The 1st Step to Making 1st Officer is Knowing What Steps to Take
In the aftermath of the 2009 Colgan Air DHC-8-400 crash in Buffalo, New York, the NTSB cited pilot training, crew monitoring failures, fatigue, stall training, and a lack of professionalism among the causal factors of the mishap. Its findings led to public and Congressional pressure to overhaul pilot training requirements for airline pilots in the US. In response to this pressure, the FAA chartered the First Officer Qualifications Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) in July of 2010. The following month, President Obama signed Public Law (PL) 111-216 which required the FAA to modify the requirements of an ATP certificate. While PL 111-216 focused on the ATP certificate, the ARC focused more broadly on the qualifications and training for pilots desiring to work in the air carrier environment. The FAA determined that the knowledge gap identified by the ARC and PL 111-216 could most effectively be bridged through successful completion of a modern flight training program that methodically integrates academic training and aeronautical experience in a Flight Simulation Training Device (FSTD).
Beginning on 01 August 2014, the FAA required all airline first officers to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. Additionally, after July 31, 2014, a person who applies for the knowledge test for an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane category multiengine class rating must present a graduation certificate from an authorized training provider certifying the applicant has completed an approved Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATP-CTP). In addition to adding the requirement to complete the ATP-CTP prior to taking the ATP Knowledge Test, the FAA also mandated that all First Officers flying under parts 121 and most First Officers flying under part 135 hold an ATP certificate. Finally, the FAA required all PICs of multiengine turbine-powered fixed wing airplanes operating under part 91K to hold an ATP certificate.
In recognition of its preference for formal flight training, the FAA approved 14 CFR 61.160 which authorizes a Restricted ATP certificate for pilots meeting certain prerequisites. The Restricted ATP (R-ATP) is an interim step that allows pilots to fly in air carrier operations while building the required hours for the unrestricted ATP certificate. Of course, there are a few limitations that come with a Restricted ATP, notably a person who holds an ATP certificate but does not meet either the age requirement (61.153(a)(1)) or the experience requirements of (61.159) may not at as pilot in command under part 121 or 135 and may not serve as second in command in flag or supplemental operations under part 121 requiring three or more pilots. In practical terms, neither of these restrictions are likely to impact your role in any operation as most new pilots start out flying as an FO in domestic operations.
Who is eligible for Restricted ATP?
- Current or former U.S. military pilots with an airplane category multiengine class rating with a minimum of 750 hours of total time
- Holders of a Bachelor’s degree with an aviation major from an institution of higher education or anyone who completes 60 semester credit hours of aviation and aviation-related coursework that has been recognized by the Administrator may apply with a minimum of 1,000 hours of total time provided they hold a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating and completed the required ground and flight training as part of an approved part 141 curriculum at the institution of higher education or completed the flight training at a part 141 pilot school that has a training agreement under §141.26 with the institute of higher education.
- Holders of an Associate’s degree with an aviation major from an institution of higher education, that has been issued a letter of authorization by the Administrator under §61.169 who have completed at least 30 semester credit hours of aviation and aviation-related coursework that has been recognized by the Administrator may apply with 1,250 hours of total time provided they hold a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane category and instrument rating and the required ground training was completed as part of an approved part 141 curriculum at the institution of higher education; and the required flight training was completed as part of an approved part 141 curriculum at the institution of higher education or at a part 141 pilot school that has a written training agreement under §141.26 of this chapter with the institution of higher education.
- For applicants applying under paragraphs a-c above, cross country requirements are reduced from 500 hours to 200 hours.
- A person who has 1,500 hours total time as a pilot, 200 hours of cross-country flight time, and otherwise meets the aeronautical experience requirements of §61.159 may apply for an airline transport pilot certificate under this section.
Other Requirements for a Restricted ATP:
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Complete an Airline Transportation Pilot Certificate Training Program (ATP CTP)
- Satisfy the experience requirements of 61.159 (except as amended by 61.160 above)
- Pass the ATP knowledge(written) test
- Pass the ATP practical test
Some Other Notes
To be clear, an aviation degree does not automatically earn you a Restricted ATP certificate. Also, there are other requirements for night flying, multi-engine time and instrument flight hours. For a full and current list of applicable regulations, go to http://ecfr.gov and look under Title 14 (Aeronautics and Space) then under Part 61. The relevant regulations are 61.153, 61.156, 61.159 and 61.160.
Regardless of your previous experience or training, you are still required to complete an ATP-CTP program prior to taking the ATP Knowledge Test and ATP Practical Test if you plan to fly multi-engine aircraft for an airline. FTI can help you with each step along the way. FTI not only offers the ATP-CTP course, but we can arrange for your written test and then provide the training necessary for an ATP check or even a type rating with an ATP certification.
ATP-CTP Course Outline:
The ATP-CTP is a 40-hour course; thirty are spent in ground school and the remaining ten hours in simulators (at least six of those ten simulator hours must be spent in a full motion simulator representing a multi-engine turbine aircraft of at least 40,000 pounds. The ATP-CTP course covers the key concept below:
- Professional Development and Leadership
- Automation including auto flight
- Adverse weather conditions (meteorology)
- Stall avoidance, recognition and recovery
- High Altitude Operations
- Transport airplane performance
- FSTD time consists of “demo and do” type training where pilots experience and gain conceptual proficiency in topics such as navigation, flight management systems, runway safety, high altitude operations, stall and upset recognition and recovery.
- The ATP written exam
At FTI pilots may complete the ATP-CTP in the 737, 757, 767, 777, A320, A330 and EMB 145. Pilots may also complete an ATP check in the 737, 757, or A320 or a type rating with an ATP or R-ATP in the 737, 747, 747-400, 757, 767, 777, A320, A330, A340 or E145. For pilots who meet the requirements for an unrestricted ATP, FTI can provide that training too.
Visit our Pilot Specialty Courses web page for more details.
Whether you’re looking to complete ATP-CTP training, obtain an R-ATP, unrestricted ATP, or a type rating, Flight Training International has the people, knowledge and resources to turn your dream into a reality.