How Do I Become an Airline Transport Pilot?

Jennifer Leigh

Become an airline transport pilot through a combination of training and experience flying an airplane. Requirements for licensure as a pilot vary depending on the country where you live, but most places require a certain number of hours flying and the passing of an examination. Airline transport pilots generally have to have an additional license, which has more requirements than a basic pilot's license and allows them to transport goods and people. Other necessary attributes to become an airline transport pilot include good physical health, strong personal character, and medical training.

A pilot.
A pilot.

In order to become an airline transport pilot you need to have experience flying an airplane. While requirements vary depending on the country, it is generally necessary to have flown a large airplane across the country and meet the number of required hours. For example, in the U.S., transport pilots must have 500 hours of cross-country flight time, 250 hours of flying in command, and 100 hours of flying an airplane at night. Other requirements include a certain number of hours working with instruments — the hours cannot take place in a flight simulator, as they need to occur in an actual airplane.

Many pilots for major long-haul carriers have spent a few years flying for regional airliners or cargo carriers that use turboprop powered aircraft.
Many pilots for major long-haul carriers have spent a few years flying for regional airliners or cargo carriers that use turboprop powered aircraft.

Most pilots are trained either in a military setting or at flight schools. In order to learn how to fly a plane to become an airline transport pilot, it is necessary to learn from a flight instructor who is knowledgeable in the field. He or she will teach you the basics of flying, about the instrumentation, and supervise your initial flights. After you have completed enough supervised hours, you will be able to take a plane into the air on your own and begin instrument certification.

A pilot is only able to command a wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 747 after they have accumulated significant experience.
A pilot is only able to command a wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 747 after they have accumulated significant experience.

Medical training is generally required for airline transport pilots. This means that you have the knowledge to pass an examination on the subject of emergency medical techniques, in case anyone is ever injured while on your plane. This makes the flight safer for the passengers.

Get examined by a physician who will determine if you are in good health to become an airplane pilot. Your eyes and ears must be checked and you can not have any medical conditions that could possibly cause danger or harm while you are flying. In addition, most organizations look for pilots with good moral character who have not been in trouble with the law in the past.

Prospective transport pilots must be able to work with other crew members.
Prospective transport pilots must be able to work with other crew members.

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