It’s no secret that flight training is expensive. With increased fuel and insurance prices, the cost of flight training has been on the rise for years.
Because of these increased costs many flight schools have decided to complicate their pricing and hide fees from potential customers as a way to lure them into their flight training programs.
It is a way for flight schools to advertise lower costs when in reality many of these lower costs do not actually exist!
There are 2 main tactics these flight schools employ to lure new, unsuspecting students to low prices. They are:
1- They complicate and divide their pricing information.
2- They do not quote all of the costs associated obtaining a pilot license.
The first and most prominent tactic we see that flight schools employ is in how they divide and complicate their pricing. They have become skilled technicians that make their pricing so convoluted it is nearly impossible for new students (especially those that are brand new to the aviation industry) to get an exact accurate estimate on what flight training is going to cost them.
Nearly every student we talk to that has trained at other flight schools has told us that their flight training ended up costing them more than expected! It’s almost become the new “norm” in the industry.
Let’s talk about how these flight schools complicate their pricing so that you can be prepared and informed when meeting with them.
The most pronounced example I have of this is a flight school that was advertising “Flight Training at $85/hr!” What a fantastic deal! How could anyone pass up a price that low? After further investigation, this is what I found…
– The airplane cost $85 per hour to rent.
– This rental price did NOT include fuel (approximately $35/hr with current fuel prices).
– The rental price did NOT include the flight instructor ($40/hr).
– The rental price did NOT mention the cost of flight school membership fees ($1,500 up front cost and $50/month indefinitely).
– The rental price did NOT include insurance, which the flight school required of each student (approximately $150- $200/year).
– The rental did NOT include the cost of ground school ($35/hr for an approximate 15 hours).
Let’s do the math here. The FAA requires 40 hours of flight time (minimum) for the Private Pilot License. At $85/hr the quoted cost comes out to $3,400. The actual hourly rate for this flight school is $160. Include the membership fees, insurance, and ground school (approximate 3 months to achieve the pilot license) and the total cost comes to $8,725!
The actual price MORE THAN DOUBLED from quoted to actual.
While not all flight schools are as devious as the example listed above, most of them will hide some of their pricing.
The moral of the story is to ask the flight schools these questions:
– “Does your quoted price include fuel?”
– “Does your quoted price include the flight instructor?”
– “Are there any upfront fees associated with my flight training?”
– “How much are your ground school fees?”
– “Do I need to provide my own insurance policy, or do you provide it?”
Remember to ask these questions. You do not want to be blindsided with these additional costs. They can add $$$ thousands $$$ to the cost of your pilot licenses.
The second way you can get lost in the cost of your pilot license is when flight schools do not disclose all of the costs associated with your pilot license.
The fees most commonly hidden from new students include the FAA testing fees, and the cost of ground school.
This is where most flight schools will get defensive. They have the mindset that “well, you don’t pay your FAA testing fees to the flight school (you pay them to the FAA examiners) so that is why we do not include them in our pricing.” Which, this logic is somewhat understandable. However, for a student that is brand new to aviation these costs can come as a complete surprise!
At Axiom Aviation we have built our flight school on being honest and upfront with all potential and existing flight students. When we quote a price for a pilot license we include ALL of the variables so that students know exactly how much it is going to cost them. We include: flight time, ground school instruction, supplies (study materials and pilot materials), insurance, and FAA testing fees.
It saddens me to see what many flight schools have resorted to in order to “put butts in seats.” And we can’t change how these flight schools operate. For that reason, I hope you take this information with you when comparing flight school pricing. You will be better informed and be able to make a more accurate decision about your flight training.
Don’t go in blindly! This has happened to us and to many of our friends in aviation. Get the full story before making any decisions.