Known as ATP or ATPL, the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate is the highest grade certificate issued by the FAA. The ATP rating is for those who intend to demonstrate the highest level of skill, professionalism, and accomplishment in their careers. It is for pilots what a PhD is for scientists.
To be eligible for an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, a person must:
- Be at least 23 years of age
- Hold a current FAA First Class Medical Certificate
- If US certified, hold at least a Commercial Pilot Certificate with an Instrument Rating; or, a foreign ATP or Commercial Pilot Certificate with an Instrument Rating, without limitations, subject to background check
- Obtain a minimum of 1,500 hours of total flight time, including at least 500 hours of cross-country flight time, 100 hours of night flight time or 75 hours + 45 full-stop landings at night
- Obtain 75 hours of instrument flight time, or 50 hours + 25 hours in a simulator
- Pass FAA knowledge and practical examinations
§61.153 Eligibility requirements: General.
To be eligible for an airline transport pilot certificate, a person must:
(a) Meet the following age requirements:
(1) For an airline transport pilot certificate obtained under the aeronautical experience requirements of §§61.159, 61.161, or 61.163, be at least 23 years of age; or
(2) For an airline transport pilot certificate obtained under the aeronautical experience requirements of §61.160, be at least 21 years of age.
(b) Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. If the applicant is unable to meet one of these requirements due to medical reasons, then the Administrator may place such operating limitations on that applicant’s pilot certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of the aircraft;
(c) Be of good moral character;
(d) Meet at least one of the following requirements:
(1) Holds a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating issued under this part;
(2) Meet the military experience requirements under §61.73 of this part to qualify for a commercial pilot certificate, and an instrument rating if the person is a rated military pilot or former rated military pilot of an Armed Force of the United States; or
(3) Holds either a foreign airline transport pilot license with instrument privileges, or a foreign commercial pilot license with an instrument rating, that—
(i) Was issued by a contracting State to the Convention on International Civil Aviation; and
(ii) Contains no geographical limitations.
(e) After July 31, 2014, for an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane category multiengine class rating or an airline transport pilot certificate obtained concurrently with an airplane type rating, receive a graduation certificate from an authorized training provider certifying completion of the airline transport pilot certification training program specified in §61.156 before applying for the knowledge test required by paragraph (g) of this section;
(f) Meet the aeronautical experience requirements of this subpart that apply to the aircraft category and class rating sought before applying for the practical test;
(g) Pass a knowledge test on the aeronautical knowledge areas of §61.155(c) of this part that apply to the aircraft category and class rating sought;
(h) Pass the practical test on the areas of operation listed in §61.157(e) of this part that apply to the aircraft category and class rating sought; and
(i) Comply with the sections of this subpart that apply to the aircraft category and class rating sought.