Real Answers from Real Pilots

Building night flying time

(Erik Koppisch) #1

I know 100 hours night time is one of the minimums to obtain an ATP certificate, but is it very important to exceed this minimum or are airlines nowadays (especially with the shortage) just looking to fill in as many pilot positions as they can? Since the private and commercial ratings require so little night flying time, I can see how hard it can be to build enough night flying time to meet or exceed the minimum, especially if someone is on a tight budget. Are ATP instructors allowed to build time on their own at night? Obviously, the more students an instructor has, the better. Some flight schools are so small (like the one I trained at for my private and instrument) that flight instructing is just a part-time job. The flight school I trained at doesn’t offer airplane rental discounts to employees. I assume most Part 61 flight schools are the same. I start training at ATP in January, so I could go up with an instructor at my local airport between now and then to build some night time, but I want to save as much money as possible. I’m aiming to be a flight instructor at ATP, so should I build as much night time as I can while I’m at home or would it be good to just wait until I become an instructor?



As you point out you will build some night hours working on your Private and Commercial (and Instrument btw) during your training at ATP. Well, who do you think will be training you? Your ATP Instructor of course which is how you will build the required time to earn your ATP. ATP is NOT a small local flight school. The estimate is you’ll get you 1500hrs in under 2 years and yes a nice amount of that time will be night.

As for exceeding the mins the Regionals need you to be able to obtain your ATP license. So long as you meet the mins they’re happy. Nothing to worry about.




To further add to this, ATP does not rent out their airplanes to instructors (or anybody else). Like Adam said, don’t worry about the night flight time, you will have plenty.




ATP, for safety reasons, restricts single engine night flying to the 3hrs that are required for the Private certificate. The rest must be obtained in the PA44. But as an instructor you will be able to set your schedule to fly your ME flights at night and build night time.

BTW, you only need 75hrs of night time if you have 45 night landings logged:


(b) A person who has performed at least 20 night takeoffs and landings to a full stop may substitute each additional night takeoff and landing to a full stop for 1 hour of night flight time to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (a)(2) of this section; however, not more than 25 hours of night flight time may be credited in this manner.

Anyways, don’t spend any extra money on flight time right now, it would be a waste. You will get it as an instructor.