Real Answers from Real Pilots

Beginning for PPL and financial and school degree


ATP requires one of the following: a PPL, 2yr degree or equivalent work experience. One of those and your First Class Medical and an Intro Flight.

  1. If you look up and to the left you’ll see ATPs logo. That’s because this is ATPs forum and all the mentors on here are former ATP students and instructors who are now airline pilots. That doesn’t mean we recommend ATP because we want you to sign up, it’s because after we all did our research we concluded there was no better route to accomplish our goals. If you really want to make this you career than the best method is to train full-time like the military and the airlines do.

  2. We’re pilots not credit officers at the bank. You’d have to call ATP and speak to the financing people.

  3. Not sure where you got those stats but yes the majority of pilots who train casually or recreationally don’t ever become commercial pilots. That’s definitely not ATPs stats and the people who drop out elsewhere get frustrated, run out of money or simply aren’t good at flying. It’s not the homework and lessons.

  4. Depends on the phase of training but the average was probably 2hrs a day.

In answer to your last question the airlines what a 4yr degree but it need not be in aviation.


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Thank you very much Adam. To make a career out of flying commercially would training be recommended through military or atp?
I have tradeschool experience that’s over two years would that help getting into ATP?
Also the 4 year degree would it come after I’d graduate from flight school or something that’s preferred prior to entering flight school?
Older Arcticle read more than one of these that are similar, sorry for misunderstanding wasn’t talking about ATP students in particular


None of us would recommend military flight training unless your main motivation is to serve your country.

Your tradeschool experience is sufficient.

Depends. Usually we recommend getting a degree first, but the older you get, the less time you’ll have in the industry. In those cases we recommend tackling the degree while at a regional.

If you haven’t already, read through the FAQ section for more detailed explanations.


Thank you very much Tory for the clarification. Did it take a while to complete ATP schooling?



I can guarantee you that no school will be able to provide all of your training for $11.5k, that is just downright impossible. You need to dig deeper on that one.

You will most likely need a co-signer.

I in no way believe the numbers that you are quoting from those articles. Over 80% of ATP’s graduates successfully complete the entire program.

You will spend the vast majority of your day either flying or studying for flying. It is a highly condensed program and there is not time for much more than that.

I took out a loan for the full amount and was able to pay it back while I was a CFI. Things were of course tight, but manageable.



The entire ATP program from zero time to CFII is 9mos. Figure another 1.5 yrs to build the required 1500hrs and you could be at a Regional in just over 2 yrs.

You’d have to call ATP admin and inquire is you work experience is sufficient.


Misunderstood. I meant 11.5k just to get a PPL. Thank you for all the infor Chris, helps a lot. Will talk to ATP admins about financing if needed. Thank you for all the info.

Hey folks I will be traveling from Hawaii to the Seattle Everett location on 3/6/19 to do my flight intro. Super excited I’ve been having a hard time falling asleep because of all the excitement. When I was inquiring for atp flight school my biggest concern
was height and weight. At the time I was 6ft 3in 265 pounds, trying to lose that 15+ pounds was a nightmare! Took me about 3 weeks but I’m now finally weight qualified!! Lol.
My only question, is there anything you folks would recommend bringing or doing before flight intro?

P.S. @Adam having a hard time finding an AME in Hawaii, where do you go to do physicals? Could you please recommend me any that you know of. (Oahu resident)

Aloha Joseph


As always my biggest advice is to relax and just take in the experience. I find people put wayyyyy too much pressure on themselves and think that ATP expects them to be pilots. You’re not a pilot (yet) and no one expects you to be. Relax and enjoy.

As for the AME not sure why you’re having issues, there’s quite a few. Try this:



Just relax and enjoy the flight. Do not expect to be the ace of the base and handle the airplane perfectly. It is called an introductory flight for a reason. Ask whatever questions you have and enjoy the experience.

Make sure to complete the short module that is required prior to the flight that can be fond here:

You shouldn’t need to bring anything to the flight.


Thanks Chris… I believe I finished those training module when they sent me an email when I was inquiring for atp flight school. Is it the same one? looks like it… it was like three or four 30minute videos and about 10+ questions?? Is there somewhere I can
check to see if I did this?

Thanks for your response @Adam


Yes, you completed the correct one.


Chris, Adam
How many days a week was the schooling/flying?


ATP usually trains 5 days a week but depending on the phase, weather, checkride prep it could be 7.


A minimum of five days per week, but those that want to be successful often come in on the weekends. Either way, you will be studying every day.


I’m also from Hawaii. Just curious, are you planning on using ATP housing? Which ATP location have you decided to do your training?

Hey Brandon & Joseph,

I’m also from Hawaii so just thought I’d answer too lol

I’m currently at the Wilmington location and really enjoy it… I should be completed with the program by the summer. I like the East coast because I did get to learn hands on about icing & different weather phenomena that may not occur say in California or essentially warmer places, but it is very far from Hawaii.

Reality is I don’t think you’ll have the time to visit home anyway during the duration of the training, so definitely find a location that you’d be okay with not leaving for a while.

I do know there’s a couple of Hawaii guys at the Seattle location and they said they love it as well, the only thing they battled was the bad weather… but honestly that is in most places. You will come to have a very close relationship with during your private phase lol

I think when you choose a location just take into account do you want a bigger location with 30 students or a smaller location with say 15…

Do you want a city where there are things to do on the weekend? Or do you want a location free of distraction.

I do think all locations do hold the same high standard of training but they are all unique in their own way…

Also lastly,
I would say also pick a location you feel like maybe you wouldn’t mind staying at after you graduate to teach… unless you’re planning on going back home to Hawaii , but you’re gonna be spending so much time at and around the airport it’s great to get your name out there and meet different people and pilots, and who knows maybe you may come across a job opportunity at that location.