Getting your Pilot’s License on the Cheap. There is a difference between being economical and being cheap. And when it comes to getting your training for your pilot’s license, you want the best training you can get. When you finally get to the point that you can fly an aircraft, not only will your life be in your hands, the lives of others, possibly your family and friends may depend on being able to handle that aircraft with skill and with a good background in training.
But flight school and pilot’s training is not an inexpensive operation. You are learning to operate some very sophisticated machinery and to learn a new skill that is different than anything else you have ever done. But even though you do not want to cut corners on the important elements of your training which is time with your flight instructor and in the air learning to handle that aircraft, with some extra effort on your part, you can cut some costs and not compromise the quality of your pilot’s license.
There are two big sections to pilot’s training which are the theory and the practice or the book learning and the application or hands on learning you do working directly with the aircraft. When you go up for your pilot’s license, you will face a pretty rigorous written exam. So much of your time in flight school will be in class walking through this material.
But there is no requirement that you learn this material from an instructor. You can work with a Part 61 flight school which has the flexibility or tailor your program (as opposed to a Part 141 school which conduct classes in strict accordance with guidelines) so you can do a lot of that study and concept learning independently and not have to pay to sit in class to learn what you could have conquered at home for free.
You can buy books that will walk you through every aspect of the pilot’s license test and sit down at your kitchen table and learn it all as fast as you are able to absorb knowledge. Many of these tutorials will have quizzes and example tests so you can have someone work you over pretty good so by the time you walk in to take the written exam you are ready.
Of course there are plenty of online sources that can give you the same in depth training absolutely free. Sometimes studying online is easier because it’s a bit more interactive and fun. One such site is http://www.flightcentral.net/sport/training.htm but you can Google “pilot’s license training” and locate others from reputable agencies that will do the job just as well.
The hardest thing about home study is to keep yourself accountable and moving forward though. So set a schedule of what you are going to achieve and make steady progress, just like you would if you were in a classroom setting. You can then download the Practical Standards Test (PTS) and study the actual layout and questions that you will be required to pass “open book”. So by the time you are ready for the test, you are really ready for that test.
You can also work with your instructor to help you be totally prepared when its time for actual flight training in the air. He can give you the checklists so you are ready when you show up. If you make mistakes, learn what you did and practice that skill in your armchair at home.
The more you get out of the way on your own, the less time in the airplane which costs by the hour. And by taking charge of your training and only using the experts for hands on training you need, you get just as good an education in flying but you save a ton of money.