Before you decide to pursue your dream of becoming a pilot, I'm sure you ask yourself a lot of questions. Like: Where should I do my pilot education? Will I get a job after graduation? How does the market for pilots look like?
The remaining and probably the most important questions you ask yourself are: How much does it cost to become a pilot? How do I finance my pilot education? You are probably also thinking: Why is flight training so expensive?
Flight training cost breakdown
All these questions are indeed relevant and self-evident since this is your future career we are talking about and it needs careful consideration. So, of course, you should ask yourself these questions. And sure, it is no big secret that a pilot education is expensive and we are aware that financing a pilot education will be costly for any aspiring pilot student.
However, the perks and rewards that go along with being up in the skies and being your own Pilot in Command are absolutely worth it! I could name many reasons why you should pursue your dream of becoming a pilot, but in the end, it is important to remember that you are investing in your future career and life.
In this blog post, the goal is to outline the main factors to explain the price of flight training and to advise you on how you can finance your own flight training.
Here are some of the main factors:
- Aircraft and fuel
- Theory and flight instruction
- Airport fees
- Aircraft parts, service, and maintenance
- Books and equipment
- School and hangar facilities
- Regulatory, exams, and approvals
- Personnel and taxes
Aircraft and fuel
It should not come as a surprise that the aircraft and simulators used in your flight training cost a lot of money to buy and run. Depending on how many aircraft the flight school have in their fleet and which type of aircraft the flight school are operating, the flight school will invest a great amount of money to make sure the students have new and modern aircraft to practice their flight training.
Fuel is also one of the highest costs and as many of you already know the aircraft uses aviation fuel, known as AVGAS, and is not bought at the local gas station. Not to mention, that the average fuel consumption for an aircraft is nothing like the average consumption of driving a car.
THEORY AND FLIGHT INSTRUCTION
In order, for you to learn to fly, you will need a Flight Instructor to teach you, and obviously, you cannot learn to fly without an instructor. The role of the flight instructor is extremely important, and it is no easy challenge to teach the next generation of pilots. Good highly qualified flight instructors don't hang on the trees and the demand for flight instructors are extremely high today, which in the end is reflected in the price of your flight training. Learn more about the life of a Flight Instructor here.
As you gain more experience and move forward in your flight training, you will begin to fly further away from the home base and fly Cross Country. This is where you will plan, navigate and fly to other cities and airports. Depending on which city and airport you will fly to, you would need to pay the airport a landing fee. At OSM Aviation Academy, we will cover these fees for you as a student pilot and you do not have to pay these fees out of your own pocket.
Aircraft parts, service, and maintenance
Besides the fixed cost of the aircraft itself, it also costs a lot to operate like insurance fees, registration fees, taxes, new aircraft parts, and service and maintenance. Every aircraft has strict regulations in terms of inspections every 100 hours and a required annual inspection to reach a specific level of airworthiness.
Books and equipment
During an integrated flight training in Europe, you will study 13 different subjects to obtain your ATPL, which requires a lot of books and other reading materials. You will also need headsets, maps, calculators, computers, and most schools also provide you with a pilot uniform. These expenses are included in the course price at OSM Aviation Academy, but you should have an eye open for when you choose your training provider and see if this is included.
School and hangar facilities
Running a flight school with multiple hangars to store aircraft is also costly in the terms of rent, taxes, maintenance, and insurance. The same goes for the school and classroom who need to be taken care of with regular cleaning and upkeep.
Regulatory, exams, and approvals
Besides the cost of your flight training, you will also have some third-party costs which are often not included in the course price. You will have to pay the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for all your exams, certificate fees, and new rating fees. When you study and work as a professional pilot, you are underlined strict rules when it comes to your physical and mental health. All pilots need to do a Medical Class 1 examination and it requires a renewal every 12 months. These costs are out of the flight school's control and you would need to contact the aeromedical centers directly for the latest fees and prices.
Personnel and taxes
Running a successful flight school requires highly qualified people. We already mentioned the flight instructors but let us not forget the administration personnel behind the office chairs. To mention a few, we have Student Service, which takes care of the student's admission process and makes sure that every student gets their student loans in time. Payroll, who make sure every employee gets their salary and that all taxes are paid. The Compliance Monitoring Manager and Safety Manager, who has one of the most important roles, which is to make sure that everyone complies with the safety policies and to make all staff and students aware of and safety committed.
So, how do I finance my pilot education?
Before you choose your flight school, you should look at the financial options the school can offer. In Norway and Sweden, it is possible, as a citizen, to get an attractive student loan due to government approvals.
As a Swedish student, you can apply for a student loan through CSN. At OSM Aviation Academy all our integrated programs are CSN approved and if you have no former loans with CSN you can be eligible to loan for up to 542 000 SEK.
In addition to CSN financing, OSM Aviation Academy can offer financing solutions through our bank partner Nordea. Read more about CSN financing and Nordea solutions here.
As a Norwegian student, you can apply for a student loan through Lånekassen. Lånekassen offers a low-interest student loan for up to 362 713 NOK per student year for all students who enroll in an integrated flight training program at OSM Aviation Academy. Read more about Lånekassen on our Norwegian page here.
At the moment, we do not have any financial solutions for our international students, but OSM Aviation Academy is constantly working on expanding these offerings to enable more individuals to pursue their dream of becoming a professional pilot.
What we recommend, is for you to contact your domestic student loan provider for an individual assessment to see if you are eligible for student funding. Alternatively, you will have to solve the financials through a private loan and savings like many of our current students do, or you might be fortunate to get help from your family and friends.
I hope you got a better understanding of why flight training is that expensive and how the education's costs differentiate from other educations. As I said, the decision to enter a pilot education needs careful consideration and I hope this overview will help you out in your decision.
If you are not sold on the idea of flying for a living quite yet, you should definitely check out this piece of writing that gives you 5 reasons why you should become a pilot.
Good luck with your future careers!
To learn more about how you can get from zero to hero and work as a professional pilot, I recommend you to download our Airborne Magazine to help you start flying. Download here or click on the image above.