~ Breaking Out the Costs of Flight School

 نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪Getting Your Pilot License‬‏
The term "hidden costs" strikes fear into most of us because it means we are going to pay more for something than we thought.  Sadly, many times a business will hide some costs of goods or services so you can "discover" them once you have committed to use the service.  Having to pay for a pillow on a flight after you already forked over hundreds of dollars to the airline is a classic example of hidden costs.

When you are preparing to go into flight school to realize your dream of getting your pilot's license, its is imperative that you know how much you need from a budget perspective before you sign a contract to go through the program.  So to be sure you are not going to get hit with a lot of "hidden costs", it pays to know the terminology and to know what questions to ask before you agree to use that school to get your license to fly.

When you first contact a flight school, they will lay out the red carpet for you.   You will get a tour of the facilities including the classrooms and the airplanes to be used for your in flight training.  You will meet wonderful instructors and the end of the tour will probably include a test flight where you get to sit in the pilot's seat as though you were actually flying that plane.  That experience alone can hook you to want to be part of their program.  Then they will present you will some colorful brochures, a contract and a class schedule and finally, a schedule of costs along with payment options.

There is a good reason they are showing you the costs last.  They want to get you excited and "hooked" before you review the fees.  It's important to remember that the majority of flight schools are "for profit" businesses and the competition for customers is intense.  The number one reason a school fails to "close the deal" is often the cost.  So if they can soften that blow by not showing you some of the costs of getting your pilot's license with them, they might be able to get you into class and you will just deal with the additional costs after the fact.

This is a little bit deceptive but they do it to get business.  It's up to you then to know what questions to ask and to understand the terminology of the schedule of fees.  Make sure that when you get the estimate of what you will have to pay that it is broken out in some detail. If all they are quoting you is the cost of classroom instruction, that underestimate the costs tremendously.  Additional costs will include…

.   Books and classroom supplies.  You may need to buy these yourself so to get a complete budget, do that shopping before signing a contract.

.   Duel instruction fees.  A big part of your training is in the air.  What they might not tell you is that you will have to pay for the instructor's time by the hour for every hour you are up there with him.  And you must plan for the cost of the plane.  Plan for a minimum of $50 an hour labor and $100 an hour for the equipment.  But this is something that is worth getting an exact quote on when you are estimating what it will cost to get your pilot's license with that school.

.   Fuel costs - it takes gas to operate that airplane while you are flying it.  They might not be including the cost of gas in with the airplane rental fee.  Make sure you know what to expect as that can be a big hidden cost, especially with gas costs high as they are right now.

In order to get a cost number you can depend on, you must estimate how many hours of flight training you are going to need.  The FAA requires that you have a minimum of 40 hours flight time and you may need more to cover the many situations you must understand before you become a solo pilot.  Also keep in mind you must do one final flight where you go up with an FAA examiner so find out the costs of his or her time and add at least an hour of flight time to your totals.

Certified to Fly

When you first got the vision to become a pilot, how did you see yourself?  For some of us it is at the controls of a jumbo jet operated by one of the big airline companies flying from one exotic location to another and having the power and responsibility for that billion dollar airplane and hundreds of lives.

For others it's being a private pilot for a small airline flying rich people around or just flying for your own pleasure.  You are free, literally “as a bird” to glide over the world gazing down and deciding where you might land before taking to the air again.  These are fun images and even as you work your way through flight school and then start “paying your dues” in the airline industry to work toward your goal, its good to keep the dream so you always have the next rung of the latter ahead and you never give up.

It's good to have a firm idea of who you want to be as a pilot because it actually affects the kind of pilot's certification you will go for after flight school.  So understanding the different kinds of certification and what is required to meet the requirements for that level of responsibility can be important.   Of course, your goals may change the longer you stay in your career as a pilot.  But if you know going in what is required, you can tailor and customize your training and preparations around your goals. 

There are actually six levels of pilot certification, one of which you may already have.  If you are already in flight school and you have gotten to the point that you are taking training flights and handling the craft yourself, you had to already get a student pilot certification.  All pilots' certifications have requirements and restrictions so obviously as a student pilot, you can only operate an airline in the instructional setting and not on your own except for your final solo flights as authorized by the school.

Just above the student level but a pilot's certification that you can use for your own purposes are the sports and the recreational pilot's license.  These certifications are less restrictive than the student's license but you will be limited to fly only in good weather conditions and strong daylight, that your distances will be limited as will the type of aircraft.  You can also only have one passenger with a student license.  What the FAA has created in the sports and recreational licenses are certifications that allow for some enjoyment level flying but are not certified at a high enough level to make being a pilot your career.

