For those of you who have gone the FBO route, how much has it cost you?


New Member
First off, this is a great sight, with the most information I've seen anywhere on the net. Good job Doug! Ok, I have a few questions, if I'm starting from scratch, zero time, nothing, what would be the average cost to get a private, commercial, multi engine IFR, all the instructor ratings, plus all the extra costs for books, check rides, headsets, etc. I am figuring somewhere around 30,000, is that estimate too low. I allready have the degree, allthough it is in Journalism, not really related to aviation, lol. Also, I don't think I qualify for Sallie Mae, key loans, etc, if I'm not in school, is this right? I live and work in San Diego, and quitting my job and going to a full time academy is out of the question. Do I just go to Bank of America, Citibank, etc and take out a loan, as I would to buy a car, or are there loans specifically for aviation students who aren't in college? Ok, only a few more questions, I'm 28 now, and woud like to have all my ratings done in 2 years, but I can only fly at night and on the weekends because I work 9-5, is 2 years a realistic time frame for what I want to accomplish? Finally, any instructors on here from San Diego want a new student, or any recommendations on where to train. Plus One flyers seems ok, anybody on here a member there?


New Member
Two pvt ratings in the mid 90s was about 7500$ (me and wife) inst about 2000 more. ( owned our airplane for the inst instruction but not during pvt,)


Well-Known Member
The break down:

All prices include the checkride

at SNA all training in 152 execept commercial
pvt- $6000
intrument x-c requirement (50 hours)$2500
Com- $3500
hours split/flown to build for com $2000
IRA/COM Mulit add-on $2500
Flight Instructor-$4000
currently in training Flight Instructor IRA $1000


This was all done at a part 61 school from May 2001 to December 2002

So currently upto date:


New Member
Here's an approximate breakdown for me.

Private (no instructor charges) $2500.00
Instrument Pt. 141 $5500.00
Commercial Pt. 141 $5500.00
CFI Pt. 61 $3500.00
CFII Pt. 61 $800.00

I think two years is reasonable if you train continuously. You can get a Sallie Mae loan if the flight school is approved. Another option is a home equity loan if you own a house. I got my Private in the late 80's and my father was my CFI, so that cost is on the low end. I started flying again in 1999 working toward the Instr., Comm., and CFI. It took me about 6 mos for the Instrument, 6 mos for the Comm and about 1 month for the CFI. I haven't done any multi yet, but expect it to cost me about $5000.00 for ME and MEI. It took me about 20 months from starting the instrument rating to completing the CFI, but I had some breaks in my training. I too am married with children and I was working two jobs at the time, so I had to try to balance flight training with work, family, coaching soccer and everything else. I probably spent about $500.00 on books, I'm guessing, and I bought a better headset for about $550.00. I think $30,000 seems reasonable to go from start to finish, but you should have a plan in case you go over.

Good luck.


New Member
Watch out, now. Those prices are realistic, but the do depend on you being on the ball, totally dedicated to completing your ratings in as little time as possible, the weather cooperating, and you taking as many lessons per week as possible.

For people like me, who could only take four or five lessons per month (due to time and very very bad weather), the retention isn't nearly as good as it would have been with more frequent lessons. I estimate that I lost about 50% from each lesson. You cure that problem by flying frequently. I'm just about to go for the PPL checkride, and I've been flying MUCH more frequently, and I can honestly say that it helps to do so. Makes flying seem like a "regular thing to do."

Also, a loan might just be a good idea, becuase it takes the pressure off for the short term. Take out more than you need, so you don't feel pressure to hurry up due to finances.

Good luck!


New Member
Watch out, now. Those prices are realistic, but the do depend on you being on the ball, totally dedicated to completing your ratings in as little time as possible, the weather cooperating, and you taking as many lessons per week as possible.

[/ QUOTE ]

Good point I took lessons at he local FBO, 3-4 times a week (planned on one or two getting canx due to wx or aircraft problems) and was done in 2 1/2 months.


New Member
And then there are those of us that tried to work full time while doing the flight training. I think my flying costs have exceeded $60,000 spread out over 7 years.

Jedi Nein


Well-Known Member
In the Phoenix area:

Private: 9500.00 (mix of old and new 172's, D/C headset, books, check ride, 72 hours to complete)

Instrument: 11,500.00 (Part 61, including 40+ hours X-Country for PIC requirement, books, training, checkride)

Commercial: Probably around 8000.00 (more X-Country Requirements, Commercial manuevers, Complex A/C, checkride and books)

To finish up my CFI and CFII will take me to about (hope you are sitting down for this) 34,000.00. This does not include a multiengine rating and MEI.

