Real Answers from Real Pilots

I'm a little lost and unsure

Hello, I was wondering if maybe someone could give me some advice or insight on how I should proceed or let me know if I’m going the right direction. So I know I want to pursue the path of becoming a commercial airline pilot. I took an introductory flight (with a local flight school) and love it. I have checked out the several different flight school programs - Lift Academy, FLT Academy, AeroGuard, and ofc ATP. Ultimately, I chose ATP. Now that I know which school I’m going to, time to do the financing part. Now this is the hard part (My family is a lower-middle class I would say). I cannot get a loan without a cosigner and I do have people willing to cosign but it still gets denied. I have tried several other loan options with no good result. So now, I think I’m going to go back to school and finished getting my associates. While on the side, work on getting my PPL so the tuition for ATP will be lower when I reapply again once I’m done with school and have my PPL. Is this really the best route for me to take or is there any others that you recommend? (In case you wanted to know my age: I am 20 years old and have no excuse as I didn’t continue college after 2 semesters and just work full-time after highschool)


Sadly the finances are often the biggest hurdle many aspiring pilots face. Loans or not, I do think going back to school is a very good idea. You’re young, have time and you’re going to want that degree to further your career (and also have a backup plan).

As for going to a local flight school for your PPL, that if course is your decision. My concern is that flight training while in school often results in people spending far more time and money than they anticipated. That won’t help you in the least. It would be just as easy to save that money, then simply apply for a lower amount because you’ve got the cash.

Just some food for thought.



Have you tried calling Kirk in Finance yet? If not, call Admin during normal business hours and ask to speak with him. He may be able to help. No promises, but it’s worth having a conversation with him before you move in to plan B.

As for your idea about going back to school and obtaining your PPL before trying again, that is an option for sure. Getting an education is always a good idea. I would just caution you to really do your research on which flight school you choose (if you decide to go that route). As long as you go in with realistic expectations and hold yourself accountable you’ll be fine.

We talk a lot about our distaste for other flight schools on the forum. One main reason is it often takes longer and cost more than expected.

I also support Adam’s suggestion to just save, but then again only you can decide what works best for you.

Let us know what Kirk says.


Although it sucks that I can’t get the funding for the school, I’m glad though that I finally have clear idea on what I want to do in life. I think I’ll do that then go to school and save my money then reapply. Thank you for the advice!

I have called and talked to him several times. He’s been very helpful and patient with me. I’ve tried the several options he recommend me. Such as the loan option Meritize which sadly isn’t available in my state. Getting a credit-worthy cosigner is the hard part for me. As he recommended as a last resort, I tried splitting into 2 separate loans with different co-signers. One got approved but the rate was at its max 12.5% which my co-signer immediately declined. And the other got denied. I am going to ask my last immediate family member and see how it goes. I’ll contact him again before I move on to plan B as you said.

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I think your plan is a solid one. Get the two years of school done, work on your finances and maybe get your PPL. Just keep in mind that at some pint you will most likely need to finish yup four year degree.