FAPA.aero | Summary of R-ATP Regulations for Part 121 Operations

Pilot Education & Training

What You’ll Need to Earn an Restricted Airline Pilot Transport (R-ATP) Certificate

A summary of requirements for the FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. More information can be found on the FAA's Pilot Training - ATP Certificate webpage.

All Part 121 airline cockpit crewmembers are required to possess an (R)ATP. An applicant for an (R)ATP will be required to complete an ATP-Certification Training Program (ATP-CTP) prior to taking the knowledge exam.

The ATP-CTP requires specific ground school, as well as instruction in a fixed-based training device and a full-motion simulator. CTP training is often taken in conjunction with preparation for the ATP knowledge exam. It is not a requirement for airlines to provide this training, only that a pilot has completed this training (similar to a type rating). Additionally, prior to taking the practical test (checkride), a pilot must have logged at least 50 hours of multi-engine flight time. Up to 25 of those hours may be credited from a flight simulator certificated in a program under FAR parts 121, 135, 141, or 142. Many newly-hired pilots are hired with 25 hours of multi-engine time and reach the 50-hour threshhold during their training.

While the standard ATP certificate demands 1,500 hours of total flight time logged, a “Restricted” ATP (R-ATP) will allow a pilot to serve as a second-in-command (SIC), also known as the copilot or first officer, in part 121 operations. To qualify for a R-ATP a pilot must meet one of the following criteria:

Background Total flight time (plus 200 XC)

Military pilot and 21 years old

750 TT

Aviation Bachelor’s degree (60 aviation credits)
part 141 and 21 years old

1,000 TT

Aviation Associate’s degree
part 141 and 21 years old

1,250 TT

Aviation Bachelors’s degree (30 aviation credits)
part 141 and 21 years old

1,250 TT

None of the above, only being 21 years old

1,500 TT

An aviation degree is defined as majoring in an aviation related degree. The minimum semester credit hours for a bachelor’s degree are 60 while it is 30 for an associate’s degree. In both cases, the pilot must earn their instrument rating and commercial certificate with an affiliated part 141 training center. Any aviation related degree would have to comply with AC 61-School. Institutions will need to apply for their graduates to be recognized as meeting that prescribed minima. Once institutions have been approved by the FAA they will be listed on this web page

Pilots must also meet the rest of the flight time requirements for a regular ATP as outlined in 61.159 (cross-country, night, PIC, instrument, etc.).

Remember, cross-country time is defined as point-to-point (traveling greater than 50 nautical miles with or without a landing) for the purposes of meeting any ATP flight experience minima.

To act as a pilot-in-command (PIC), also known as the captain, in part 121 operations a pilot must have at least 1000 hours as PIC and/or SIC in part 121 operations.

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Laura Arden enthusiastically joined the FAPA team in 2016 as Director of Sales and Marketing.  She brings with her a background as an attorney and sales and marketing professional with a keen interest in aviation. Laura is responsible for building relationships with aviation partners for FAPA's Job Fairs, Future Pilot Forums and opportunities to advertise on FAPA.aero. FAPA’s Future Pilot Forums have become a passionate mission to Build the Pilot Pipeline and she works to reach future pilots of all ages to attend Future Pilot Forums around the country.

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