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Step 6 ATPL training

ATPL training is the first serious contact with scheduled air transport and the beginning of a new chapter in the career of a future airliner pilot. ATPL exams are quite challenging due to the vast amount of study material, the advanced level, and the time required for studying, still, they serve as a ‘gateway’ to commercial flying and scheduled air transport.

If you’re a PPL holder with a real possibility of:

  • building 150 hours of flight time,
  • commencing a commercial pilot licence training,
  • commencing an IR training

…you should get yourself listed for an airline transport pilot licence (ATPL) theoretical training. Why is it important to begin the theoretical training knowing that practical training courses are available (the main obstacle being the training costs) in a relatively short time? The reason is that theoretical exams are valid for 3 years starting from the date of the last passed exam to the successful sitting of the exam for CPL and IR for flying under instrument flight rules. In the case that the 3 years’ period expires before the above mentioned practical exams are passed, it is necessary to re-sit the theoretical exams.

When choosing the centre for ATPL theoretical training, be sure to take the following factors into account (apart from the price):

  • the reputation of the centre
  • whether lecturers who will conduct the training have airline experience, work as air traffic controllers or as technical maintenance on large airplanes
  • course schedule

Don’t expect much of the training, though – you’ve got to acquire 95% of the knowledge yourself during long months of studying at home.

Be aware that it might take you over a year to pass all the exams starting from the beginning of the theoretical training. Still, it’s up to you and your dedication to studying. I successfully passed the exams in 7 months from the time when I started the theoretical training, yet it required intensive studying and dedication on my part.