“What does it take to become a pilot, and how much is this going to cost me?”
That’s the first question from just about everyone we speak to at Third Coast Aviation LLC (‘TCA’) – this also happens to be one of the most complicated questions to answer. No two students are the same, that’s really the answer, but that doesn’t help anyone. To make matters even more complicated, there is no set period which qualifies a student to pass the tests required by the Federal Aviation Administration (‘FAA’).
The student is required to have 40 hours of flight instruction and a CFI endorsement to take both the written and practical exams. However, the reality is that very few students will have the confidence, knowledge, and skills to pass the practical exam which is administered by a FAA Flight examiner or a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) after just 40 hours. The average student may complete the flight training within 55 hours if they are attending training at least 2 to 3 times weekly. The fewer times per week a student attends training, the more hours it takes them to complete the program. The reason is proficiency, confidence, and knowledge take longer to develop over longer periods of time.
Wow! Can you imagine the complex questions and conversations arising after attempting to explain the details of how many hours it will take to become a private pilot? Just think, we haven’t even gotten to the concept of cost yet.
At Third Coast Aviation LLC, we concentrate on getting students to their first solo flight. Thus, most of our students can budget about $5,000 to get to their solo flight. In the beginning, many students just don’t have a concept of what they will be able to accomplish. By concentrating on the solo flight, students can budget 20 to 25 hours of training toward their solo flight. Once they have successfully completed their solo flight, they can now take a logical approach to how many hours the rest of their training will take.
Also, remember that the Certified Flight Instructor is solely responsible for determining when the student pilot is ready for their solo flight, so even this is go by budget is pretty much “up in the air“. Well, I hope this helped at least a little.
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