Saving money on flight training!

S.T.Aviator

Well-Known Member
The purpose of this thread is to brainstorm and come up with ideas to save money on the ever increasing cost of flight training. If you have any ideas or tips please share them here so that this knowledge can be dispersed to those who may need it. Thank you :)




1) Join a flying club.
-The rates are typically lower than the fbo's in the area and
lot of clubs use tach time rather than hobbs. This can add
up to substantial savings especially during taxing and airwork
when you will be in the lower RPM range. 1 Tach= 1.2 Hobbs
-You will be named on the insurance policy resulting in a very
low deductible and negating the need for renters insurance.
-Most clubs have a 1hr per day cross country
minimum.
-You pay the instructor directly and they get 100% of the
pay resulting in a happier CFI/II/MEI that will most likely give
you great service.
-Nice variety of aircraft to choose from
-Link to a website listing flying clubs by State:

http://flying-club.org/fc/default.htm


2) Split time. Log safety pilot time during commercial buildup.


3) Chair fly. Use a cockpit poster and go through emergency procedures
etc..


4) Use a sim at home to practice instrument procedures.


5) Be thoroughly prepared for every flight so your instructor does not
have to waste time teaching you stuff that you should already know if
you did your hmwk.


6) Fly at least every other day so you don't have to re-learn lessons.


7) Knock the writtens for each rating off before beginning the flight
portion.


8) Your tips please...
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
Don't be afraid to talk to, and possibly switch, instructors if you don't think you're getting your money's worth. Just because you're doing everything right doesn't mean your instructor is perfect. They need to be prepared, follow a syllabus, brief and debrief every flight, etc.
 

Sheblerep

New Member
I hate to say it. Get someone else to pay for it. There are a lot of flight schools in the country that will help pay for your ratings if you work for them with some form of logevity agreement.

The most I ever heard of was a girl from California. She talked to a flight school out there and the flight school paid for her to come here, finish her commercial ASEL and finish her CFI. After that, she went back to work for them, building the experience on someone elses dime.

If that isn't an option, get a QUOTE from a flight school, such as Sheble's, that completes things with a flat rate. The term quote is important. The average flight schools probably won't give you one and freelance instructors won't either. Once you have a flat rate, you know exactly how much to take out in a student loan or a home equity loan (What I did personally) and you have a strong guarentee that you will get completed for that cost.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
I hate to say it. Get someone else to pay for it. There are a lot of flight schools in the country that will help pay for your ratings if you work for them with some form of logevity agreement.

The most I ever heard of was a girl from California. She talked to a flight school out there and the flight school paid for her to come here, finish her commercial ASEL and finish her CFI. After that, she went back to work for them, building the experience on someone elses dime.
I'm curious, how much was the girl paid after completing her training at the school?

My first instinct is to say it's some kind of scam. A school might normally pay an instructor $25k/year, but then they find a potential instructor who is willing to work for $10k/year if she gets $5k worth of flight training for free. This would effectively save the school $10k/year. I hope I'm wrong, but it wouldn't surprise me if this type of setup existed.

If that isn't an option, get a QUOTE from a flight school, such as Sheble's, that completes things with a flat rate. The term quote is important. The average flight schools probably won't give you one and freelance instructors won't either. Once you have a flat rate, you know exactly how much to take out in a student loan or a home equity loan (What I did personally) and you have a strong guarentee that you will get completed for that cost.
A word of caution: "Guarantee" and "flying" don't go well together in the same sentence. I've been doing this for four years and I have yet to see a flight school truly guarantee anything. It would be business suicide to do so. Imagine if a school guaranteed a particular certificate or rating for X dollars, then the client is a complete goof who can't fly their way out of a wet paper bag. The school could literally lose thousands. I'd be skeptical of any school that uses the word "guarantee" in their marketing. There must be something, somewhere in the fine print, that keeps them from losing money.

Now, package deals are fine. I've seen schools say a particular rating is X dollars that includes a certain amount of flight hours, with additional hours billed out at a certain rate if needed. Nothing wrong with that. But that's not a guarantee, and it's important to understand the difference.
 

S.T.Aviator

Well-Known Member
Mazzei Flying Services in Fresno, CA used to have a course completion gaurantee and I noticed they got rid of it recently. I believe they had a lot of problems honoring their promise.
 

EDUC8-or

Well-Known Member
1) Join a flying club.
-The rates are typically lower than the fbo's in the area and
lot of clubs use tach time rather than hobbs. This can add
up to substantial savings especially during taxing and airwork
when you will be in the lower RPM range. 1 Tach= 1.2 Hobbs
-You will be named on the insurance policy resulting in a very
low deductible and negating the need for renters insurance.
-Most clubs have a 1hr per day cross country
minimum.
-You pay the instructor directly and they get 100% of the
pay resulting in a happier CFI/II/MEI that will most likely give
you great service.
-Nice variety of aircraft to choose from
-Link to a website listing flying clubs by State:

http://flying-club.org/fc/default.htm


Sure, why not.

2) Split time. Log safety pilot time during commercial buildup.

That would work, don't go overboard though.


