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Does it really benefit a pilot to obtain the ATP certificate? by Randy Rowles

The answer depends on your perspective of need. The ATP itself is only needed for select types of flight operations, i.e. scheduled air carrier, etc.

An example would be…An ATP helicopter pilot conducts a tour flight over a popular scenic location in a light helicopter. Since the operation only requires the pilot to posses a Commercial Pilot, he/she is not exercising the privileges of their ATP certificate. Now, the same operator has the option to hire a Commercial Pilot or an ATP for the same position. The employer may decide to employ the person with the ATP for several reasons. One may be the fact that the person holding the ATP has verifiable flight time of at least 1200 hours since the FAA endorsed their application for the ATP flight examination.

Another reason pilots go to the ATP is certification needs. A pilot holds either a foreign pilot ATP, etc or Commercial helicopter and fixed wing with an instrument rating and needs Instrument privileges in a helicopter. If they meet the flight time requirements for the ATP, then the ATP is the way to go. They increase their level of certification and obtain Instrument privileges in category/class with only one knowledge test and practical exam.

Bottom line, the ATP puts you at the top of your game with regard to certification. In our industry, we need to hold ourselves to the highest standards possible. After all, this is our profession!

Posted in: Opinion-Editorial


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