It all depends on what part of the country you are in. This is about normal around here. To complete everything, I would probably plan on about 40,000.00. That is for everything. All fees, checkrides, etc. I imagine San Diego being much more in terms of cost of living issues, you may even be looking at a higher price. Check around though.

Also, you can get a Sallie Mae Loan. I did. It is a Career Loan and is more liberal than the standard college loans. Higher interest though. Good luck.


I figure I've paid around $100 / hr average (with and without instructors). At 200hrs (199.9 actually
) I've dished out approx 20 GRAND

...and I still have the commercial, multi, CFI, CFII to go

I'll probably have the commercial and CFI in under 350hrs.... putting the total at $35Gs or more before I start making money in this game.

Wouldn't change a thing though!


Well-Known Member
The planes where I fly are: (including fuel)

152: 60 per hr
172(older): 78 per hr
172SP: 105 per hr.
182T: 165 per hr.
Instructor: 42 per hr.

It all adds up very quickly. Especially when you want to take your wife on a cross country or two...SP was the only way to go.


New Member
$100 an hour with instructor is just killer. That's my stumbling block here... planes are damn cool. But $100 an hour? Jeebus, snorting crack is almost cheaper.

$100 An Hour!!! Crimeny that is $1.55 per minute. For crying out loud!!


Old Skool
I was enrolled at UND and westwind (in az) but cancelled both at the last second. I got everything at my local fbo(headset, checkrides, faa tests, ppl-cfi, and 2g still in my account) flying very well mantained aircraft in the midwest for a under 23g.


New Member
$100/hour is about average for single engine instruction. But once you get into Multi with an instructor, you are looking at more like $200/hr for both. It is the price we pay for having the best hobby/job/livelihood in the world, hands down. Someday, a lot of us at least, hope to be on the receving end of the money, not the giving end.

About your training: $30k may do it but getting locked up on a dollar amount may deter from your training. Something a lot of people forget to mention is that it depends on several factors: A/C flown, time spent on actually flying (all the time vs. every other week), weather, CFI changes, and most importantly: FLYING ABILITY . The schools can throw numbers at you but it really comes down to whether or not you can actually do what they say you must do in that amount of time. If you run into trouble with certain manuevers, they can put a major dent in your financial plan. At my school, I have seen people go through with the same circumstances (same Wx, aircraft, CFI's, etc) but have spent DOUBLE the money because they were having skill problems.

Keep an open mind, do your best every flight from pre flight all the way to the brief and your efforts will eventually pay off. Do your research on where you will actually get your ratings and ASK QUESTIONS.

Good luck!


Well-Known Member
I'm at about 7000 for PPL, and about $9000 for time building and IFR. Somewhere around there with about 185hrs TT now. I'm not keeping really close records now, as I figure I'm going to do through CFI no matter what. If you figure about $100hr average, and it'll be about 300hrs to CFI, you are at $30k. A lot of that is non-instruction time, so should be lower. If you really want the twin time, you can work it in to minimize costs.

Started flying Tomahawks, and from there to Warrior, 172, 235. Rates from $56-85hr and $30-35 for instruction.

One way to look at it. If you go 141. ATP has a $33k program, but that is AFTER you have already put out $5-10k for your private and their time requirements. And they do a lot of twin training. In other words, you shouldn't have a problem doing it cheaper than that locally if you stick with a good program, and keep it near what the minimums are.



Well-Known Member
Just under $5k for pvt., I am on pace to finish my IR at $6k (flying all 40hrs w/CFI, and no sim time) Of course I had some x/c time building in there. Some of the x/c we've picked up with my CFI during the IFR work, though. Oh, and I guess you can throw in $750 for my SES rating.

Doing it all at a Part 61 school. I will once I finish my IR have about 70 hours to rack up before I'll start in on the flight training portion of the Comm. Plan on doing a good chunk of that in one of two 150s at a small field close to my house - one goes for $44/hr block and the other $48. Plus a bit of flying in my usual Archer.



Well-Known Member
When it really starts to cost is when you weigh over 200lbs and so does the instructor. Good luck getting airborne in the summer in Phoenix. Then the 2 (was three until about 3 weeks ago (pilot and passengers are ok, but plane RIP)) older 172's are booked for flight training, so the only option is the new SP's at 105 per hour, add the 43 an hour for the instructor and .......ouch.

But the safety level is much better (for my piece of mind), the comfort level is higher and man do I like how they fly. I did do some cross country time in 152's though. Not bad for solo stuff. However, going into Las Vegas, I much prefer the new 180 hp plane. Just a preference...... I still am trying to get that training ride in the X but I won't hold me breath for long on that.... At least not yet....