What's the best route to take when starting my training?

Roundhouse Jones

Filing Flight Plan
Aug 9, 2016
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Roundhouse Jones
Good Morning From PA!

I am 100% new to forums of any kind, so please excuse me if I've posted in the wrong area or am otherwise breaking protocol.

At 28, I've decided to pursue my dream of flying, but I don't have money to spend up front, and I'm afraid of not being able to find a job to pay back the loan I'll have to take out once I reach at least CFI.

It seems that to finish the program at ATP with the 100 hours multi time, I'll have to request upwards of 85,000 in financial assistance to help with living expenses along the way. At least they guarantee me a job... But is their guarantee too good to be true? I was reassured as a CFI I'll be making $30-42k, and that CFI's at ATP have no problem getting 100 hours in monthly. They also say that throughout schooling and working as a CFI, I'll have weekends off. Their pay scales online and all of the information checks out, and while I understand that the guarantee only applies to people who meet all of the requirements and are proficient, it seems legit so long as I work hard and study diligently, despite what so many posts online say to the contrary. I've also been told it's not crazy to be making over 100k in as little as five years. I'm not afraid of being overworked or going through a grind if it means coming out the other side in a better position.

I've also looked at American Flyers, and Infinity Flight Group. Being based out of the Philly area, Trenton, NJ is a doable commute. I like the look of Infinity, being a smaller operation. If my math is correct, Infinity will get me the same ratings for half the price. It seems the trade-off is that ATP is expensive, but has connections, guaranteed jobs and interviews, and only 6 months of training. I have no clue how long it will take with Infinity, or if I can get financial assistance to help with living expenses while I cram in my training.

I'm not sure what route I want to take, whether it be working for the airlines, being a bush pilot, flying for the coast guard, etc. But I do know I'm eager to get my career started and not have my training take years to complete. I figure that I'll have a good idea of what I want to do somewhere in the process early on, since it seems all paths start with the same training, with adding tailwheel on later. So long as I'm flying, I'll be happy.

I apologize for the long post, but I want to make an informed decision before I commit a lot of money and time. Does anyone have any advice for the best route to take in terms of training time in proportion to cost and quality of schooling? Is it crazy to borrow money and stake everything on my ability to find a job once my training is complete? Thank you all so much!
Search on here, many posts like yours. One just started today and the replies are applicable.

"Looking to become a pilot"
Go to your local FBO flight school and meet with a CFI and begin training for your PPL. Best route to go if you're not enrolled in collegiate aviation. As far as making 100k plus in 5 years, from experience I can tell you that is not the case. I'm not aware of any flying careers that will even come close to making that in 5 short years. If you have the ratings and experience the regionals will look at you no matter if you come from ATP or a hole in the wall flight school. GL!
Get your ratings a cheap as possible, don't take out loans. Regionals are only looking for 25 hours of multi. It's not worth it to go these schools that offer hundreds of hours of multi time anymore. Don't give anyone money up front. Make sure you can hold a first class medical. Good luck!.
100 hrs multi time at ATP is the biggest scam in flight training. Just sayin'
1. Get a first class medical (if it's not squeaky clean, beware of future issues and don't squander your money)
2. Get a glider PPL rating -- upgrading to power PPL will be cheap/easy and you'll have a good foundation for life
3. Upgrade to power PPL, get your IR, ideally your tailwheel too
4. If the above goes well, get your CPL
5. Consider getting your CFI where you got your CPL/IR/tailwheel; if you are good they might hire you afterwards, ideally get your CFII
6. Build up the hours as CFI/II etc. (consider also DZ and tows)

Work hard and you'll make it if you have what it takes.
Thank you so much everyone for all of your advice, it's exactly what I needed to hear : )
Be wary of any high dollar flight school that promises to get you from no flight time to a set number of hours in a set time, like 6 months. That is just how their syllabus is set up. In real life expect to take longer.

As stated above, get the medical first.

What do you want to do in aviation?