Minimum Cost Private Pilot Certificate

Greetings Folks:
Below is a recent letter from a young man named Joel Thomas. Joel earned his pilot

certificate at a very low cost using many of the recommendations I've made over the years. Yes, it's entirely possible to earn a pilot certificate at 50% of the cost you'll pay at major pilot centers. Perhaps the single most important aspect of this is finding a good instructor. Here are Joel's own words about how he did it. 
Rod Machado

"I just read your article in AOPA Pilot magazine (titled "Budget Buy"), in which you discussed learning to fly on a budget, and going to school on a budget. I've been following you for years, and you were saying the same thing back then, too. I read a ton of your stuff, and used Microsoft FSX well before I even took lessons.

It took me a long time to find an instructor that I liked, and didn't suck all the money out of my bank, but when I did I was committed. I drove an hour each way for my flying lessons, for 16 months, and the plane was an old Cessna 150 that was far short of pretty. When it was all said and done with 53 hours in my log book, I paid just over $6,200 for ALL of my flight costs, including the gas to drive to the airport. And yes, I paid for every bit of everything out of my pocket at age 17.... I worked on the farm, and every dollar I made got me another flight lesson.

My point in telling you my story, is that you are so right...if there is a will there is a way. I now beat the same drum you do.

I see so many kids going to school and coming out with thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. Our culture today tells young people that the only way to make it is to go deep into debt and hope you make enough to pay off that loan monster. I had people kinda make fun of me because I was flying an old plane that was far from sophisticated. But, I came out debt free, and I plan to do the same thing with my IA rating, and hopefully my CFI.

Anyways, Rod, thank you for your article, and I wanted to tell you that I agree 100% with you, and I've been saying the same thing for several years and will continue to...yes, it can be done!!"  

Joel Thomas

By Rod Machado | | Learning to Fly | 1 comment
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  • Joseph Oldham - February 07, 2017

    Great article and lowering the entry cost for students wanting to get their pilot certificate is one of the goals behind our Sustainable Aviation Project that I mentioned to you when we talked in Sebring, FL on the January 27. By bringing the Pipistrel Alpha Electro, electric training aircraft to the U.S. and putting them into service as flight trainers with a network of chargers at regional airports to support their operation, we believe that we can significantly reduce the cost for flight training by eliminating costly aviation gasoline from the equation. We think it will be possible to lower the rental cost for the aircraft through this project by about 40% using electric propulsion.

    I would be glad to share more about our project and I can be reached via the email address above. We have funding secured to purchase the aircraft and chargers and are working to have the project operational by Fall 2017.

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