Becoming an Airline Transport Pilot


Maybe you have dreamed about being an airline pilot since you were little and the time has come to make some life changing decisions. You want to look into a career of flying but you aren’t quite sure where to start. We will examine what it takes to be a transport pilot and hopefully answer some of those nagging questions in the back of your mind.

First of all, the Airline Transport Pilot or ATP certificate is the highest level of aircraft pilot certificates you can acquire. This certificate allows you to act as the pilot-in-command or Captain of an aircraft that is in the air carrier service with a gross weight over twelve thousand five hundred pounds or more than nine passenger seats. Your first step is to obtain a commercial pilot’s license.

There are specific subjects that you must master before obtaining your ATP certificate. The theoretical subjects are as follows:

1. Air Law – Study air law according to FAA regulations and rules.
2. Aircraft General Knowledge – learn about the planes you will be piloting and understand how they operate.
3. Flight Planning and Monitoring – Learn how to plan your flights and monitor all systems.
4. Human Performance and Limitations – Learn what a person’s performance and limitations are during an unpressurized and a pressurized flight
5. Meteorology – Learn to read weather charts and conditions
6. Operational Procedures
7. Principles of Flight – Learn how your plane functions
8. Communications – learn radio skills so you are better able to communicate with airport towers
9. Performance
10. General Navigation – Learn to navigate by the sky and instruments both. You never know when you will need to navigate without instruments and therefore knowing the sky is a big help.
11. Radio Navigation – Learn to navigate with only your radio
12. Instrumentation – Learn your instruments and what each instrument is for and how to respond to an instrument failure.
13. Weight and Balance – The balance of an aircraft makes a huge difference in the way it handles and learning about weight and balances will prepare you for a cargo shift.

You need at least seven hundred and fifty hours of study time. Your flight training is to be at least one hundred and ninety five hours with one hundred and fifty under JAA requirements if it is part of an integrated course. Included in those hours you need visual navigation, instrument navigation, night flying, simulator flying and multi-crew co-operation.

There are a number of training facilities that offer these classes and many can be financed through student loans and scholarships. You must first get your commercial pilot’s certificate and that means you must start from the beginning. Don’t get too discouraged, the entire time you are learning, you are investing into your future and opening up new doors to your earning capabilities. No one starts at the top in the flying game so choose your training center, sit back, learn and fly. No one said learning to be an airline transport pilot was going to be easy!

John Smith studying to earn his private pilot’s certificate. Follow along with his studies and prepare for your private pilot checkride.

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