ATP - Airline Transport Pilot


Known as ATP or ATPL, the Airline Transport Pilot certificate is the highest grade certificate issued by the FAA. It is for pilots what a PhD is for Scientists.


To be eligible for an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, you must know English and:

  • Be at least 23 years of age; AND
  • Be of good moral character.

You must already hold one of the following pilot certificates:

  • If US certified: at least a commercial pilot with an instrument rating; OR
  • ICAO country: ATP or commercial pilot with an instrument rating, without limitations, subject to background check.

The experience required for an airplane ATP certificate is outlined below.

  • at least 1,500 hours of total time as a pilot
  • 500 hours of CROSS-COUNTRY flight time
  • 100 hours of NIGHT time or 75 hours + 45 full stop landings at night
  • 75 hours of instrument flight time, or 50 flight + 25 simulator

* flight time - logged time between engine start and engine shutdown after a flight in an actual airplane

* simulator time - logged DUAL instruction in a certified flight simulator or flight training device representing an airplane

* cross country - trips of 50 NM and more can be logged and used for ATP experience purposes even without a landing (private pilot and commercial pilot cross-country requires a landing)


With a 1st or 2nd Class Medical, ATPs can exercise all of the privileges of a commercial pilot with an instrument rating.

In addition:

  • FAA Airline regulations require ATP for captains of IFR passenger flights in turbine and multi-engine airplanes
  • ATPs may instruct pilots in air transportation service in aircraft they are rated and simulators
  • ATPs may endorse pilot logbooks for the training given


Excluding briefings and debriefings, an ATP may not instruct in aircraft and simulators:

  • For more than 8 hours in any 24-consecutive-hour period; OR
  • For more than 36 hours in any 7-consecutive-day period.