How much does a private pilot license cost? Although the cost is, understandably, somewhat high, it is quite a bit less than the cost of getting licensed as an airline pilot.
The cost of getting a private pilot license (PPL) will vary between $10,000 and $20,000. Which flight school you decide to attend will determine most of the cost.
Although flight school accounts for most of this cost, there are other necessary expenses you’ll need to consider, including equipment, textbooks, and required examinations.
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How Much Does it Cost to Get a Private Pilot’s License? Expect to Pay $10,000-$20,000
Learning how much a pilot license costs will open a whole new world of opportunities for you. If you take all the expenditures into account before you start, you’ll be better prepared for the unique adventures that await with a PPL.
What Can You Do With a Private Pilot’s License?
Pilot licensing allows a person to fly in and out of civilian airports, and over 160,000 people enjoy this privilege. One of the most significant advantages of having private pilot licensing is avoiding commercial air travel.
Private licensing permits a pilot to operate a single-engine plane. However, flying for compensation is not permitted with this type of license unless you are performing a sales demonstration.
Getting your private license is only the beginning of your aviation career. You’ll have more study and tests before you can become an airline pilot. How much can you earn as an airline pilot?
What Are Some Good Non-Commercial Activities?
Flying a plane takes sightseeing to exciting new levels. You can add exciting international locations to the list quickly, as well.
Working for Charity With Your Plane
Many private pilots donate some of their flight time to charitable work. From medical transport for underserved populations to rescue flights for shelter pets, there are many ways a private plane can help organizations.
Many charities need to send workers someplace on short notice but may have practical reasons for not using commercial flights.
For example, they may need to transport medical passengers not easily accommodated on commercial flights or transport larger groups of animals than most commercial flights accommodate.
Using Your Plane for Business Travel
If you frequently travel for business, a pilot’s license can help you save on your travel time. One of the most significant benefits of having a PPL is avoiding the many hassles often associated with commercial travel when you’re on a tight schedule.
A Pilot’s License Puts Aviation Festivals in Reach
Flying to aviation festivals can be fun and give you valuable connections if you decide to expand into flying for compensation.
Many people who attend these events live near airports that offer charter services, which can help you decide whether to pursue this market.
If you decide you’re interested in flying vintage aircraft, these shows can be a valuable resource. Many attendees at these festivals have connections to some of the bigger airshows that feature popular vintage aircraft.
A Private Pilot’s License Allows Skillset Expansion
You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve learned a new skill not open to everyone when you have a pilot’s license. The possibilities are wide open once you have your license.
You may decide to fly for a commercial airline with further training if you desire. Even if you don’t work for an airline, there are many other possibilities that involve flying for pay that you may be interested in learning more about.
Pilot’s Licenses Are Great for Family Transport
You’ll be able to fly family members and friends with your license, too. Knowing that you can help your loved ones get where they need to be can provide a lot of satisfaction.
For example, your days of worrying about driving to a ski resort on icy roads or renting a trailer to carry all your camping or hunting equipment could be in the past. Being able to fly a plane makes family travel a more hassle-free, lower-stress experience.
What Are the Basic Requirements for Getting Your License
Knowing the basic requirements will help you be better prepared for holding your license. The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations has set the basic requirements for licensure.
You must be a minimum of 17 years old and speak, read and write English. A Student Pilot Certificate is necessary before you can progress to a license.
Flight training is a requirement, along with a logbook from a qualified instructor. You’ll need to undertake 40 hours of flight time, with ten hours flying solo and five flying cross-country.
You’ll have to take three hours of instrument training. In addition, you’ll also require a minimum of three hours of night flying.
There is a required exam to get a medical clearance. You’ll also need to undergo a mandatory knowledge test and flight test.
A Closer Look at Private Pilot’s License Costs
Your total expenditures might vary somewhat when seeking a pilot’s license. However, $10,000-$20,000 across the board is a typical price.
Training hours account for much of the overall cost. We’ll break down the total costs in more detail.
What Gear and Supplies Do You Need to Buy for Becoming a Pilot?
Some of the basic supplies that you’ll need to buy right away include:
- Pulse oximeter
- GPS unit
- First aid kit
- Basic tools
- Fuel tester
- Device chargers
- Water and snacks
- Flight bag
- Pilot kneeboard with a pen and fresh paper
- Tablet computer
Although buying all these tools may seem overwhelming, they will help you stay safe. Expect to pay around $500-$1,500 for your supplies.
Are There Ways to Save Money on Pilot Supplies?
Doing some comparison shopping can help you save money on the supplies you need to buy.
One way to save money and get something back that you can apply to savings for future expenses is to buy from sites that offer cash back on purchases or reward points that can be redeemed for cash.
Joining some groups on social media sites for aviation students can put you in touch with fellow aspiring pilots. Members of such groups are often willing to share tips on where to buy these items or might have such items for sale, for trade, or to give away.
What Are the Costs for Textbooks and Workbooks
You’ll need to study well to pass your written test to be a pilot because of the amount of information covered. Flight schools customarily require students to buy workbooks for ground school training and may have specific requirements.
