What is the Airline Transport Pilot Licence?

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What is the Airline Transport Pilot Licence?
Also known as the ATPL or ATP. This is the highest licence one can earn as a civil airplane pilot.

How do I obtain a ATPL?
To earn a ATPL it is a stepping stone process:
Step 1: Student Pilot Permit: Allows you to fly solo under the supervision of a flight instructor in Canada.
Step 2: Private Pilot Licence: Allows you to fly any where in the world, but not for hire or reward.
Step 3: Commercial Licence: Allows you to fly any where in the world, for hire or reward on a single pilot airplane.
Step 4: Multi and Instrument Rating: Allows you to fly a airplane with more then one engine, in instrument flying conditions.
Step 5: Airline Transport Licence: Allows you to be the captain or pilot in command of a multi crew airplane.

What are the requirements for a  Airline Transport Licence?
From the Canadian Air Regulations (CARs) 421.34
An applicant shall be a minimum of twenty-one years of age and hold a Category 1 Medical Certificate.
An applicant shall have obtained a minimum of 70% in each of three written examinations on the following aviation subjects:

Airline Transport Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) Meteorology, Radio Aids to Navigation and Flight Planning (SAMRA exam)
Airline Transport Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) Air Law, Aeroplane Operation and Navigation General (SARON) including:
Instrument Rating (INRAT).

An applicant shall have met the training requirements for the issue of a Commercial Pilot Licence which include the following:

Completed a minimum of 1500 hours total flight time of which a minimum of 900 hours shall have been completed in aeroplanes.
250 hours pilot-in-command flight time in aeroplanes
The pilot-in-command and/or pilot-in-command under supervision flight time shall include a minimum of 100 hours cross-country flight time of which a minimum of 25 hours shall have been by night;
100 hours night flight time as pilot-in-command or as co-pilot of which a minimum of 30 hours shall have been acquired in aeroplanes;
100 additional hours cross-country flight time as pilot-in-command or 200 hours as co-pilot or any combination
75 hours instrument flight time of which a maximum of 25 hours may have been acquired in approved instrument ground trainers and a maximum of 35 hours may have been acquired in helicopters.

Within the 12 months preceding the date of application for the licence, an applicant shall demonstrate in a multi-engined aeroplane with no central thrust configuration and fitted with instruments and equipment suitable for IFR flight in controlled airspace, familiarity with and the ability:

To perform both normal and emergency flight procedures and manoeuvres appropriate to the aeroplane in which the flight test is conducted; and
to execute all manoeuvres and procedures set forth in Division XIV for issue of a Group 1 instrument rating.
For issue of the Airline Transport Pilot Licence – Aeroplane, the Minister shall only endorse a Group 1 Instrument Rating (Instrument rating on multi engine airplane) on the licence.

How do I get these requirements?
Pilots are expected to work and gain experience flying in the industry. In theory one could purchase all of these hours and experience, but it would be very expensive and likely looked down on by the industry.

What type of work do new pilots do to gain experience toward the ATPL?
Typical examples.
Air Taxi
Glider towing
Banner towing
Flight Instructing
“Bush” Flying
First officer air taxi, or commuter operation. Usually 9-18 seat turboprop airplanes.
Powerline/Pipeline patrol.

What is a Frozen Airline Transport Licence.
“Frozen ATPL” is a term usually used in European countries. It is not an official term and not normally used in North America. The holder of a “Frozen ATPL” has a Commercial Pilots Licence with a Multi  Instrument Rating, and has passed the ATPL examinations. When they achieve the requirements (flying hours mostly) they will be able to obtain a “full or real” ATPL.

Does Canada have a Frozen ATPL?
Not really. Our closest version is the Integrated ATPL. This allows the pilot to complete the flying courses (PPL, CPL, IFR) as part of one larger course and complete the ATPL exams as part of the initial course. Then one has 5 years to get to 1500 hours to get a “real” ATPL. It is the one way to write the ATPL exams with less then 750 hours.

When can a pilot complete the ATPL exams?
Transport Canada requires a pilot to have at least 750 hours before writing the ATPL exams.

What is the IATRA exam?
Some pilots think of the IATRA exam as a ATPL lite.  The IATRA is not a rating or licence. It’s just a exam. It allows a pilot with 250 hours to fly as a first officer in a multi crew airplane. A pilot with more then 750 hours would normally write the ATPL exams, a pilot with less then 750 hours would write the IATRA exam. We have a course for the IATRA exam here

Is there a flight test for the ATPL?
In Canada there is no stand alone flight test for the ATPL. One has to complete a Multi Instrument flight test within the last 12 months for the ATPL to be granted.

Do you have a ATPL course?
Yes we have a course for the ATPL exams which are called SARON and SAMRA.

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