For many people, the idea of becoming a pilot can be very intimidating for a variety of reasons. Be it the amount of time it takes, the skill required, or for most people, the cost. One thing is for certain when it comes to becoming a pilot. Become a pilot is expensive. If you’ve been considering aviation but don’t know how much it could cost, stay tuned! For those of you who’d like to save some cash, I’ll also mention some tricks that you can help cut the cost of pilot training!
How much does it cost to become a pilot?
The cost of becoming a pilot depends on many factors. These include your location, your instructor, the type of plane you use, the type of instructor you have, what certifications you’re going for, etc. This makes calculating an exact number nearly impossible because everyone’s situation is different. We can however, make a pretty close estimate! Weather you just want to get your private pilots license, or you want to go all the way up to commercial, I’ll break down the costs in the following sections.
Private Pilot’s License Cost:
The main contributor to the cost of aviation certifications is how long it takes to get them. When you’re training you’re paying for every hour you’re up in the air. So the longer you have to be up there, the more cash you’ll have to dish out. When it comes to a private pilot’s license (PPL) it can still be quite expensive, but is the first and cheapest step on your journey as a pilot. The following is a general estimated cost of becoming a private pilot.
hours required: 35
Flight time/aircraft rental: $6,000
These prices are obviously not going to be exact and could be more or less depending on your situation. In my opinion, I would prepare for your PPL to cost you roughly $10,000. I know that is a lot of money, and unfortunately it turns many people away from aviation. But I can assure you that learning to fly will change your life. It did mine!
Commercial License Cost:
Like I said before, getting your private pilots license is not only the first, but the cheapest step in becoming a pilot. Because becoming a commercial pilot requires so many more hours and ratings, it unfortunately costs a lot more. Getting your commercial license requires a lot more than your PPL as well. Because so much is required for this license, I won’t break it down like I did for the private pilot’s license. Rather, I’ve taken the costs from several flight schools and calculated the average. The cost of a commercial pilot’s license costs, on average, around $66,000-$90,000. If you’re anything like me, numbers that big might make you a bit sick to your stomach. When I first decided to walk the career path of aviation, I stressed over these numbers for days on end. However recently my opinion on it has changed a bit. Although it does cost an insanely high amount of money to become a commercial pilot, getting your commercial pilot’s license is quite different than your PPL. It’s different in the sense that a commercial license is an investment. A commercial certification is your right of passage to make money with your skills. I believe that an aviation career will pay for itself in the long run. Not only in numbers, but you’ll have a job that you love and a job that lets you see more of the world than most people see in a lifetime. If you’ve been concerned about paying for your flight school, I urge you to think about it as an investment rather than a cost.
How you can save money:
If you’re like most people, you don’t have thousands of dollars laying around that you can toss at flight training. There are however, some things you can do to help you save a few bucks! Who doesn’t want that? The following are just a couple ways that might help you save a bit of extra money!
If you don’t know what part 141 is, it is basically a certification from the FAA given to flight schools allowing them to teach at a more accelerated pace and also giving new hour requirements for part 141 students. Most people go the rout of part 61 which is pretty much any instructor or school that doesn’t have a 141 rating. When learning to fly on part 61, 40 dual hours are required for a private pilot’s license. Under part 141 however, only 35 dual hours are required. Although it is only a 5 hour difference, those 5 hours could save you hundreds of dollars! Not only will a part 141 school save you money, but will help you get your certifications much faster! If you have access to a part 141 school such as ATP, I would highly suggest looking into it.
Something every good pilot must learn to do well is study. Any pilot will tell you that a majority of the job aside from actually flying, is just knowing your stuff and knowing it well. It’s well observed that those who study hard in their training get their certifications quicker than those who don’t. If you’d like to save yourself some money, I highly suggest putting in the extra work and studying hard! It may be grueling at first, but I promise you it will pay off.
In conclusion, It is unfortunately very expensive to become a pilot in todays world. But like I said, it is more of an investment than anything else. If flying is truly what you want to do for a living, it will pay off in the long run. Aviation is a very freeing experience and the cost of learning to fly is minuscule compared to the way it will change your life.
“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
– Leonardo DaVinci
Want to learn about some cool planes? Check out my new series, ‘Unexplained Aircraft’ here!
You can also check out my instagram here!