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If you’ve ever thought about taking to the skies, then you need to get a pilot license of your own. This is how much it costs to get a pilot’s license.
Have you dreamed about becoming a pilot and being able to fly through the endless skies at the drop of a hat? If so, then getting a pilot’s license is necessary. But not only can it be difficult and time-consuming to get a pilot’s license, it also isn’t free. In fact, it can cost you thousands of dollars to get a pilot’s license, but trust me when I say it’s worth every penny!
Getting your pilot’s license can be an expensive venture and the cost varies greatly between different types of licenses. For example, obtaining your Private Pilot License costs between $7,500 - $10,000. Earning your Commerical Pilot Certificate, on the other hand, costs between $30,000 - $40,000.
Pilots license costs vary depending on which type you want. There are many different types of licenses, and each one has a different cost associated with it. The most basic license is the student pilot certificate, which will only set you back a little over a hundred bucks for lifetime certification. If you have your sights set on something more advanced like an instrument rating or commercial license, then those certificates can cost you thousands and thousands of dollars!
Here at SkyTough, we’ve been in your shoes and have gone through all the same things you’re going through. You don’t know how many times I wondered what it costs to get a pilot’s license, but since flying is my favorite thing in the world, the cost was inconsequential in retrospect. In this article, not only will I use my own experience, but I’ll also combine research and input from other pilots from all over to ensure you get accurate information on how much it really costs.
How Much Does It Cost To Get A Pilot’s License?
As you more than likely already know, there are quite a few different types of pilot licenses that you can pursue. While the majority of you are likely thinking about getting your private pilot’s license or eventually becoming a commercial pilot, those are not the only two options you have. Take a look at the table below to see how much all the different types of pilot licenses cost to get.
From the table above, you can see that a pilot license can cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on which license you want. So if you want to get your wings and be able to fly your own plane, then you’ll need to get your wallet out at some point to cover the costs of becoming a pilot.
Let’s dive a little deeper into each one of these types of pilot’s licenses to see what’s involved and how much they cost.
Sport Pilot License Cost
The cost of a sport pilot license can vary depending on the state in which you obtain it. Typically, the cost ranges from $2,500 to $4,500. There are also other costs associated with getting your sport pilot license, such as the cost of lessons and aircraft rental.
In order to get a sport pilot license, you must first pass a knowledge test. The cost of the test varies depending on the testing center, but is typically around $150. You must also pass a flight review with an instructor, which costs around $100.
Once you have passed both of these tests, you will need to complete a minimum of 30 hours of flight time, which can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,200. The equipment needed for a sport pilot license can also cost around $100, including FAA-approved goggles and a helmet.
However, there are some ways that you can reduce the costs of obtaining your sport pilot license:
- Fly with an instructor who has experience teaching students how to get their sport pilot licenses
- Join a flying club and split the cost of aircraft rental with other members
- Look for scholarships or grants that can help offset the costs of obtaining your license
The bottom line is that the cost of a sport pilot license can vary depending on your individual circumstances. But, with some diligence, you can find ways to reduce the overall cost.
Private Pilot License Cost
With the average cost of a private pilot license (PPL) being around $7,500 to $10,000, it’s no wonder that so many people are wondering if they can get their PPL for cheaper. There is nothing wrong with wanting to save money, but in order to have an effective training experience there need to be some resources available. The following will discuss what's involved in getting your PPL and how much you can expect to spend along the way.
One of the best ways to get a private pilot license for cheap is to find a flight school that offers to finance. A lot of times, if you’re willing to put down a good chunk of money upfront, the school will offer you a lower interest rate on your loan. This can help reduce the overall cost of getting your PPL.
Another way to reduce the cost of getting your PPL is to find a school that offers discounts for members of specific organizations. For example, if you are a member of the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) then you may be able to get discounted rates on your training at certain schools.
The final way to reduce the cost of getting your PPL is to do a lot of the training yourself. This can be done by using online resources or books from the library. While this may not be the best option for everyone, if you have some previous flying experience then it’s definitely something to consider.
So how much does it actually cost to get your PPL?
The average cost for a private pilot license is $7,500 to $10,000. This will vary significantly depending on where you live, the school that you choose, and what resources are available to you outside of the training environment.
Instrument Rating Cost
The cost to get an instrument rating can vary depending on the location and aircraft type. However, the average cost is around $7,000 to $9,000. This price includes ground school training, flight instruction, and examiner fees.
Some things that can affect the overall cost are if you need to rent an aircraft for your check ride or not. To get your instrument rating, you will need to complete a minimum of 40 hours of instrument flying. This can be done in a variety of aircraft, including single-engine and multiengine airplanes, as well as helicopters.
If you already have your private pilot certificate, the cost to add an instrument rating will be less since you will only need to complete the practical test (check ride) at the end of your training.
The most common aircraft used to complete instrument flight time is a single-engine airplane. This can be either rented or borrowed from friends and/or family, depending on what you have available in your area. However, if you are looking for an economical way to get an instrument rating this could work best for you.
If you are looking for a more luxurious way to complete your instrument rating, renting a high-performance aircraft can be a great option. This will obviously cost more than using a single-engine airplane, but the experience and training you receive will be top-notch.
No matter what path you choose to get your instrument rating, make sure you do your research and find a reputable flight school. The last thing you want is to spend your hard-earned money on a program that isn't going to provide you with the training you need.
