Real Answers from Real Pilots

Clarification on loan terms

As I’m researching the loan that I’ll have to take out I keep coming across the term “until your class date at an airline” or until “1500 hours”, can someone clarify this for me? I’ve asked multiple people but I’m still not sure I understand. Does the loan cover both your time spent in training and your time as a CFI? Basically, until an Airline hires you? And is interest accruing during that time?
After looking at the pay scale for CFIs I am anxious about being able to afford my cost of living & what may be a very sizable monthly payment.
Any advice or information is welcome, and if you feel comfortable dropping numbers (i.e., your own monthly payments) that would be greatly appreciated!!


Technically your loan payments start 6mos after you finish training. Then can be deferred until you’re hired by a Regional, but yes you will accrue additional interest. While this may not be the best move fiscally, it does make repayment while you’re instructing much more palatable.

On a positive note, pilots who instruct for ATP have the opportunity to interview early (at approx 500hrs) with the Regional of your choice. If offered conditional employment you could then be eligible for tuition reimbursement which would help considerably.

Ultimately in most cases this will require some sacrifice and good economic planning but it is doable.


Kirk in the finance department would be the best person to ask for specific details. Check out this link below though… it has a great timeline on when you can expect to start paying on the loan.

Basically, 6 month grace period after program completion. Then you can elect for 12 months interest only payments. If you instruct with ATP, you’ll have the opportunity to opt in to tuition reimbursement programs with nearly a dozen regional airlines. All of them are slightly different but will cover a significant chunk, if not all, of your minimum monthly payment on the loan.