You can’t do that…and other myths

I recently wrote a post where I suggested it might be possible to earn a private pilot certificate for as little as $5,000. I made that suggestion for the simple reason that it’s true. It’s an option that is available to anyone who is willing to thrown off the yoke of 20th Century flight training convention and embrace the 21st Century opportunities available to them.

Understandably I received e-mail that implied that I was misleading my readers, or perhaps didn’t have complete control of my sensibilities. It was pointed out to me that the TSA is evil, the FAA is overbearing, our airports are surrounded by fences festooned with signs admonishing people to keep out, and of course the earth-shattering revelation that the costs of providing flight training for a non-profit club are the same as the costs of providing flight training for a profit driven business.

Taking all of these arguments together, weighing them carefully and establishing the totality of their obstructionist potential I say this. So what? None of that matters. None of it.

These are myths perpetuated by our inner demons. Every one of these negatives can be turned into a positive or easily mitigated – if we choose to do so. Admittedly, it is often easier to throw up our hands and admit defeat than it is to climb the muddy mountain of opposition and plant the flag of success on the summit (I do love a good visual), but it can be done and it is being done.

Perspective is a choice. We can choose to see a path to a larger more vibrant pilot population and set out to achieve that goal, or we can choose to be in the waning days of the General Aviation Era. I choose the former. In fact, I make that choice so fervently, with such optimism and hope, I cannot be swayed by mere prognostication of gloom and doom. I’ve seen the light. It’s been my pleasure to surround myself with people and institutions that have a can-do spirit and a plan to get where they’re going.

Join us, or don’t. But whatever your choice, don’t be fooled into thinking we can’t make a difference that puts more pilots in the air, more airplanes on the ramp, better educational outcomes into our schools, and more skilled individuals into the job market. We can.

The problem for many of us is that we’re human, and being human, we’re susceptible to human limitations. We have a tendency to slump into a rut while convincing ourselves we’re actually in the groove. We see the problems facing us and consider them insoluble because we can’t personally find a fix. We expect the business model we used successfully 60 years ago to remain viable regardless of changes in technology, the economy, or the desires of our customers. Essentially, we delude ourselves into failure and salve our souls with the belief that no other outcome was possible. Our failures are due to the vagaries of fate, not our own lack of vision, creativity, or flexibility.

The flip side of that scenario is the great gift some of us recognize in being human. Because, as humans we’re prone to dreams of grandeur and lives filled with the pursuit of majestic possibilities. Our own limitations are mere speed-bumps on the road of life because we know we don’t have to re-invent the wheel every generation or two. The odds are somebody already has. All we have to do is learn from their example, apply the principles they’ve pioneered for us, and reap the rewards of standing on the shoulders of others who willingly gave us a boost up to higher heights.

So let’s apply those positive attributes to the general aviation environment. Is fuel one of the factors driving your costs up? Then consider an auto-fuel STC, or a powerplant designed to run on mogas. That single change can have a profound effect on your cost of doing business.

Does the airport fence intimidate potential clients? Erect a big sign that says, “Welcome to…” and paint it up in cheerful colors with an upbeat slogan. If customers think renting is too expensive, explain how fractional ownership and flying clubs (both with an equity stake and without) work – then offer to help them find the method of accessing an airplane that works best for them.

In short, you can catch more flies with honey that you can with vinegar. Smile. Offer a warm and genuine hand-shake. Provide a level of service so high it surprises and pleases your customers and potential customers. Market to a broad audience, welcome non-traditional customers to your counter, and take the time to ask them what you can do to make them feel more comfortable while at the airport. Operate the airport as if it’s 2013, not as if it’s 1955.

The market will always be populated by those who say you can’t, no matter what field of endeavor you’re in. But history teaches us over and over again that you can, if you’re willing to really try. So do your homework, make your choices, and do your best. If you really want to succeed, you will — eventually.


  1. Dietrich Fecht says

    I believe some mistakes are made in understanding the problematic.

