How Much Does It Cost To Become A Pilot – [ Financing Flying ]

SOUTHAFRICAPPL- How Much Does It Cost To Become A Pilot Financing Flying

Are you curious about the cost of pilot training? Let’s break it down, especially if you want to become a pilot for an airline.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the money you’ll need to become a commercial pilot. This is part of our How to Become a Pilot guide, where you can learn all about starting a career in aviation.

Why Listen To Me?

I’ve been where you are. Once, I didn’t know how much it cost to become a pilot or how to pay for it. Now, more than 10 years later, with over 4,500 hours of flying an Airbus A320, I have insights that can help you achieve your dream of flying professionally. I’ll cover different things, from what affects the overall training cost to how you can pay for it.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Pilot?

When it comes to the cost of pilot training, it varies based on the kind of pilot you aim to become. If you’re looking to obtain a Private Pilot’s License (PPL), the expenses are much lower compared to the requirements for becoming an airline pilot.

For an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), which is necessary for flying with major airlines (note that the number of flight hours required may differ between the USA and the UK/Europe), you should budget somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000.

In Europe and the UK, training to become an airline pilot usually costs between £60,000 and £100,000 (which is about the same in Euros).

Remember, the faster you finish your flight training, the more it’s likely to cost.

In simple terms, becoming a commercial pilot is a big investment, and it can cost tens of thousands of dollars for student pilots.

Accelerated Pilot Training In America – FAA Certified

In the United States, there are special programs for people who want to become pilots faster. These programs are called Accelerated Airline Pilot Track (AAPT) courses. They are a bit different from the ones in the UK and Europe. Some flight schools say they can make you a pilot in 12 months, but it usually takes longer to be ready for your first job with a regional airline.

In the US, people who want to be pilots have to get 1500 hours of flight time before they can work for regional airlines. Students in the US usually finish their flight training and get a Commercial Pilots Certificate in about 12 months. This training often involves flying single-engine planes, but sometimes they also learn to fly multi-engine planes.

After this, they work to become Certified Flight Instructors (CFI). As CFIs, they keep flying and get paid for it while they build up the 1500 hours they need for a regional airline job. During this time, they might also get a Multi-Engine Rating and maybe an Instrument Rating.

Some programs promise to finish the training in 7 months, but they usually cost more, around $90,000 or even more. So, becoming a pilot in America can be expensive.

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Know Exactly What’s Included And What Certificates You Will Qualify With

When you’re thinking about the cost of becoming a pilot, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into. No one likes surprises later. Different flight schools offer different things in their fast-track flight training courses. Some even go the extra mile by providing instructor qualifications and job opportunities after you finish the course. It’s a good idea to check what’s included in these programs so you understand what you’re signing up for.

Here’s a list of certifications you should look for in a complete pilot training program:

Private Pilot Certificate (PPL): This lets you be the pilot in charge of a small aircraft. It’s your first step in the world of flying.

Instrument Rating: This certification is really important for flying safely, especially when the weather is bad. It helps you navigate using instruments rather than just looking outside.

Commercial Pilot Certificate/Commercial Pilot License: With this, you can get paid to fly as the pilot in charge of a single-engine aircraft. It’s your entry into the world of professional aviation.

CFI and CFII: A Flight Instructor Single-Engine Certificate lets you teach people who want to be pilots on single-engine aircraft. It’s a step toward reaching the 1500 flight hours required and getting paid for your skills.

Multi-Engine Rating: This qualification lets you fly multi-engine aircraft, which broadens your abilities as a pilot.

Becoming a Pilot in the UK and Europe – How Much Does It Cost?

When you’re thinking about becoming a pilot in the UK and Europe, one common path is the Integrated scheme. This training typically takes around 18 months and costs between £70,000 to £95,000.

From My Personal Experience

I can share my own journey to give you an example. I spent a total of £130,000 on my pilot training. This covered £100,000 for flight training and living expenses, with an extra £30,000 for my Type Rating, which is like a license to fly a specific type of aircraft, in my case, the Airbus A320. It’s a big investment, but the rewards are worth it.
So, now you have a better idea of the costs involved in becoming a pilot in the UK and Europe.

