We are often asked two questions:

  • What are your rates? (Referring to the hourly charge for the aircraft and flight instructor.)
  • What will it cost me to get a license? (Usually referring to the Private Pilot License.)

The answer to the first question is simple. The aircraft (a model 2000 Cessna 172S) rents for $185.00 per flight hour, based on the time recorded by the aircraft’s Hobbs meter. This includes the cost of fuel. The flight instructor cost is $85.00 per hour of instruction.
 
The answer to the second question is not as simple because many factors have an impact on the time required to learn to fly. These factors include things like, frequency of training, weather, prior experiences (not necessarily aviation related), study habits, etc. The Federal Aviation Administration has minimum training time requirements for most licenses. For example, the Private Pilot License has a minimum requirement of 40 flight hours. Sub minimums of these 40 hours are 20 hours with an instructor and 10 hours solo. However, the average Private Pilot receives their license after logging nearly double this amount of flight hours.
 
Safety is our first, and foremost passion, at Due West Aviation. With this in mind, the following thought should be at the core of your concern about the cost of aviation:

It is less important how much you will spend to receive a license, than it is how much will you spend to be safe. The simple reality is that receiving a license is just the beginning of the cost for aviation. If you are not considering the ongoing cost of experience and training in aviation, you are probably missing the big picture. We would rather you not begin your training than to see you begin and not afford the continued cost of flying and training on a regular basis. In other words, it doesn’t really matter where in the process you receive your license. We are convinced, and research supports, that your safety depends on a regular and continued commitment to gaining experience and more training. Please don’t get caught in the trap of budgeting for the cost of a particular license. Instead, budget the ongoing cost of enjoying a safe aviation career or avocation.