    At first we have to realize that the decision to step into aviation and trying to make the pilot licence is mostly always an enthusiasm to fly. A very personal decision as a result of many and different personal motives. The argument of the possibility to use the personal flying for business reasons and to have better possibilities to make money or to get to business meetings is mostly only a back up argument to spend the bigger amount of money for the basically enthusiasm interests. Personal flying is nearly never a “must”. It is mostly an “I would like it when I can do it”. Therefore it can not be seen mainly from a business side.

    We have to support more that “I would like it” by more comradeship under pilots, aircraft owners and instructors. We should more network in non profit flying clubs with a social live and help each other more voluntarily. We should look more for the social factor between pilots including their families like the monthly breakfast in EAA chapters and offers for weekend events. I have only found instructors which had enthusiasm for flying and I am a little disappointed when “bad instructors” are blamed for the high drop out rate of pilot aspirants. I believe it is a wrong way to divide pilots and instructors in two groups which have to personal rate each other in polls. We all are flight enthusiasts and it makes no sense to divide up in different groups with single interests. That will only weaken the flying community.

    We have to support that “when I can do it” as much as we can. That means the procedure to get the pilot licence should be as simple and practical as possible. And we should offer affordable flying for enthusiastic people with an average income. With costs as low as possible for fuels, and airplanes which we perhaps build our selves in EAA chapters or non profit clubs. We should support airports which offer cheap fuels and auto gas, with no landing fees, no tie down fees and which support the possibility of flying club houses and club hangars at extremely low costs. We need more non profit flying clubs where club member CFIs teach pilot aspirants for a friendship rate in club planes which are operated with minimum costs.

    We should develop simple advises how an interested person can get his or her pilots licence in a successful way which works. For this I have some recommendations.

    The aspirant should make the written test before starting to take flying lessons. This is very simple and everybody who wants to become a pilots should be able to do that: “Read the complete book of all questions and answers of the written test three times. First time to get an overview, second time to understand all, third time to to get it into your memory. And then try to answer all the original questions on original test forms or with a computer program. Then take the test. If you fail go through the book one more time and you will see, you will pass. (If you fail again think about another hobby). When you have passed the test you have only spent the costs for the learning material around $ 150,-. And with the written test in your pocket you can be sure that you will get your pilots licence when you precede on.”

    “Take all the flying lessons in a block in your holydays. Fly each day two to four hours when weather permits. And you will see in 3 to 5 weeks you have flown 40 to 50 hours and you are in the possession of your private pilot licence.”

    I have made this with my PPL and with my IFR. My 17 year old daughter did that with her PPL also. That works.

    “When you have your pilot licence stay connected with the club or the flight school where you got the pilot licence. Flying at small airports with no tower is more easy as at bigger airports. Fly there where you feel comfortable. Fly each week two hours in the club planes, rent planes or buy an own plane. Stay connected with other pilots as often as possible at the airport and in the club house. Important is that you fly about two hours a week. Keep on flying and it becomes so much routine that you become a really professional flying pilot with no fears and an absolute safe judgement.”

    When it comes to acceptance of flying small planes and political decisions whether airports are closed or not we have to have in mind that the number of pilots who are involved counts mostly and not how much money is spent from a very few Jet owners. The persons have the number of votes in our society and not the money amounts. Therefore it is more important to have a higher number of pilots instead of a higher number of business volume.

    • says

      Mr. Fetch; your “paper”, and slant on the “social aspect” of GA is well intended, however, your WWWAAYY “off base – and final”!
      Lets try this; If a given GA airport has a HIGH number of BUSINESS (volume) users, wouldn’t this “offset” for the lack of volume produced by the recreational/social aviators? You speak of “pilots” as if THEY are the answer to GA’s financial woes. Your rather idealistic premise is that a large number of pilots will do what ???? I suggest you investigate, at random, nationally, several GA airports; you’ll find a correlation between the more financially self sufficient ones, and YES, it takes $$$, those who have a “balance” of business users and recreational aircraft owners; rarely, except in more rural areas of the US, you’ll find ANY GA airport that’s “breaking even” from the revenue produced solely from the purchases (little) of the recreational/social aviator. The ANSWER, is NOT in breeding “pilots”‘; it’s in finding WAYS to improve profitability to the GA airport, and rest assured, NO number of recreational pilots/aircraft owners will do it! Just ONE King Air 200 business use owner/operator could produce $100k in fuel, maintenance and storage annually. So if every FBO would get of their ___ ass and start an AGGRESSIVE effort to find just ONE of these potential tenants, don’t you think he/she might welcome the non-spending “social aviator” even if he only buys a sectional every two years?
      ps Please let me know when you’ll be a quest on “Dr. Phil”!

