how to pay the pilot training

How to pay the pilot training when you don’t have any money?

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!

40 thoughts on “How to pay the pilot training when you don’t have any money?

  1. Hi there!

    I live in South-Africa , and my dream is to become a pilot , I would love to emigrate to The Netherlands and do all my training there. Do you think its possible. I have been in the Netherlands once, and felt in love with the beautiful country!
    I love your channel! Keep on with the good work!

  2. Hi
    I’m priyanshu raj from India.I want become a pilot but in india pilot training course fee is so high but I don’t able to pay fee so I move in another country. I wanna to know about flight academy who’s provide me scholarship so man please comment about that’s school I wanna a pilot it’s my childhood dreams but now I will not to find any way so pls help me
    So I’m thankful to you ma’am
    Thank you!

  3. DutcPilotGirl, I am very jealous of you, Captain Joe, and all pilots as it is my dream to someday be a pilot. I don’t care if I get paid for it or not, I just want to fly. Unfortunately, the cost of flight school is so high, and I don’t want to be in debt until I near retirement. It is also difficult when rather than your spouse’s support you get the opposite. So I have chosen a completely different career path in Nursing. I had tried to get into military flight school, but that plan was doomed from the beginning. So for now I watch your videos with envy, and hope to someday afford flight school.

    1. Wow me and you are so in the same boat, I’m also currently studying to be a Registered Nurse although my dream was to fly, with these extreme flight school prices I might as well be happy where I am and make the most of it ?

  4. Dutchpilotgirl I’m having issues with the medical here in Australia and have been looking at FIFO training nearby with a non Commonwealth country. Any thoughts on the best idea for this?

  5. Hey Mam My name is Saurav From India. i have a small droopy Eyelid In my right eye.Is it a problem? Please please Answer Mam

  6. Hi Michelle,
    Ben from USA. I do appreciate for what your doing for fellow airplane amateurs. All the information you provide is of great help.I do have a question, I am 26 I work for an aerospace company. I have a student loan I am paying off right now and it may take a year from now to clear it off. I always dreamt of becoming an Airline Pilot. Is 27 too late to start? Also I will have to take a loan for the entire training. Would that be a good idea and if I do how long would it take to pay off usually. Where am going with this is, how much will I get paid initially?

    1. I put much work into seeing how one could do this with the finding that Regional Freight is to be focused on with the idea that if one is proceeding well we can get the carrier to contract to retire the debt but is only for those whom are interested naturally as the workload for Scheduled Carrier has hidden burdens that most cannot anticipate ♦ For example an 8-hour rule may result in only 4 hours sleep due to getting to the room ••• 27 is better age to start as some maturity has been obtained ~ I suggest pay as you go with spending much time studying advanced works as there are many fine-detail nuances that exist now which did not occur decades ago — parallel departures for example there is an outbound turn at Los Angeles Intl Airport on the IFR Plates at about Santa Monica ~ with people paying for you to do this there is no room for Fantasy Expectations

      Heading 240° in that situation can make your loan-anticipation an easily retire-able thought

  7. Hey i really really did love your article, but i have some questions or need some of your opinions, i live in mexico, and since im in high school i am paying for my sign in for it, (since over here in mexico you have to pay to get into high school) so basically, i dont come from a rich or average economic family but i am planning into being a atleast commercial plane pilot since i have type 1 diabetes, i wasnt born right here in mexico, so i plan in getting into a flight school in the u.s. Is there any job that can help me pay off flight school besides a loan? (and not only high school but my needs like medical for insulin and the basics and a apartment since i have no family over there).

  8. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for all the hits and tips you post in your blog. I think you are doing a great job in here.

    I will start to tell you that I am 33 y o and I hold a master in Economics (if this can help), tough my wishes have been most of times in thinking on how to become a pilot (since I was a child I have been dreaming during the night that I was falling down in a dark black space (no stars at all) without never ever touching or seeing the ground or a end, as in a black hole (maybe)). The reason for not focusing totally on my dream were the huge amount of costs required to get the licence and because I never had either my parents nor a family I gave up many times and I worked hard to survive. Now I no more care of my financial troubles and I will do all on my power to make my dream come true, even to giving my ass if necessary (just kidding (maybe)).
    I thought you may share some more idea on what I can do with. I can not even ask for a bank loan as they will ask me for anything to guarantee it but apart my ass, my kidney (now I am not kidding, I am thinking to do ) give one of them up) or a lung. If I will have to die one day, please let my choose my own end.