3) Chair fly. Use a cockpit poster and go through emergency procedures
etc..

Works well

4) Use a sim at home to practice instrument procedures.

You could use MS Flight Sim or On Top

5) Be thoroughly prepared for every flight so your instructor does not
have to waste time teaching you stuff that you should already know if
you did your hmwk.

ABSOLUTELY!

6) Fly at least every other day so you don't have to re-learn lessons.

Or at least 2-3 times a week

7) Knock the writtens for each rating off before beginning the flight
portion.

I'm not sure how much money that would save, but as long as you don't let them expire that shouldn't be a problem

8) Your tips please...
I used an AOPA credit card and got 5% off, also I finished my CFI and got a job instructing before any multi training and received a 15% employee discount for a total of 20%.
 

Nihon_Ni

Well-Known Member
I disagree with a few of the above ideas.

I don't think it's important to have your written tests done prior to starting flight training (for any rating). I think a better idea is to sit down with your instructor and determine where in your training the test should be completed. For student pilots, I want them to have their test completed by the time they are ready for solo cross-country flights. Having the test done prior to starting training isn't a bad idea, but pilots can learn more if they study for the test while they are in the early stages of flight training. Integrated training is best in my book.

For people who have a full-time job, I think flying twice a week is optimal in most cases. Flying every other day is fine for someone with a lot of time on their hands, but in my experience it's too much for most people. You do want to fly frequently enough that you don't spend too much time reviewing old material, but you don't want to fly so often that you don't have time to prepare for each flight.

I also don't think a quote is all that good of a deal for the average person. Think of it this way, if you were in business selling training for a flat fee, then you'd have to have a package where most people could complete the training within the quoted time. Anyone who needs more time than that represents a loss, while people who can finish quicker represent profit. Therefore you'd give a quote so that maybe 80% of students can finish within that time or less. Since the average person can complete this training under the time required, they'd probably be better off paying as they go instead of using a package deal. (ATP, for example, has add-on courses where they offer "up tp 10 hrs" of flight training. They don't give you that time unless you need it all, what they do is give you the training you need, which might be 10% short of the quoted limit. They market the ticket, not the flight time.) Having said that, there are good deals out there and reasons why they are worth while. Schools that generate a high volume can give discount pricing even when it's packaged for the 80th percentile.

I also think you should make sure your CFI is the best fit for you. I tell all my students on day 1 that hiring me should be like a job interview. I offer a service and it's up to them to decide if they like my service or not. I try to mold myself to the learning demands of each student, but I can only change so much. Most CFIs teach the way that they learn, and not everyone learns the same way. If I can't teach you the way that you learn, then you need to find someone who does. I tell them that I expect some pilots to choose a different CFI, and just because the head CFI put us together doesn't mean we need to stick together if our styles of teaching & learing are incompatible (or we just don't like each other, or whatever). You're not friends with everyone, you just might not get along with your CFI. A CFI you like is the same price as one you don't like, but you'll get a lot more benefit from flying with one you like.


I think the best thing you can do to save money on flight training is to make it a priority in your life. If you show up prepared for every flight, learn as much as you can from every flight, and always have lessons scheduled several weeks in advance, you will move through training with ease.
 

Firebird2XC

Well-Known Member
Don't forget the scholarship route.

While few and far between, there are a few flight training grants and scholarships out there.

Research those angles.. check out places like fastweb.com.

Free money, is, after all, free money.

Also- don't fly shiny new places with all the whiz-bang avionics, etc. Those planes almost always cost more to fly because the owners are still paying down the note. The 20 or 30 year old Cessna with the bare-bones panel will teach you the same things about airmanship. If you're really seriously about time-building to the commercial level, this is the way to go.

Also- time build in smaller planes. I did my initial PPL in Cessna 152s. After that, I did some time building in them. Cheapest thing I could find to fly anywhere.

Here's another one- the multiengine overlap. Who says you need so many hours in single engine planes? YOU DON'T. Nobody has to fly to 250 hours in a single and THEN start their multi training. If you finish your multi training and then get the hack off on your Commercial ticket there, you've saved a ton of cash.

Not to mention the REAL kicker- avoid Complex single engine airplanes. Sure, it's a little less to mess with than a twin... but pretty much any given twin will be a Complex airplane as well. Checking that "Complex" time requirement block by flying a twin is also a big money saver.

Most people overlook that last one.. and most flight schools won't tell you about it. They're in the business of taking your money, after all.
 

Firebird2XC

Well-Known Member
I forgot one...

Don't buy the whiz-bang "Jeppesen Pilot Training Kits" and crap like that.

You don't need them. They're overpriced and full of what my first instructor called "Hog wash".

The FAA manuals are infinitely cheaper, more to the point, and contain all the same required information.

