Real Answers from Real Pilots

Crossroads in Career

Hey gang,

I’m new to the forums here. For a little background on myself, I’m 23, just graduated from a 4-year state university with a bachelors in Aviation Management. My last semester there I got my private license. I currently work in operations at a part 139 airport. Although I enjoy airport ops, I’d much rather be in the cockpit. I’ve pretty much made up my mind that here in about a year, i’ll go back to get the rest of my pilot certificates and pursue flying as a career. The reason for the year-long break is so I can save up a little bit of money before diving into flight training completely. I have no student debt from college, but I’ve pretty much come to terms with the fact that i’ll most likely have to take out loans for flight training.

My options are either to go back to a university program (part 141) or ATP. The biggest benefit of 141 is that I have my bachelors degree, and finishing my instrument and commercial via 141 will let me utilize the Restricted ATP minimums. however, the training alone for that could still take roughly 2 years, and that’s really only up to my commercial rating. OR I can go to the local ATP center here in town and get everything done through the ACPP within their posted timeframe and then CFI for a year or so, but have to meet the regular 1500 mins.

I apologize, its not much of a question. I just would like some input from those on the other side. thanks!


Welcome to the forums and thanks for the detailed introduction, it helps us be able to better answer your questions.

I understand the desire to have as little debt as possible, but keep in mind that this is educational debt, not consumer debt. You aren’t going out and buying sub-woofers for your car on a credit card, you are furthering your education and dramatically increasing your earnings potential, which is a good thing. What I am getting at is that while I understand your desire to save up money, if I were you I would think heavily of borrowing the full amount now and starting your training. Captains at major airlines can easily make $300k per year, every year that you wait now is a year of that kind of income that you are giving up.

As to your choice of flight school, it sounds like you have thought it through pretty well. Getting the restricted ATP minimums does not do a bit of good if it takes you longer to get them. Now I, and the other mentors are fans of ATP, we don’t hide that at all. The reason that we are fans is because it worked for us.

My suggestion would be to schedule a tour of the ATP location near you. Talk to the instructors and some of the students and see what they think. Also, explore this website as there is a lot of good information on it.

Of course feel free to ask any questions that you can think of, we are always happy to help.



I agree with everything Chris said and…

Forget the restricted ATP. Don’t use that as a loophole. Personally, I’d
rather have debt and be at a regional airline in 2.5 years than have no
debt with a commercial license after 2 years.


Thanks a lot for the insight. Along with this thread, I’ve been having a lot of discussion with family members and fellow pilots about my options, and i think that I’m gonna try and get into the program much sooner than planned.

So in regards to the loan, lets say that i request a certain amount, but not the full amount (i have savings that ill be contributing as well) and 3 months intro training i realize I’m gonna come up a little short financially. is it possible to request additional funding via my lender at any time if necessary?


I am not trying to dodge your question, but you really need to ask that to the admissions department at ATP, they are the experts on financing and will be able to answer your question.