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What Is an ATP Certificate?

Start your journey to a commercial pilot license in Scottsdale or Mesa, AZ, by calling (480) 372-9815.

As an aspiring pilot, one of the things you need to do is to acquire all relevant pilot certificates and ratings applicable to you. Of all the certificates available, bodies like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rank the ATP certificate as the pinnacle of aviation achievement.

So, what is an ATP certificate? In this blog post, Leopard Aviation, the premier flight school in Arizona, will discuss all you need to know about it and how you can secure yours.

What Is the ATP Certificate?

The ATP certificate stands for the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and is the highest level of pilot certification anyone can achieve in the United States. The certification opens a wide range of job opportunities with numerous corporate and private air carriers.

As a holder of the airline transport pilot certification, you can act as pilot in command (PIC) of large multi-engine airplanes, including turbojet aircraft. You can also qualify for most regional airline pilot jobs or work as a co-pilot (second in command).

Most pilots with this certification can work in flight schools, providing pilot training for other pilots in air transportation service. They can also endorse pilot logbooks.

This pilot license shows that a professional pilot is proficient in both the theoretical and practical aspects of aviation and air carrier operations. It also demonstrates a deep understanding of the core concepts of avionics, such as aerodynamics.

What Are the Requirements for the Airline Transport Certificate?

Below are the requirements you must meet as an airline pilot to receive the Airline Transport Certificate:

  • You must be at least 23 years of age and a U.S. citizen. Non-U.S. citizens must undergo Category One TSA training and receive security clearance.
  • Prospective holders of ATP certificates must have a high school diploma or a college degree.
  • You must have 1,500 hours of flight time under your belt and must include at least 10 hours of ATP training flights, 500 hours of cross-country flight time, and 100 hours of night flight time.
  • You can only apply for the certificate as a holder of a Commercial Pilot Certificate and an instrument rating.
  • You must pass the FAA’s ATP knowledge test, which measures your understanding of aviation knowledge.
  • You must pass the FAA flight test with an FAA-designated commercial airline pilot examiner.
  • You must undergo simulator training to train for real-world flight scenarios.
  • You must hold a valid first-class medical certificate.
  • You must also be of good moral character.

It’s possible to qualify for restricted ATP if you’re an honorably discharged military pilot or still active. ATP pilots in this category can work as commercial pilots for regional airlines. Any holder of a foreign airline transport pilot certificate may also qualify for a restricted ATP.

Is the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate the Same as a Commercial Pilot License?

The Airline Transport Pilot Certificate is not the same as a Commercial Pilot Certificate. 

With a commercial certificate, you can act as pilot in command (PIC) for various commercial planes. However, there is a limit to the size and type of aircraft you can operate. Holders of the certificate can only fly banner-towing aircraft, cargo planes, and small passenger planes.

On the other hand, the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate is the highest echelon of pilot certification. You can operate most commercial aircraft after you secure this certificate as a commercial airline pilot.

How to Achieve Your Commercial Airline Pilot Certification

Achieving your ATP certification largely involves undergoing the right type of flight training (ATP CTP) and logging hours of flight time. Here’s what you should do:

  • Confirm that you meet the minimum requirement for the ATP Certificate, including being at least 23 years of age.
  • Find a flight training school with a reputable transport pilot certification training program.
  • Undergo comprehensive ground school training as a part of the ATP CTP.
  • Be sure to work with a certified flight instructor during your training.
  • Complete your 10 hours of flight training in a multi-engine airplane if you don’t have this instrument rating already.
  • Gain cross-country experience.
  • Complete your instrument training (important for securing your instrument rating).
  • Take the ATP written exam (doesn’t require instructor sign-off).
  • Undergo the ATP check ride and practical test.
  • Document your flight hours, training records, cross-country flights, etc.
  • Apply for the certificate.

Keep in mind that you can start on the journey to your ATP right from when you resume training for your private pilot certificate. Also, after securing the initial ATP certificate, you may need to qualify for a type rating to fly certain aircraft.

Prepare for Your Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with Leopard Aviation

Are you looking for a flight school you can depend on for your ATP certification training program? Leopard Aviation is the top choice.

Our premium flight training programs, state-of-the-art simulators, and highly experienced instructors can help you navigate the challenge of preparing for and passing your ATP certification. Whether you are a complete beginner thinking about how to become a pilot or an intermediate pilot warming up to acquire your ATP certification, we can help.

Visit a Leopard Aviation flight school in Scottsdale or Mesa, AZ, or call (480) 372-9815 to get started.

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