So, what's the bottom line? The average cost to get an instrument rating is $7,000 to $9,000, but the cost can vary depending on what aircraft you use during training and where it is located.
Multi-Engine Rating Cost
The next key rating that you want to obtain is a multi-engine rating. Up until this point, you’ve likely only flown single-engine aircraft, especially if you’ve bought an affordable plane for yourself to fly at your own pleasure. But to take the next step in your career, you’ll need to be certified to fly bigger, more advanced multi-engine airplanes, such as commercial airliners and private jets.
Like most other licenses and certificates on this list, the price of obtaining a multi-engine rating depends on a number of things. You’ll have to pay for books and materials to study and learn everything you need about multi-engine airplanes. And, as expected, you’ll also have to pay for a flight instructor and the FAA examiner fee.
All said and done, you should expect to pay somewhere between $2,000 and $6,000 to get your multi-engine rating. The costs just keep racking up!
Commercial Pilot License Cost
If you want to become a commercial pilot, the cost of a commercial license is an important consideration for anyone wanting to pursue this career. A private pilot license (PPL) typically costs $7,500 – $10,000 and must be obtained before you can even begin training towards your Commercial Pilot Certificate; which are oftentimes required as part or all of obtaining a job in aviation.
After you get your PPL, the next thing you need to do en route to obtaining your Commercial Pilot Certificate is to get both an instrument rating and a multi-engine rating (ME), which we just discussed above This is necessary because almost all commercial aircraft, especially if you want to become a commercial pilot and fly with the top airlines in the world, have multiple engines and require you to fly using Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).
Once you have your PPL, instrument, and ME rating, you should be able to complete all of the other training necessary so that you can earn your Commercial Pilot Certificate. In total, you can expect this to cost around $30,000 to $40,000 or so.
Certified Flight Instructor Certificate Cost
Costs will vary depending on the type of training, but you can expect to pay upwards of around $5,000 to $10,000 to get a CFI certificate. There are some significant costs involved in getting an FAA pilot’s license so it is important that all pilots understand what they should be spending their hard-earned money on.
The first thing you need to know is that the FAA divides ratings into two types: Recreational and Commercial. The recreational or private certificate costs less than a commercial license but does not allow for paid flights, which may limit your ability to make money with it later on in life. A CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) rating is a critical step on the path to furthering your career beyond becoming a commercial pilot and typically costs around $5,000 to $10,000.
What Additional Costs Are Involved In Getting A Pilot’s License?
The biggest cost of getting a pilot’s license typically comes from the flight time itself and the flying training portion of the process. But even though that’s where most of your money goes, there are some other things that will require you to pay some extra costs and fees as well. Let’s take a look at some of those lesser thought about costs of getting a pilot’s license so you’re not surprised when you are faced with a bill!
Pilot Medical & Written Exam Fees
There are other costs to consider when getting your pilot's license. For example, there is a cost for the medical exam required by the FAA. This exam can range from $100-$500 depending on where you live and what type of health insurance you have. In addition, there is a written test fee that ranges from $85-$150. So before you start down the path of becoming a pilot, be sure to factor in all of the associated costs!
Ground School Costs
While not always a necessary requirement, ground school can be extremely beneficial for those looking to get their pilot's license. These classes typically run you about $300 to $500 depending on the school you attend, the time of year, and your location.
Check Ride Fees
There are a number of different types of flights you can go on during the course of your training. The most common type is called an “instrument flight rules" check ride, which makes up roughly ¾ of all test rides given. These checks usually cost $250 to $650 per ride and require at least one pilot to be present in order for the check to commence.
Pilot Gear & Supplies Cost
Before you start flying, you want to make sure you have all the proper gear and accessories necessary to set yourself up for success. This is important not only for the check rides and exams — during which you don’t want to be worried about anything but passing — but it’s also important every time you fly. Staying warm and comfortable is essential for always being at the controls.
This is worth noting because, at the high altitudes and speeds that planes fly at, even small airplanes that you might buy for yourself, the temperatures get cold! In the layer of the atmosphere that planes fly in, you can quickly get cold if you’re not prepared for it. Here are some of the main pieces of gear that you want to buy.
These are helpful when taking off because they give you something comfortable to lean against while using both hands at once; however, if worn all of the time, they can become uncomfortable after a while. Most people do not use them outside of takeoffs/landings.
I put these on my hands and legs while flying to keep them warm, especially when it is cold or if the plane has poor ventilation. They can be found at most pharmacies, Wal-Mart, etc. Sit comfortably in your seat with a hand warmer between your knees or thighs for maximum warmth! These are great because they won't interfere with anything once you take off - something that would not be possible wearing long pants (see above). Also, make sure you wear gloves underneath as well; this will trap heat against your skin even better than by itself.
Padded Gloves/Glove Liners
When taking off/landing you want to have all of the feelings in your fingers so you might need to adjust the throttle or landing gear during takeoff/landing. It is best to have a good pair of gloves that are actually made for flying, but in a pinch, regular winter gloves should be fine as long as they aren't too bulky (you want freedom of movement).
These can get pricey ranging from $60-$150+ depending on what kind you choose and whether it includes extra features like zippers. You will only need one if you plan on doing spins with your instructor though so don't worry about getting this until then!
Pants & Shoes
This really depends on the weather where you live; pants with thick soles work better when it rains because there isn't anything between your feet and pedals — shoes can get wet and slippery.