Fastest Way To Get Private Pilot License – The cost of obtaining your pilot’s license ultimately depends on the type of pilot’s license you wish to obtain. The level of license you need is determined by the type of flying you are looking to do. For example, a sport pilot license may be best suited if you are looking to fly for fun, while a commercial pilot license is the first big step in a career in aviation.
Different licenses require different levels of expertise and guidance. lead flight and have different test requirements. This can be complicated to understand, so let’s make it simple with our friend “Jim” who wants to be a pilot. Let’s follow “Jim” as he tries to become a pilot.
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By the end of this article, you will understand not only how much each type of pilot license costs, but also why it costs so much, and how to save serious $$$ on your flight training.
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By the way, you don’t really have a pilot’s license, the correct term in aviation is a pilot’s certificate, but, almost everyone calls it a license so let’s just go to our purpose of explaining it now.
If you are interested in the cheapest flight certification you can get, you can click here to see our article on the cheapest flight certification you can get.
What type of pilot’s license should you get? In fact, it does not matter, if you want to fly for fun, or become a commercial pilot, it all starts under the private pilot license (we will save talking about the sport pilot license until the end of the article. ).
On January 1, Mr. Jim made a New Year’s resolution to become a pilot. He immediately began his flight training. His journey will consist of several different certificates or “pilot license levels”. The progression of becoming an airline pilot is as follows:
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Now we know that Jim needs to get his private pilot’s license before his instrument rating or commercial pilot’s license. So, what is worth Jim?
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So Jim started his online basic school on January 1st, and it helped him prepare for his flight training and the FAA Private Pilot Written Exam (60 question, multiple choice test). He enrolled in the basic school and finished in 2 weeks, spending about 50 hours studying the entire course. Since Jim finished his basic schooling, he has a good knowledge base and passed his FAA exam quickly. So far Jim has spent about 500 dollars.
He then went to his local flight school (he chose his flight school using our guide here) and took his first flight lesson. Flying lessons vary from lesson to lesson, but he correctly estimates that each lesson will be around $300-$450. After his first lesson, Jim asked his Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) for advice on which doctor to use to get his medical certificate.
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Jim studied hard, flew at least 5 days a week, and received his private pilot’s license on February 15th after completing a private pilot inspection with the FAA for $650.
In total, Jim spent about 6 weeks learning to fly and getting his pilot’s license for $8,527. Jim also logged a total flight time of 44.2 hours which is above the FAA minimum requirement of 40 hours to become a private pilot, but below the 2020 national average of 73.1 hours.
As we explain it in more detail in another article here. We will briefly explain what you get for your 40 hours of training.
Imagine you pay $100/hour to rent a plane and pay a flight instructor $60/hour for the time they spend training you in the air and on the ground at your briefing.
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This is how Jim got a $7,425 bill from the flight school, and his other bills came to $8,527 for his private pilot’s license.
You may have heard of pilots flying VFR (Visual Flight Rules) or IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). We’ve all heard about how JFK Jr. Jim heard that too and he didn’t want that to happen to him, so he decided on March 1st to get his instrument rating.
As with any type of pilot’s license, Jim must take a “ground school” course to study flight training and take the FAA Pilot Test (each level of pilot’s license has a required FAA written test, and the FAA requires you to have ground training and certification that determines you are ready for the test before being allowed to take the written test).
It’s important to note that Jim doesn’t need to get his instrument rating right now, but it’s a good idea to get it before you apply for your commercial pilot’s license, because no company will hire you without a rating (note: in aviation, we. have a “certificate” commonly called a license, and we have a “rating”. You have to get a certificate first, and then you can add a “rating” to it, like an instrument rating).
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Jim studied hard again and took about 3 weeks to complete the IFR Intermediate online course in , and was certified to take the written exam from the course, and then take the test at his local test center. While studying, he continued to fly by himself, making short trips of 50 miles or so, which counted toward his “cross-country” flight time, which he needed at least 50 hours before he could use his IFR checkride.
Jim also returned to flight school in early April and began working on the required 15 hours of flight training with his flight instructor (CFII). By the end of April, Jim had logged a total of 115.8 hours and spent about $17,522 since January 1.
Jim wants to spend another $650 to take the FAA Instrument Pilot Checkride, which he guarantees through the online course at . It is important to note that every flight student who uses one passes their checkride on the first try, saving a lot of money. If you fail the checkride, you have to pay for it again, plus pay for additional training before you can try again, which adds up quickly. Fortunately, Jim passed his checkride without a problem and now spent only $18,000 to become a private pilot with about 117.2 hours.
So how much does a commercial pilot license cost? Well, hopefully, now you can see that for Jim, or for anyone who wants to be a commercial pilot, they first need to complete their private pilot training and possibly get an instrument rating. Part of the reason it makes good financial sense to get your instrument rating after you get your private pilot license is because you want to achieve a total of 250 flight hours before you become a commercial pilot. As you can see in our cost breakdown, flight time (leasing a plane) is often the most expensive part of being a pilot. If you want to record flight time, you can let the time count towards your instrument rating instead of just flying around for fun.
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Jim’s 117.2 flight hours initially entered the point where he earned his instrument rating all counting toward the 250 hours required to become a commercial pilot. That means Jim has to get 10 or more hours of training from his flight instructor (CFI) and then fly another 122.8 hours by himself (he can fly all the time with a CFI, but he has to pay for that flight instructor to sit next to him, so flying alone or with a friend to help split the cost is paramount).
This flight to increase flight time was the most fun Jim would have as a pilot. Today is May 1st and summer is almost here. The weather is fine, and Jim’s main job at this point is just renting a plane and flying anywhere he wants in the country building up his flight time to 250 hours. Jim still spends more per week than a gambling addict in a casino at this point, but hey, that all counts if he gets a good job as a commercial pilot.
Jim spends about 2 months flying to enjoy, having the vacation of a lifetime as he travels in his rented plane to new locations and studies the Commercial Pilot Ground School course in his spare time. As of July 1, Jimmy has 240 people
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