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How long it takes to become a Pilot.

Pilot License Costs Explained

How Much Does it Cost to Get Your Pilot License?

Love heights? Or traveling the world while earning a fantastic wage? You can achieve all these dreams straight out of high school. Or you may be considering a career change after many years of corporate America. Becoming a pilot is an easy career decision these days.

Leopard Aviation has success stories of graduating pilots, and within four years, the pilot is flying commercial jets making $125,000. Not many careers offer this even after a 4-year degree is earned. Not to mention, the time to earn your commercial pilot license is only 12-15 months, enabling you to find success much faster than your college-bound comrades; some students take longer depending on your personal learning abilities, schedule, and finances.

Though the good news is that Leopard Aviation has partnered with one of the best student pilot funding programs around. You may earn your pilot certificates and flight hours without needing to make loan payments until you are employed. Check out our student loan partnership program here.>>

Pilot Certificate Type & Cost:

How long does it take and what does it cost to get a license to fly commercially and be a professional?

Each of your pilot certificates will build onto the next one.  You will need 1,500 hours of flying to fly a commercial jet.  Your private pilot flight hours and instrument rating hours will contribute to the total hours in your flight log that are necessary to earn your commercial license.  You can get much of this time by buying it — IE by renting a plane.  The cost to rent a small single engine plane varies between schools and the time of year, but you can expect hourly rates ranging between $189 – $225 an hour to rent a plane and you can share that costs 50/50 with another pilot.  That is called “time building”.

But, most pilots don’t do that.  They get an additional license and they teach flying; it’s called a Certified Flight Instructor license (CFI).

Private Pilot License: 40 minimum hours required (Usually, most people take 60-75 hours to finish); Plus, you will need 10-20 hours of ground school.
Instrument Rating:  25 hours required (Usually takes 35-45 hours); 10-15 hours ground school
Commercial Pilot License: 250 minimum hours required (115 hours with an instructor), but most of the hours you acquired for the Private Pilot and Instrument will apply to this.
Multi-Engine Rating: No minimum requirement, but you can expect 10-15 hours to get your endorsement.

The good news is that once you have your private pilot license, you can rent the plane and share rides with another private pilot working on their commercial license. The average cost to rent a plane with fuel is $189, so each student now is only responsible for $94.50 an hour to earn the rest of their hours.

This means your commercial pilot license would cost between $55,000 and $65,000. The remaining required hours to fly a commercial jet plane is best acquired by getting your CFI license and getting paid while you are accumulating your 1,500 minimum hours.

That time as a CFI can vary but most people get their total 1500 hours in 12-15 months as a CFI.  A CFI license is probably going to cost another $6,500 to $7,000.

Our lenders may lend you all the money to get all of these licenses.  Get your financing today and don’t start paying back until you’ve got your first job as a pilot!

airline pilot salaries
Salary reporting from Salary.com for Scottsdale pilot salaries.
Additional Cost Considerations for a Pilot

There are many auxiliary items to consider when budgeting for your pilot licenses. Flight hours and aircraft rental are most of the expense, but don’t let these go unattended either.

The FAA Medical Certificate:

The FAA Medical Certificate is the easy part. Just $125, and test in OK health, and you are ready to pass this part of becoming a pilot!

Aviation Insurance (recommended):

Get learner pilot insurance, consisting of aircraft occupier or non-owner obligation, and you are insured if you cause physical harm or property destruction while taking courses. Learner pilot insurance is a nominal fee, starting at $95.

Pilot Ground School:

The Airman Knowledge Test confirms your pilot knowledge from ground school. This class and test vary from school to school, but the range is usually from $100 to $400. The hours involved differ from school to school and sometimes from State to State.

FAA Private Pilot Written Exam:

The FAA Private Pilot Written Exam can be listed under the same Airman Knowledge Test but can differ in some ways. Typically, this test is a 60-question, timed at 2.5 hours. You must pass with 70% or higher. This test is usually around $175 depending on your location.

Flight Instruction in a Plane:

Choosing the right flight school is paramount to your success! Most flight schools will charge you by license, making you pay upfront for the certificate. Average hourly flight school rates range between $165 and $250. Leopard Aviation believes you should be able to pay as you go – enabling you to pay by the hour each time you arrive at the airfield for the flight training time you do that day. The normal range for flight instruction done right will run you anywhere from $5,100 to $16,100, depending on what your piloting goals are.

FAA Checkride:

If you do your Checkride with an appointed pilot inspector, they will charge for their time hourly. Fees vary contingent on the type of Checkride and your state. Commonly, they are in the middle of $500 and $800.

Choosing The Right School

Just like everything else in the world, the options for your Pilot education are vast. The main factors are:
Cost / Flight School Financing Options
School Policies
Instructors
Planes
Opportunities for growth in the Aviation Industry (if wanted)

Leopard Aviation provides the most flexible, convenient, and fun way to learn to fly a plane. Whether you wish to earn your private pilot license for hobby flying and weekend getaways or recognize a career goal to work as a commercial airline pilot, Leopard Aviation has the best Certified Flight Instructors available. Leopard Aviation’s CFIs teaching style incorporates considering how you learn best and your learning style when helping you earn your pilot certificates.

We tell people that you can take too many hours of flying lessons per week. But you can also take too few flight lessons per week. Most flight schools will let you take six hours per week or even eight or ten. Flight Schools want your revenue in the door as quickly as possible. But, for most people, flying an airplane is a skill that needs to sink in. It’s muscle memory, hand-eye coordination, and cerebral skills. Learning of any kind necessitates the repetitive practice of the same behavior for easy retrieval when faced with quick decision-making needs, such as an emergency.

So, a good pace is 2-3 lessons per week.

Also, there is a maximum length of a flying lesson in the plane, with the motor running. After 90 minutes of intense training, most trainees are saturated and done for the day. They need time for those lessons to sink in. Again, at many schools, they want to increase their revenue per week and will make you fly three or four hours on some days. “Intense” means doing maneuvers and touch & goes.

It is not in your best interest to cram piloting knowledge into a short period as learning will not apply to the transfer of training. The flight school can win at bringing your dollars in the door faster, but it’s not doing you any favors. We have found the most productive pace is 2 to 3 lessons per week, with each flight lesson being 75 to 100 minutes long (engine running time).

Moving too slowly can also lead to poor results. Imagine taking one golf lesson per month. You will never learn how to swing a club correctly. So, 1-2 flight training lessons may be too slow. 2-3 classes per week are optimum for most people. But you can’t fudge the process by flying 240 minutes in one weekly lesson. Flight training lessons must spread out to allow muscle memory to sink in between flight lessons.

Becoming a commercial airline pilot is one of the most rewarding and fastest ways to earn a 6 figure salary.  Fill out the form below to fly with the best. Leopard Aviation has the latest technology and a brand new fleet of Cessnas. Start earning your commercial pilot license now and rake in the free travel and cash sooner than you know.

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