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ATP Pilot Training, Expectations, and Salaries

ATP Pilot Training, Expectations, and SalariesKnown as ATP or ATPL, the Airline Transport Pilot certificate is the highest grade certificate issued by the FAA. The pilot is solely responsible for the safety of the aircraft, cargo, and passengers on board. In order to become such a pilot, the candidate needs to be at least 23 years old in most countries — though the age restriction can vary by region and he or she and must first earn a commercial pilot’s license.

As of Aug. 1, 2013, all U.S. airline first officers are required to meet much more rigorous minimum qualifications than have been in place for decades. The new requirements for airline copilots are intended to improve the safety of the U.S. airline industry and should also add value to pilots’ airman certificates.

Pilots pursuing an ATP certificate after July 31, 2014, in addition to having 1,500 hours, will have to complete a new, yet-to-be developed, ATP certification training program. The program, consisting of 30 hours of ground and 10 hours of simulator training, must be completed prior to being eligible to take the ATP written and practical tests. The 10 hours of simulator training will include six hours of training in a level C or D (full-motion) simulator. According to the rule, this course will only be offered through Part 141, 142, 135, or 121 certificate holders, not allowing for Part 61 flights schools to develop courses and provide the training.

The new rule also establishes a new ATP certificate with restricted privileges for multiengine airplane only. The restricted ATP certificate can only be used to serve as a first officer at an air carrier. To obtain that certificate an applicant must be at least 21 years old, hold a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating, complete an ATP certification training program, and pass the ATP written and knowledge tests. For the restricted ATP certificate, applicants do get some relief as they are required to have at least 750 hours total time as a military pilot; at least 1,000 hours total time and a bachelor’s degree with an aviation major; at least 1,250 hours total time and an associate’s degree with an aviation major; or 1,500 hours total time as pilot.

Flight Training and Education

The most important step in preparation for a pilot job is flight training. Flight training can be expensive so the best thing students can do for themselves is to find the flight school that offers the best program for the money. One of the reasons is a recent announcement by FAA to substantially raise the qualification requirements for first officers who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines.

Having a college degree is important when applying for positions. Although not strictly required, airlines like American Airlines prefer a college degree or equivalent. Since many pilots are former military officers, they will all have college degrees. Without a degree, your application may stay buried below more qualified applicants. The degree does not have to be an aviation related field of study. Many pilots have degrees in fields ranging from law to engineering.
Civilian pilots must go through rigorous flight training before they are finally rated for airliners. To fly large aircraft, a pilot must have an Airline Transport Pilot rating, or ATP ticket. In addition to having achieved all the lower ratings, there is also a requirement for total flying time and for time as Pilot-in-Command. Airlines favor former military pilots because of the quality training they receive. Once hired, pilots will receive extensive training for the aircraft they will fly and frequent recurrent training for the life of their career.

ATP Pilot Salaries

Airline pilot salaries are probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of the profession when discussed by the non-flying public. Pilots aren’t paid like any other hourly worker in other professions. Despite the fact that professional pilots work 8, 10, 12 hour+ days just like any other professional, they are only compensated for the time considered “in flight.” For most flying jobs, unless it’s a salaried position, that usually means that they are paid from when the parking brake is released at the departure point until the brake is set upon arrival at the destination.

The law says that pilots who work for an airline cannot fly more than 100 hours a month or more than 1,000 hours a year. Most airline pilots fly about 75 hours a month, and work another 75 hours a month at other parts of the job. When they are flying, airline pilots often stay away from home overnight. Airlines have flights at all hours of the day and night. This means that airline pilots are often asked to work odd hours.

The pay a pilot receives is based on many variables. Seniority, type of aircraft flown and whether the pilot is a Captain or First Officer all affect the pay level. The hours that a pilot may fly is regulated by the FAA. Most pilots will fly between 75 to 80 hours a month. Starting out, a 1-year seniority pilot flying regional small narrow-body aircraft can expect a range from $21 to $41 per hour. The same pilot flying narrow-body aircraft can expect anywhere from $30 to $75 per hour. The highest paying position will be piloting wide-body aircraft. The 1-year seniority pilot will earn from $30 to $75 per hour. But after 10-years seniority, this pilot can expect $99 to $235 per hour.

Pilot Shortage

As airlines plan to hire hundreds of new pilots, industry officials warn that a shortage looms because of retirements, greater training requirements and longer rest periods between shifts.

American Airlines, which is reorganizing in bankruptcy court while proposing to merge with US Airways to become the world’s largest airline, announced plans this week to hire 1,500 pilots over five years.

U.S. airlines estimated to need about 8,000 new pilots a year. Boeing and Airbus both have seen the pilot shortage coming for years and predicted that there will be a need for as many as a half million (yes, that many) new airline pilots over the next two decades – around the world, especially in the Asia Pacific region and India.

Aviator Pilot Training

Professional plots must now have first-rate knowledge and continually upgraded skills if they want to hear the word “Hired!” Pilots who train at quality aviation schools and who possess the technical knowledge, first-rate flying skills and a professional attitude will have the hiring edge!

The programs at Aviator Flight School are designed to provide what the airline industry demands of future commercial pilots. The training you will receive at Aviator is one of the most intensive and challenging programs offered in aviation flight training today.

During your flight training you will fly a total of 259 hours, of which up to 200 hours will be in a multi-engine aircraft. The ground school portion is in a structured classroom environment. As the shortage of pilots continues to grow, Aviator College is consistently meeting with major air carriers to determine the flight training and education that they require.

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