Real Answers from Real Pilots

ATP Financing and Other Questions

I was curious if anyone else had trouble with getting a loan accepted and what I can do to get past this issue? I graduated this past Thursday with a BS in Criminal Justice and all I’ve wanted to do is fly so I’m doing what I can to get into the program. I plan on taking an intro flight in a few weeks and getting the ball rolling but I’m very nervous about getting into the program. Is there a lot of people that have issues with flying and just aren’t great at it? I think that’s what I’m worried about the most because I’d rather not spend a ton of money to find out I’m not great at it but I’m sure I can’t worry about it until I’ve begun. Also, I spoke with someone on the phone and they said the days are around 8 hours long. What does a normal day ensue? Thanks again. Hope everyone is having success in the program.

I had trouble getting approved for the full amount last year. My father was a cosigner with great credit.
My plan this year is to find a local fbo and pay for my PPL. Out of pocket. This will help get the cost lowered and a good entry to flying. I also like the idea of experiencing a different style of training too. Getting the ppl on my own lowers the loan amount over $10k which should get me close to the preapproved amount I was given last year. Hope this helps…

it does thank you! Best of luck, man.

Just to follow up in a little more detail. I found a local fbo that rents piper 140s for $100/HR and instructors for $50 hr. If you can manage to do some self training (simulators and ground school through kings or sportys) theoretically I can have my PPL for around $5k flying the minimum requirements 20hours with instructor and 20 hours solo. This doesn’t include your medical, checkride or personal supplies. I suggest going ahead and getting your class 1 medical now to ensure you’re physically fit to fly commercially before spending any money.

As I’m a student as well, dont take my advice as gospel. Im simply on a budget and trying to find creative ways to finance this ambitious goal.

Best of luck to you as well!

thanks for the advice i appreciate it! best of luck!


The FAA quotes the average time to earn a PPL is 68hrs with only a small percent completing it at the mins. Also know even if you do ATP requires 80hrs to begin the program with credit for the PPL. Not trying to dissuade just giving you the facts.



I would be absolutely amazed if you, or any other pilot was able to complete their private pilot at the bare minimum hour requirement, it just takes more time than that for even the best pilots. Even if you did, you will still need 80 hours to enter the program as this is a FAA requirement for the commercial license.


Great information on the 80 hour rule. That makes a little more sense on the pricing atp offers on the zero to hero program.

The narrative doesn’t change in this financial situation however. If money were no issue I wouldn’t waste my time with a part 61 flight training as it will take longer to complete. If you’re capable of paying for a ppl out of pocket it will help reduce the overall loan amount. In my case it did come down to $10-15k being the difference of getting approved or not to finance my training.

I don’t see how completing the writtens early would save any money, but it certainly will make your life a lot easier while in the program as you can dedicate all of your time to studying more relevant information.

Really? Well ATP is Part 61 and I’m not aware of ANY program that will get you done faster and those that come close are Part 61 as well.


Im not arguing these facts. I may have mis-spoke. I wouldn’t waste my time with a local fbo mom and pops training center if money were no issue. I hope to enroll with ATP because it IS the fastest way to get the licenses. What I was suggesting is referring to the OP’s original question. He said he was unsure if he’d like or be good enough at flying to pursue a career.

I think in that situation it would be wise to spend a few dollars with a local fbo for a couple of lessons before commiting big $$$ on a full blown flight school.

His other concerns were the financing and loan approval. If he can pay for his ppl time out of pocket, he could likely improve his chances of securing a loan for the full amount if he is on the line. This is the case with myself.

This route of course is a slower process but could be an option if needed. Not trying to give bad information just alternatives for those on a budget. I’m questioning the cost savings after learning of the 80 hour prerequisite.


Good points and yes I often recommend getting your PPL first if someone is unsure.


Hello im Samuel From the Dominican Republic im trying to go to ATP but first i have to get the loans ,I have decided well what I want and I am ready to start and I do not want to waste more time and I would like to hear good things that help me because I really need it , i been looking for a months a cosigner so i can get the loans and start but i cant find nobody i try every way but i havent and thats make me feel like i wont make it just cause i havent find a co-signer if someone can help me and here listening and thanks

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Flying is expensive and education loans are unsecured making them difficult to come by. I have to be honest, if the people you know won’t co-sign for you, asking a stranger to go on the hook for $70,000 without knowing you or your abilities isn’t going to happen. Best thing I can recommend is you work hard, save some money, build some credit and maybe try in the future.