Questions about license process

Hello, I have zero flight experience, but am at a point in my life where I can stop work, and work solely on getting my commercial pilots license. I have a few questions, and any info you have, or resources you could point me to would be greatly appreciated

I plan to train through a flight school. I can’t find an ATP school near me (Northwest Arkansas, but I can drive to Tulsa for training). Are ATP flight schools better, or faster, than a less known operation like Riverside Flight Center in Tulsa?

It looks like 7 months is about the average time frame to get to 250 hours. Realistically, how many hours per day can you train, and how many days per week? I saw on a previous forum, a pilot flew five days a week, for a little less than two hours each time. I’m wondering if I can fly more often, and for longer, to speed up the process

Finally, once you get your license, what jobs do you recommend to get you to 1500 hours? Ideally I am looking to be a commercial pilot as quickly as possible, so I’m not sure if the CFI route is the best, or if there are any other recommendations

Again, any and all info or resources are greatly appreciated. Thank you!


As for resources, this forum (and the ATP website) are both 2 of the best. All your questions (and many you haven’t thought of) have been answered and discussed in detail somewhere in this forum. With that I suggest you spend some QT browsing. That said here are some quick and dirty answers for you:

  1. I’m not familiar with Riverside Flight Center but there are thousands of schools across the country. Some good, some bad. What I can tell you is that ATP has been training pilots for the airlines for almost 40yrs and have had over 1,100 hired by the airlines in the last 12mos alone. They pioneered airline/flight school relationships and ATP grads were getting hired long before the pilot shortage.

  2. 7mos is not the average. That’s ATPs real timeline. It’s highly accelerated and most schools take considerably longer. A common misconception people with no flight experience have is this desire to “fly more”. I’ve got a newsflash for you. Flying planes is not easy nor is it something that everyone can (or should) do. 2hrs of flight training is like driving your car for 2hrs straight in a snow storm. When you’re done you’ll be physically and mentally fatigued and further training would be counter productive. I know you’re in a hurry but this is not a race nor are you just checking boxes. The idea is to become a well trained skilled pilot.

  3. While there may be other jobs available in your area for low time pilots, there is no better way to hone your skills than flight instructing.

Most important is you state at the beginning of your post you have zero flight experience. While many people believe they want to fly, until you’ve day upfront at the controls of a small training airplane you really don’t know. My #1 recommendation is you take an intro flight or lesson.



Welcome to the forum, Adam hit your questions spot on, I’m going to add my four cents (I give inflation this one).

Your first step I believe in this process is doing an Introductory Flight at a nearby flight school and ATP because if your goal is to be an airline pilot, what’s better way than checking a few flight schools out. All the mentors on the forum are graduates and current airline pilots at the Majors and Regionals. I don’t mean to brag, but ATP I don’t think I would be where I am to today if it wasn’t for choosing ATP as my career airline-oriented training flight school. There are others out there (no names mention) that create mock-ups of ATP’s program because how successful ATP is as a company. When you attend ATP, it is a full-time commitment, you will sacrifice some things to make it work, but that is the reward of the program.

Have you considered possibly an ATP location with housing, once you take an Admissions Flight (aka Introductory) and accepted, it may take months before you actually begin training and that is just because class dates FILL UP.

The most common way to build flight time is instructing. When completing ATP’s program in good standing, you could be offered a position at a location. However, some people find that instructing is not for them and go other routes of time building such as aerial photography, survey flying, pipeline patrol and more.

I recommend spending some decent time throughout the forum, Student Experiences, Mentor Biographies, and ATP’s website. Only you will be able to make the decision that is best for you, but we are more than welcome to answer any questions you may have.