8900.1 CHG 297

Volume 3  General technical administration

Chapter 62  THE Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program

Section 1  Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program Approval Process for 14 CFR Parts 121, 135, and 142

3-4917    APPLICABILITY. This section contains direction and guidance to be used by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel responsible for the evaluation, approval, and surveillance of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 121, 135, and 142 airline transport pilot (ATP) Certification Training Programs (CTP).

3-4918    GENERAL. The ATP CTP is required by 14 CFR part 61, § 61.156 for applicants of an ATP certificate with airplane category multiengine class rating or an ATP certificate issued concurrently with an airplane type rating, and is intended to prepare the applicant to operate safely in those operations which require an ATP certificate by rule. The ATP CTP may be administered by a 14 CFR part 119 certificate holder authorized to conduct operations under parts 121 and 135 or by an air agency certificated under 14 CFR parts 141 and 142.

A.    Scope of Training. The ATP CTP is a prerequisite for the FAA’s highest certificate and includes training in: aerodynamics, automation, adverse weather conditions, air carrier operations, transport airplane performance, professionalism, and leadership and development. The program is designed to be a pilot’s first exposure to large turbine aircraft and how those aircraft perform at high altitude and in adverse weather phenomenon. Furthermore, the program will bridge the gap in knowledge between a commercial pilot certificate and the knowledge a pilot should have prior to entering an air carrier environment. Bridging the knowledge gap is most effectively completed through a modern flight training program that methodically integrates academic training, practical training, and flight experience. The training in the flight experience portion of the program directly correlates to the academic concepts with scenario-based training (SBT), practical applications, demonstrations, and multiengine experience. Successful completion of the ATP CTP will ensure an ATP applicant receives the baseline knowledge and experience to prepare them for the duties, responsibilities, and challenges of an air carrier environment.

B.    Advisory Circular (AC) 61-138. The current edition of AC 61-138, Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program, provides information and courseware guidelines which will enable authorized providers to develop a training program which meets the requirements of § 61.156.

Indicates new/changed information.


A.    Air Transportation Division (AFS-200). AFS-200 will provide assistance to Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) and certificate management offices (CMO) from initial application through the final approval as a collaborative effort. AFS-200 will support offices processing ATP CTP approvals from part 121 and 135 air carriers and part 142 training centers. In addition to issuing initial and final approval of ATP CTPs, AFS-200 will provide assistance in the development, implementation, and review as well as follow-on reviews of the certificate holder’s ATP CTP.

B.    Regional Office (RO). The assigned regional specialist will ensure that the principal operations inspector (POI) has submitted an ATP CTP which meets the minimum regulatory requirements (§ 61.156) and is consistent with guidelines set forth in AC 61-138 and the ATP CTP Course Approval Job Aid located here: http://www.faa.gov/pilots/training/atp/ (see Figure 3-175) . Once the regional coordinator is satisfied with the package, it will be forwarded to AFS-200 for initial approval.

C.    POI or Training Center Program Manager (TCPM). The POI or TCPM, as appropriate, is responsible for ensuring that the submitted ATP CTP meets the minimum regulatory requirements (§ 61.156) and is consistent with guidelines set forth in AC 61-138 and the ATP CTP Course Approval Job Aid located here: http://www.faa.gov/pilots/training/atp (see Figure 3-175). Once initial approval has been authorized for the ATP CTP to the training provider through the assigned inspector by AFS-200, the assigned inspector will continue to collaborate with AFS-200 to ensure final approval is granted for the ATP CTP within one year of initial approval. For the final approval of the program, an AFS-200 representative will assist the assigned inspector during an onsite evaluation/inspection of the ATP CTP. The assigned inspector will conduct all required certification, surveillance, and inspection functions associated with the ATP CTP after final approval is granted by the assigned inspector through AFS-200.