      • Dietrich Fecht says

        Hello Mr. Rod Beck,

        I will try to convince you as good as I can. The development of the last decades has proven and shows it in the results of the declining number of pilots, airplanes and in the contents of airport balance sheets that the only commercial approach to aviation at smaller airports alone simply is not working and will result in airport closings. That makes no sense as well for the business user with his King Air or Citation as for the much aviation enthusiasts who want to fly SE planes for passion. We have to say good by to the expectation that the many smaller airports could be run in positive balance numbers.

        I believe it is necessary for the future of widely spread flying with small airplanes that airport funding has to cope with permanent losses. For business oriented thinking that is hard to realize but it will be a fact. In metropolitan areas with a higher percentage of business planes that might be not so dramatic. But that alone with relative few airports could not be the goal of the future. In other parts of the world it is not unusual that a part of the airport funding is financed from taxpayers out of city or other public budgets. Like streets, community pools, parks etc.. If this will not happen a lot of small airports will be closed. I see in the practise in other countries that airports are not closed when some non profit clubs are established with a number of well respected pilots. In the discussion about closing an airport it is not the same to have there one business or company plane only or to have a mix of business flying and a number of non profit clubs which serve voluntarily the demand of higher level leisure activity for the people living at the city.

        Please apologize that my English is not so good as it should be, or your French, Italien, Spanisch, German or Chineese may be, but I hope my message is understood enough for some thinking. Even when it`s beyond that was is usual. That`s my intention. To find ways that we can see a perspective for the future at the horizon.

        • says

          Mr. Fecht; Thank you for your reply! Now, here IS the reality! Yes, the smaller rural GA airport will not survive do to a lack of “demand” – plane and simple”!
          The FACTS are these” 1. Only about ONE in 1,400 of the general population has an “interest” in GA 2. The “marketing” of (light/small) aircraft will NEVER be to the masses. That was tried after WW II and didn’t work. 3. At least 50% of the nations GA airports aren’t justified – again – do to lack of demand. YOU ARE CORRECT ON THIS! The “closing”, as you eluted to, will ultimately happen.
          Now, going with the few (1 in 1,400) of the population who have an interest in GA, is it FAIR to expect the non-GA flying public to PAY for the whims (passion) of a select few of aviators? I don’t think so – and there IS the problem! A park where, and I’ll guess on this, could be used by HALF of the 1,400 – that may, pardon the pun – “fly” – with the tax payers!
          The well intended “idealist” like yourself BEST figure out a way to INCREASE demand at the GA airports that are truly JUSTIFIED and served by a “mix” of business AND recreational users. My take, where the potential exist, is to find high volume users; business operators of ANY type of aircraft to generate income to keep the airport financially viable. As you mentioned in the less populated areas, the demand by business uses will be minimal or not at all.
          Like ANY small business, where lack of demand prevails, GA airports/FBO’s will meet, unfortunately, their demise – the harsh reality.
          I invite you and others may find our blog of interest – and – a no non-cent$ objective pro-business approach to the woes of GA.
          Again, thank you for your reply!

    • says

      Dietrich: “We should support airports which offer cheap fuels and auto gas, with no landing fees, no tie down fees and which support the possibility of flying club houses and club hangars at extremely low costs. ”
      Support them with what, food stamps?
      Higher number of pilots than business pilots, why are they different other than one person is paying for 10 gallons of gas and the other 500 gallons.
      Do you realize that many county governments have thrown out the FBO and hired a guy to pump fuel so the county could make all the fuel sales money profits and sales tax?

      I wish we could go back 60 years, stop the madness of over zealous rules and regulations but that is not going to happen. To suggest that it is even possible for GA to be revived without more participation of small business is just plain denial of the facts.

