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3 Answers

Light Sport certificate training.

Asked by: 4738 views Flight Instructor, Light Sport Aircraft, Student Pilot

I have 22 hours logged in a Ikarus C42 100hp 912S. I have completed my 1st. Solo flight and 1 cross country with the instructor. I financed my training with Pilot Finance. (Great people to work with.) I logged 22 hours and my funds were used up to the tune of almost $6000.00.

I,m angry and have a bad taste in my mouth so to speek at being taken advantage of. Not being able to finish my training with so little to go. I was quoted $3900.00 to finish with 15 hours of ground training. I have passed my written with a 98%. Why would they want to charge me 15 hours of ground and have been charging me for over extended post flight and pre flight time to the tune of 1000 dollars. Is it common for a flight school to charge so much and tell me that I have to have the ground or they wont work with me. That I do it there way or no way.

Can I change to a different Flight school flying a different light sport and have my current experience count. Would I have to start all over again becomming profecient in the new aircraft? Costing me even more. Its becomming aparent to me that trying to realize my dream is being ripped away from me because of the cost. But now I have to finish and finish fast at the risk of not being current or loseing the skill that I have but yet I'm out of money.

My dream is to buy and build a Sonex experimantal and enjoy flying. Is it a common practice for a flight school tell a student that they will be able to achieve a sport certificate with x amount of dollars and then charge 2 times the amount. Pluss hold them nearly hostage having to finish up because of a type and model of aircraft. I am frustrated as I do not make a lot of money to throw around. What is the best way to finish? Go ahead and pay the cost to finish at the present school of go to another? I think $9000.00 for a Sport Certificate is a rip off. Perhaps its not. perhaps the advertisers for the $3100.00 sport cartificate are liers too. I have King schools complete private course that I have educated myself including the check ride prep course. I have 2 phases of the FAA Wings so safety is number one with me. I can answer most sport pilot question that is thrown at me by an examinar to sport standards with confidence. HELP!!!!

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3 Answers



  1. Brian on Sep 12, 2010

    “What is the best way to finish?”

    Hi Ken. Unfortunately you are not alone in your experiences. Schools don’t lie to you, they tell you what you are required to get. However, they often skirt around the subject of average completion times and the true cost of training.

    Changing Schools

    Switching schools is ultimately a decision only you can make. I would at least explore the option. You seem like a disciplined guy, so go out and spend a Saturday afternoon at another flight school. Talk to the instructors there and see who you get along with and take it from there.

    Training Costs

    As for the average cost of training, average hours should be considered and then cost can be computed based on aircraft and instructor costs. For a private pilot certificate, the average is 50-80 hours depending on source. Since the FAA designed the sport ticket to be half the time of a private, I’ll just assume the average for sport is 25-40 hours.

    To give a single number to each, let’s say 60 hours for private and 30 hours for sport. I tell students to assume ground time equal to flight time. So 60 hours of flight is 120 hours of instructor time (60 ground 60 in flight). Find out the costs and the math is simple multiplication. This does not include ground schooling (typically you can find a 15 week classes for under 100 dollars) or any overages.

    Note that solo time is ignored in these calculations. In other words, 10 or more extra hours of instructor time is calculated for even though you won’t use it when you are solo. This is an intentional fudge factor.

    Example: Cessna 172 for 100/hr and instructor for 40/hr. Private pilot rating: 60 hours.

    Ground time: 120 * 40 = $4800
    Flight time: 60 * 100 = $6000
    Total cost: 6000 + 4800 = $10,800

    So no, I don’t think a sport rating should cost 9,000.

    Hope this helps.

    ~Brian

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  2. Eric Gideon on Sep 13, 2010

    Ken, sounds like a horror story, unfortunately way too common. I can’t address the light sport side of it, as I’m a normal category instructor, but I can address something else.

    Your written score is excellent, but 15 hours of ground in preparation for a checkride is by no means outrageous. You could very well pass the written and then fail the practical if you aren’t adequately prepared, and then you’re out the $350-$400 most checkrides cost (which is probably nearly 8-10 hours of instruction). Ground is an important part of your training, as unpleasant as that sounds to your pocketbook.

    You also mention “over extended post flight and pre flight time” – what exactly do you mean? Are you spending 15 minutes in a preflight brief or postflight debrief, and being billed for 30 minutes? Or are you frustrated at the instructor billing for the time they spend with you?

    It obviously depends on the situation, but if you’re spending time with the instructor, they’re perfectly entitled to bill you for it. On the other hand, if you’re upset with the instructor’s method of billing, you are perfectly entitled to complain. I’ve had students call me on what they felt was inaccurate billing, but we came to an agreement when I explained that I actually run a timer on my phone and track only the contact time we spend.

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  3. Brad Broersma on Oct 21, 2010

    Ken,
    Didn’t you sign a Flight training agreement with the school? Pilot Finance makes all schools sign one before the will release you money. I would demand to see a copy and figure out where your money went. The most you should have spent for 22 hrs of flight time should only be around $3000. Not $6000.

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