As published by me in Forward in Flight Magazine
When people find out that I know a little bit about aviation, I am normally asked a couple of questions and the conversation is just about always the same. I though that this is information might be beneficial to those out there who are considering taking the leap and starting flying lessons!
Flight training is expensive.
Probably the question I am asked the most is “how much does it cost to learn how to fly?” No, it’s certainly not a cheap hobby, but if you plan for some of the expenses you’re better
prepared for some of the things you need to come up with cash for down the road. My response to this question is usually something along the lines of explaining that the cost is about the same as buying a decent used car. Of course there are the upfront costs that people are normally aware of: the cost of the plane and the cost of the instructor. I always suggest having about half of what it’s going to cost you in the bank so that you can fly more regularly. Trying to come up with the money as you go will often put a damper on the frequency of which you can fly. And ALWAYS keep the money in your own bank account. Don’t pay for flight training up front. It happens all too often – flight schools close, instructors bail, etc.
Then there’s what I like to call the “hidden costs” of learning to fly. The things that you aren’t normally aware of before chasing your dream of becoming a pilot. You’ll want to invest in some good equipment and some are probably more necessary that others! Things such as head sets, a nice flight bag, flight planning software, cool looking aviator sunglasses, fuel testers and more. Some of these items can be pretty expensive, so it’s important to know right away that you’ll probably love to start spending some money on these kinds of things!
Flight training takes time. Think of it like a part time job.