Is getting a pilots license worth it?
The Benefits of a Pilot License – 11 Reasons to Get One
The Private Pilot License (PPL) is an exciting first step into the world of aviation and will allow you the freedom of piloting an aircraft and even carrying passengers! This article will list all of the benefits you can expect to receive from obtaining your Private Pilot Certificate.
1. Go Anywhere without Getting Stuck in Traffic
You will skip the frustration of sitting in traffic when traveling to your destination by getting your pilot license. Getting your pilot license can be especially useful when the roads are notoriously busy during the holiday season. With your license, you will simply jump into your aircraft and fly to your destination, significantly reducing your travel time compared to an automobile. Say goodbye to boring road trips that go on for several hours!
2. Treat Your Family and Friends
to Becoming a Pilot
Acquiring your pilot license is a great way to treat your friends to a fantastic experience. Not many people have the opportunity to fly in a private aircraft, and sitting in the flight deck is exhilarating! You may even be able to impress that special guy or girl you’ve been talking to by showing off your newly acquired flying skills.
You will also be able to take your family and friends on trips where they may not have normally been able to join, perhaps due to time or transportation constraints.
3. Visit Remote Locations
When you become a certified pilot, the world is your oyster. You will have the ability to reach locations that are very difficult or even impossible to reach by any other form of transportation. From remote deserts to vast rainforests, your license and an aircraft can get you in and out with ease.
Furthermore, you will find many “fly-ins” where pilots and passengers from all over the country fly to a particular location to gather and have a good time. Not only will a trip like this be exciting, but you will also be able to make friends who share a common interest – aviation!
4. It Looks Good on a Resumé
Being a licensed pilot is an indication to a future (or current) employer that you are able to accomplish challenging goals and have been trained to perform in a high-stress environment. This is sure to impress a prospective employer, regardless of what kind of job you are applying to. The professionalism associated with your pilot license and the aviation industry will only increase your chances of landing your dream job or getting a promotion.
5. Socialize with Fellow Aviation Enthusiasts
When you become a pilot, you will join a unique group of people who share a passion for aviation. You will quickly build friendships that will last a lifetime by meeting fellow aviation enthusiasts. Regardless of age, gender, or background, you will find something in common with your fellow pilots across the globe.
6. Business Travel – In Style
Traveling for business can be an inconvenience at best and a nightmare at worst. Being a certified pilot, you will have the opportunity to fly yourself to business meetings, conferences, or for a simple lunch, and fly back home on the same day. This will significantly boost your productivity while simultaneously allowing you to avoid the pain of traveling commercially with the airlines.
Additionally, you can expect your clients or colleagues to be impressed by your ability to fly yourself, which will only help close that important deal!
7. Give Back to a Charity
There are charities in the United States that can use your skills as a pilot to help those who are less fortunate. With your credentials, you will be able to provide medical rescue, pet rescue, disaster relief, search and rescue flights, and many more. This is a great way to give back to the world and have fun in the process!
8. The First Step to a Career in Aviation
Obtaining your Private Pilot License is the first step to becoming a professional pilot. Even if you have no intention of becoming a commercial pilot, having a PPL will keep that door open should you decide to pursue a career in aviation. Furthermore, with a PPL, you can add ratings and credentials by undergoing further training, which will allow you to fly larger and more complex aircraft, regardless of whether you want to do so professionally.
9. Explore Entrepreneurial Opportunities
Daily Free Pilot
While you will not be allowed to receive compensation for flying if you only have a Private Pilot License, your PPL will enable you to explore entrepreneurial opportunities in aviation.
As an active pilot, you will have a perspective of the aviation industry that an individual without a pilot license will not have. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, the aviation industry may be just what you’re looking for.
Because of the sheer size of the aviation industry, problems are begging to be solved, and your license may give you a great business idea.
10. Have Quality Alone Time
If you fly alone, it will be just you and the airplane in the air. This is a great way to spend some time by yourself, allowing you to relax and enjoy the experience of piloting an aircraft. If you need to de-stress, look no further than a flight where you alone are in control.
11. Apply Your Skills
You may not realize it, but the skills you learn during your training and during your flying journey can be applied to other areas of your life as well!
Skills such as handling an emergency, communicating clearly, using procedures, navigation, meteorology, and many more will apply to many other areas of your life. You will be pleasantly surprised when a skill you learned as a pilot comes in handy in a non-aviation environment.
If you’re on the fence about whether you should get your pilot’s license and have the funds to do so – go for it! The convenient aspect of obtaining your pilot’s license is that you simply have to renew it every year or so, and you will be able to fly whenever you like. This means that if life gets in the way of flying, you can always take a break and come back later!
Is getting a pilots license worth it?
Learn from a Master CFI!
One of the first questions many people ask is «What does it cost to learn to fly?»
Another good question is «What is it worth to you to learn to fly safely»?
New Private Pilot
What Does it Cost to Fly?
According to Len Morgan, in a column he wrote years ago in Flying magazine, the answer to that question is «Everything you’ve got. And it’s worth every penny!»
