Real Answers from Real Pilots

Is it possible to fly an a320 with only 1500hrs of flight time?

Is there an airline that lets their pilots fly A320s right after their completion of flight training?


Not here in the US. I’m Europe there are ab initio programs with MPL licenses that allow that. Here in the good ole USA you’re not getting near a Bus until you build some time and experience flying for a Regional.


Edit: I read original question to be coming out of flight instructing. Given the 1500 hr rule, pretty much impossible if directly out of flight TRAINING.

Possible? Yes. Likely? Not at all. I have a handful of friends who came out of instructing with their 1500 and went straight to majors. One went to Frontier and flew an Airbus and the other went to United on the 757/767.

They are definitely the exception to the rule. 99.9% of people will have to build time in some way before flying a larger jet. And given the current environment of the industry, the odds are even slimmer (outside of an ab initio program - i.e. Destination 225).

I assume they had some people in their corner with some major stroke within their respective companies?

Nope - they both took advantage of opportunities that made them more appealing based on the companies they instructed for.

1 Like

Impressive. Good for them

1 Like

Yes! Back when I worked at Miami Seaplane Base as a ramp agent a lot of the seaplane pilots that hit 1500 hours got their ATP and went straight to spirit airlines. I’m pretty sure there’s a few details I’m missing but they went straight from Cessna Caravan Ex at 250hrs straight to an A320 at 1500+ hours.

Frontier Airlines has a pathway program with Purdue University that allows for someone to transition to Frontier at 1500 hours. We had a handful come through before the pandemic shut hiring down. Outside of that program, I won’t say it’s impossible but highly unlikely you’ll get looked at without 500 hours PIC turbine at Frontier. Can’t speak for other airlines.