Does flying and flight training need to be expensive?

We know that flight training and flying can both be expensive, but does it need to be that way? According to Jamie Beckett, who recently wrote an article on the subject for General Aviation News, the answer is no.

Jamie began her article by writing that the high cost of flight training itself is the result of a simple math problem. Specifically, the math problem:

…can be expressed as the cost of the airplane per hour, plus the cost of the instructor per hour, times the number of hours required to become proficient. It looks like this: (COA + COI) X NOH = Cost of Flight Training.

However, Jamie also goes on to say that most would be pilots just walk into a flight school and start writing checks – after accepting whichever flight instructor was assigned to them. Moreover, to many would-be pilots do not go out and get references and find a flight instructor who they actually enjoy working with. 

Jamie then writes about an alternative to the traditional flight school model where a flight school does not require students to rent an aircraft. Instead, Jamie suggested that a flight school sponsor a flying club with a reasonable rate or a flat rate to buy into the club. The rate could cover items like maintenance fees, hangar expenses and other administrative costs. Flying club members could then use the club’s aircraft at a very low hourly rate for instruction and then to remain current after receiving a pilot license. This would also help to avoid the problem of someone getting a pilot license and then realizing that they can’t afford the $150 an hour or whatever the price is to remain current.

Jamie believes that the above model would also open up general aviation and flight training to more potential pilots. Hence, Jamie Beckett’s entire article about the costs of flying and flight training is well worth reading and it should be noted that it has already gained more than 30 comments from readers that are also well worth browsing through.

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4 Responses to Does flying and flight training need to be expensive?

  1. Jamie Beckett June 12, 2011 at 03:49 #

    I appreciate the plug, John. I enjoy your column in Forbes, so it is gratifying to find that at least one of my columns caught your attention.

    My only correction would be to mention that my wife assures me that "he" would be the correct pronoun when discussing me, or my work. However, I will be sure to pass on to my mother that even half a century after it was bestowed on me, this girlie first name continues to confuse people.

    • Matthew Stibbe June 12, 2011 at 09:49 #

      Apologies for the misunderstanding. How awkward. My colleague John must have fallen into the common error with your name but that doesn't excuse it. Best wishes, Matthew

  2. Jamie Beckett June 12, 2011 at 14:01 #

    No problem at all, Matthew. I have received plenty of offers in the mail to join women's organizations based on nothing more telling than my first name. I'm used to it.

    If nothing else, this little slip helped me find your blog, which is wonderful in my opinion. I'll be a regular reader from now on, rest assured.


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