ATPL (A) – how to become an airline pilot

In order to be able to fly commercial aircraft without weight restrictions and with a multi-man crew as the pilot in charge, you need an ATPL. In order for the ATP license to be issued by the Civil Aviation Authority, extensive flight experience must be demonstrated (including 1,500 hours of flight experience, of which at least 500 hours must be flown on commercial aircraft (multi crew)) Until the requirements are met, the applicant will receive a CPL with ATPL theory credit, which is also known as a frozen ATPL. With this license, all aircraft without weight restrictions can be flown as Copilot for which one has a type rating. Owning a frozen ATPL is usually the entry requirement for airlines.

As the pilot in command, aircraft that are categorised as single pilot aircraft may be flown in the commercial sector. These are usually aircraft up to 5.7 tons, which are propeller driven.

Requirements for the training

  • Class I Medical certificate, (the theoretical training can be completed without a valid medical certificate. In principle, we recommend having the required medical examination carried out at the beginning of the training).
  • Proof of sufficient knowledge of English, mathematics and physics (At least one certificate of the subject-related higher education entrance qualification. The minimum grade for the evidence for the relevant subject is sufficient. Alternatively, a review can be carried out by us. Evidence of sufficient knowledge of English can also be provided by submitting ICAO language level 4 or higher). We can also recognise e.g. a passed DLR test or an ICAO CPL.
  • Submission of the declaration of pending criminal proceedings
  • Current extract from the central traffic register
  • Positive result of the background check in accordance with § 7 LuftSiG (ZÜP) (If there is no background check, we will be happy to assist you with the appication)

Course of training

Our company carries out the ATPL training as a modular training. This has the advantage that you have maximum flexibility in training and that we can take into account services that have already been provided (e.g. an existing instrument flight permit) by us unbureaucratically. The modular ATPL training is divided into several phases.

1. Acquisition of the PPL-A

The training begins with the acquisition of the PPL-A. The training is divided into a theoretical and a practical part. For the theoretical training,100 hours are planned, which we conveniently carry out as a distance learning course. The practical training lasts at least 45 hours. As soon as you have the PPL-A, you can already fly with friends, acquaintances or so-called self-cost flights. Further information can be found on our PPL-A special page.

2. Theoretical ATPL Training

The theoretical ATPL training consists of 850 hours, with at least 85 hours of which are organised as brush-up lessons. Furthermore, the theoretical training takes place via distance learning via our partner, Cranfield Aviation Training School (Deutschland) GmbH in Dortmund. The dates for the necessary lessons can be found here.

You can carry out the ATPL theory training part-time. Expect to spend around 15 hours per week. You work with modern training materials, which prepare you specifically for the theoretical examination at an EASA examination authority. Extensive instructional videos are also available for many specialist areas. The lecturers will support you personally at any time if you do not understand specific topics directly.

The theoretical examination can be taken at any EASA examination authority (e.g. at the LBA in Braunschweig, Austro Control etc.). The exam can be written in 6 partial exams, with 4 attempts per subject.

3. Acquisition of night flight authorisation

In parallel to the ATPL theory training, you can acquire the night flight permit. 5 hours of practical training are planned for this. The exact requirements and the procedure can be found on our special page for night flight authorisation.

4. Building flight experience

Parallel to the ATPL theory training, you will begin the development of flight experience. When issuing the license, you must have a total of 200 hours of flying experience. The times from the training can be taken into account. If you start your ATPL training with an already existing PPL and possibly already have flight experience, these times can of course also be fully credited. If this is not the case, you have to fly approximately 84 hours. Our modern fleet is always available for this. We would be happy to give you a recommendation on how these hours can be used in a structured and meaningful way (flights abroad, control zones, approaches to commercial airports or a briefing in a mountain flying).

5. Acquisition of the instrument rating

If you have completed the theoretical ATPL training with the exam, we will start with the instrument flight training. For this purpose, 40 hours of practical training are planned. Further information can be found on our special page for the instrument rating.

6. Acquisition of the rating for multi-engine aircraft (optional)

You now have the opportunity to obtain a permit for multi-engine aircraft. For this purpose, practical training of at least 6 hours is provided. The instrument rating can also be extended to multi-engine aircraft. Another 5 hours of practical training are planned for this purpose. In principle, the training can also be carried out on single-engine aircraft. At the latest, however, if you want to acquire a type rating for a multi-crew aircraft, you will need the instrument rating for multi-engine aircraft. Further information can be found on our special page MEP(A) Class Rating.

7. Practical training to become an airline pilot

For the practical training to become a commercial or professional pilot, 15 hours of practical flight training are provided, provided you have a valid instrument rating and night rating. Further information can be found on our special page on CPL-A training. We also integrate the aUPRT training into this training section. The scope is 3 hours of practical flight training. You can find more information on our special page on Airplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training.

After completing this module, you will have a frozen ATPL.

8. MCC Training (optional)

Optionally, you can complete the MCC training after completing the aforementioned course modules. Here you will be specifically prepared for your future job; working in a multi crew cockpit. In collaboration with our cooperation partner, Sky4U Berlin, we offer MCC training on the Airbus A320 and Boing 737 models.

Revalidation of the license

The license itself is valid for a lifetime and does not need to be extended. However, as with the PPL, the included class and type ratings must be regularly renewed (the class rating for single-engine aircraft is valid for 24 months and the class rating for multi-engine aircraft is valid for 12 months).

There is no minimum number of the hours required to revalidate the instrument rating. The extension takes place through a proficiency check. The instrument rating is granted for a period of 12 months.

Training costs

The training costs amount to approx. € 55,000.00 for the complete training without the consideration of previous experience. Here you will find our sample offer in connection with our current price list.

Legal bases

The legal basis results from Annex 3 to EU VO 1178/2011 and the associated accepted verification procedures (AMCs). We recommend the EASA Easy Access Document for further information.

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