Financing your pilot training can be extremely expensive and taking out a long term loan without the guarantee of being able to pay back the loan amount on a monthly basis after completing your training might not be the ideal solution. Loans are also charged at interest rates that result in a much larger amount needed to be paid back over the long term. Here are a few alternative ideas to pay for your pilot training:
1. Apply for jobs at one of the larger flight schools.
You may need to start from the ground up in the business, but there are often benefits such as discounted flight training. If you do well as an employee, you might see promotions and better wages and benefits. You may even be able to negotiate a deal with your employer to obtain your training as part of your package.
2. Apply for a job at a smaller flight school or volunteer your services.
Salary and wage packages might not be as good at the smaller schools and you may not be able to even get a job here, but volunteering your spare time could result in you learning a lot and perhaps being able to earn some free flight training if you show dedication and get noticed by the boss.
3. Apply for scholarships.
There are quite a number of scholarships available but only the very best, those that make an impression and stand out from the crowd are likely to get chosen. Make sure you have researched the institutions well, find out what they are looking for in a candidate so that you present yourself well. Show interest and be unique in your approach so that you stand out from the masses. This makes you more likely to be chosen as a recipient.
4. Obtain a degree or skill set to work in related professions.
Or something completely different and save up the cash to finance your flight training so that you can complete it quickly and debt free, keeping your options open. Obtaining a degree also results in fewer hours being required to obtain a commercial pilot’s license. If you pay off any other debts and don’t take on new ones, you could find saving quick and relatively painless. Having a degree also helps you move to the top of the pile for employment later on as well as being a backup plan if you are no longer able to fly due to health issues.
5. Work jobs such as bartender, waiter, bouncer.
Take on jobs that do not require any degrees or diplomas and save up for the training. This may take a little longer but you also cut out the cost and the time spent on earning a degree the traditional way.
Meet people that are in the industry, you might end up friends with a flight instructor who can help with lessons for the cost of the gas or be introduced to someone who can help you get your foot in the door at an airline or flight school to immerse yourself in the business.
7. Freelance work online.
If you have computer skills or are creative, you could perhaps look at freelance work online to make some extra cash, even if you already have a day job.
8. Become a civil air patrol cadet.
This is a good way to network with people in the business and many CAP members offer discounted rates to members who are looking to become pilots and show the necessary drive.
9. Join the military to train as a military pilot.
While this may seem an obvious choice, this takes away a lot of your control over your career and could have you end up being deployed and your life on the line. Unless you are very interested in the military, this is not the most recommended option for free flight training.
Even if you don’t yet have the funds to get started with your flight training, you can start doing some courses online, enroll in ground school courses and start learning all about the industry and the intricacies of being a pilot. At a minimum, set aside some time to obtain your medical through a FAA approved examiner. Spend your free time watching how to videos on youtube related to the industry and network as much as possible. If you are genuinely passionate and determined, you will find a way to obtain the funds to obtain your pilot training.