8900.1 CHG 297

Indicates new/changed information.

Volume 3  General technical administration


Section 2  Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program Approval Process for a 14 CFR Part 141 Pilot School


A.    Initial/New or Major Revision. 1368.

B.    Added Rating. 1369.

3-4945    OBJECTIVE. This section establishes how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shall grant or withdraw approval of an airline transport pilot (ATP) Certification Training Program (CTP). The approval process is applicable to qualified Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 141 certificate holders that apply for the ATP CTP. Successful completion of this task will result in the application package being forwarded to the inspector’s respective region and the General Aviation and Commercial Division (AFS-800) for coordination and initial/final approval by the principal operations inspector (POI).

3-4946    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 14 CFR parts 121 and 135 or by an air agency certificated under 14 CFR parts 141 and 142.

A.    Applicability. An applicant seeking approval to conduct the ATP CTP must hold a valid FAA Form 8000-4, Air Agency Certificate. If the applicant does not hold a valid FAA Form 8000-4, the applicant must apply for initial certification of a part 141 pilot school. Volume 2, Chapter 9, Section 1 provides guidance to inspectors on the issuance of FAA Form 8000-4.

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.

3-4947    ATP CTP CONCEPT. 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.


A.    AFS-800. AFS-800, will provide assistance to the Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) from initial application through the final approval as a collaborative effort. AFS-800 will support offices processing ATP CTP submittals from part 141 pilot schools. Additionally, AFS-800 will provide assistance in the development, implementation, and review as well as follow-on reviews of the certificate holder’s ATP CTP. AFS-800 will issue initial and final approval of the ATP CTP offered by a part 141 pilot school.

B.    Appropriate Regional Office (RO). The assigned regional specialist will ensure that the POI has forwarded an ATP CTP submittal the meets the minimum regulatory requirements (§ 61.156) and is consistent with guidelines set forth in AC 61-138 and the ATP CTP Approval Job Aid (see Figure 3-175). Once the regional coordinator is satisfied with the package, it will be forwarded to AFS-800 for initial approval.

C.    The POI. The POI 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 Approval Job Aid (see Figure 3-175). Once initial approval has been authorized for the ATP CTP to the pilot school through the POI by AFS-800, the POI will continue to collaborate with AFS-800 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-800 representative will assist the POI during an onsite evaluation/inspection of the ATP CTP. The POI will conduct all required certification, surveillance, and inspection functions associated with the ATP CTP after final approval is granted by the POI through AFS-800.


A.    Initial Approval.

1)    When a part 141 pilot school 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 Approval Job Aid (see Figure 3-175). Once the assigned inspector is satisfied that the submitted program complies with all of the requirements, the assigned inspector should forward the program to the appropriate RO for review. If the region concurs with the program, the region will then forward the submittal, along with the completed job aid, to AFS-800.
2)    AFS-800 will coordinate with the Air Transportation Division (AFS-200) to ensure that 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. AFS-800 will advise the pilot school’s POI to grant initial approval of the program through letter of authorization (LOA) A504. Initial approvals will be valid for one year (unless extended by AFS-800).
3)    LOA A504/A304 (as applicable). AFS-800 will advise the pilot school’s POI to grant initial approval of the program through LOA A504 (issued by the POI).
4)    Copies. A copy of the LOA shall be kept on file in Web-based Operations Safety System (WebOPSS) by the FAA. The pilot school will also keep a copy in either WebOPSS, electronic, or paper format. In addition, where applicable under part 141, § 141.26, a copy in either WebOPSS, electronic, or paper format shall be kept at the location of training involving a flight simulation training device (FSTD).

B.    Final Approval. Within one year of a pilot school being issued initial approval, an AFS-800 representative will assist the POI during an onsite evaluation/inspection of each approved ATP CTP. The ATP CTP and flight training equipment will be reviewed for adherence to the initially approved program, objectives of the current edition of AC 61-138, and compliance with the applicable regulations. Based on the results of the onsite evaluation/inspection, final approvals will be issued in a manner similar to the initial approval process through LOA A304.

C.    Process. Reference paragraph 3-4939.

D.    General Provisions for Withdrawal of Initial/Final Approval. The FAA may withdraw initial/final approval of the ATP CTP at any time if the FAA determines that the ATP CTP is not in regulatory compliance, does not provide safe training, or does not effectively communicate the areas for which the ATP CTP was initially approved. Before withdrawing approval, the FAA shall make reasonable efforts to ensure the pilot school corrects noncompliance with the approved ATP CTP. The certificate holding FSDO shall withdraw the initial/final approval of the program by letter. The letter shall identify the affected curriculums, state the reasons for the withdrawal, and state the effective date of the withdrawal (except in an emergency, not less than seven days after receipt of the letter). The letter shall advise the certificate holder that withdrawal may be appealed and shall provide instructions on how to appeal. An applicant who receives a letter of withdrawal may revise or refine the curriculum and resubmit it for initial approval.

