Learn to Fly 3: How much will it cost?

One of the most common worries among prospective pilots is whether it is affordable to learn to fly. Greg Brown and Laurel Lippert’s book You Can Fly! does a great job at explaining this:

A range of factors will determine your total investment in flight training. First of all, flight school costs vary based on location, overhead costs, and the capital invested in aircraft and facilities. An outfit flying new airplanes, working out of a beautiful building in an urban area, must charge more than one that is operating older airplanes out of a rural airport.

Next, there’s the issue of government minimums required to earn a pilot certificate, versus the practical realities of learning all you should know to operate proficiently as a pilot. Technically, one can earn a Private Pilot certificate in as little as 40 flight hours, but as mentioned earlier, it will likely take a bit longer than that.

When you visit flight schools and ask them to detail costs, most show costs based on the minimums, because that is what their competitors do. So, ask each flight school or instructor you interview to be totally honest about what it’s realistically going to cost.

“I see from your Private Pilot information sheet that it’s possible to earn a pilot certificate in 40 hours, but I understand that’s not realistic for most people. Based on your experience here at the flight school, how much should I budget to earn my Private Pilot certificate?” At that, the instructor will breathe a sigh of relief and give you a more accurate target. (We recommend that you budget for 50 to 60 hours, then work diligently to come in close to that.)

By now you should be realizing that you can personally impact the size of your training investment. A great deal of the cost boils down to the motivation and availability of each individual student. Of course, there can be factors outside of your control, like weather, but if you prepare well for each lesson and fly regularly, you are much more likely to achieve the lower end of that range.

You can purchase You Can Fly! on our website at ASA2Fly.com, which also contains even more resources for student pilots.

Have a safe journey!

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