Commercial Pilot Licence – ATPL(A)

The Airline Transport Pilot Licence – ATPL(A)

Requirements for the acquisition of a commercial pilot licence ATPL

The commercial pilot licence is an extension or special form of the commercial pilot licence. Therefore, the same requirements apply to training and acquisition:

  • Possession of a valid ICAO-PPL(A)
  • Class 1 airworthiness certified in a current medical
  • Passed proficiency test in basic English, mathematics and physics
  • BZF1 radiotelephone certificate (German and English)
  • Minimum 150 hours flying experience
  • Certificate of good conduct without entries (in Austria a corresponding criminal record)
  • No entries for major offences in the central traffic register

Lastly, commercial pilots must always be over the age of 18 when they are issued their licence.

Training as a commercial pilot with ATPL

The commercial pilot licence is a purely theoretical training. A practical part automatically results from the 1500 flying hours required for the licence, of which at least 500 must be flown in multi-person cockpits. This leads directly to the modular upgrade options with which you can strive for a commercial or airline transport pilot licence.

Basically, both licences require theoretical knowledge in these areas:

  • comprehensive knowledge of aircraft with the sub-areas of
    • instruments,
    • systems,
    • engines and
    • airframe
  • Aerodynamics
  • Flight performance
  • Flight planning and
  • flight operational procedures
  • Radio navigation
  • Air law
  • meteorology
  • human performance
  • Navigation and
  • radiotelephony

For the commercial pilot licence, 250 hours of theory are provided here. For the commercial pilot licence, another 400 hours are added. If you clearly want to become a commercial pilot, you should tackle the more extensive distance learning course directly. This will save you time and training costs later on.

In addition, you need further authorisations and ratings:

  • Multi Engine Piston (MEP) for twin engine aircraft
  • High Performance Aircraft (HPA) rating
  • Instrument Rating IR(A) – in addition to any En Route IR held.

The theoretical parts of these ratings are already covered by the material of the ATPL training. You can complete practical training hours in parallel with the theory or afterwards.

After successfully completing all training modules and passing the ATPL exam with the aviation authority, all you need is a short MCC training course. This will teach you Multi Crew Corporation or Coordination, which qualifies you to work in large cockpits. Until now, you have only been authorised to fly single-pilot aircraft.

Including the MCC, however, you now have the so-called “frozen ATPL“, the almost complete equipment for airline pilots.

The final steps to becoming a commercial pilot

The “frozen ATPL” then opens the doors to the cockpits of the big airliners. You will initially work there as a first officer or co-pilot. Along the way, you collect flying hours. After 1500 hours, you fulfil the final requirement for the ATPL(A) and only need to apply for your commercial pilot licence.