Questions about flight school

Got a few questions and would appreciate any and all answers from those who know first hand;

1.I want to become a pilot but I have a car loan I am paying off, how would this work if I need to make payments on it while I am going to school?

2.What does a day look like enrolled in flight school?

3.Whats the average time from day one of flight school until making money doing it?

4.Who do I check with to see if I will clear a background check before I even apply for financing?

5.How difficult and strenuous is the program? What would you compare it to?

I would love to do this but it would be all on me to accomplish this and want to be sure of what I am getting myself into before taking the plunge. Seems like a failure is not an option type of deal.
Thank you all for your time.


First and foremost I strongly recommend you visit our FAQ section and ATPs website where you’ll detailed answers to most of your questions and much more info on the subject. That said here’s a few:

  1. You’ll either need to tap into your savings or take out additional money on your loan to cover your bills. Working during the program is not an option.

  2. There are many threads on this subject but your days will be a combination of ground school, sim and flying.

  3. ATPs Career Pilot Program takes 7mos. After that you’re able to flight instruct (or pursue other low time jobs) and get paid to fly.

  4. That’s really on you but know as an airline pilot you’ll have to pass a VERY rigorous Federal background check. If you’ve had issues they will come out and expunged doesn’t exist.

  5. Many people (myself included) find ATPs program to be the most challenging endeavor of our lives. Hardest thing I ever did until I got to the airlines at which point that became the hardest. HS and College were a joke by comparison.


I appreciate the prompt response and information. I checked out the faq’s tons of good stuff in there. I just started research on it today so if I am to embark on this I have got quite a few things to figure out yet. Anyhow much thanks.


Just to add to Adam’s response, I’ve gone through and did some digging for links/references that he may have added.

  1. I paid my entire car off before coming to ATP, I did not want a depreciative expense to rattle my bank account if something happened. I had considered my paid-off car as an emergency fund if I got sick, ill, or needed a quick source of cash flow.

  2. Life as a Student Pilot / ATP Flight School and Life as an ATP Flight School Student - YouTube

  3. After completing ATP’s 7-month ACPP, there are numerous ways that you as a pilot can earn money. Just to name a few without restrictions: Instructing, Banner Towing, Aerial Photography, Pipeline…the list goes on (look up Part 119.1e if you want to see a list). Airline Career Pilot Program Flight Training Timeline / ATP Flight School

  4. The only question that should be of concern that only you can answer is: “Do I have a clean record, no felonies or major charges?” If you have something of that sort and stayed clean for many years, there is a chance of hire, but you should contact an airline recruiting department and speak with a HR rep there.

  5. The program is accelerated; I did a quick summary on another thread posting months again stating you’re taking what you would learn from a 4-year degree in aviation acquiring licenses in 7-mo’s. There are tons of experiences and stories throughout the forum.