One important reason that light sport aircraft (LSA) are increasing in popularity is due to the fact that they are cheaper to own and operate. However, should student pilots consider learning how to fly in an LSA rather than a conventional general aviation (GA)? That’s exactly what Sherwyn A asked in a recent question posted on Ask a Flight Instructor. Specifically, Sherwyn A noted that it would cost $90 per hour to do flight training in an LSA verses $115 to $130 an hour in a C172. However, he also added that he would like to:
…fly C172s or similar category and would most likely have to be checked out on the C172 etc later. Would my savings by obtaining the PPL in the LSA be lost by having to get checked out in a C172? What’s typically involved in getting checked out in another aircraft? Should I just pursue the PPL in the C172 to begin with?
Jim Foley responded by writing that it depends because although he has had his pilot license for several years, he finds the Skycatcher LSA slightly more difficult to fly because it feels a bit squirly. Nevertheless, he was quick to add that if it takes 50 hours to obtain a pilot license, that’s $4,500 verses $7,000 plus the cost of transitioning – probably 10 hours or less. In other words, the savings can be considerable.
Curtis Ide then added that it should only take 5 hours or less to do the transition. Since 5 hours with an instructor in a C172 will cost around $1,000, Sherwyn A will come out a few hundred dollars ahead with extra flying hours.
However, Curtis also added that Sherwyn A will need to consider how many of each aircraft his flight training school has. After all and if only one LSA is available, it might be better off doing flight training in a more expensive aircraft as its inevitably that the LSA may be grounded for maintenance or is being used by another student.
Nevertheless and if you are looking for an affordable option for flight training, by all means its worth considering doing flight training in an LSA.