Private Pilot Licence How do reduce the cost of learning to fly

Learning to fly and obtaining a Private Pilots License (or Licence in the UK) isn’t cheap but you can avoid unnecessary expense with a little forward planning. Flying lesson costs will vary but in the long run the cheaper hourly rate may not be your best option. In this video I discuss the cost of obtaining a fixed wing Pilot’s Licence for flying light aircraft in the UK. But the same principles apply wherever you learn to fly

In the UK there are two types available; PPL (Private Pilot’s Licence) and LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence).

The LAPL gives the pilot fewer privileges than the PPL so the requirements are less stringent. As a rough guide the cost of a PPL will start at £8,000 and the LAPL will start at £6,000. Costs for other types of aircraft like microlights or helicopters for example, will vary proportionally according to aircraft type.

You will save yourself a lot of money if your budget organised and available at the start of your training. If you run out of money the continuity is broken and when you return to training you’ll have to revise and repeat previous exercises.

So plan your finances in such a way that you won’t run out of money at a critical stage. Trust me, there’s nothing more frustrating! As you empty your bank account or reach your credit card limit you realise that you’re about to shelve your logbook just when things are getting interesting.

Flying schools are subject to the same economic forces as any other business, so your flying lesson costs may increase over time due to inflation.

Choosing the right Flight Training School

Flight training costs vary around the UK. You’ll pay more per hour at a club with a shiny fleet of new aircraft and an immaculate club house with all the facilities than you will at a small grass strip with a portakabin as an office.

Learning to fly abroad

The attractive prospect of learning to fly wherever there are near constant blues skies and uncluttered airspace lures some to book flight training holidays in Florida, South Africa, Australia, or perhaps just across the Channel. The attractions are obvious and the additional cost of flights accommodation and subsistence may seem a price worth paying, particularly if the hourly rate is favourable.

However, there is another cost that is sometimes overlooked. If you cover most of the syllabus in areas where the weather is often predictably pleasant and the airspace is wide open and free of restrictions how will you cope when you return to the UK? Will you have the necessary skills and, just as importantly, confidence to make a decision when the weather is borderline? Will your navigation skills keep you out of Controlled Airspace and Danger Areas?

Conclusion and a warning

Like any other commercial establishment running on tight margins and reliant upon a strong economy flight schools can go out of business if mismanaged or if they run out of students. For this reason it’s never a good idea to hand over large amounts of cash upfront. If they tempt you with a discount for a large deposit then perhaps a few hundred pounds might be worth the risk but I would suggest not handing over a thousand or more.

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