How to: Finance Your Pilot Lessons
Becoming a pilot can be a curious endeavour at first; your passion to fly can be grounded by the worry of the price tag associated. And while the path to becoming a pilot is paved with a few dollar signs here and there, it is important to understand why, and see the importance and significance of such costs. Planes are expensive and the responsibility of flying one is great, this means the training of the pilot must be impeccable and the proper safety measures need to be set in stone to ensure they get not only their cargo home, but themselves as well.
Pilot Licence Insurance
We all know that the price difference of insuring a Ferrari and a Toyota Camry are considerable, so with that comparison in mind what exactly can you expect when insuring an aircraft? Insurance is something every asset should have and in the case of aircraft it is an absolute necessity. Airplane insurance rates are issued respective of the crafts size, capacity, performance, complexity and quite importantly the experience of the pilot.
You then take into consideration the cost of fuel, oil and extensive maintenance fees and you start to understand why having your commercial, recreational and private pilot’s license is a big responsibility. Planes are not the only asset that requires insurance; pilots undertaking a commercial pilot course complete years of training at great cost to obtain their licence and there are few occupations that are subject to such stringent health requirements. An issue with your health can lead to permanent grounding so it is important to acquire loss of licence insurance and the relative health insurance one would need to stay in the air.
Insurance covers more than just your health
Landing, tie down and hangar fees are among some the costs incurred by pilots and companies and are necessary to ensure not only the security of the aircraft but the efficiency of the airport. These fees are based on the tonnage of the aircraft. Airlines and flight schools must undergo thorough inspections every 100 hours, as well as a required annual inspection as the safety of their students is their first priority; you need to be sure you are sitting in the safest seat in the house. So with that in mind you can understand how flight training multiplies maintenance costs so these figures must be factored in to training fees which are simply to ensure the trainees are using the most reliable aircraft during practise.
No fuel, no flight
A Qantas Airbus A380-800’s tanks can accommodate 320,000L of fuel while lightweight single engine crafts like the Cessna Skyhawk have a capacity of around 200L, so depending on the region, filling these aircraft is going to be expensive and unfortunately without fuel you cannot fly.
How many hours will I need?
To be eligible to fly, a pilot is required to complete 50 hours of flight time although if a pilot wants to fly commercial airlines they will be asked to complete 150 hours to obtain a Diploma of Aviation – AVI50215 Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). In aviation the price is usually always indicative of the responsibility and skill involved so while the price may seem steep, keep in mind the job, the work and in the end the overall satisfaction of this incredible accomplishment.
Need help financing your lessons?
Any high school or university student will understand the cost of books and tuition, the same goes for a pilot. A pilot enrolled in a private pilot course can see costs upwards of $500 on just books and supplies like headsets and charts. Becoming a pilot can be expensive, and after examining the reasons for the high price tag, it’s not difficult to understand why.
There are numerous financial institutions that offer help in the way of loans to aid your study. There is also the option of the VET Student Loan program which allows eligible students to have all or part of their tuition fees paid for them by the Australian Government in the form of a loan. If you’re worried about payment, don’t be; the VET Student Loan program requires you to pay back your loan when your income is over a certain ATO threshold. While there is a loan fee of 20% on each individual unit you study, the Australian Government has proposed removing the fee. The figures may seem intimidating but when placed relative to the average pilots income the benefits far out way the initial costs incurred.
Costs are a part of everyday life but with the proper assistance and understanding on how to manage these costs we will minimise the stresses associated with them.
Becoming a pilot is an amazing process and involves hard work and passion, these sentiments are not lost on the industry and will be nurtured and rewarded as you cross that exciting threshold of going from dreamer to student, and inevitably student to pilot.