New pilot questions about career path and gaining flight time

Thank you, Chris! (For the welcome email) I have already explored some of this blog and had many of my questions answered. I am at a 61 flight school right now in the process of getting my pilot license. I just have a few of questions for you:

1.) Can you get financing (Loans) for part 61 flight schools?
2.) What are some of the best way to gain flight time? Would you recommend going around to different airports and asking for jobs? I know that would help me network.
3.) What are some good ways to network with other pilots to build flight time? After you get your private license and instrument ratings, of course.



Hi Matthew,

Great questions so let’s get started:

  1. Yes, BUT. It’s possible to get loans for just about anything but know not all Part 61 schools are created equal. If you’re talking about going to your local flight school where they’ll try and piece a program together for you it can be tough. When you apply for a loan they want specifics and I’ve yet to see the local flight school who will guarantee a price or time. ATP’s Career Pilot Program is a comprehensive and complete program with not only a clear path BUT a clear and finite time line and cost. ATP also has a Finance Dept that can and will help with a loan.

  2. The best (and most common) way most pilots build flight time is instructing. Availability of jobs can vary greatly depending on you location. One thing that makes ATP so popular is their guaranteed Instructor position for graduates.

  3. As I said, most pilots build time instructing. Networking is great but flying is expensive regardless of if you own or rent. It’s much more preferable to GET paid vs paying. Keep in mind if you want to be a professional, at the very least you’ll also need you Commercial license, Multi-engine rating and of course you Instructor ratings if you want to teach. 1500hrs (the required min) is ALOT of time to pay for out of pocket (even if you’re sharing the expense).



Let’s get right to your questions.

  1. Yes, you can get financing for part 61 schools. ATP is a part 61 school and has several financing options available. I recommend talking with the admissions counselors about this.

  2. The best way to build flight time is to get your CFI licenses and flight instruct. Other methods include banner towing, flying jumpers, traffic watch, etc. That being said, flight instructing is by far the most popular and fastest method to build your flight time.

  3. There is really no way to build flight time other than what I mentioned above, or paying for it. You will find that as you go through your training you will meet other pilots and build connections that way. But there is really no way to get paid to fly until you have at least a commercial license and realistically a CFI license as well.


Thanks for the answers. This seems like a great forum and I will continue to use it. I’ll let you know if any more questions arise.