certificate is essentially useless in the aviation industry, but possible to obtain, especially if you never intended to fly multiengine airplanes or professioanlly.


*Please contact Clear Air Aviation LLC if you have any additional questions or would like to speak with an instructor to get more information!