      “When it comes to acceptance of flying small planes and political decisions whether airports are closed or not we have to have in mind that the number of pilots who are involved counts mostly and not how much money is spent from a very few Jet owners. ”

      You should talk with some airport managers because airports must have income and a few dozen 4gph aircraft are not going to support the infrastructure for much more than a grass runway. If you love GRASS then you already have lots of options. Low cost, auto fuel and cheap tie downs.

      • Dietrich Fecht says

        Barry, at first I thank you for the critics and replies.

        We need future friendly airports, what means support from the airport for affordable flying and support for non profit flying clubs by low gas prices, flying club houses and club hangars at extremely low costs etc..
        We can support such airports with future friendly behaviour that we fly there, that we spend leisure time there, that we spend money there. We could fight with votes at county and city elections for persons who support the airport financing, can place links in our websites and prise the airport and the city location in every way. By writing reviews to make the good location more public and to bring additional activity to the airport. Clubs will organize events there and rise the quality of live for the population. We should give back with our voluntary activity to the people and the city.

        I do not divide between business pilots and private pilots. I see all pilots as one community oriented in the same direction. But I feel that the small private pilot is the back bone of private flying at all, what is sometimes forgotten.

        You are completely right. Airports should have income. But when the situation dictates that there could not be sufficient income it is the question what to do. Close the airport? Then the city will have no airport what means back to a lower level of civilization for the residents. Cut the costs and funding the airport partly out of public budgets is that what would be the solution. Sure, we should have more participation of small business but what to do when it is not happening?

        And sure we all would welcome more activity of turboprops and jets. But when there are no small private pilots any more, the back bone of private flying is lost. From this perspective the SE private pilots are the most important part of the pilot population. And I am sure, nearly each business jet pilot has started with this.

      • says

        Tanks Dave – “in myy hasste, I madde a misstake”- ops, pilot error! Incidentally, I assume you concur with Mr. Fecht’s thesis then? And I bet you sat in the first row of your English class?

  2. Joseph says

    I still wish you could do it for 5k and it appears some might be able to. Cheapest airplane to rent here is $115/hr (4600 if you do it in 40 hrs but more likely 50hrs 5750). Cheapest instructor is $45/hr so about $1125. So you are looking at at least $5735.

    Or if you go the rout of the “Free ticket”. You go and buy a 150 or 172, you can fly one of those for 100 hours and sell them for what you have in them usually (maybe more but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that). So lets assume you buy one in annual and sell it 6 mo latter so you don’t have annual inspection cost. Insurance will be about a grand for 1/2 year for a 0 time student, or maybe you roll the dice and hope you don’t break anything. Fuel, students don’t manage the mixture well so lets say an average of 8gph at 6.25/gal. ($2000). You still need that instructor which usually goes up $5/hr if you use your own plane so $1250. and you have to keep the plane somewhere, charts, gps databases, tests, material will run you about $1000 though you can honestly get this down to about 800. So that is 4260 uninsured or 5260 insured if you do it in 40hrs. You can reduce the cost by about 500-1000 if you share the plane and the fixed costs as well as the study materials with others (share of insurance, tie downs, oil, etc) All the flying clubs around here are even more expensive, and none of the fractional owners will allow students to buy into the partnerships.

    If I were able to find a school with 172’s or the like (I don’t fit in 150’s) that will do it in $5k, I’ll take a week or two off work pull 5K out of savings and sign up. As it were I’m looking at $9k and almost have all the funds put aside to do it all at once.

    • says

      Hi Joe; You got it “Wright”! Best to have ALL the funds; be it $5-10K, and complete your training for LSA or Private in 3-6 months – more proficient and retention makes for shaper piloting skills!

    • Douglas says

      My local flying club in a nice, low time SMOH Cessna 150 (Yes, this really is what it costs):

      $960/year includes 12 hours of flight time, insurance, maintenence, and hangar fees.
      + $250 initiation.
      + $1800 for another 30 hours @ $60/hr wet.
      + $900 for 30 hours instructor time.
      + $120 for medical.
      + $150 for books, supplies.
      + $140 for knowledge test.
      + $250 for practical exam.

      = $4570

  3. Dave Wilson says

    I like the positives; a friend once said “if you think/say you can or if you think/say you cant” you are right. It seems to be more functional to be positive and find a way! We who are passionate for flying and general aviation must keep to the positive and work to find and use the way for GA to survive.

