Advice on training route

Hello Everyone,

First thread!
I am trying to decide which route/timing to take to become a career pilot, and would appreciate some advice.

My background:
Nearly 38yo (February)
Currently teach High School
Masters degree (aware that field of study is unimportant)


  1. I am unsure if I should pursue the ATP 6 month or 9 month program. Since I teach high school, and have some Summer commitments (August), I was hoping to start the program in the fall (Sept). Would it be possible AND a good idea to try to get a Private Pilot’s license so I can start the 6 month program in the Fall? I would have a lot of time in July and August to get flight hours, plus weekends until then.

  2. I will sign up for an intro flight lesson in January. My location is TTN. How can I get in touch with current and former TTN location students? Being placed in TTN for flight instructing is a must, even if it means a longer time to build hours.

  3. What is a realistic work week like for a CFI like? Is there time to supplement income like Ubering or something like that?

  4. Besides being a CFI, are there any other venues to build hours that do include paying for it yourself?

  5. Not as important, but is there any advantage down the road to speak a foreign language? I am fluent in portuguese and spanish.

Thank you so much for any input :slight_smile:



Good questions, let’s answer some:

  1. Your call but most of us who got our PPLs independently wish we hadn’t. Success in flight training is contingent on consistency. While you may plan to fly every weekend a typical scenario is you fly one weekend, the next weekend the weather craps out, the next the instructor isn’t available, the next the plane is out and when you finally get up you have to relearn everything. Not very efficient. For most it takes more time and money than it’s worth. If you want to try then by all means. I’d just be very careful and make sure you’re progressing at a steady pace. If not you need to cut your losses. Also know that to start with ATP with credit for your PPL you’ll need your PPL AND 80hrs.

  2. I’m a former TTN Instructor. You could post and ask if there are any others on here but I could probably answer some of your questions? As far as being placed ATP does not guarantee a location, period. You can request and perhaps transfer at a later date but if it’s in fact a “must” you may have to find a job with another flight school.

  3. Let me ask you a question? You’re an ATP student, you paid ATP $80k, you’re preparing for a checkride and it’s in 2 days. You’re having some difficulties and maybe need some extra time in the sim, the plane or the classroom and the weather is not cooperating the first day so you need to cram the second but your instructor says “sorry Ygor but I have to work my second job”. Would that be acceptable to you? ATP instructors commitment is too their students first and foremost and are not permitted to work second jobs. Now obviously no one is going to follow you home and make sure you don’t but should you get “caught” you will be let go and you can explain to the Regional that interviews you why you couldn’t follow the rules. They love that.

  4. Sure you could rent a plane, there are small Part 135 operators, banner tow, traffic watch etc. Flight instructing is simply the most common and popular.

  5. You’ll be very popular on overnights being able to order food at Spanish and Brazilian restaurants but otherwise no.


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Welcome to the forums. Thank you for the introduction, now let’s get to y9our questions:

  1. I would do the nine month program. I got my private at a small, local school and I really wish that I hadn’t. My training took twice as long as it should have and cost much more than I was quoted in the beginning. Local schools are just not equipped to expeditiously turn out pilots. On top of this, you will likely learn a few things at a local school that you will need to relearn at ATP, so it just makes sense to start out with the ATP way to begin with. I would use that time in the summer to get the written exams out of the way.

  2. The best thing you can do is schedule a tour, or an intro flight. Keep in mind that whoever is teaching at TTN now will have hopefully moved onto the airlines by next fall/

  3. Being an ATP is a full time job, you really will not have time for a side gig. Your time will be best spent flying as much as possible and preparing for airline interviews.

  4. Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend them. Being a CFI is the fastest path to the airlines, any way you cut it. You as a teacher can also appreciate that somebody who is able to teach something, probably has a better understanding of it than somebody who just does it. CFIs tend to be sharp pilots, while people that do jobs like towing banners are not always as sharp. The airlines know this.

  5. Other than ordering food in a foreign country, none. English is the official language of all of aviation.


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