How can that be? Well, if you only have a little money, you fly older, two seat taildraggers. More money, and you’ll fly high performance 6-place single or twin-engine planes. Lots of money, and you’ll fly a private jet.
But the issue is not what it costs, but what it’s worth to you. Pilots sometimes try to justify their flying based on how practical it is, or how it saves them time or money. While it may do that in some cases, most people justify the cost of flying the way they do any other sport, hobby, or pleasurable activity—because it’s fun!
Private Pilot Training
It shouldn’t surprise you that the cost of flying has gone up as the prices of aviation fuel have risen over the last few years. Currently, we’re teaching people to fly in the latest glass cockpit aircraft, such as the G1000-equipped Cessna C172, which rents for approximately $150/hour, and the Cirrus SR20 and SR22. Instructor fees are additional. You should plna to budget a minimum of $10,000 for flight training, when you include ground school, books and other materials, and examiner fees. Beware of lower estimates that may be based upon training the minimum 40 hours (whereas the average is 60-70 hours) or for low cost areas outside the San Francisco Bay area. If you’re very cost sensitive, you may want to find a school that teach in older Cessna 152 and 172 aircraft that rent at a lower rate.
The best way to minimize the cost is to fly twice a week or more, particularly in the early part of your training. If you fly less than once a week, you’ll need more hours of training. Also, you can make your training more productive if your instructor tape records your lesson (we do!) and you review at home. Taking a ground school class can also be very productive.
Learning to fly should be fun. If you’re worried that you don’t have enough money, you may be better off waiting until you have the funds set aside to complete your training.
Other common questions are what’s required to get a pilots license, are small airplanes safe, how do I find an instructor, what books should I buy, and where can I go when I have my license? If you’d like us to email you our free 2-page » Tips for getting a Private Pilot’s License ,» fill out our contact form now.
If your goal is to become a safe pilot with quality training from one of only three Master CFI’s in the Bay Area, at a reasonable cost we may have a match.
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What’s the right pilot certificate: Sport, Recreational or Private Pilot?
When you start flying, you may be presented the choice of pursuing your Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot or Private Pilot certificate. Understanding the differences between them will help you to choose the path that is best for you.
Sport Pilot – The Sport Pilot certificate allows you to earn your pilot’s license in as little as 20 hours of training, and does not require a medical certificate (see above); however, a sport pilot must hold at least a current driver’s license. In practice, most students will require more than the minimum flight training experience. You are, however, limited to flying Light Sport Aircraft (LSAs), defined as a maximum of 1320 lbs. maximum weight and 120 knots maximum speed (a Cessna Skycatcher, for example). You’ll need to check on the availability of light sport aircraft at your local flight school as the aircraft are not as readily available as other category aircraft.
Recreational Pilot – Another great option for new pilots to get in the air quickly is the Recreational Pilot Certificate, which requires a minimum of 30 hours of flying. While 30 hours in the minimum, similar to Sport training, in practice, pilot will typically take closer to 40 hours of training to obtain the required level of safety and proficiency.
The Recreational certificate allows you to carry a passenger during the day in good weather, and in aircraft with up to four seats and up to a 180 horsepower engine (a Cessna Skyhawk or Piper Cherokee, for example). This is perfect for local flights with family or friends, and will get you into the air quickly. You can also add additional privileges or transition to the Private Pilot certificate when you’re ready–you’ll just do some additional training with an instructor on cross country, night flying and/or in airspace requiring communication with Air Traffic Control.
Private Pilot – The Private Pilot certificate has been around the longest, and is often what people mean when they say they “got their license.” There are fewer restrictions on the type of airplane you can fly and the places you can fly to, and there are plenty of options for add-on privileges, like Instrument and Multi-Engine ratings. The minimum training time is 40 hours–at least 20 with an instructor and 10 solo–but most students take 60-80 hours. This training time may also very depending on the rules under which the flight school operates. You may here terms such as training under Part 61 vs. Part 141 – read about the differences here.
For all three of these certificates, you’ll be required to complete ground training (which can be largely accomplished online), a written exam and a flight test. Only the Recreational and Private certificates will require that you earn a medical certificate, but read why that’s not a big deal.
Also remember that you can change your mind as you train. For example, Sport Pilot training time will count towards a Recreational or Private license. It’s also worth noting, that every pilot has to solo (fly the airplane by himself) as a first step so there is no need to make a decision quickly. The most important first step, take an introductory or discovery flight at your local airport!
Read our entire Getting Started series for more answers.
Coming from an aviation family, John grew up in the back of small airplanes and learned to fly as a teenager. Ever since, he has been hooked on anything with wings and regularly flies a Citabria, a Pilatus PC-12, and a Cirrus SR22. He is an ATP and also holds ratings for multiengine, seaplanes, gliders, and helicopters. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of Air Facts, John is the President of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, responsible for new product development and marketing.
Latest posts by John Zimmerman (see all)
- How much does it cost to earn a pilot’s license? — May 8, 2023
- Your first flight lesson – a video preview — May 6, 2023
- What’s the right pilot certificate: Sport, Recreational or Private Pilot? — May 5, 2023
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