  4. says

    I did my PPL in 2010 for well under $5,000; it’s doable. I found I needed to supplement the FAA materials and curricula with a lot of my own studies, asked my CFI a lot of questions, and recorded the cockpit audio of each lesson so I could pick up all the advice my CFI was giving me but I couldn’t absorb because I was task-saturated. But I did my PPL and my IR in exactly 40 hours each (total time and instrument time, respectively).

    • says

      Brad; Great! I assume that you met the “minimum” time for your rating by flying at least 3-4 times weekly and by COMMITTING yourself to the courses? My experience and observations of other CFI’s/flight schools, is it rarely, that a “student” completes the FAA minimums as you did, UNLESS, as you eluded to, one is dedicated, focused, a concentrated course and an “above average” aptitude, which it seems you have – congratulation$!

      • says

        I did put a lot of effort into my ratings; it certainly paid off in dollars saved and capability. I don’t think of myself as a great stick, and the PPL certainly didn’t come naturally. But by taking the advice of others, flying frequently, and working hard at it I was enough to save several grand.

        The message I give people is that if they want to save money on their certificate, work at it often and hard, and have the money up front so that you can afford to keep training. The PTS and instruction you can’t control; the effort you put in you can control.

    • says

      Well done, Brad. It’s that kind of planning and dedication that can really have an impact on the bottom line. And by sharing your story you start the process of showing others how they can walk in your footsteps.

      Thanks for weighing in.

  5. Douglas says

    It absolutely IS possible to earn a Private Pilot certificate for less than $5000. It took me 54 hours of flight time and only $4400 to earn mine just 5 years ago, That included RENTING a C152, instructor’s time in the air as well as individual ground instruction, ground school, books, supplies, written AND practical exam, and even my medical! Granted, I’m in WV and my instructor was more interested in being in the air and covering his costs than making a huge profit, but still, imagine how much less it could be if I had partnered with another student (oe two or three…) and purchased a plane instead of renting! They key to success is thinking outside the box!

    • says

      Doug, And I bet I can rent a 2 bedroom apartment (mobile home?) in suburban (rural) WV for $500/month!
      A “private”, even 5 years ago here in NJ/NY metro area, would have been in the $9-10K range. Solution: All those looking to save big bucks, relocate to WV for a few months; 4-6 guys sharing the same apt ($500/4=$125/2*=$250, now add 3 % for inflation to Doug’s cost 5 years ago ($4,400+700+250*=$5,350). Naturally, this doesn’t include airfare to Huntington (or train or personal auto) and giving the “Mrs” your Visa or Master Card (to keep her off your back) while away. And if “Earl” (your roommate) doesn’t like the way you cook the eggs, well there’s always Ethel’s Truck Stop; I said over EASY, Flo!
      * Cost of shared apt – 2 months accelerated course

      • Douglas says

        Probably more like $250-300/month. My very nice 2br townhouse with oversized garage in walking distance to everything I needed was $400.
        And yes, the metro areas are WAY overpriced, for everything. That’s why I left northern NJ. I imagine the Huntington area is pretty expensive too. There are PLENTY of CFIs in small, out of the way airports who are happy to teach, not just suck up your hard earned money while using you as a stepping stone to another rating.
        Life is all about choices. How badly do you want to make your dreams come true?

        • says

          Not a CFI but there are many businesses that have a diverse and large supply of “professionals”. I know is it hard to get a CFI but evidently, like a Pilot license it is good forever if you get current. A CFI who taught 30 years ago may be the best instructor or the worse. I had both old and young when I got my ratings.
          The problem is one of “unintended consequences” by the FAA. When the FAA established the definition of a Flying Club they made it a requirement that students could not pay for instruction from a fellow club member. It has been a more recent shift to allow outside instructors on the airport to teach for any aircraft of club. My local government airport takes applications of CFI’s and then authorizes them to teach there.
          Teaching flying got off to a bad start for the profession if you ask me.