Modular Pilot Training – Slightly Cheaper?

If you want to become a pilot without straining your budget, you can consider modular training. This approach involves training in stages, so you can work and earn money while you train. It’s a practical and more budget-friendly way to achieve your dream of becoming a pilot compared to the integrated or accelerated schemes.

Financing for Flight Training – How To Pay For Pilot Training

We’ve already talked about how much it costs to become a pilot. Now, let’s figure out how to pay for it.

First, I’m not a money expert, so do your research before you start pilot training. But I’m here to help you find the right path to get the money you need.

If you have enough money to pay for pilot training without any worries, great! You can skip this part. But for most of us, finding the money to cover the high costs is a big deal.

Flight Schools Are Just Businesses

You might be wondering about the cost and how to pay for flight school. You’re not alone. Many people ask, “How can I afford flight school?”

Flight schools know that their programs are expensive. They usually have financial experts who can answer your money questions. They want to help you make your pilot dreams come true because you’re their customer, and they want to keep you flying high.

The financial team at the flight school is a great source of information when it comes to paying for pilot training. They’re the ones to talk to about the details of financing.

You can also talk to your local bank and see if they can give you a loan with a reasonable interest rate. But not all banks are eager to give out pilot loans, so you might have different experiences with different banks. Some might be more helpful than others in this area.

Do You Need To Be Rich To Become A Pilot?

Becoming a pilot doesn’t mean you have to be super rich. You might be thinking, “Pilot training must be expensive and only for rich people,” but that’s not true.

In our pilot training class, we had people from different financial situations. Some, like me, had just finished school and didn’t have much money. Others had been working for a while and saved up for training. Some borrowed money, using their family’s property as a guarantee if they had enough equity.

A few were lucky to have financial help from their parents, often called the “bank of Mum and Dad.” The important thing to know is that you don’t need to be super rich to become a pilot – I definitely wasn’t.

However, if you borrow money for training, there’s usually something you need to provide as a guarantee for the loan. I understand this might not be the answer you were expecting regarding paying for training.

The good news is that there are different ways to get financial help, like loans or scholarships, to cover the costs of pilot training. The expenses can vary depending on the kind of license and program you choose. It’s crucial to do some research and compare these options before making a decision. So, becoming a pilot isn’t just for wealthy people; there are ways to make it work for everyone, no matter their financial situation.

Tailor-Made Aviation Financing Options For Pilot Training – How To Pay For Flight School

When you’re dreaming of becoming a pilot, one big question is, “How do I pay for flight school?” Getting the money for flight school can be made easier with special loans designed just for your pilot training. Some of the big flight schools offer these loans, and they often have good interest rates. You can also pay these loans off early without any extra charges.

Here’s the cool part: these loans might let you take a break from paying them back at the start. You could have up to two years before you have to make any loan payments. This is really helpful because it means you can focus on your training without stressing about paying back the loan when you’re not making a lot of money.

But remember, when you’re just starting as a pilot, you might not make a ton of money. So, you need to think about how you’ll handle repaying your loan in the beginning.

One important thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s money situation is different. I can’t give you exact advice for your situation, but I can help you get started. Start by looking into flight schools that match your goals. Then, get in touch with them and ask about how you can pay for your training. They might have special money plans just for their students.

In the end, your journey to becoming a pilot might need some money planning and research. But with the right ways to pay for it and some smart thinking, you can soar into the sky and chase your dream.

Airline Sponsored Pilot Training

Becoming a pilot can cost a lot of money, but some airlines might help you pay for your training. In the UK and Europe, there are programs like British Airways and Virgin’s future pilot programs (as of May 2023, they might not be open anymore) that used to offer to pay for your pilot training.

In recent years, there hasn’t been enough pilots, especially in the USA. This has led to more of these sponsorship programs. One example is Tui’s MPL program for people in the UK and Europe. Tui helps train certain people and makes the training fit what the airline needs. In return, those people agree to work for the airline for a few years. If they leave before this time is up, they might have to pay back the training costs.