A.    Initial Approval.

1)    When a part 121 air carrier, part 135 air carrier, or part 142 training center seeks approval for an ATP CTP, the assigned inspector will ensure that the submitted ATP CTP meets the minimum regulatory requirements (§ 61.156) and is consistent with guidelines set forth in AC 61-138 and the ATP CTP Course Approval Job Aid located here: http://www.faa.gov/pilots/training/atp (see Figure 3-175). Once the assigned inspector is satisfied that the submitted program meets all of the requirements, the assigned inspector should forward the training program and completed job aid to the appropriate region for review. If the region concurs with the program, they will then forward to AFS-200.
2)    AFS-200 will conduct a review of the program. If the submitted program meets the requirements of § 61.156 and is consistent with guidelines set forth in AC 61-138 and the ATP CTP Course Approval Job Aid, the principal inspector (PI) will be advised to grant initial approval via operations specification (OpSpec)/training specification (TSpec) A504. Initial approvals will be valid for one year (unless extended by AFS-200).

B.    Final Approval. Within one year of a training provider being issued initial approval, AFS-200 will conduct a site visit/audit of each approved ATP CTP. If the program and flight training equipment meet all of the requirements of the rule and the objectives of the current edition of AC 61-138, the PI will be advised to issue the training provider final approval of the program via OpSpec/TSpec A304.

C.    Process. See paragraph 3-4923.

D.    Revisions and Withdrawal of Approval. Refer to Volume 3, Chapter 19, Section 2, for inspector guidance relating to revisions to training programs and withdrawal of training program approvals.

3-4921    DEVIATIONS FROM § 61.156(b)(1).

A.    Section 61.156(b)(1). Section 61.156(b)(1) requires an ATP CTP to contain at least six hours of training in a Level C or higher full flight simulator (FFS) qualified under 14 CFR part 60 that represents a multiengine turbine airplane with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 40,000 pounds or greater.

B.    Section 61.156(c). Section 61.156(c) states the Administrator may issue deviation authority from the weight requirement in § 61.156(b)(1) upon a determination that the objectives of the training can be met in an alternative device.

1)    A training provider requesting a deviation from § 61.156(b)(1) must submit its request to its assigned POI or TCPM. Once the assigned inspector is satisfied the submitted device meets the learning objectives of the course as defined by the guidance contained in AC 61-138, the assigned inspector should forward to the appropriate FAA RO for review.
2)    If the RO concurs with the deviation request, they will then forward to AFS-200.
3)    If AFS-200 determines the deviation request is creditable, the National Simulator Program (NSP) Branch (AFS-205) will be assigned to review the device to determine if the device meets the learning objectives of the course.
4)    If AFS-205 has a favorable review, AFS-200 will issue the deviation request for a period not to exceed two years. The POI or TCPM will note the deviation on the certificate holder’s OpSpec/TSpec/letter of authorization (LOA) A504 or A304, as appropriate.


A.    References (current editions and as applicable to the type of operation):

·    14 CFR parts 1, 61, 91, 121, 135, and 142;

·    AC 61-138, Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program; and

·    AC 120-40, Airplane Simulator Qualification.

B.    Forms (as applicable):

·    FAA Form 8000-4, Air Agency Certificate; and/or

·    Air Operator Certificate (AOC).

C.    Job Aids. ATP CTP Course Approval Job Aid.


A.    Initial Inquiry. Upon initial inquiry from an applicant, the assigned inspector should determine the following:

·    The identity of applicant and address of the principal base of operations;

·    Any intended satellite base;

·    The type of ownership (private, corporate, etc.);

·    The proposed curriculum;

·    The types of aircraft;

·    The intended chief instructor and that instructor’s experience level;

·    The type of flight training device (FTD)/FFS;

·    The possible use of commercially produced syllabuses; and

·    If the operator intends to use contract training.

B.    Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS). Open PTRS file using code 1045 with “ATPCTP” in the national use field (without the quotation marks).

