Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck During Flight Training – Part 1

22 January 2018   |  Updated on February 05, 2024

Lets face it, flying is not cheap. It seems like everything about it is expensive. My father told me when he was doing his initial training in a Cessna 150 in the late 1970s he was paying $17 an hour rental, including fuel!

These days you will be hard pressed to find that deal in most metropolitan areas for under $85! Plus cost for instructor, headset, books, medical, other equipment, etc, and before you know it you are looking at a massive amount of money even to just do your initial training.

So how can you streamline and get the most bang for your buck when it comes to flight training? Here are two of my personal tips for making the most of your money.

1) Buy In Bulk
This is the same concept that you see when you go to Sam’s or Costco – when you buy more quantity at a time, the overall price percentage goes down. Many FBOs and flight schools offer what is called block rates, where instead of paying for rental per hour you pay for a block of hours (lets say 10 hours) and you get a discount on price per hour. In addition, many places (especially your smaller mom and pop types) will usually be more than happy to work out arrangements with you. Remember – whatever it is, it can’t hurt to ask. But even still, as attractive as that is, many of us are simply not able to put down a chunk of money. What is another valuable thing?

2) Study Your Butt Off
I’m serious and cannot stress enough how valuable this is. Remember this statement – The Airplane Is A Terrible Classroom. Do not wait until your lesson to learn something. You should be studying in advance for the next lesson, and then using the time in the air to demonstrate what you have learned at home. Any time you spend studying is FREE. And the more time you spend studying, the more quickly you will make advancement, therefore making the total cost of instruction so much cheaper. I promise.

If you go home and study what will be covered in your next lesson, when that lesson arrives instead of having to learn in a loud, fast paced, environment where you have dozens of things to juggle – you will have already gone over all that information in the comfort of your couch in your home and it will be firmly rooted in your mind. You will be able to focus instead on applying what you have already learned to the real world and demonstrating it. Every hour you spend studying (for free) will save you multiple hours in the air (which is not free). We all have heard those stories about the pilots who took 90 hours to get their PPL, and I would be willing to guarantee 90% of the time it was because they did not spend enough time studying and preparing for each lesson.

On the other end, we hear these “fairytales” about the pilots who pass their checkride right at the bare legal minimum – and that does happen. Again, I would be willing to bet that the reason they were able to manage that was because they spent hours and hours with their nose planted in books, watching videos, practicing their maneuvers and checklists at home on the couch, at their desk, in the car. The bottom line is, the more time you are willing to spend immersing yourself (for free) the more money it will save you in the areas where dollars per hour are not as easily manipulated.

Keep a lookout for part 2 of this series coming soon.

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