    Please advice me, I cannot believe my kidney is the only way to get the necessary cash to pay a flight school. Maybe I can call to some asian/middle east aviation companies to see if they have programs to guarantee for me.


  9. Thank you so much for this helpful info Michelle.I found it at a time when I was on the verge of giving up but I must say I am more than inspired now!Am going for aviation it is what my heart wants.Someday I will thank you enough

  10. Hi Michelle, can we work and study pilot at the same time? Will air school allow us ? I’m from Nepal and I want to become a pilot but I cannot afford as it is too expensiveexpensive .

  11. Hey Michelle,

    Thanks a lot for the insight! 🙂 Now that you are already a pilot (I suppose it’s been close to a year now), would you say that the money invested in becoming pilot is worth it? In the post, you have mentioned that you would be debt free probably by the age of 45. That’s a really long time to be debt free and enjoy other aspects of life as well. Also, at this stage do you get to spend any quality time with your family and friends?


  12. Thanks Michelle , I also wanted to be a pilot and am looking forward to it , Will.keep you posted about my progress , Pray for me ☺️

  13. hi thanks , though tough enough, have a look in africa. no one or organization can really sympathize, and there is too much nepotism.

  14. Hi, I am from Bangladesh. I want to know that do completing the modules (PPL, CPL with IR/MER and CFI) reduce the cost rather than complete ATPL course ? Can i work as instructor to earn money after CFI ?

    1. PPL is not for working rather it is an initial license to get to CPL and of-course you can also fly an aircraft with your own money. In order to be working as a professional pilot you must have CPL.

  15. hello Michelle,I’m just a teen who’s still in school (germany) ,but I’ve been wondering how would I be able to pay for the pilot training.I’ve read an article that says Lufthansa covers the finances,of which you have to pay back ~60k in relatively small installments.
    Do you know what would the installments cost be,and how long would you need to cover all the finances?

    1. Hi Belmin, I am sorry but I don’t know anything about the financial benefits that come with the training program. The best way to proceed is by contacting them directly. I am certain that they can provide you with the answers you seek. All the best and good luck!

      1. How to get some flying hours at half price?
        The local flight school may do a collection of a sensitive document or other from a distant area on a weekly basis. Ask them if you can pay half their costs in exchange for the flight hours. This usually ends up with you in the left seat and a school pilot in the right. Because he/she will most likely have an instructor rating you good to go and could even be taught an extra skill on the way while you log hours at half the price.
        In my day we used to collect checks from farmers on behalf of a financial company. While I realise technology may have changed the idea has not.

  16. Hi ma’am &Sir; I’m Kevin J.Villaplaza pure Filipino and willingly to become a pilot someday but I can’t afford the tuition pay in the school because my family is only a farmer my Instagram kevmoto123…I’m asking a question we’re I get a free scholarship in my country! Philippines…..?

    1. Hi Kevin, Sorry but I am unfamiliar with pilot schools in the Philippines. Browse the internet and forums to find out more about opportunities within the Philippines and visit the pilot schools to learn more about their requirements and ways of funding the tuition. Good luck!

    2. Try to search something about your country’s AIRFORCE. Maybe you can get free flying there and then after serving country you can fly commercially.

  17. Hiii I am Nafisur Rahman from India. I am a Big fan of yours . I also wanted to became a pilot but in my country the cost of Flight School is very high and after taking license its not sure that i can get a job nor i can apply in any other countries because our license is only valid in our Country.
    So i wanted to move in some other countries where i can get a Good Flight School and there training cost low fees. I am very much confuse that how i can pay for my Flight School. This article is really helpful but didn’t mention about scholarship because I heard that many Airlines offers Scholarship in which entire Training will free and after Training they will hire you. One of the example is here in Singapore (
    Plz give me some Ideas or your views about this I will be very thankful to youand plz kindly replay my Email is (*********) and my number is ********.
    Thank You

    1. Hello Nafisur, I guess there are no pilots that really have a 100% guarantee that they will get a job as a pilot after they graduate.

