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Learning to Fly: Smart Ways to Pay

Posted by on June 5, 2008 1 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog

For many people who want to learn how to fly, overcoming the financial hurdle is perhaps their biggest obstacle. But there are ways to minimize the costs. Here are some practical suggestions from aviation.com and Fred Simonds.

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1 Comment

  1. LTCTerry on Dec 13, 2012

    The “read more” link takes you to a 404 Page. Why pay when you can get someone to pay you? Here’s a crazy idea that I posted earlier today on another askacfi page…


    Here’s how I would suggest someone who’s really committed to a flying career start out to save money.

    Get a Private PIlot Glider certificate. Get a Commercial Pilot Glider certificate. Give rides for pay at a glider facility. You are now a working commercial pilot. Get a CFIG ticket and instruct. You are now a working instructor.

    Add on a Private Pilot ASEL. No tax credits here. Add on Commercial ASEL. Because you are already a working commercial pilot, this is an expansion of something you are already doing and it’s tax deductible. Add on a CFI (A). Because you are already a working flight instructor, the add-on training is deductible. If you do the commercial and CFI training “simultaneously” you can do all the flying in the right seat, take the commercial check ride one day and the CFI (A) add-on a day or two later.

    Much of the experience/flight time required by the FARs can be gained in an “aircraft” rather than in an “airplane.”

    I know it sounds crazy, but you can be a working flight instructor with 25 hours of glider time and 100 flights. Someone else is paying for almost all of your time building.

    If you were to join the CAP as a Cadet, there are opportunities for subsidized glider flying (essentially trading time for cheaper flying). There are several week-long glider camps each year, too. Senior Members are also eligible for flight instruction in CAP gliders.

    Solo a glider at 14. Glider Private at 16. Glider Commercial at 18, CFIG right after that. Add on power ratings during the first couple years in college. Work as a CFI (A) the last couple years. You’d be well ahead of any competition in terms of experience and years as a pilot.

    A CFIG can also be a light sport instructor with whatever conversion training is required – without a power commercial ticket.

    Do you really want to fly as cheaply as possible and have someone else pickup the tab as soon as possible? I know it’s a crazy idea, but for people in many parts of the country I think it would work well.


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