E.    Appeal of a Withdrawal. To appeal withdrawal of final approval, a certificate holder should petition the AFS-800 Division Manager for reconsideration within 30 days after receiving withdrawal notification. The petition should be in writing and should explain in detail why the certificate holder believes the withdrawal should not occur.

1)    Denial of Appeal. The AFS-800 Division Manager may immediately deny the petition after considering all relevant information presented if he or she believes that an emergency exists that directly affects aviation safety. In this case, the AFS-800 Division Manager shall inform the certificate holder, by letter, of the decision to deny the appeal due to the existence of an emergency. The letter shall state that an emergency exists and shall describe the deficiencies and the actions necessary to correct them. AFS-800 will forward copies of the letter to the FSDO and RO.
2)    Stay of Withdrawal. If the AFS-800 Division Manager does not believe that an emergency exists, he or she shall carefully consider both the certificate holder’s petition for appeal and the initial reasons for withdrawal of approval. In this case, the certificate holder’s petition (provided it goes out within 30 days) stays the withdrawal, and the certificate holder may continue to use the ATP CTP curriculum pending the final decision. The AFS-800 Division Manager may find it necessary to have additional evaluations of the ATP CTP conducted.

F.    Manager’s Final Decision of Appeal. In any case, the AFS-800 Division Manager shall make a final decision within 60 days of receiving the petition. He or she may rescind or modify the letter of withdrawal or uphold the withdrawal. If the decision is to modify or uphold the withdrawal, the pilot school shall be notified by letter. The letter shall contain the reasons for denying all or part of the petition. AFS-800 will forward copies of the letter to the FSDO and RO.

G.    Revisions. Revisions to an approved ATP CTP must be resubmitted to the certificate holder’s POI.

H.    Deviations From § 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) 40,000 pounds or greater. 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) will submit its request to its assigned inspector. 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 feels 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 Training Center Program Manager (TCPM) will note the deviation on the certificate holder’s LOA A504 or A304, as appropriate.


A.    Prerequisites. Requires knowledge of the regulatory requirements of part 141 and FAA policies, and qualification as an aviation safety inspector (ASI) (Operations).

B.    Coordination. Requires coordination with the applicable regional technical branch, AFS-800, and AFS‑205.


A.    References (current editions):

·    14 CFR parts 1, 61, 91, and 141;

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

·    AC 120-40, Airplane Simulator Qualification; and

·    AC 141-1, Pilot School Certification.

B.    Forms:

·    FAA Form 8000-4, Air Agency Certificate, and

·    FAA Form 8420-8, Application for Pilot School Certificate.

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


A.    Initial Inquiry. Upon initial inquiry from an applicant, 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)/FSTD;

·    The possible use of commercially produced syllabuses; and

·    If the operator intends to use contract training.

B.    Applicant Resources. Ensure the applicant has current copies of parts 61, 91, and 141, and AC 61‑138. If there is any question, explain:

·    The general applicability and definition of terms;

·    The certification requirements;

·    The operating rules of part 141;

·    The required records and reports; and

·    The instructor qualifications.

C.    PTRS. Open PTRS file. The inspector should annotate the national use block with “ATPCTP” (without the quotation marks).

D.    Review Submitted ATP CTP. Ensure that the submitted ATP CTP meet the minimum requirements.

E.    Forward Package to Region. Once the ATP CTP is considered satisfactory, the package will be forwarded to the Region.

F.    Regional Concurrence. Once the region concurs with the program they will then forward a program submitted, along with the completed job aid, to AFS-800 via the following address: 9-AFS-HQ-ATPCTP@faa.gov.

G.    AFS-800 Concurrence. AFS-800 will advise the pilot school’s POI to issue initial approval of the program through LOA A504.

H.    PTRS. Close PTRS file.

I.    Onsite Evaluation/Inspection for Final Approval. Within one year of a pilot school being issued initial approval, an AFS-800 representative will assist the POI during an on-site evaluation/inspection of each approved ATP CTP. The length and scope of the evaluation will be determined by AFS-800.

J.    Final Approval. Based on the results of the onsite evaluation/inspection, AFS-800 will advise the pilot school’s POI to issue final approval of the program through LOA A304.

K.    Addition of ATP CTP to Training Course Outline (TCO). The POI will add the ATP CTP to the pilot school’s approved TCO as a special preparation course in accordance with Volume 2, Chapter 9, Section 1.


A.    Conduct Surveillance. According to the established post-certification program, conduct surveillance at appropriate intervals.

B.    Renewal of Certificate. Conduct a renewal certification every two years.

C.    Amendment of Certificate. Amend the air agency certificate at the operator’s request or the FAA’s determination.

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 3-4954 through 3-4973.