There is always much budgeting, math, and speculation about how much flight training costs. I know even though I spent a lot of time and excel charts on different scenarios, I’m pretty sure the actual costs will be a lot different than what I originally anticipated. So trying to help with this article.
1. Plane costs
Figure out the rental rate of the plane. Is it wet or dry (with or without fuel) rate? Is it off the Hobbs meter (time engine is on) or tachometer (measures off RPM)? You’ll most likely not be achieving it within 40 hours, so figure somewhere between 60-80 hours for this price.
2. Instructor rates
Take every flight hour and add another to that. It might be over the actual time you’ll spend with an instructor but closer than if you just think “an hour with a plane, an hour with an instructor, and that’s it” No one really shared with me how much you need to factor in this extra time. Of course, you get a break when you get your solo hours on this rate but that’s about 7 hours. The first few solos are supervised so you’re still paying for the instructor.
3. Ground School
Even more instructor fees, sometimes is separate from your lessons and is formal classroom setting. It’s about $250 from what I’ve seen at my school, or you can buy Kings School DVDs or one of the other DVDs out there to study yourself. It’ll still be over $100 at least.
At my school, I didn’t like the headsets and you have to rent them after a certain amount of lessons. So factor in this cost! It’s expensive to buy a headset, I found one for $100 which is pretty cheap but if you invest in a nice one you’ll be adding close to $1000 to training costs.
Now, I like the FAAs books a ton and they are free on the internet and heard many people say they are all you need. Other people like others books like Rod Machado and his book is about $60 or could buy them used for cheaper. Then, don’t forget, you need a POH and if you buy it new it’s about $60 I bought an old on eBay for $8.
Just always nice to factor this in as a safety net. Like at some point I’ll be needing to get a $70 airport badge for security reasons at my airport, or you may want a kneeboard, or get ForeFlight, etc.
This was important for me because of public transportation. I’m sure it’s important if the airport is far from you and uses a lot of gas. My trip (depending if I have an unlimited Metro card already) costs $22.50 round trip. That definitely adds up.
8. Exam Fees
Thanks to Shane, he mentioned I forgot all the exams. It’ll be about $100 to sit your test, and then especially for a PPL you won’t be able to get a FAA Inspector so you’ll have to hire a Designated Pilot Examiner which can come at the hefty price of $300-$500. Lastly, add on your 3rd class Medical which was $110 for me and runs around that price.
Hopefully, this will help some people out there! I would have loved this when I was doing all my budgets. I’m interested to see how it will actually turn out in the end. Does anyone else have any added costs they found during training?