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The Value of Experience – ATP Rated Pilots

The Airline Transport Pilot Certificate (ATP) is the highest level of aircraft pilot rating, or license, attainable in the U.S. Those certified as Airline Transport Pilots are authorized to act as pilot-in-command of a scheduled or chartered aircraft having a maximum gross weight over 12,500 pounds or having over 9 passenger seats.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offers the ATP Practical Test, also commonly called the “checkride.” The qualifications required to simply be eligible for the test are extensive, beginning with the requirement that the candidate have at least 1500 total hours of flight time.

500 hours of their 1500 total must be cross-country, with at least 100 hours also being night flight time (although after certain levels of experience are reached, some night takeoff/landing pairs can be substituted for hours of night flight time.) 75 hours of instrument flight time in actual or simulated instrument conditions are also needed, with limits as to how much of this time can be in flight simulation as opposed to in-air time. 250 hours of the flight time must also be in an airplane as a “pilot-in-command”, and this total must include at least 100 hours cross-country flight time and 25 hours of night flight time as pilot-in-command. Another additional requirement for a qualifying pilot is that they must currently possess a first-class medical certificate from the FAA at the time of their testing.

Once each of these requirements are met, ATP rated pilots are tested on a wide range of theoretical subjects and disciplines. These include operational procedures, principles of flight, air law, flight planning and monitoring, meteorology, general and radio navigation, instrumentation, IFR (instrument flight rules) and VFR (visual flight rules) communications, and more.

The bottom line is that ATP rated pilots are the best in the business. They are the most experienced, well trained and prepared professionals you can find in the jet charter industry. We should now mention that charter pilots are NOT required to be ATP rated to captain your next flight.

Stratos Jets has a mandate that every one of our flights has an ATP rated captain on board. In fact, in most cases both pilots (unlike various others we require two pilots on EVERY one of our charter flights) will be ATP rated. However many other air charter pilots currently operating for other charter companies are only “commercially rated”.

The Commercial Pilot License (CPL) permits the holder to act as the pilot in single-piloted aircraft or as co-pilot of a multi-pilot aircraft. For a CPL rating the pilot must already hold a Private Pilot License, and successfully have completed various commercial training and written exams. However this testing is certainly less intensive than that required for ATP ratings. Also, applicants must have simply completed a solo cross-country flight of at least 300 miles, with full stop landings at two airfields, not including the airfield of origin. This is of course far less than that required of ATP rated pilots. They also must first obtain second-class medical certification, as opposed to first-class with ATP pilots.

Knowing these qualifications, it should be clear that having an ATP rated pilot on your next flight can have great advantages to you as a jet charter flier. ATP ratings provide you with the utmost peace of mind that your flight will be on the safest and most professionally operated aircraft available to you.

In addition to our use of ATP rated pilots alone, we will also only work with aircraft and operators that are fully FAR Part 135 compliant. Part 135 is the legally required standard for which aircraft safety, operating, maintenance, regulations and licensing are measured – though this compliance is certainly not assured on some competitor’s flights. Stratos Jets is also one of the very few air charter brokers in the industry that provides a safety audit from leading third-party, independent auditors Wyvern and Aviation Research Group (ARG/US) on every flight we charter.

We are completely dedicated to providing the safest travel possible, on the most appropriate and best maintained aircraft, and with the finest, most experienced crews to each one of our valued clients. Our insistence on ATP rated pilots at all times is just one more way we ensure that every day. Experience the difference for yourself, and call one of our experienced jet charter experts today to arrange your next flight.