Wow - having to dig way back for this. Learned to fly at Brackett Field in Pomona CA - got my PPL in 1962 - went on from there to get my CPL, Multi & IFR ratings. I have never owned and a/c and have never earned wages as a pilot but in 26 years of flying, I somehow managed to get a little over 10K hours in just about anything that flew.
Had a heart attack and lung cancer in 1988 which ended my RL flying. I was what might have been called an airport rat - I pretty much lived there and would mooch free rides on anything that could fly. Mainly learned in a Piper Colt and TriPacer. Then did RG work in Cherokee and Bonanza. Started multi in Piper Apache and my favorite a/c the Cessna 310. Been fortunate enough to have stick time in a lot of different a/c - PT-19, PT-22, P-51, P-38, AT-6, T-28 & Beech D18 to name a few.
Every dollar I earned went into flying. I got very lucky because , due to my hanging around the airport all the time, the owner of the FBO I flew out of asked me to fly him down to see his daughter in San Diego quite a bit. He liked to enjoy a few drinks with dinner so I was the "designated driver"! I would fly him down, in one of HIS aircraft, drop him off and just fly around for hours shooting T&G's until he called. The funny thing is, HE thought *I* was doing him a favor - LOL! I would have paid him for that chance.
After that, I would be the guy to go and pick up a/c that students left somewhere when the got stuck in weather. Basically that's how I managed to pile up a ton of hours. That and outright begging!