Real Answers from Real Pilots

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Can you fly right seat, for a company,after getting commercials license? That should be 250 hours, correct? Is that a way to get your hours for atp rating?
Sorry for not knowing, I am wanting to join atp next year and I am trying to plan things out.

No. You will need to get to 1,500 hours before you can fly for a regional airline. Most people do this by flight instructing, but some go other routed such as flying jumpers, traffic watch, etc.


While flight instructing is by far the most common route to the airlines there are others. The 1500hr Rule applies to 121 (Scheduled Airlines) service only but there are some companies out there that operate Part 91 or 135 (small commuter) that will hire you with less. It won’t be 250 but at 500 you could. Problem is there aren’t many of these operations and the slots are in demand. Flight instructing again is the most common and it also provides excellent experience for the future.


Wow! That was a fast response Chris! Thanks for the info. I’m still learning here. I live in Alaska and there is a fairly reputable company that requires 500 hours to fly right seat. Are there companies that normally hire with less than 1500 hours?

Thank you Adam. This now makes sense to me. You guys are great. I hope that one day I can give advice!


You could, but that’s not the best way to build time toward your ATP. Most
low time commercial pilot jobs are monotonous, flying the same route,
during the same time of day in the same plane. The best way to build time
is to flight instruct. The learning environment of flight instruction
forces you to really know your stuff. Plus, if you have single engine,
multi engine and instrument instructor privileges, you could potentially
meet all of the other ATP experience requirements by the time you reach