C.    Review Submitted ATP CTP. Ensure that the submitted ATP CTP meets the minimum requirements.

D.    Forward Package to Region. Once the ATP CTP is considered satisfactory, the assigned inspector should forward the ATP CTP and completed job aid to the region.

E.    Regional Concurrence. Once the region concurs with the program they will then forward a program submitted, along with the completed job aid, to AFS-200 via the following address: 9-AFS-HQ-ATPCTP@faa.gov.

F.    AFS-200 Concurrence. AFS-200 will issue a memo to the assigned inspector concurring with the issuance of initial approval of the training program. Initial approval is given by the inspector through the issuance of OpSpec/TSpec A504.

G.    Onsite Evaluation for Final Approval. Within one calendar year of initial approval of an ATP CTP, an onsite evaluation of the program will be conducted. The onsite evaluation will be comprised of the assigned inspector and an AFS-200 representative. The length and scope of the evaluation will be determined by AFS-200.

H.    Final Approval. AFS-200 will issue a memo to the assigned inspector concurring with the issuance of final approval of the training program. Final approval is given by the inspector through the issuance of OpSpec/TSpec A304.

I.    PTRS. Close PTRS file.

Figure 3-175.  ATP CTP Course Approval Job Aid

Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program Approval Job Aid

Course Provider Name


Course Provider Operating Certificate

Part 121   c

Part 135   c

Part 141   c

Part 142   c

Instructions: Prior to reviewing an Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATP CTP) submission, inspectors should be familiar with the guidance contained in Volume 3, Chapter 62, Sections 1 and 2 and Advisory Circular (AC) 61-138, Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program. Inspectors should also refer to those two sources for detailed information not contained in this job aid. After reviewing the ATP CTP submission, if all questions are answered with “Yes” or “N/A” and the inspector recommends approval of the ATP CTP, the document can be forwarded for the next level of review, as appropriate. If, after the review, questions are answered with “No,” the submission should be returned to the certificate holder to make the appropriate revisions with instructions to resubmit after the necessary revisions are made. An inspector recommending approval and forwarding the ATP CTP for the next level of review should sign the bottom of this job aid and mark the “approve” box. This completed job aid must be included with all training programs submitted to AFS-200 and AFS-800 for approval.

References: AC 61-138, 14 CFR part 61, § 61.156, part 121, § 121.410, part 135, § 135.336, part 141, § 141.11, part 142, § 142.54.

Training Program Elements


No or N/A


Does the training program meet the following general requirements?

If the training program provider is a part 121 or 135 air carrier, the ATP CTP training program is separate from the air carrier’s required initial training program




For all programs, graduation certificates are only issued to students who have completed all curriculum requirements of the course




Does the training program state instructors must meet the following eligibility requirements?

All instructors must hold an ATP certificate with an airplane category and a multiengine class rating




All instructors must have at least two years of air carrier operational experience as a pilot in command (PIC) in operations under 14 CFR part 91, § 91.1053(a)(2)(i) or § 135.243(a)(1), or as a PIC or second in command (SIC) in any operation conducted under part 121




To retrain an applicant who did not pass the ATP knowledge test in accordance with § 61.49, the authorized instructor must be employed by the training program provider and meet the two previous requirements listed above




Flight simulation training device (FSTD) instructors must have an appropriate aircraft type rating for the aircraft which the FSTD represents




FSTD instructors must be knowledgeable of the limitations of both the simulator motion and approved flight envelope




If the curriculum uses a subject matter expert to deliver portions of ground training, the presence of an instructor with the required air carrier operational experience is required




Does the ground and flight instructor training include the following initial training from the certificate holder on the following topics? Items marked with a “*” are not required for instructors who hold a flight instructor certificate.

Initial training on the course material




The fundamental principles of the learning process*




Elements of effective teaching, instruction methods, and techniques*




Instructor duties, privileges, responsibilities, and limitations*




Training policies and procedures*








Does the FSTD instructor training include initial and annual recurrent training from the certificate holder on the following topics?

