How much does it cost to get a pilot’s license?
It seems like a pretty straightforward question. Unfortunately, there are a number of variables which makes the answer a bit complicated. Let’ break it down so you can understand the costs and make an informed decision.
The costs for flight training can be divided into three categories:
1. Aircraft and Simulator Rental
This is likely that largest piece of the cost of flight training.
Typically, aircraft are rented “wet” – meaning with fuel included in the hourly rate. Aviation fuel (AvGas) is more expensive than auto fuel and aircraft engines use more of it per hour than cars do. Our Cessna 172 burns about 9-10 gallons per hour. Aircraft rentals are charged in increments of 1/10 hour.
Our Cessna 172 rents for $160/hour. If you train at least two times per week, you should be able to complete your training in ~65 hours, which is the current, national average – or around $10,400.
Our FlyThisSim touch trainer VM is an outstanding training aide that will make your flight training much more efficient. Expect to spend around 15 hours in the SIM at $50/hour, or ~$750
Instructors get paid whenever they are giving your instruction – whether it’s in a classroom setting, using the SIM or flying the airplane. For budgeting purposes figure 75 hours at $60 per hour, or ~$4500
3. Miscellaneous Expenses
- Books and supplies ~$200
- Knowledge Test Fee $150
- Practical Test Fee ~$500 (paid to Designated Pilot Examiner; fees vary)
- Renter’s Insurance ~ 300 (for solo flights)
- Medical Certificate Exam $100
Total Misc Expense ~$1250
APPROXIMATE TOTAL EXPENSE:
If you look at the national average hours a student will take to become a private pilot, the total time is between 60-75 hours. $16,900 is what you could expect to spend if you trained for 65 hours with the per hour cost of aircraft, simulator rental, and instructor rates.
Keep in mind that these costs will vary from school to school. You may find higher or lower prices advertised for airplane and simulator rentals as well as instructor fees.
Some schools offer what appears to be a lower “package” rate. They get there by assuming you’ll finish with a minimum number of hours. There is generally an asterisk (*) indicating that their cost is based on a minimum number of hours. If it takes you longer, you pay the additional funds at the standard rate.
The best approach is to plan for more hours. If you can train faster – that’s great. Any money that you have leftover after you have your pilot’s license can be used to fly – or to start training for your instrument rating.
We are a pay-as-you-go company. The estimation provided above is to help students stay informed about what costs to expect during training.
We accept credit cards, cash, or checks. We do not sell discounted blocks of time for flight training.