      You managed to find a cadet program that covers the training expenses. Those kind of programs are known to have really though selections. However, they are kind of great since you most likely end up working for the airline that is hosting the program, in this case Singapore Airlines which is supposed to be a great airline to work for. In this case I guess the training is paid by them and you even get an allowance while in training. So I would definitely go for it if you have the opportunity to do so! Good luck!

      Ps. I removed your contact details. Since I reply on comments directly I don’t need your email address or phone number.

  18. Brilliant article Dutch Pilot Girl.
    Thank you for posting. You have a kind and real life attitude. Thank you for so much information. It is refreshing to know we can go through the same stuff as a professional Dutch Pilot Girl.
    Thanks also for your ATPL tips.
    Guys! Quit asking her for sponsorship, she is not a bank but is broke like you and me and yet, she will give you F R E E advice in her posts that few pilots would ever do.
    Thank you Dutch Pilot Girl.


  19. Hey,
    I am huge fan of yours. A big salute which you do for new generation.
    I also want to become a successful PILOT. For this i want to know some steps for my dreams come true.
    That how can i get the “study loan” and the “best fight school ” So that the my money will not waste.

    This number is my personal ********** I will be very thank full for your help.

    1. Hello Ravinder, I removed your telephone number since I will not be using it. Besides, it isn’t wise to post personal details like that on the internet since people can use it against you. Here you can learn more about choosing a flight school. The study loan you need to get at a bank and probably a pilot school can assist you with that. Look for local opportunities, speak to other pilots in your country, visit pilot schools etc. That way you can get further. All the best, Michelle

  20. Hello madam,
    From Bangalore, Karnataka,India,
    Subject :I wanna become a pilot badly!!
    I wanna become a pilot as it is my childhood dream now I am 23 years old I’m very fond of speed on land with bikes and cars I’m studying about planes since I was 10 even my parents know about it, I took them to a aviation company they conducted a interview and I even passed they asked my parents 1000000 rupees in Indian money but my parents are not ready to pay so much I was disappointed and depressed about it!! So I started going to work but even then I couldn’t save so much money till now but I’m sure I will earn more in future I have the hope on me I can’t wait till I earn so much because becoming a pilot age matters so please madam help me with my career now and I will help you forever they say before you do something dream and work on it I’m working on it since 13years I’m not able to even forget about it I wanna achieve it at any cost I hope you understand.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Vaibhav,

      why don’t you try NDA(iaf pilots/navy pilots), go for it man it’s free and don’t waste your time. Only selection is tough that’s it. job assured and after 10yrs get to a commercial airline

  21. Hello Michele Good evening to You from İzmir city Turkey. I really like your posts as well as always. The reason is You feel and behave responsible for the new canditates of Aviation Who do want to become a Pilot.This way of You shows that You are a really nice and true person as a humanbeing. Because Pilots don’t have to explain their career. So You respect people. I hope You meet with the graceful pople in your life time. Let me ask You that ; What kind of specialities do the Pilot Canditates have in Physical and health needs /Qualificaitons to get the Pilot License ? Bwecause I heard that once The team of doctors check even your fingers symmetry Beside I see flight videos of pilots on Youtube Who wear on glasses to see accurate views.( I mean about the Pilots Who have Eye Disorders ) Have nice days and excellent joyful flights. Kindly Regards to You.

    1. Hi Omer, Thank you for your kind words. There are certain limitations regarding the medical conditions. Every commercial pilot needs to have a Class 1 medical. I never heard about finger symmetry but these are some of the checks that are included in a medical check: Eye sight, eye condition, lungs, ears and hearing, balance, heart, blood, urine, weight and more. You can fly with glasses but there are limits. All the best, Michelle

  22. Nice article! I am currently studying the CPL theory and probably will start flying next year. I live in Colombia and the whole program to get your CPL is around 50.000 american dollars. It is cheaper than in the United States. Did you finish your CPL in the Netherlands or in Arizona?

    1. Thanks for your insight Jorge! I finished my training in the Netherlands and the school was based there as well. But because of the weather conditions and some other reasons the majority of the flight training itself took place in Arizona. I had a great time there! Good luck with your training!

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