Getting a private pilot’s license can be an expensive proposition. Typically, the cost of a private pilot’s license in the United States runs at about $10,000. However, there are ways to save money on your private pilot’s license so that you can apply your cash to the purchase or lease of a small plane or other amenities like hangar space.
Marco Bitran, a private pilot from Boston, MA, shares his strategies for saving money on your private pilot’s license and gives hints and tips on maximizing your success in the process.
Reduce the Cost of Plane Rentals
While most people learn to fly, they have not yet bought their planes. An airplane is a huge investment that people should make sure they enjoy before putting in their money. Plane rentals can be prohibitively expensive, running as much as $150 to $500 per hour.
Working or volunteering at an airport can be a huge help in reducing your rental costs. Many small airports hire part-time help for cleaning the airport, washing planes, and other assorted tasks. The administrators may be willing to let you have reduced-cost rentals in return for your work.
Another excellent way to reduce your rental costs is to befriend the pilots you meet at your local airport and in other locations. You could also spend time on plane-related websites and groups to meet people. However, be forewarned that not every private pilot will be willing to give up some of their flying time for someone they just met. You will have to put a significant amount of time into these friendships for this tactic to pay off.
Joining a flying club can be another great way to reduce your costs. There may be an upfront cost in joining the flying club, but the perks of membership may include reduced-cost rentals.
Saving Money on Flight School
You will need a fully qualified flight school program to get your private pilot’s license. Flight school is known to be expensive, so many aspiring pilots never reach their dreams. If you are determined to become a private pilot, there are ways that you can save money on flight school as well.
Accelerated courses are less expensive than regular flight school. You will have to exhibit an extra level of dedication to your work and be willing to give up more of your leisure time than you would if you took part in a regular flight school. If you take breaks from your flight school experience, you will end up spending much more in the long run.
If you have the financial means to train for your private pilot’s license full-time, you will accomplish your goals in the shortest period. Unfortunately, most people need to keep their day jobs to afford private pilot school and other bills and responsibilities.
Don’t start right away if you don’t have the time or money to devote to flight school. Wait until you have the resources to complete your program in a reasonably short period.
Compare Prices for Instructors and Planes
Not all private pilot license programs are equally priced. You may be able to find a bargain when it comes to flight instructors if you do your research. You must also be careful that your instructor has a stellar personal reputation since you do not want to learn flying from someone with poor skills or a lack of expertise. Some private pilot instructors have lower hourly rates than others, and it pays to ask around and comparison shop.
You can also compare prices for plane rentals. Older planes may be a good value for your money. You may need lessons in newer planes to familiarize yourself with newer instrumentation, but you can get a solid grounding in the basics in an older plane.
It is possible that you could get a discount on flight school by paying for your program upfront. Flight schools may appreciate the opportunity to receive your tuition all at once rather than in monthly payments, and they may give you a significant discount. Marco Bitran notes that it can never hurt to ask about this possibility.
Private Pilot Licenses Require Hard Work
Studying the classroom portion of the private pilot license program and the in-air education can be grueling. If you don’t have the mental space or time to devote to getting a private pilot license, you will only stretch out the amount of time you have to spend on your pilot education, and it will end up costing you significantly more. Focus on dedication, hard work, and efficiency, and your experience will be more rewarding as well as less expensive.
Marco Bitran believes that flying a plane is a personally rewarding hobby, and it can also lead eventually to a full-time career. He encourages everyone who has felt they wanted to learn to fly to take an introductory lesson and see whether flight school could be right for them.