I think they're also available free on the FAA website in .PDF form.
 

mhcasey

Well-Known Member
  1. Wash airplanes
  2. Do whatever else they ask you to do - I always worked for whom I rented from and always had a discount.
  3. Make sure 2 is actually a good deal. The only job I've ever quit other than for relocation was at a flight school - I got $6/hr and a 10% discount for the 15hrs time I needed to finish my commercial, which amounted to ~ $175 over a few months. But then I realized I was giving up a lot of time and scrubbing toilets when I could be washing airplanes and making the money much quicker and in a much less humiliating manner.
  4. Network at said tasks.
  5. Join the military. But read this thread before you do: http://forums.jetcareers.com/military-pilots/77214-trying-fly-military.html
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
Also- don't fly shiny new places with all the whiz-bang avionics, etc. Those planes almost always cost more to fly because the owners are still paying down the note. The 20 or 30 year old Cessna with the bare-bones panel will teach you the same things about airmanship. If you're really seriously about time-building to the commercial level, this is the way to go.
I agree with you to a point, but I have to offer the other side of the coin to this. I've met people who are inherently opposed to new aircraft simply because they're new and therefore must be a waste of money. I disagree, and here's why...

I've seen a lot of flight schools that run raggedy old pieces of crap for their fleet and half the fleet is down for maintenance at any given time. Lost time during training oftentimes equates to lost dollars.

Also, there's a certain safety factor to think about. Now, I'm a guy who flies all over the country in a plane from 1946, so you can't accuse me of being elitist about the age of the aircraft I'm willing to fly. But because of my experience with old aircraft, I know that they have to be taken care of to be airworthy. I've seen more than one flight school plane from the '70s that if a wing separated in flight, it wouldn't surprise me all that much. Not to say new planes are perfect, but they've simply had less time for abuse and neglect to build up. Contrary to popular belief, just because a plane passes a 100 hour/annual inspection, doesn't mean it's airworthy.

And finally, comfort has to be considered as well. A 250 pound student is probably going to be really uncomfortable, and therefore not learn as well in an old 150 compared to a new 172.

So if a person can find a plane that's old, but very well maintained and comfortable, by all means go for it. Just don't blindly say "if it's old, it must be better."

Most people overlook that last one.. and most flight schools won't tell you about it. They're in the business of taking your money, after all.
You make all flight schools sound sleazy ;) I'd like to think there are still some ethics intact out there. Of course we're in the business of making money, but no more so than a plumber, doctor, computer tech, or any other business in the world.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
I forgot one...

Don't buy the whiz-bang "Jeppesen Pilot Training Kits" and crap like that.

You don't need them. They're overpriced and full of what my first instructor called "Hog wash".

The FAA manuals are infinitely cheaper, more to the point, and contain all the same required information.

I think they're also available free on the FAA website in .PDF form.
Again, not trying to be contrary, but a person has to look at the big picture for things like this. You're right, a person could piece together all their training materials for maybe $50. But if they spend $200 more on a good quality video course, syllabus, etc., how many flight hours will that shave off their training? How much less time will they have to spend with an instructor because they understand the material better thanks to an easy to follow video or textbook, as opposed to digging through PDFs on the FAA web site to learn everything they need to know?

It can work for some, but a lot of people simply aren't that organized or motivated. Just something to consider.
 

skydog

New Member
Also- time build in smaller planes. I did my initial PPL in Cessna 152s. After that, I did some time building in them. Cheapest thing I could find to fly anywhere.
I would slightly disagree on this point. Smaller airplanes are cheaper by the hour, but they also have less performance. That's fine if you are five foot nothing and weigh a buck and quarter. However if you are a typical or larger than average person, the money you save in hourly rental rates may be eaten up in the extra time needed to get to and from the practice area.

Also, while not really a money saver per se, don't look at flight training as one big task. Look at it as a bunch of small ones: ie, private, then instrument, then commercial, etc. Take time off in between ratings and save up some money.
 

ozone

Well-Known Member
having started my training with a part 141 school and then going to a few other schools while traveling (site seeing mostly, but i did get a VERY good tip on steep tunrs while interviewing for a job in NH), I can say that I am a LOT more comfortable with an up-to-date plane.

The plane i flew in Maryland (cessna 150), worked fine, but it was covered in corrosion, the fan belt was loose and things were a little wiggly. What i learned from that was that planes still fly when they looked like crap, but I would not want to take my family up in that heap.

In Summary: IMHO, sometimes paying a wee bit more is worth the peace of mind
 

Sheblerep

New Member
Just out of curiousity, how much would it cost at Sheble's to go from
0 to MEI?
The Sheble course from zero time to MEI costs $44,570.00 and includes:
192 Hours in C-172
15 Hours in C-172 RG or M-20B
16 Hours in BE-95
50 Hours of Sim time

The only additional costs would be for the examination fees which are $400.00 for all except the CFI, which is $500.00.

It's a very tight schedule and people have completed it in about 80 days. Yes, from zero time to MEI in 80 days.
 

little_cricket

Well-Known Member
I'll add that the fancier books do have some advantages, so if you can find them used or find somebody else, a study buddy to split the cost that saves a bit of money.

In addition, I would add to chair flying that if you can ride in the back of other people's lessons that will save money. But, you have to pay attention and not just sight see. Especially great for instrument and radio work. Also, you can see different instructors way of teaching that will help on certain subjects.
 
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