Other requirements to keep in mind include a logbook, plane manual, and pre-flight checklist. Your logbook or textbook will likely cost around $100, and you should verify which text or logbook your school requires.
What Does Your Medical Exam for the Student Pilot Certificate Cost?
An Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) exam is necessary before you can get your Student Pilot Certificate. This exam usually costs $125, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) maintains a database of AMEs so you can find one easily.
What Does Ground School Cost?
The FAA written exam requires training that is best if taken as a course where you have access to an instructor who can help you with any questions. You can take this training in-person with an instructor or online.
In-person training requires a charge that averages around $50 an hour. If you take this training online, you ought to expect to pay $350.
What Does Flight School Cost?
The flight school portion has a duration that depends on how long mastering your flight skills takes. This part of your training is the most expensive, requiring a minimum of 40 hours.
You might spend $8,000-$12,000 depending on the length of time you spend in flight school. Plane rentals can cost as much as $100 an hour, and flight instructors average $50-$60 an hour.
Is Checking Out Flight Schools for Costs a Good Idea?
Vetting the schools that you’re interested in is always a good idea. Flight schools often have varying rates for classes and instructors, as well as different rates for simulator and plane rentals that you will want to keep under consideration.
Another thing that varies among schools is management styles. For example, a school that has a high volume of students and goes at a fast pace might have instructors who are spread somewhat thin.
What Does the FAA Airman Knowledge Test Cost?
A separate expense from what you spend on preparation materials is the written test itself. This test costs $175.
What Does the FAA Practical Exam Cost?
When you take this test, you’ll fly a single-engine plane under an FAA official’s supervision. In many ways, this exam is similar to the road test required for a driver’s license.
What Are the Costs of Aviation Insurance?
Aviation insurance is necessary before you fly because of the risks potentially involved. $600 a year will purchase $60,000 worth of liability insurance when you rent a plane.
What Are the Best Ways to Pay for Your Private Pilot’s License?
Getting your pilot’s license is an exciting prospect, but it’s reasonable to wonder about how to pay for your training. The good thing is that there are four options that often prove helpful.
Using Personal Savings
A lucky few might have the savings to pay for their education as a pilot. Some ambitious would-be pilots start saving money after they decide to follow this path.
It is theoretically possible to pay for flight school from savings, despite the high cost. One way you could do this is by spreading out your lessons and flight time over a longer period.
Using Federal Student Loans
If you go through an accredited program, you might be able to use federal financial aid. One of the advantages of federal loans is an often-lower interest rate.
Subsidized federal loans require you to demonstrate proof of financial need. Unsubsidized federal loans, on the other hand, do not require proof of financial need.
You may also be able to get federal aid in the form of a grant. The best way to determine grant eligibility is to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
Using Private Student Loans
Flight schools sometimes offer payment plans to make it easier for students to pay their costs. You may be able to pay for your costs over several months without paying interest.
Credit unions or local banks may also offer loans with low-interest rates and flexible terms that you can use to pay for flight school. Eligible students may also be eligible for scholarships as well.
Some ambitious aviation students have success using crowdfunding to pay for their flight school costs. Crowdfunding allows a larger group of people to pool together resources to help pay for the costs of flight education.
Crowdfunding is flexible, with several online platforms that you could try. You might also try to raise funds the old-fashioned way by selling items like food, apparel, and other things people are likely to buy to support a cause.
What is the Best Way to Manage Your Flight School Costs?
Learning more about the process will help you save money when you’re getting your pilot’s license. Self-study, for example, is one way some students may save on their expenses.
The more you study ahead of time, the more confident you’ll be about passing everything. You might be able to reduce the number of necessary flight hours with careful study.
Depending on your financial circumstances, you might want to invest in a flight simulator you can use at home. Another option is to download flight simulator software you can use on a computer or buy a flight simulator game for use on a game system.
Even though computer or game system flight simulators are less developed than simulators at flight schools, they can help aviation students become more familiar with a cockpit. Simulators of all kinds are also perfect for practicing approaches for airports.
You’ll want to invest as much time in learning about aviation outside of school as possible. Reading and watching video content about flying planes, as well as talking to pilots, can help supplement what you learn in school.
Is getting a private pilot’s license worth the cost?
A private pilot’s license can offer many benefits, including more convenient travel options than commercial flights, as well as being an exciting hobby. Whether getting a pilot’s license is worth the cost will depend on your reasons for getting the license.
Does a private pilot’s license allow you to fly with passengers?
A private pilot’s license does allow you to fly passengers. Although you are welcome to have your passengers help share the flight expenses, you cannot charge your passengers for the flight.
Is making money with a private pilot’s license possible?
You cannot use a private pilot’s license to get hired for a job or accept fees from your passengers. The exception is if you work as an airplane sales professional, which is a lucrative job for many.
A private pilot’s license is somewhat expensive, yet most would consider this position worth the expense. You’ll likely enjoy all the possibilities that will open up for you.