The top three levels of pilot's licenses are the private pilot license, the commercial pilot and the airline transport license.  The names are fairly self explanatory.  Often new pilots try to reach the private pilot level before going on for the more demanding higher level licenses.  With a private pilot license, you can operate a much greater variety of aircraft including helicopters and balloons and you can use your pilot's license as part of your job although you cannot be paid for flying. So your job may be crop dusting and you are paid for that and your ability to fly a small aircraft is in connection with your job.

Obviously the commercial pilot's certification and the airline transport pilot's license are the ones you would go for to be able to fly the big jets.  But you may never need to get that far.  So evaluate your goals and target your certification accordingly.  In that way you are using your training time well and when you have reached the level you aspire to, you will get that sense of satisfaction that you are a pilot who is realizing the dream.

When you finally make that decision to go for your pilot’s license, it’s an exciting step for you.  It will be fun to tell friends and family that you feel it in your bones that you are ready to put in the time and effort to get that all important pilot’s license to start your journey toward success.  But just as in any area of specialization, finding the right school that you feel good about using to achieve this goal takes some looking and some evaluation.

You will be putting a lot of time and money into the flight school you choose.  And they are taking you through not only some knowledge training but a discipline of learning to become a completely different person.  You will go from a person whose idea of flying was sitting in coach and thinking about your in flight meal to the guy in the cockpit calling the shots.  You will “become” a pilot and you want your guide through this transformation to be a good one.

There are basically two kinds of flight schools and they are referred to as Part 61 or Part 141 schools.  Now naturally you would assume one category to be superior.  But in terms of the outcome, both can get you the knowledge and experience you need and help you become a pilot.  The difference is their approach.

A Part 141 school must live up to a very strict curriculum that the FAA lays out and every Part 141 school operates exactly the same way.  Obviously there are some values to this approach.   The primary value of going to a Part 141 flight training school to get your pilot’s license is that because they all operate identically, you can change teachers or even schools midstream and just pick up where you left off.

A Part 61 flight training school doesn’t put itself into that discipline.  So these schools will have a greater variety in the way the material is presented, the order it is given to you and how you learn it as well.  Part 61 schools can use more creativity in how they take you through the process and very often the instructors are more creative as well.  And since pilots are notoriously independent people in the first place, you will probably meet more “characters” at a Part 61 school.

Neither of these two types of schools is actually superior.  Since the pilot’s license testing is standardized, they will all get you there the same way.  The Part 141 approach gives you the security that they are completely governed by the FAA and the ability to change teachers or schools with no disruption to your education.  A Part 61 school can customize the training to you and if there is an area of instruction that you might need extra help with, they can be flexible and make sure they cover the bases you need covered in greater depth.

Before you decide on a specific school, get a good list of the best regarded pilot’s license training schools in your area.  The administration at your local airport will be able to point you in the right direction.  Many times a large city will have a number of smaller airports that service charger flights and smaller operations and they often have flight schools on premises.  So if the international airport isn’t being helpful, try the smaller ones in the area.   Then set about checking out the facilities, the teachers, the planes and the reputation of the schools. 

By interviewing not only the staff and teachers of the school but graduates to find out the good and bad of each school, you will have done your homework well.  But also get to know the instructor who will be your primary guide through learning to be a pilot.  This will be your mentor on that first big moment as you take the controls and take an airplane up for the first time and you and he (or she) will be alone in that cockpit frequently as you log the necessary air hours to qualify to take the test.  But by checking this all out ahead of time, by the time you put down your money and start the process of learning to become a pilot, you will know that you are in good hands with the school you selected.

From Flying an Airplane to Owning One

There is a natural progression of involvement in your love of flying that all starts when you first catch the dream that you really can become a pilot.  It’s a big job to get out there and find out how to get through flight training school to get your pilot's license.  The money, time and effort to get that training is demanding but its actually good that it is because when you finally pass the tests and do your solo flights and you earn that license, you really walk away with a sense of accomplishment.

But you walk away with something else even more exciting which is a license that says that you really are a pilot and the authorization to take an airplane up in the air.  It's an addictive feeling to fly an aircraft and there are lots of opportunities for jobs that will take advantage of this well earned skill you.  So just as there is a natural next step after you get a drivers license to want to own your own car, very often new pilots begin to get the bug to own their own plane after they become addicted to the love of flying.

There is no question that the freedom you will gain from owning your own plane will take your love of flying to the next level.  And there are some good economic reasons for taking this step too.  Very often you can build a small business of your own just putting your plane at the disposal of people who need it.  Offering charter airplane services to businesses or individuals to get them where they need to go quickly and efficiently can be a good paying career and give you the chance to fly to lots of places you may have never thought about before.

