Helicopter Airline Transport Pilot (ATP)

Obtaining the Helicopter Airline Transport (ATP) rating is quite an accomplishment. It takes many years of experience, training, and hard work. Below are requirements for obtaining a helicopter ATP.

Because of the varying experience of pilots looking to obtain an ATP, we customize the ATP training to each individual. Please contact us to discuss your specific training needs.

Eligibility Requirements for a Helicopter ATP rating

Below is a summary of the eligibility requirements from 14 CFR 61.153 for obtaining an helicopter ATP rating.

  • Must be at least 23 years old
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language
  • Be of good moral character (hopefully this is not a factor for you)
  • Holes a commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating (NOTE: there are some other options for military and foreign pilots)
  • Meet the aeronautical experience requirements below
  • Pass a knowledge test
  • Pass a practical test (i.e. checkride)

Aeronautical Experience for the Helicopter ATP rating

Below is a summary of key aeronautical experience requirements from 14 CFR 61.161  to be edible for the helicopter ATP.

  • At least 1,200 hours of total time as a pilot
  • At least 200 hours of flight time in helicopters
  • At least 500 hours of cross-country flight time
  • At least 100 hours of night flight time, of which 15 hours are in helicopters
  • At least 75 hours at pilot in command in helicopters
  • At least 75 hours of instrument flight time, with at least 25 in a helicopter

Helicopter Airline Transport Pilot Privileges

As noted in 14 CFR 61.167, a person who holds an airline transport pilot certificate is entitled to the same privileges as a person who holds a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating.

There are some additional “instruction” authorizations allowed but are not addressed here. If you think these apply to you, please review 14 CFR 61.167 for details.

Helicopter ATP Add On Requirements

If a pilot already holds an ATP within a another category or class, the following are the requirements to add on the helicopter ATP to the pilot’s certificate. These requirements are listed in 14 CFR 61.165.

  • Meet the eligibility requirements of 14 CFR 61.153
  • Pass a knowledge test on the aeronautical knowledge areas of 14 CFR 61.155(c)
  • If concurrently obtaining a type rating, comply with the requirements in 14 CFR 61.157(b) (with some exceptions)
  • Meet the applicable aeronautical experience requirements of 14 CFR 61.161
  • Pass a practical test (i.e. checkride)

Helicopter ATP Questions

Most pilots lack the 100 hours of night to be eligible for the ATP. That is, they reach the 1200 hours but do not have a 100 hours of night flying by that time. 

Yes, like other ratings, total flight time, includes all aircraft category and and aircraft class.  There is a specific requirement for at least 200 hours in a helicopter to be eligible for the helicopter ATP. 

No. Unlike the the fixed wing, multi-engine ATP, helicopter pilots do not need to take a CTP course as specified in 14 CFR 61.156, prior to taking the ATP knowledge test.

No. If you don’t meet the requirements listed in 14 CFR 61.153, the restricted ATP requirements outlined in 14 CFR 61.160 to not apply to the helicopter ATP.  The restricted ATP option relates only to the Airplane category and do not apply to the helicopter ATP.