Proper operation of FSTD controls and systems




Proper operation of environmental and fault panels




Data and motion limitations of simulation




Minimum equipment requirements for each curriculum




The tasks and maneuvers that will be demonstrated in the FSTD




Does the academic training include the following minimum hours and elements?

Aerodynamics: 8 hours




Meteorology: 2 hours




Air carrier operations: 14 hours




Leadership/Professional Development, Crew Resource Management, and Safety Culture: 6 hours




The specific training program elements outlined in the current edition of AC 61-138




Do the evaluation procedures for the academic training contain the following?

A description of the evaluation procedure used to measure the attendee’s proficiency (e.g., individual paper tests handed out, tests presented on a screen, etc.)




A comprehensive written test or test question pool with an answer key in the submitted application for the course including source materials (references) from which the answers to the questions were derived




An evaluation containing at least 30 test questions. All 30 test questions do not have to be given at the same time; however, at least 15 of the questions should be given at the end of the ATP CTP covering the entire academic course material




A statement reflecting that a student’s successful completion of the ATP CTP is dependent upon a minimum score of 70 percent on each written test administered. Individual sponsors may set higher test standards




A description of the retraining procedure for students who fail to achieve the minimum score and need to retake the exam on the topics failed




Does the overall FSTD training portion include the following?




Pre-briefing before each session




Post-briefing with opportunity for students to ask questions after each session




FSTDs must be qualified under 14 CFR part 60




Does the flight training device (FTD) portion of the training require a device that is:

A Level 4 or higher FTD as defined under part 60




The FTD is equipped with:

1. Flight management system (FMS);

2. Electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) (primary flight display (PFD) and navigation display (ND));

3. Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS); and

4. Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS).




If the device does not meet the above requirements, did the training provider submit a detailed request in its application for course approval or course revision stating how the device it proposes to use can still meet the training objectives in AC 61‑138?




Does the FTD training include the following?

Operations limited to autoflight only (i.e., no hand flying)




Navigation training




Automation training




Does the full flight simulator (FFS) portion of the training require a device that is:

A Level C or higher FFS qualified under part 60




An FFS representing an aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of at least 40,000 pounds




If the training provider proposes to use a FFS representing an aircraft weighing less than 40,000 pounds, has it been granted a deviation from § 61.156?




Does the FFS training include the following?

Runway safety and adverse weather: 3 hours




High altitude operations, stall and upset prevention and recovery: 3 hours




A caution to the instructors that particular care should be used when conducting these maneuvers to stay within both the simulator motion and flight envelopes. Excursions outside of either must include an instructor debrief emphasizing that the flight handling characteristics in that region may not be representative of the actual aircraft.




Will the ATP CTP graduation certificate include the following?

The full name, address, and FAA certificate number of the training provider authorized to conduct the course




The full name, FAA pilot certificate number, and address of the graduate




The following statement: “The applicant named above has successfully completed the Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program as required by § 61.156, and therefore has met the prerequisite required by § 61.35(a)(2) for the Airline Transport Pilot Airplane Knowledge Test.”




The date of issuance




The signature of the authorized instructor who completed the academic portion of the course




A sequential number on the certificate starting with the first four identifiers of the training provider’s certificate number




Does the training program include an Internal Evaluation Program (IEP) with the following elements?

At minimum the proposed IEP must measure, track, and analyze:

1. Student performance on both quiz and test scores;

2. Student graduation rates; and

3. Student feedback forms.




Based on the analysis of the data captured from the measurements above, the training provider should then identify course deficiencies and then amend as appropriate:

1. Instructor performance; and/or

2. Course material.






Office/Routing Code

Name of Reviewer

Date Review Completed



























NOTE:  Headquarters approval is required by both AFS-200 and AFS-800. The inspector will be notified by the appropriate division when the operations specification (OpSpec)/training specification (TSpec)/letter of authorization (LOA) can be issued.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-4924 through 3-4943.