Owning your own small business built around your plane and your love of flying can go a lot of different directions.  You might find a great market offering recreational flights to people who want to get up above the town and look down on it like the birds can do.    Often groups will charter an airplane to take them to the nearest city that has a national sports franchise to see the big game.  These kinds of customers are often able to pay handsomely for your service and who knows, you might get to see the game too.

You should do your homework before thinking about buying a plane though because not only is it an expense up front but there will be ongoing costs that go with owning such a unique vehicle.  Obviously you can't park the plane in your garage or back yard so you will need a hanger to house your airplane day in and day out.  Most of us don’t own our own hanger right off the bat so that will be an ongoing cost as well.  And if you have your plane in a public hanger at the local regional airport, how will that affect your ability to use the plane at a moments notice if you want that kind of access?

But one of the biggest issues that you will need to be prepared to provide for when becoming an airplane owner is maintenance.  Perhaps you became fascinated with the mechanical side of airplane technology when you went through flight school.  So a career as an airplane mechanic might be ahead for you and it might be tempting to learn to take care of your own airplane as well.  But its best to at least keep on retainer a qualified airplane mechanic to perform routine maintenance and to "check out" the plane routinely to make sure it is in good working order.

When you get that plane in the air, the last thing you want is for you to not know if the plane is sound mechanically.  So while paying a mechanic to service your plane routinely is an expense, it's crucial that your plane be safe to fly every day.  So it’s a worthwhile expense.  All of these costs mean that if you want to own a plane, you will have to commit to take care of it.  But the fun of owning a plane and the potential for high paying charter business means that it might be a very good next step in your ongoing career as a pilot.

Getting Some Help with Pilot’s License Training

For a young person who is looking ahead to a career that is full of growth potential, fun, good pay and that offers adventure, becoming a pilot can’t be beat.  And it’s a terrific career field to explore because whether is piloting small charter aircraft to flying the big jumbo jets, the world needs good pilots and it’s a career field that is sure to have plenty of jobs available in the future.

But one reason that a job as a pilot pays well and has such a strong potential for long term employment is that it not only takes a certain aptitude and physical ability to be able to pilot an airplane, it takes some very specific training that is not easy and not cheap.  And while you may be entirely capable of taking on the physical and mental challenges of flight training, sometimes the cost of getting the schooling to get your pilot’s license can be a challenge.

Like anything else, there are ways for a young person or any qualified flight school candidate to get some help with the costs of flight school.  A good place to start finding scholarships or grants to get your pilot’s license are the local aviation societies in your town.  Networking with working airline crews and people already in the industry can give you the inside information on what local clubs and groups might be looking for flight training candidates to sponsor.

One source of funding that you might not have thought about is your local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.  Aviation is one of the merit badges that many scouts get that begins their love affair with flying.  And alumni of the scouting program who themselves went on to success as pilots often want to sponsor solid young people like you find in the BSA program to realize their dreams of flying an airplane too.  You can inquire about such program by contacting your local BSA office and asking about the Aviation Explorer Scout program.  They can put you in touch with the adult leader who is running that program for older scouts and he will know more about available scholarship money.

Of course, a place for funding of flight training would naturally come from the airlines themselves.  They have a vested interest in seeing up and coming pilots get good training.  So one clever way to begin rubbing elbows with the right people is to get a job at the local airport or with an airline in some support function.  Even if you are just sweeping up around the hangers, you can get to know employees and express your interest in working your way up the latter until you are a full fledged captain of an aircraft.  The airline may have employee development programs then that you can take advantage of.

Many of our current pilots gained their flight training in the military.  For obvious reasons, the United States Air Force trains a lot of pilots.  And while you will primarily learn to fly military aircraft while you serve your country in the military, it’s a skill that easily translates to civilian flying and it’s a great resume entry when you get out at the end of your tour and are ready to make that natural transition to piloting civilian aircraft.

So don’t let funding stop you from realizing your dream to become an airline pilot.  There are agencies that want to help you make that dream a reality that are out there.  You just have to be industrious and get out there and find them.

Getting Your Pilot's License for the Fun of it.

There are a lot of great motivations for getting your pilot's license.  The field of aviation is full of employment opportunities and if that is where you want to make your career, you can keep adding to your skills and climb the latter to more responsibilities as you learn to fly bigger commercial aircraft, for more money as well.  Another motivation that often drives us to want to fly is that it opens up new ways to be of service to others.  If you like to work with charitable or church organizations, being able to fly to sites of disaster is an extremely valuable skill to offer.

