How do I pay for flight training?

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paying for flying

How do I pay for flight training?

It seems like lately there has been a plethora of articles and blog posts on the internet about the cost of flying and how our population is shrinking. I felt it was appropriate to provide some ideas on how to pay for, and defray, training costs as the antithesis to all this rhetoric.

I am of the mindset that if you love it enough you can make it happen; I don’t buy into the “I can’t afford it” argument.

Some of the ideas herein will be obvious and some not-so-obvious.

The assumption is you are seeking your private pilot license, but it could apply to other types of training as well. Depending on the kind of flying you do, training will be the most expensive piece. Going on an occasional trip or joy riding once a week after you are licensed will be less of a financial burden. 


cost of flight trainingPaying for flight training:

  • Get a part-time job (or work harder at your current job to get more hours and/or promoted)
  • Start of business – online business are great second jobs
  • Borrow money – use caution, revolving credit can eat your lunch
  • Sell something – boats and sports cars are overrated
  • Save – preferred over borrowing, but patience required
  • See if Kermit Weeks will adopt you – I’ve already tried that

working for flight time

Defraying flight training costs:

  • Shop on price – don’t sign up at the first place you come to if the quality is the same
  • Ownership – depending on your locale, it might be cheaper to buy an airplane than rent (better again if you have partners on the airplane)
  • Can you barter? – maybe the flight school needs some computer work or someone to clean urinals or pump gas
  • Go fast – spreading out lessons is a huge cost driver because you end up repeating previous lessons which costs more. 40 hours for a private turns into 60 pretty quickly
  • Study hard – if you are sharp you can minimize excess costs of being ‘spoon-fed’ by your instructor
  • Be up front with your instructor about your finances – they are trying to scratch out a living, but they’ll be less likely to pimp you for ‘extras’ if they know your situation up front.

My personal experience:

To pay for my private pilot training in high school, I worked part-time on weekends as a lineman pumping gas and washing airplanes in addition to working my other part-time job and going to school. It took a year, but I got ‘r dun! Several people in my hometown worked as a lineman for their PPL and it worked great for all involved.

I hope this helps. I’m sure :10 minutes with Google will give you twice as much good advice on the topic, but I felt compelled to write about it anyway.

by Brent

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