Getting to know…ATPLThe ATPL (Air Transport Pilots Licence) is the licence required to operate as a First or Second officer for a commercial airline.
To gain an ATPL you must first pass a set of 14 examinations, those being: Air Law, Ops, Meteorology, General Navigation, Radio Navigation, VFR Communications, IFR Communications, Aircraft General Knowledge, Instrumentation, Human Performance, Mass and Balance, Flight Planning, Performance and Principles of Flight.
The theory for these exams can be carried out via an Integrated course (full time classes) or part-time on a Modular course. Once you start taking the exams, you will have 18 months to complete them with a maximum of six exam sittings (up to four per subject). Careful planning and not wasting sittings is advisable.
Passing these exams will see you gain a ‘frozen’ ATPL, which will start your journey to becoming a commercial pilot, allowing you to act as a First or Second officer on a commercial flight. This licence combines the Commercial Pilots Licence, Multi Engine Instrument Rating and a Multi Crew Cooperation Course.
After 1500 hours of flying time, 500 hours of which must be carried out in a multi-crew environment with both a Captain and First Officer necessary on board, the ATPL becomes unfrozen as long as the pilot is over the age of 21.
It is also necessary to hold a Class One medical certificate. Because it is a requirement of being a commercial pilot, it’s advisable to take the medical examination before beginning the ATPL course. This needs to be renewed every 12 months and as a pilot, it will be your responsibility to make sure your medical certifications are up to date.
Studying for the ATPL isn’t easy. It requires hard work and concentration, and will test your knowledge and practical skills to the highest standard. But gaining this licence really will open so many doors and career paths, especially if you pass exams with high results. Here are a few tips to help you during your studies.