But one great payoff for the investment of work and money you put into getting your pilot's license is that you can have a lot of fun when you can take to the skies and do some exploring from that high up.  Being able to fly whenever you want to adds a whole new world to your entertainment life and it might become your recreation of choice, at least when you first get your license.

For one thing, being able to get up above your city gives you the ability to explore your town in an entirely new way.  You can find your house and get a perspective on the neighborhood that you may have never seen before.  You can follow streets along and see little neighborhoods and businesses that you had no idea was there.  Take a friend a few maps with you and enjoy gazing down on the city from literally the birds eye view.

Flying opens up whole new opportunities for your dating life for sure.  Taking your best girl up for what is without a doubt the most romantic way to view a sunset is sure to get the romantic juices flowing.   And because flying extends your borders to other communities and even to border states, you can dash to a nearby town for an exotic dinner or follow your favorite sports team around much easier than by car.

As soon as you begin using your pilot's license to explore the world around you, you are going to discover some natural wonders near where you live that you may have never seen before.  You may find hills and even mountain ranges that will call to you to come and explore from the sky.  And as long as your gas supply is good, you can wander those hills with complete freedom knowing you can get back to your landing strip with a new adventure under your belt.

If you spot a stream or river that you had never tracked down before, you will want to get back into the sky as soon as possible to follow the trail of that river to see where it runs.  Your imagination will be going wild imaging the lives of those who live along those banks.  The great thing about flying is that you don’t have to be held to any highway or road.  You can go to the most remote locations and gaze down and even take pictures and know that true thrill of exploring and discovery.

If you are a camera bug, the open skies will give you chances to get photos unlike anything you ever could capture before.  Imagine flying near a souring eagle and being able to get close ups of that majestic bird in a natural setting.  You have seen pictures like that but to be able to capture it live will be a thrill that will be hard to top.  That camera will get a work out with the huge diversity of nature shots or even great pictures of the really majestic architecture of your own city that takes on an entirely different aspect when you photograph it from the sky.

The range of ways you can explore the world and have new adventures flying free would just keep opening up to you.  And you could explore them with loved ones, friends and family and get a lot of wholesome fun because you took the time to get your pilot's license.

There is a difference between being economical and being cheap.  And when it comes to getting your training for your pilot's license, you want the best training you can get.  When you finally get to the point that you can fly an aircraft, not only will your life be in your hands, the lives of others, possibly your family and friends may depend on being able to handle that aircraft with skill and with a good background in training.

But flight school and pilot's training is not an inexpensive operation.  You are learning to operate some very sophisticated machinery and to learn a new skill that is different than anything else you have ever done.  But even though you do not want to cut corners on the important elements of your training which is time with your flight instructor and in the air learning to handle that aircraft, with some extra effort on your part, you can cut some costs and not compromise the quality of your pilot's license.

There are two big sections to pilot's training which are the theory and the practice or the book learning and the application or hands on learning you do working directly with the aircraft.  When you go up for your pilot's license, you will face a pretty rigorous written exam.  So much of your time in flight school will be in class walking through this material.

But there is no requirement that you learn this material from an instructor.  You can work with a Part 61 flight school which has the flexibility or tailor your program (as opposed to a Part 141 school which conduct classes in strict accordance with guidelines) so you can do a lot of that study and concept learning independently and not have to pay to sit in class to learn what you could have conquered at home for free.

You can buy books that will walk you through every aspect of the pilot's license test and sit down at your kitchen table and learn it all as fast as you are able to absorb knowledge.  Many of these tutorials will have quizzes and example tests so you can have someone work you over pretty good so by the time you walk in to take the written exam you are ready.

Of course there are plenty of online sources that can give you the same in depth training absolutely free.  Sometimes studying online is easier because it’s a bit more interactive and fun.  One such site is http://www.flightcentral.net/sport/training.htm but you can Google "pilot's license training" and locate others from reputable agencies that will do the job just as well.

The hardest thing about home study is to keep yourself accountable and moving forward though.  So set a schedule of what you are going to achieve and make steady progress, just like you would if you were in a classroom setting.  You can then download the Practical Standards Test (PTS) and study the actual layout and questions that you will be required to pass "open book".  So by the time you are ready for the test, you are really ready for that test.

You can also work with your instructor to help you be totally prepared when its time for actual flight training in the air.  He can give you the checklists so you are ready when you show up.  If you make mistakes, learn what you did and practice that skill in your armchair at home. 

The more you get out of the way on your own, the less time in the airplane which costs by the hour.  And by taking charge of your training and only using the experts for hands on training you need, you get just as good an education in flying but you save a ton of money.

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