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Pilot Training Guide
Commercial Pilot Fast Facts
- Median Salary - $92,060 per year
- Minimum Education - Associate or Bachelor Degree
- Job Outlook - 11% growth through 2020
Pilot Training Cost - How Much?
- Sport Pilot License - $3,000 to $5,000
- Private Pilot License - $6,500 to $12,000
- Private + Commercial License - $10,000 to $16,000
- Private + Instrument + Commercial - $18,000 to $24,000
- Private + Instrument + Commercial + ATP - $30,000+
The prices listed above are estimates for training in single-engine aircraft and assume you can complete school in a reasonable amount of time. If you stop and start your training, expect to pay much more. You may be able to earn your licenses and ratings for less by using independent certificated flight instructors (CFIs). And conversely, you may pay a little more at the larger flight academies. Costs will vary greatly depending on where you go to school, from state to state, and from country to country. The best thing to do is contact schools to get more info about costs.
Additional Cost Resources:
Types of Schools
Independent Certificated Flight InstructorIndependent flight instructors are usually found at your local airport. They normally provide both ground and flight instruction on an hourly basis. Most independent CFIs do not own airplanes, opting instead to fly planes their students rent from a local fixed base operator (FBO) found at nearly all airports.
- Recommended for people who want to learn to fly as a hobby or for personal business use.
- Advantages to using independent flight instructors include flexible scheduling, potentially lower costs, one-on-one training, and local knowledge.
- Disadvantages could include limited access to aircraft and training facilities, potential downtime for aircraft maintenance issues, and possibly having to find new instructors to teach advanced ratings and licenses.
Local Flight SchoolLocal flight schools typically offer at least Sport or Private Pilot programs, and some can train all the way to ATP. Local schools may have a few aircraft available for training and rental, and most have facilities for ground training such as classrooms, flight planning rooms, and even small flight simulators.
- Recommended for people who want to fly for fun, or as a profession.
- Advantages to using a local flight school could include access to a variety of aircraft, training close to home, lower costs than some flight academies, and access to training facilities.
- Disadvantages could include limited training for advanced ratings and possible downtime of small fleets due to maintenance issues.
Large Flight Academy or UniversityFlight academies and college / university flight training programs have a lot going for them. If your goal is to fly professionally, this type of training may be the best option. But if you're only in the market to learn to fly as a hobby, some academies may not be able to accommodate your needs. It's best to contact each school to find out.
- Recommended for people who want to fly for a career.
- Advantages to attending a flight academy / university program include state of the art aircraft fleets with glass cockpits, flight crew training environment, industry-standard flight simulator training, potential employment as a CFI after graduation, access to job interviews with affiliated companies, and minimal downtime due to maintenance issues.
- Disadvantages could include higher overall costs, the possible need to relocate to attend an academy, less flexibility on time and scheduling, training not as personalized.
No matter what type of flying you intend to do, it's important to talk to as many schools as possible to find out which one fits your learning style, personality, and ultimate aviation goals best.