Learning to fly is always going to cost a reasonable amount.
But there are things you can do to reduce these costs a little.
1) Good school.
Do shop around the schools before starting your training.
I can tell you that there are lots of very good as well as very bad schools out there. Do they strike you as being an organised and disciplined company?
Rates do vary and there are many factors to consider.
You need to do very careful comparisons on costing and find exactly what is included in the price.
2) Good instructor.
Find an instructor that suits your style.
This is a personal or decision,
what suits someone won’t suit someone else.
The quality of your instruction and even more so your instructor’s
motivation will make an enormous difference to the overall cost of learning.
As difficult as it is, avoid false loyalty to an instructor. Most students can’t help but look up to their instructor. But if it isn’t working then get another one.
Make sure your instructor has a plan for your training and is not just taking things a trip at a time. It is very easy for training to start to drift along, with you making very little progress. Approaching your first solo is a common example. This is a big milestone for you but also a big thing for your instructor. He has to authorise your first solo flight and that is a big responsibility. It is not uncommon for them to feel as nervous as you are and all too easy to keep putting it off. I would suggest at the end of every lesson that you ask them what the plan is for the next few lessons. Do not except,”more of the same” as an answer learn to fly 3.
If you can, save up as much as possible before you start so that you will be able to fly regularly. Even if you only save up half the cost of the training then you can save the rest as you complete the first half of the course.
The larger the gaps between your flights, the longer and more expensive your training will be .
Do as much preparation as possible before every lesson.
So many students turn up to lessons poorly prepared.
You are paying 2-3 pounds a minute in the air!
You cannot afford to waste that time asking your instructor to remind you of things that you should have learned.
Being prepared means you will perform better, build your confidence and progress quicker.
If you are not sure what to study then ask.
But I would suggest that in addition to studying for written exams you need to study,
Your aircraft technical manual,
The aircraft checklist,
Most common power settings and speeds,
Your map of the local area,
Local procedures including how to check the weather forecast.
You do not have to spend a massive amount of time studying but being prepared saves money.
“To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail”
5) Written exams.
Do not leave studying for those ground school exams until the last minute!
The things that you will learn in the books will help you through the course and save you money.
Get studying right from the start. Or better still read some of the books before you even start to fly the aircraft.
I would start with studying air law, radio procedures and aircraft technical books.
Study hard! Knowledge will save you time.
6) Make use of computer based simulators.
They won’t help you to fly the aircraft but they do help to develop
your pilot’s thinking ability. The more you get used to dealing with headings and altitudes and frequencies etc the better. They can also help to develop situational awareness.
7) Fun flying.
Avoid getting involved with fun flying too much if it is not constructive and relevant to your course. ie flying over your house, aerobatics etc.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with your instructor making your lessons fun. We are learning partly because we love flying and want to have fun and there is nothing wrong with that.
But just remember it is all costing money and may not be moving you closer to the end result. Just remember that your instructor is not being paid to have fun. They are paid to teach you. If they can make it fun as well then that is good.
8) Additional costs.
Choose the airfields you land at carefully to avoid too many fees.
Most airfield charge a fee, called a landing fee each time you land there. As a large part of the training involves teaching landings you need to keep an eye on this cost. The prices differ enormously from one airfield to another and often deals are available for multiple landings.
Try to buy your equipment second hand or on line, rather than new or directly from your school.
9) Learning abroad.
Many people do go to other countries to learn in order to take advantage of cheaper costs and better weather.
This may save money in some cases even after paying for flights and accommodation. However I would normally recommend that people learn in the country that they intend to then fly in. There are significant differences in procedures, law and weather conditions as you travel the world. You may get your license in one country and then on return to your own find that you feel completely unprepared.
10) Grants or sponsorship.
There are actually a surprisingly large number of grants and awards out there available for those that want to learn to fly.
But they are not going to come looking for you and you are going to have to hunt them out.
For those who want to fly professionally then many airlines will sponsor you through your training if you meet their requirements.
It is never going to be easy getting someone else to pay but every year hundreds of people do get their training for free and I bet that every one of them took the initiative to find that funding.