Real Answers from Real Pilots

Advice needed on PPL

This is my first time writing on here, and I have been reading these often trying not to reach out myself, but today I reached a point where I feel like I am losing my mind. For background, both of my parents are pilots so I have opinions being fed to me all the time (and yes, when people hear that they assume I’m being forced into the industry but I can assure you that flying really is what I want to do for the rest of my life). I started working on my ppl about a year ago at a local school as a senior in high school, but I didn’t fly for 3 months because of weather, had two lessons in February, and then COVID hit and I didn’t fly for seven months. In total, I have 31 hours, but if you take the time I have from pretty much-restarting training, I have 16. For about a month I have been doing the same thing- getting ready for a pre-solo progress check. I am very hard on myself and I feel like every flight lesson I am not improving much and it’s very frustrating to me. I only fly twice a week and even then, fall weather has caused many cancellations. I feel as though local schools are pretty unorganized and scheduling is always up in the air, and as someone who thrives in structure this has been very difficult for me. I know this problem may seem silly but it’s been taking a huge toll on me. Im in my first semester of college as well, taking all online classes. My mom has been going back and forth encouraging me to do ATP but then my dad says he wants to get checked out and teach me my instrument himself. I have been begging to go to ATP but their opinions on what route I should take keep on changing. Like I said, as someone who needs structure, I would much much rather take a break from school, do ATP for 6 months with PPL credit and then continue online school at my own pace while building time. I would like opinions that are not my parents’ (I love them and I know they are experienced but I don’t think they understand where I’m coming from. They say that it wasn’t too hard for them to breeze by with their ppl and I guess I’m also comparing my logbooks to theirs and it’s making me go crazy)


Our go-to advice for someone in school is to finish school before flight training. We say that because that path has been proven to be the most successful. It allows you to focus on one thing at a time while also helping you develop strong study habits. Also, the majors want to see that you have a four-year degree anyway. Since you’re already in school, it is advisable to stay in school. Postponing your education to begin flight training makes it harder to resume your college education when you reach the regionals.

As for your Dad’s proposal to teach you, while endearing of him to offer, I wouldn’t do this for several reasons. Mind you, not even I would teach my kids (if I had any). I would fly with them, sure. I would want to supplement their flight training, sure, but I would not want to be their primary instructor. Why? Bias, Instructor recency (I would rather be taught by an Instructor that is actively teaching), Instructor diversity (flight schools commonly use multiple instructors to teach and check students and flying with different people makes you better), conflict (if you have a bad day you don’t have to take that tension home with you).

Flight schools are just better, but no two school’s are considered equal (as you know). I would either take a break from flight training and finish college or do research on a better school with a better track record to finish your PPL. Whichever you do, if ATP is still a consideration, don’t begin instrument training until you have confirmed with them that they will give you credit for it. Before COVID, ATP did not give credit for an instrument rating. Now, I believe they are making exceptions, but who knows how long that will last.


P.S. If comparing logbooks makes you crazy, ask them how much their flight training cost them…:flushed:

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Thank you for your advice, I 100% DONT want my dad to teach me my instrument, something I have made very vocal to my parents. My issue with school is that I regret applying to colleges literally a couple of months before I started flight training and realized that was what I wanted to do, which makes me feel a bit stuck. I am looking to transfer to schools with flight programs, but I don’t necessarily know if that’s the route I want to take either. My parents are encouraging me to get a degree separate from aviation so that I have a fallback, but I also don’t want to stop flying for the next 3 years after getting my ppl. I’ll do it if I have to, just not something I’m necessarily looking forward to. Maybe I just have too many demands :rofl:

Adam, Chris and I all agree with your parents on getting a degree in something other than aviation.

Look, I know you want to fly and it’s hard to stop when you’ve found something you love. If you think that an aviation college is the best option for you, that’s up to you. What we want for everyone that comes on here is to know what they’re getting into if they take that route. Do your research. Think about how you will build time towards the minimum airline experience requirements. Ask yourself if the schools you are considering are equipped to help you reach that level. Know that an aviation degree is limiting. It checks off the degree box, but you’ll have to get a little creative if flying doesn’t work out for some reason.

That said, you’re young. You’re already ahead. I didn’t start flying until 25. The average age is 30-something. If you postpone your flight training until AFTER college, you’ll still be ahead. But again, this is a very personal decision. If you just can’t find the motivation to finish college now, you of course can finish college online later. If so, we recommend waiting until you’ve made it to a regional when you’ll have more time.

You mentioned interest in ATP. This is ATP’s forum. We’re all graduates of the program. We all endorse it. ATP would love to have you if you choose. I get the feeling that you’d have to run this by your parents which is why you’re on here. It’s hard to beat their track record, cost and time frame. If you have a strong work ethic and realistic expectations, ATP would be able to deliver exactly what they promise.

I’m sure Chris and Adam will join this discussion soon. Remember the choice is yours. There’s a lot of good info on here in other threads and the FAQ section.



Tory covered things pretty well. While we do generally encourage people do finish their educations first, that may not be the best route for all. Particularly if your head is elsewhere. There’s really nothing wrong with doing your training and then earning your degree online after. My only caveat is you need to be very honest with yourself as to your level of commitment. It requires a fair amount of discipline to return to school once you’re out working and flying. If you’re up to the task then there’s no reason why not.



Welcome to the forums. My father was an airline pilot, as were both of my grandfathers and most of my uncles, so I get where you are coming from. I personally did not want my father to teach me either, but neither did he. Unless your father is currently up on the General Aviation world and instructing, he might find that much has changed since his days as a flight instructor, but that is for him to determine his own abilities.

Stop looking at your father’s logbooks, that is irrelevant. My grandfather soloed with seven (yes 7) hours. That is an absolutely frightening thought to me. Times have changed since your parents went through training and most people take longer to solo now.

I also went to a local school for my PPL, it was a disaster. The school was very unorganized and I constantly dealt with delays. I had a cousin who had gone to ATP, so I called him and got his opinion on ATP.

I am a big fan of finishing college first. I understand your desire to fly, but if it is truly your passion, then it will still be there in a few years.