At the beginning, you might earn less money to make up for the training costs, but it can be a smart choice, especially because of high loan interest rates right now. These programs are very competitive, so if you’re eligible, it’s important to apply early and do your best.

These airline-sponsored programs are a great way to become a pilot without having to pay a lot for your training.

Student Loans/Finance To Become A Pilot?

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When you’re thinking about how much it costs to become a pilot, it’s important to look at how you can get the money to pay for flight school. You might be wondering how to pay for flight training, and the good news is there are different ways to do it.

In the United States, there are special loans for students who want to become pilots. A well-known place called L3 Harris offers these loans for pilot training. You can go to their website to find information about loans for FAA pilot training. These loans can really help you pay for your pilot training.

If you’re in the UK or Europe, they have some plans too. I was one of the first people in the world to get a degree in Professional Aviation Pilot Practices, which qualified me for a student loan. These loans often have higher interest rates, and I’m still paying mine off. But this financial help made it possible for me to get the money I needed for my training.

Nowadays, many universities have similar programs, like the University of Central Lancashire and Middlesex University, among others. What’s great about these courses is that they are all online, and they are designed to match airline flight training. So you don’t have to go to physical classes.

Checking out these options for student loans can really help with your money worries when you’re thinking about how much it costs to become a pilot. It’s a good idea to think about this as you chase your dream of flying in the sky

Private Pilot License Cost

Let’s talk about how much it costs to become a private pilot. To get a private pilot certificate, you need to go to flight school, but the cost can vary depending on where you are, the kind of plane you use for training, and how many hours you need to fly.

Usually, people who want to be private pilots need to fly for about 40 to 60 hours, and each hour of flying lessons usually costs between $100 and $200. But there are other expenses to think about, like fees for classes on the ground, test fees, costs for medical check-ups, school fees, and buying pilot gear like headsets. These extra costs add up to the total.

If you’re looking for a more affordable way to become a pilot, you can choose a modular course. This type of training lets you learn in smaller parts, and you can work and earn money in between. It’s a budget-friendly option compared to the integrated/accelerated training.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

If you want to become a pilot in the UK, one way is to go through an Integrated training program. This usually costs between £70,000 and £95,000 and takes around 18 months.

To start pilot training, most flight schools ask for basic qualifications like GCSEs, which cover subjects like math, English, and science. While you don’t have to have A Levels or similar qualifications, having them can be a plus. Things like Physics and Math A Levels can give you an advantage, even though they’re not necessary.

Affordable Pilot Training Option: If you’re looking for a more affordable way to become a pilot, you can choose a modular course. This type of training lets you learn in smaller parts, and you can work and earn money in between. It’s a budget-friendly option compared to the integrated/accelerated training.

To pay for your pilot training, you might need a loan from a bank or a specialized lender. Some larger flight schools have their loan programs. Another option is to enroll in a BSc Honours degree program to get student loans for financial help.

At easyJet, Captains can earn about £115,000 every year. They may also receive a bonus of 5% to 15% based on how long they’ve been working. On top of this, they get around £35 for each hour of flying, which adds up to approximately £150,000 annually. First Officers at easyJet can expect salaries ranging from £40,000 to £75,000 annually, with an extra £25 an hour for flying.

If you go for the Integrated training program, you can finish your pilot training in just 18 months. Some people have gone from having no flying experience to piloting easyJet passengers in as little as 23 months.

To gather 1500 flight hours, you have options. You can work as a flight instructor, making around $25 to $45 per hour, and build your hours while getting paid. If you choose to accumulate these hours privately, it may cost at least $7,000.


Now, you have an idea of how much it can cost to become a private pilot. If you have more questions or need more information about the expenses, you can get in touch with me (you’ll find my contact details on the website’s ‘contact’ page).

We hope this article was useful and gave you a clear picture of the money you’ll need to become a private pilot.

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