Best flying school in the DFW area

Greetings to all,

as a dad im trying to do some research on becoming a commercial pilot for my 17 year old son, he wants to be a pilot and also wants to finish 4 year college, can someone recommend us some schools for US citizens, that are reasonably priced and may also offer a 4 year degree in geo/weather sciences or something similar, something an old dad can pay for.

We are in the North Dallas area, near McKinney but he can drive himself if he has to as he just got his drivers license and any other advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you all


I typically recommend that students go to a regular, state school and major in just about anything they want to. From there, I recommend that students attend an accelerated flight school, like ATP.

We really can’t recommend any specific colleges, there are just so many out there and they all have their own benefits and costs.

What I can recommend is that your son come onto the forum and join the discussion himself. We find that the process runs far more smoothly when the student is involved in it.


Thank you Chris that’s exactly what I was going to do have created account
and I’ve given him the information so he can either create a new account or
just use mine and start the discussion on his own… great advice thank
you so much.


I would recommend looking into Letourneau University. They have a satellite campus there’s in McKinney. Was he has a few years till he could get his ATP anyways he could do his flying while in school. There is some other benefits to being young and getting into this industry also. You would call them and talk to them. Many benefit to going to a university and getting a aviation degree.


I would argue that there is absolutely no benefit at all to obtaining an aviation degree. To begin with, the major airlines do not care one bit what the college major is in, they just want to see a four year degree. I would say that the vast majority of pilots that I know do not have aviation degrees.

Secondly, aviation degrees are incredibly expensive, much more so than most other degrees. It make no sense to spend more on a degree that will not benefit the pilot.

Thirdly, having an aviation degree does not give the pilot a back up plan should they need one. It is great to think that we will all be pilots forever, but the reality is that people drop off along the way, whether ot be for medical reasons, or some other thing. Have an aviation degree means a pilot has very few, if any, qualifications outside the flight deck. Having something like a business degree gives the pilot something to fall back on.


There is benefit. Mainly a atp-r and only needing 1000 hrs instead of 1500 hrs. Aviation business is a great degree because you would quality for an atpr and your flight labs count towards a degree. At the right college it can also be a little more expensive that atp in the 90-100k range which is cheaper than if you went to atp then got your degree elsewhere.

Atp is a great option for many and a perfect fit for many but just like pilot jobs, one doesn’t fit all and I think there is many as good if not better options for someone 20yo and younger than atp.

The best thing they can do is pros vs cons multiple colleges and flight schools and as millions of questions and see which is a better fit. I know apt sponsors this website but still I think it should be a good outlet for someone just coming into flying to get well rounded answers to their questions.

Even if something isn’t the absolute best fit for someone, or me, if I get honest answers to my questions that will go a long way in my decision to chose a program. It speaks volumes for a program when they know there weakness and will vocalize them when asked.

Grant Lewis
(903) 701-3554


While I agree different paths may be better for some individuals I can’t completely agree with your post. First off someone could easily get their degree at community, local or online AND go to ATP for well under the $100k+ they’re going to spend at most aviation degree programs. As Chris pointed out if something should occur to derail their career as a pilot (by choice or otherwise) having a degree in some other field can be very beneficial. Finally while you’re correct a grad of an aviation program could get their R-ATP at 1000hrs., if the goal is to be expeditious that certainly isn’t that quickest route. That and the new low time pilot still must find a way to build that time vs ATPs guaranteed instructor position.


I agree on your price point but you said most. There is plenty of schools that are great programs just as ATP is where you could get your ratings and degree for under $100k. That’s what I said above. But with that said ATP is currently advertising the fee of $76k plus extras such as examiner fee, iPad, headset, etc so just say $80k for ATP. Not horrible but not great. If you already had a degree or were 25 or so and older ATP would be a good option. But even online getting your degree for under $20k would be hard assuming you have no college. Here is the problem with this situation though. He’s talking about his 17 year old son. The kids got plenty of time to get his degree and ratings at a college. He could front load the fluid to the first 2 years and instruct the next 2 year while still in school and building time. Certain schools will pay for all your instructor ratings up front if you agree to instruct with them for two year. Saving him a hearty stack of cash. So by the time he has his diploma he will be about 21-22yo have around 1000 hrs if he’s been instructing during his down time for the last few years. And with a aviation business degree, emphasis on the business part…it’s a business degree, you can do anything with a business degree. He can now apply for a ATP-R and start flying with a regional. Also at a 141 school you train to proficiency not a set amount of hour saving you money. I just don’t see where for him, the 17 yo kid, it would make sense to go to ATP. I agree that atp makes since in a lot of situations but it doesn’t in all.


We can go back and forth so let’s agree to disagree. That said let’s set a few things straight. Part 141 schools ABSOLUTELY have time and hour requirements. You mention there are schools with Aviation Business degree programs (which the FAA lists very few), you mention schools that are cheaper than ATP and you mention schools that offer instructor positions. But where’s the ACTUAL program that offers all those things? I haven’t seen it. I’ll tell you what I have seen in the 15yrs I’ve been doing this. I know ALOT of airline pilots who went to ATP, I know ALOT who went to Embry Riddle and I know ALOT who trained in the military. Not saying there aren’t other routes or solid programs out there and if someone can find one then by all means they should look into it. Thing is at the end of the day ATP’s been doing what they do for over 30yrs and has placed THOUSANDS of pilots with the airlines and I’m willing to bet that significantly more than Letourneau.

Peace out.



Part 141 schools have all sorts of time requirements, along with stage checks, that will get in the way and slow a student down. I have trained under both approaches and I can tell you with absolute certainty that part 141 can be a nightmare of red tape.

I am not sure how much experience you actually have with flight training, flight instructing or obtaining a college degree, but it isn’t that simple to just “front load” classes and then flight instruct. To begin with, college classes are hard, at least at a reputable school they should be, and it is not always possible to take extra classes. Secondly, very few people are going to want a part time flight instructor. And thirdly, trying to be both a CFI and an active college student is a recipe for either doing poorly in classes, not being able to be the best CFI possible (which will lead to a slower building of flight time), or both.


Just to clear the air no I’m not a airline pilot nor am I currently enrolled at any college or university. I should of know better not being an airline pilot and commenting on something on here as I don’t know it all and was just trying to share a prospective for someone who was asking just for that. This is one problem I have found with ATP and one reason it becomes closer and closer to coming off the top of my list the more research I do. Y’all are so close minded. Yeah atp has trained a lot of students and done so fairly safely but as far as a good reputation I would not agree with.
Adam I misspoke and apologize a 141 school does have hour requirement but they are substantially lower than a 61 school, example 120 vs 250 for commercial, and if authorities by the FAA they can lower those hours further. And saying time requirements and stage checks will get in the way and slow them down?!? Has anyone seen a DPE lately cause I’m pretty sure that’s the reason that atp extended their program by 3 months is due to shortage in DPEs. At a 141 school the check instructor at the school can perform your check ride for private and I believe also instrument so wouldn’t that save time not waiting on a dpe? I would of never continued responding to these post if y’all weren’t so closed minded and looking thorough the form maybe y’all should open your eyes a little and realize there is more than just atp that puts on a good flight program. Realizing you have weaknesses and improving upon them is what makes you a better person and program. Just some food for thought. Until next time I’ll keep saving my pennies for my enrollment at ATP.


We are not being close-minded, we are simply relaying the facts as they are. I have gone through a part 141 program and know the pitfalls of it. I have been in this industry for fifteen years and know what works and what doesn’t.

None of us are saying that ATP is the only one that has a good flight program, we are simply sharing our experiences and knowledge to help people find the way that works best for them.