Becoming a commercial pilot can be a long, competitive and expensive journey. But what if you just want to fly for fun?
Here you are going to find 5 most affordable ways to start your aviation hobby and become a pilot without breaking the bank.
Do a gliding course
Gliding is pretty much the cheapest form of flying with 1 winch launch costing about £10. If you play it right and get the best weather you could go soaring that will last the afternoon – best day out by my reckoning!
Gliding clubs offer a number of courses ranging from a single trial flight, up to a full week’s course where you will learn everything about gliders with having the chance to go solo on the last day!
Go for a LAPL Licence
To be able fly a powered aircraft you need a licence! There are two types of licences – LAPL and PPL.
A LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilots Licence) requires you to complete 30hrs of flying, 9 ground exams, a solo navigation flight and a test. The more well-known PPL (Private Pilots Licence) requires the same but 45hrs of flying.
The LAPL requires less hours but also, the LAPL is most suited to those that want to just have a potter around or take their friends up to share an experience. With a LAPL and a PPL you are able to fly to other places and explore the local area – so why not fly down to the Isle of Wight and grab some chips!
Check out the difference between LAPL and PPL if you want to know more about the LAPL licence.
Fly in a motor-glider!
When we think of learning to fly, most think of learning in a Cessna or a Piper Warrior costing £10,000 for a PPL. Yes, that can be the case however one way to cut down on flying costs is to consider flying in less fuel guzzling aircraft. Cessna’s drink around 30 litres per hour costing £180/hr, motor-glider’s drink 10 litres an hour costing £100/hr. Motor-gliders with their long wings love to stay in the air, so when it comes to fuel burn motor-gliders burn considerably less fuel as you are not fighting to stay in the air!
Same licence just cheaper… No brainer! One company I would recommend, MotorGlide!
So, you are still determined you want to do your ATPL licence but finance isn’t quite meeting your demands. One way to overcome this is to drop the classroom learning and do the distance-learning courses. Bristol Ground School is a reputable organisation for getting wannabe pilots through their exams in 10-13 months. Each module has a distance-learning phase followed by classroom-based revision before the exams. Full ATPL(A) course package costs £2,500 compared to £8000 classroom-based learning.
Apply for scholarships
Another way of funding to become a pilot would be through scholarships. There are plenty of organisations and associations that want to see young people achieve their dream to fly such as Air League and British Women’s Pilot Association. However, remember Scholars want to see evidence of determination and commitment to getting your bum into the air, whether that is volunteering on an airfield or completing flying courses – whatever it takes! One thing that I have heard is sometimes there isn’t always enough candidates to choose from so not all scholarships get handed out – find them and get applying!