Becoming a pilot is super expensive, it really is. Depending on your location, flight training costs between € 50.000,- and € 150.000,-. So where do you get all that money from? How to pay the pilot training? I receive all kinds of questions related to this subject on a daily basis. I am even being asked if I am willing to sponsor individuals so they can become a pilot themselves. Most people that follow me are aware of the fact that I still have a huge loan myself. You can read more about the costs and my story here.
Anyway, I hope it is clear I can’t sponsor anyone since I am happy if I can live debt free by the age of 45. There is something I can do though. I will shed some light on this subject and give you my advice on how to pay the pilot training while you have no money in the bank.
Option 1: Get a loan
Look for the best possible flight school that has a good reputation and solid connections with a bank. It will require you to do your research and to invest quite some time but it will all be worth it in the end! I visited almost every flight school in the Netherlands and finally chose the one which had good connections with European airlines. It also came with an option to cover the tuition through a loan from a well known Dutch bank. Without it I would never have become Dutch Pilot Girl. I am the only one responsible for my loan so whatever happens, I will never drag my parents into a bad financial situation. The majority of pilots out there nowadays basically followed the same path.
Option 2: Make your own money
This is a bit harder but I’ve seen people do it: start a business and sell it later on, use that money for flight training. If you are not able to get a loan, you are automatically forced into a different path. One of the things you could do is to start your own business. There are many ways to make money, but you have to be motivated and willing make it all work. Don’t forget to start early though! In general schools don’t accept students at the age of 31 and above.
If you just want to get a PPL it is a different story since it won’t cost you that much. If you are able to save some money with your day job you can take lessons every now and then. Even before getting your drivers license 😉
Option 3: Move
Temporarily move to another country where conditions are better. It all depends on your priorities, how far are you willing to go? Perhaps it is impossible to get a loan in your own country or the training might be way too expensive. In that case you can consider moving to another country. The tuition fees in the Netherlands are amongst the highest in the world, around €150.000,- while the same education costs about €50.000,- in the Czech Republic. In the end it’s the same license.
Option 4: Sponsorship
Get a sugah mommy, just kidding 😉 The last option is to get sponsored in some way, whether it’s by your parents or someone else. If you are one of the lucky ones to be sponsored, it will probably be done by your parents. A disadvantage is that there is no guarantee that you will and can complete the flight training successfully. If you fail a couple of subjects, you are out immediately which results in your parents money being lost. Personally, I would not go for this option as it is a huge risk for the one sponsoring you.
In rare occasions airlines offer sponsorships as well. Keep an eye on the airlines vacancies and look for sponsored programs. The selections are known to be extremely tough though so make sure you are well prepared! Good luck!
In short, how to pay the pilot training: Get a loan – Make your own money before applying at a pilot school – Apply at a school in another country where prices are lower – Try to get into a sponsorship.
How did you pay for your flight training? How much did it cost to become a pilot in your case? Are you aware of any current sponsorships? Together we can come up with more ways how to pay the pilot training. Please leave a comment below and help fellow aviators. Lets make their dreams a reality!