          Just saying… don’t kill the messenger

        • says

          Doug; AGREE- it’s all about CHOICES – that’s way I was SMART enough to leave GA (professionally) in 1978. I too will be out of this NJ/NY rat-race in about 2 years for Sarasota (FL) here (NJ) NOT by choice, rest assured! Might see my comment to Dave recently – perhaps you’ll relate to my history!

    • Dave Hill says

      Yes it is possible. Try to learn to fly at a small rural airport in a light sport airplane. Focus on skill building and you’ll pass the check-ride. Don’t get caught up in all the “glass” technology (not yet). $4,000 for 40 hrs aircraf rental, $1,000 for instructor, $150 for exam, and $500 for checkride. Borrow or beg to get the money and just get started and fly at least 3 to 4 hours per week. If you drag it out over a year it will cost you thousands more. All of the books you need to study for the FAA exam are online and they’re free.

  6. Aviator says

    Jamie I really appreciate your optimism and continued writing on this subject. However I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable with agreeing with you if someone was actually doing what you’ve outlined and it wasn’t just a hypothetical.

    Seems like a great idea, but if it can’t/won’t be executed, then it’s a moot point.

    • says


      Please see the comment from Douglas posted directly above yours. It is possible, it is being done, and the pricing structure can be replicated anywhere in the contiguous 48 states. No kidding.

  7. Dave Hill says

    I don’t understand your first paragraph statement of “yoke of 20th Century flight training convention and embrace the 21st Century opportunities”. What exactly are you talking about?

    As a CFI/Accountant I have a different perspective. It is up to the tax gamesmanship of Congress whether business aviation grows. Congress has a little tax game called Section 179 depreciation that it turns off and on at it’s whim. Section 179 allows a business to write off 100% of the cost of an asset (airplanes) in the year it is purchased. Congress changes the limits on 179 every year. In some years Congress allows a 50% bonus depreciation on NEW assets. The cool thing about Section 179 is that it flows down to the personal 1040 of the small business owner. If a business can use an airplane for a business purpose why not let Uncle Sam contribute 45% to the purchase of an airplane?

    Business aviation makes decisions based upon business facts and tax treatment. In addition the future of pilot training is going to be determined by the available workforce. Airlines are going to be forced to train their own pilots. The ATP pilot training factories are in my opinion the most endangered GA businesses. In the next few years the airlines are going to suck up all of their CFI’s The real pilot shortage will be CFI’s and that is going to cause CFI pay to go up and that is going to raise the cost of learning to fly for everyone and IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME CFI’S MADE MORE MONEY!

    In my opinion primary flight training will return to it’s early 20th century roots and focus on stick and rudder skills. We’ll all know how to use GPS navigation and weather teacking whether we’re pilots or not. The more advanced our technology becomes the more we can focus on training good safe pilots who do it because they love it and it will cost less than it does today (even with CFI’s making more money).

    • says

      Dave; Couldn’t AGREE with you more on the low pay of the contemporary CFI. I did quite a bit of primary (CFI) in the 1966–75 period and the only way I made a buck was flying my — off – 20-25 hrs/week AND billing, YES, for ground briefing/debriefing. On “stick/rudder” skills – DITTO; want to do a Private Bi-Annual; ask the candidate for a SHORT field landing and a 360 with at LEAST a 45 degree bank AND an engine out (simulated) at 100-200 AGL just after T/O – that alone will tell you his/her skill level real quick – pass or fail?

    • Scott says

      India is in this predicament, their flight schools are out of instructors as they’ve all gone to the airlines. The Indian government is trying to use military instructors and to train civil servants to become instructors.

      The 1500-hour rule is perfect for keeping instructors at schools long enough for our most junior and inexperienced to train the next generation of commercial pilots. An unintended consequence I guess, this time a good one. If we get rid of the 1500-hour rule we will have a brief surge of junior aviators keeping wages down at the regionals, then a crushing pilot shortage.

  8. says

    Aviation needs as many users as possible, because when it comes to getting anything done, strength is in numbers.

    For the last 20 + years, the aviation industry has been growing corporate aviation, with most of the smaller airports catering to the recreational flyer. Large chain FBO’s such as Landmark, Signature, and Millionair, they are about catering to the business user of jets and turbo-props, and this has been a profitable business model.

    The recreational flyer is a part of aviation, but the small business user of general aviation has not been identified as the true potential for reviving general aviation. It is because a small business user is going to purchase airplanes, fly frequently, and use the airport on a regular basis, this is good for all of general aviation. We need as much volume in this business as possible, as there are many FBO’s and flight schools that would love to see an increase in the usage of airplanes and people learning to fly.

    The segment for the small business user is exactly what the industry is geared for and needs. Why do people need airplanes? It is because they save travel time, and are efficient at moving people and parts which means it works for the company, it works for the person using the airplane, so if it pencils out, the owner/operator will spend money to use the airplane. This is what GA needs more of, more users, more frequent users, and people who have the money to spend on what it takes to get the job done.

  9. says

    What about getting all of your ratings for FREE? It is possible. I have a plan but it is not for everyone, sorry.

    Jamie, I am with you that using training methods of 40 years ago insanity, as the definition goes..

    I suggest that the profile of a pilot is changing from the sport and love of flying to the business man who just needs to fly and can justify the expense.

    Scenario training would make the license free (paid by the company or clients). Ex: What if a small business person could train during business flights? On the company dollar or better yet on the customer’s dollar. This does not help the non-businss owner or traveling manager but there are many people who could use GA to their competitive advantage and just don’t know it.

    GA community should consider the reality. Flying is expensive but not to the right person. To expand the number of pilots you must provide a solution to people who will be able to justify the high costs after learning and then the continued costs of using it for travel. Trying to make it cheaper to get a license is like a Cat chasing it’s tail. Until you stop running, you will never get it and once you catch it what are you going to do with it? It is similar to building a production plant but having no money to buy raw materials to make anything.

    Going for the ATP, corporate jet jockey are future justifications and that is fine but they are not going to put a dent in GA growth. Many predict that airlines will soon open their own schools anyway.

    Justification is key. A small businessman who can be home more nights, make deals faster than the competition and reduce travel time/expense will not care about the cost of flying.

    It will not be cheap to take a CFI on a business call, but it could be effective and maybe a boost to both the business pilots and the CFIs who need to build time to get those 1,500 hours.

    I did just that when I was in my 20’s. I flew on business trips with a mentor who took me into business meeting just to listen and observe. It changed my life.

    Thinking outside the box..

    • Dave Hill says

      Great idea. I agree. If you want it bad enought you’ll find a way. I used G.I. Bill, managed flight school, and worked on flight line pumping gas at night. Didn’t cost me a nickel. I only had to work about 80 hours a week and did about 20 hours of flight instructing a week. I’d fly with anybody, anytime, anywhere until I almost killed myself 3 times in one week. That’s when I had to re-think my priorities. Cost can be measured in more ways than just money.

      • says

        Dave, Your a “classic” real world example of what one would “pay” indirectly to be in the aviation culture 24/7. Frankly, as much affection (not passion) for GA as I had, my personal priorities were financial security first and than liking/loving my work in that order; something ANY aspect of aviation doesn’t provide. After 12 years (1966-1978) “full time”, I saw the REALITY for what it was. I know now that , for me, somewhat regrettably, it was one of the wisest and best decisions I made in my life.
        It seems to me that only a few, like yourself, have the objective unemotional mature realization, after many years of “holding pattern” and going nowhere, does the sad reality kick in – YES; was the “benefit” of being in aviation WORTH the “cost”, and as you said, not measured in $$$ directly?

        • Dave Hill says

          Rod, what I didn’t tell you was that I dropped out of aviation for 40 years with 600 hrs and 350 CFI time. Family and security did come first. I just got back into it because as my son-in-law’s accountant I convinced him he needed a tax break and should buy an airplane for his business. We also bought a light sport and started a flying club. I had to reinstate my CFI which was a royal pain in the rear. I’ve been back flying since February and have already logged 150 hours as a CFI. Guess what. I still don’t get paid for flying – I get paid for doing accounting. LOL!!!

          • says

            Dave; BEST of both worlds – great! I assume then your a “promoter” of the small piston/turbine (owner flown) bird to boost GA’s “bottom line”? To bad though, you CAN’T get paid for CFI time at the same rate you charge for accountant fees – but then – it’s aviation – “will fly for P/L statement?”

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