Airline Transport Pilot - ATP

Start your career in the airlines

How to Become an Airline Pilot

Many people start flight training with the end goal of becoming an airline pilot. As a very lucrative career, the airlines pay pilots a good salary with regional airline pilots starting out at around $100,000, to captains at legacy and major airlines making $300,000. It's not unheard of to hear about pilots at major airlines that have gained decades of seniority making around $500,000.

To become an airline pilot requires commitment and over a thousand hours of flight time. This commitment to aviation is signified by the experience you gather in your training and culminates in receiving your ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) certificate. To obtain this certification, you will need to complete your private, instrument, commercial, and multi-engine certifications and ratings. You'll also need to accumalate 1500 hours of flight time to qualify. Lastly, similar to previous ratings and certifications, you will need to pass a written exam along with a pratical checkride. The team at Sun City Aviation Academy in combination has over 10,000 hours of experience and our senior leadership team members have experience working in the Part 121 (airlines and scheduled commercial flight) world and will be able to guide and help you on your journey.

Below, we'll go over the specific requirements needed to get your ATP along with the details of our course to get you prepared for the ATP checkride. We look forward to working with you and helping shape you into a safe proficient pilot ready for the airlines or other aviation career opportunities.

ATP Requirements

Sun City student passing his ATP checkride

Sun City student passing his ATP checkride

To qualify for an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate in the United States, several prerequisites must be met. Aspiring airline pilots should hold a private pilot certificate, demonstrating their proficiency in basic flight operations. In addition, an instrument rating and commercial certificate are essential prerequisites, showcasing their competence in more advanced piloting skills, including instrument flying. Aspiring airline pilots must have accumulated a minimum of 1,500 total flight hours, which must include cross-country and night flight hours. For multi-engine ATP certification, an additional 50 hours of multi-engine flight time is also required.

Educational background and having a college degree is not necessary but can be advantageous, with many ATP candidates completing aviation degree programs. A first class medical certificate is essential to meet medical requirements, and candidates must pass the ATP written knowledge test, assessing their knowledge of aviation regulations and procedures. Once these prerequisites are met, candidates can embark on ATP training and ultimately complete the ATP practical test to earn their coveted ATP certificate, marking a significant milestone in their aviation careers.

ATP Course at Sun City

Sun City ATP instructor

At Sun City Aviation Academy, our Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) course stands out for its unwavering commitment to safety, proficiency, and real world experience. Our training approach is designed to prepare candidates not just to pass the FAA ATP written test but to excel as top tier airline pilots. With a strong emphasis on hands on learning, our experienced instructors provide 7 hours of dual instruction and 7 hours of ground school, ensuring that our students gain the practical skills and theoretical knowledge needed to meet the highest industry standards.

In addition to the comprehensive flight and ground training, you'll spend 5 hours in the Red Bird simulator. This invaluable tool allows candidates to practice and refine their skills in a safe and controlled environment, replicating real world flight scenarios. Sun City Aviation Academy's commitment to producing well rounded and competent airline pilots is reflected in every aspect of our ATP course, from our carefully structured curriculum to the expertise of our instructors. We take pride in setting the foundation for successful careers in aviation, preparing our students for the challenges and opportunities that await them in the airline industry.

Ready To Become An Airline Pilot?

At Sun City Aviation Academy, we are dedicated to training you into a capable, adaptable, proficient, and safe pilot.

Still looking for more information on pilot training?

Get Your FREE Pilot Training Guide Book!

We have a free booklet which explains everything you need to know for your pilot certificate.

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What's Next?


Let's meet and see how we can help you achieve your aviation goals. Learn more about what it takes to become a pilot. Click the big red button to schedule a time to speak with one of our team members.

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