the airline transport pilot license

Basic Requirements


Here are just a few of the basics requirements for the ATP License. Weíll discuss whatís entailed in each of these requirements later in this section.


  • You must be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English Language

  • You must be able to obtain a 1st class medical certificate

  • You must be 23 years of age

  • You must hold at least a commercial pilot license with instrument rating

  • You must have 1500 hours total flying time

  • You must have 500 cross country flight time

  • You must have 75 hour of actual or simulated instrument flight time

  • You must pass the FAA ATP written exam

  • You must pass the ATP Oral and Practical Exam



The training for you ATP will be nothing new in terms of manoeuvres or procedures. The check ride will consist of manoeuvres and procedures you have already seen on you instrument, commercial and multi-engine check rides. The only difference is the standards you are expected to fly to. The tolerances are much tighter because at this point you are a professional pilot with a considerable amount of flight time and you are expect to be able to fly like it.

Training primarily focuses on polishing up your instrument flying skills it the multi-engine aircraft you will use for the check ride. If you do the training on your own it can be as little as 5-7 hours of prep. If you work for a large 135 outfit or 121 air-carrier its usually part of a FAA approved upgrade or transition training program.




The test for the ATP as mentioned earlier is fairly straightforward. Itís a demonstration of your multi-engine and instrument skills held to a higher standard. Donít sweat it though by the time youíve reach this milestone itís the flying thatís easy, itís more about the aeronautical knowledge, decision making, and responsibility of the ATP license that can be daunting.  


The FAA Written


The written test for the ATP like all other licenses and ratings is an 80 question computerized test. The questions consist primarily of part 135 and 121 regulations, hazardous materials, high altitude and high-speed aerodynamics, and transport category operating and Performance Data.


The FAA Oral Exam 

Again like the written the test the oral examination is taken to a highest level in your aviation career. With the examiner focusing on the regulations appropriate to your type operation, ie 121 or 135. Also included is an in-depth discussion of the test aircrafts various systems. This especially holds true if a company check airman is administering your check ride.


The FAA Practical Exam 

Hopefully by the time you pass the written and oral for the ATP the flight should be a breeze. The flight depending on your operation will be conducted in a multi-engine aircraft or flight simulator. The flight test is comprised mostly instrument procedures both multi and single engine. Other abnormal procedures may also be thrown in the mix with the simulator allowing fore more flexibility than a check ride in the aircraft. Like every other check ride aside from your instrument you will also have to demonstrate manoeuvres such as stalls and steep turns.



The costs for the ATP license are quite variable. If you choose to get the ATP on your own you have to budget for about 5-10 hours of flight time in some sort of multi engine aircraft. Some FBOís and flight school offer a package deal for obtaining your ATP, it usually includes a written test prep and the required flight time to get you up to speed in their aircraft. If youíre lucky to work for a 135 or 121 outfit then the cost to you is nothing financially, the only investment is the time and energy in preparing for your check ride. For those of you looking to do it on your own check out our members only area for links to cheap flight time. Our flight time finder will be coming soon.