Aug 19 2008

How Expensive is it to Learn to Fly?

Category: Lessons,RamblingsDaniel @ 6:04 am

As I’m nearing the end of my initial training journey, I figured I’d take a look back at what this whole endeavor is costing me.  Plus, all my friends and family keep asking: “How much does it cost to learn to fly?”  Well, here’s my answer!  Granted, I haven’t taken the test yet, so I’ve estimated the last few hours of flight training time (I hope I haven’t jinxed myself)…but here’s a solid picture of how much it cost me to learn to fly!

  1. 44 total hours of plane time.  My flight club rental rates are VERY inexpensive and this is probably the most variable part of the equation for anyone figuring out how much it would cost them to fly.  But, in my case (and I’ve flown various planes in the club), the average cost per hour of flight time is $52/hour.  That includes fuel.  Total cost = $2,288.
  2. 35 hours of instructor time.  That’s the ground instruction and time in the air with him.  He charges the fairly standard rate of $40/hr around Chicago.  Total cost = $1,400.
  3. Pilot reference book (Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge), FAR/AIM, sectionals, E6B calculator, plotter, and study guide for written test.  Total cost = $90.
  4. Headset.  Another huge variable cost, I bought a Flightcom 4DLX (Flightcom 4DLX Classic Style Headset), a solid starter set.  You can check out my review here.  Obviously you can save costs here if you buy something used – I bought new.  Total cost = $120.

Grand Total = $3,898.

So, there you have it!  I figure I’m probably on the low end of full training costs, but if anyone knows there individual costs, put them below.

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4 Responses to “How Expensive is it to Learn to Fly?”

  1. Todd says:

    You did a really great job of keeping your costs down. As you are seeing from your own experience student pilots can save a lot of money by completing there training in 40-50 hours compared to national averages of 65-70 hours.

    But, the biggest win for you has to be finding a place where you can get an average plane rental cost of $52/hour!

    Good luck with those last few hours!

  2. Evan Krueger says:

    Howdy Dan.
    I just switched to Westosha two weeks ago and love it. Not only for those insanely low costs but because of the nice group of people there. I’m flying with Dana and am having an awesome time with it. Thanks for the referral!!!

  3. b main says:

    Your figures are way off course and totally unrealistic. I just quit flying 1.8 hours short of completing my training because of having had 3 bad flight instructors and a bad cross country solo trip. I’ve invested 2 years and over $13,000 and the hemorrhage into the black hole known as flying stops now. Because of my bad experiences I have no interest in aviation anymore and will even refuse to fly commercial.

  4. Dan says:

    B Main,

    Well, my figures are 100% accurate for MY course of study. As I noted in the post, it is only indicative of MY situation, and I recognize it is certainly be on the cheaper side of things. I’m sorry to hear your costs are significantly higher…and I’m sorry to hear you’ve decided not to complete your training. I hope eventually you change your mind, because as for me, flying has been GREAT!

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