Let’s face it, flight training is an expensive passion but John Fiscus, the Chief Pilot of the Flight Academy, recently wrote a short post for the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association (COPA) website with a few tips about how to keep flight training costs at a manageable level. Specifically, John had been asked on another forum whether or not it would be worth training in small bites whenever money was available or to just save up for a year+ in order to do it all at once.
John recommended that most people can go a week or 2 during the early stages of flight training and not experience a significant recession. However and beyond that, you will likely find yourself working hard to just do the basic things. Hence, John suggested establishing a personal minimum for time between flights because if you see yourself going a week or more between lessons, you will end up spending the entire next lesson attempting to get back to where you should be rather than learning a new skill. Its also important to study the books before even a first flight as filling your own head with knowledge will always be cheaper than paying someone else to do it for you.
Otherwise, saving up prior to training will allow you to pace yourself better with the best way to train being to spend several full days in a row and then a break for a few days in order to study and recuperate. Likewise, several consecutive half days can also work.
However, John advised NOT to let a flight school talk you into doing just an hour or two per session. After all, what’s good for the flight school (either because of scheduling constraints or because they want to earn more money off their students by having them train for a longer period of time) may not be best for you or for your budget.
Finally, John wrote that you should be very picky about your flight instructor. In other words, don’t let the flight school just assign you one without you having interviewed several. After all, there are often two types of flight instructors: Ones who are there to build up their hours and the ones who actually care about teaching you to fly.