If you have done any research into becoming a pilot then you will already have been shocked by the hefty price that training costs. I was definitely one of those people and it stopped me from going full force with my dream. I worked at an airline in their cargo department and spent most of my week sat down in a small office, no windows, staring at two computer screens, and constantly hearing people complain. I was MISERABLE. Even though I knew how unhappy I was, I deliberated for about 4 months as to which was the best way for me to become a full time pilot. Now some people may say that 4 months isn’t that long but when you’re living a life that goes against your inner grain even 4 days is too long.
So even though pilot training costs are steep, the risk of debt was worth it to me. Even though I’m currently an unemployed, full time student with $60,000 of debt I’m happy. This was my route but there are other ways to become a pilot. Here are some other points for you to consider when making your decisions;
- Remain at work full time or reduce hours to a part time job, if you study and remain disciplined you can complete all your ratings.
- Work contract jobs; I work a few hours doing catering jobs, there’s no obligation and it helps pay for bills
- Look for schlorships; I actually help an organization screen applicants for aviation schorships and I was shocked with the small amount of people who applied. Apply for everything and make sure you read the instructions, so many people are declined because they didn’t follow the right steps.
- Ask relatives for support; I moved back in with my parents in order to reduce stress of paying rent and other overheads that come with living by yourself. Ask and you shall receive.
- For any holidays or time of year you might receive presents ask for that person give you money towards a flight. You’d be surprised how willing people are to give you more money when they know it’s going towards something worthwhile.
- Plane wash; Ask a local flight school or create an event with a few other students where you wash someone’s airplane. Charities usually charge $100 per aircraft for this, this is a great return for one days work.
- If you’re applying for a full time college look to see if you are offered financial aid in the form of grants.
- If you already have your private pilot’s license you can apply to be apart of the Civil Air Patrol; This is a voluntary role but you will receive free flight hours in return. It’s also a great networking opportunity.
- Work hard and live frugal; This is a long term objective but I have seen people work and save their money, enough that it pays for their training. You can even start your training in your free time.
- Buy used FAA textbooks or even borrow them from friends and start training for ground school.
- Loans; Of course the daunting loan option if always there as a back-up.
These are a few ways to either fund your journey or maybe choose a few options to supplement the majority of the amount needed.
Remember that this is your dream, don’t let finances be an obstacle that you never overcome.
“If you want to look for obstacles, what’s wrong is always available. But so is what’s right!”
― Anthony Robbins, MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom