Flight Training Pricing

The most common question asked about flight training is "how expensive is it to become a pilot?"

The answer can be a little complicated for a few reasons:

  • You are billed hourly for the airplane rental and the instructor's time
  • Even though you might have the FAA required hours, you don't get your pilot certificate until you are able to pass a checkride and show that you are proficient in the areas required
  • Your progress is determined, in large part, by your ability and willingness to study the material outside of class
  • If you're not able to fly regularly, your progress will be slower, and it may take more flights and more flight hours to get you proficient
  • The cost associated with testing and examinations are not included and will vary depending on the certificate you're trying to get

The FAA has minimum flight hour requirements associated with each pilot certificate, so the below is an ESTIMATE based on those minimums.  Keep in mind any training beyond those minimums would be in addition to the estimates provided.  For a more detailed discussion on pricing, see our article entitled What's the total cost to become a private pilot?

Private Pilot Certificate

40 hours total flight time
25 hours ground instruction
Minimum Estimate: $11,675

Instrument Rating

50 hours cross-country time
25 hours ground instruction
Minimum Estimate: $14,125

Commercial Pilot Certificate

40 hours flight instruction
20 hours ground instruction
Minimum Estimate: $11,500
*Commercial certificate requires a total time of at least 250 hours.  The cost of those extra hours are not included in the instruction estimate.