How to pay for flight school

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This isn’t going to be your normal how
to pay for your flight training video I’m not going to tell you to get
sponsored by an airline or find a cadetship. No. You want to fly and
you know how expensive it can be and you want ideas and tips on how to afford it
of course you want your own flying freedom but that sort of freedom isn’t
cheap. So you may not like what you hear in
this video but I’m not going to dance around the subject. If you want to fly
and you’re struggling to afford to fly you’re going to have to make some
changes. If you’re new to the channel I’m Stef I’m a private pilot here in
Australia and I’ve been flying for around 12 years. I paid my own way through
my flight training but during that time there were occasions when I just didn’t
have the money to keep flying. There was one year when my company wasn’t doing
all that well I distinctly remember only having one flight.
I flew once in the entire year that’s all I could afford because I wasn’t
actually paying myself a salary at the time. And when times like that happened
to you I figure you have one of three choices. You can just stop flying
altogether you can decide to take on some debt to pay for your flight
training or you can find new ways to earn or save money. I got through the
tough times by using a combination of all three and so I’ve divided this video
up to try and help you do the same into three key sections. Some general
financial tips, some ways that you can save, and ways that you can reduce your
overall cost of flying. So let’s start with some general financial tips. Firstly
and most importantly life has to come first and just like with flying when you
need fuel reserves with life you need financial reserves. Open up a fee free
account call it something like ‘Fixed Reserve Don’t Touch’. This is your
emergency grocery shopping funds for when you’re heating fails in winter time
when the car needs fixing. It’s not for flying it’s not for fun but just like
you can’t fly without your fuel reserves you shouldn’t start thinking about
learning to fly without some financial reserves as well. Pick an amount,
something like $1,000 is good and use the tips in this video to save that
amount into that account and only when you get to that level then you can start
saving for your flying. Next up you need to determine your goal what are you
actually going for with your flying? Is it your recreational pilot’s license
your private pilot’s license commercial airline. Go talk to some flying schools
and ask them each to give you a plan that’s a written plan not just a chat. Make sure they cover the instructor the plane and the total cost of the exercise.
Then compare and see which instructor and plane and cost
combination works best for you. If you’re lucky enough to have a few airports
around you don’t just choose the airport that’s closest go out to the ones that
might be a slightly further drive but they might have cheaper training costs
and cheaper landing fees that might actually make the additional distance
that you have to travel worth it. Now you’ve found your flying school your instructor
and your plane and you know how much the whole thing is going to cost it’s
actually quite tempting to just obsess over that massive number and if you do
that you’re not gonna get anywhere. So take your goal and cut it down into
smaller achievable and more affordable chunks. So whilst you might be here at
the moment and say eventually you want your private pilot’s license it can be
scary to think that there’s a lot of money between you and getting to that
point. However cut all of that down into the key milestones and focus on them one
at a time. For example your first solo then your first cross-country solo then
your theory exam and then your private pilot’s license check ride. And budget
and pay for each part at a time even if that means you have a little gap in
between to get back on top of your finances for the next step. By breaking
the larger cost down into smaller chunks it’s less daunting and you’re more
likely to achieve each step. Now before talking about ways to save just one word
of caution if you’ve spoken to your flight school and they’ve come to you
with a fixed price lump sum as a slight discount on what you would pay if you
pay an hourly rate be very cautious about putting a lump sum of money down
with an organization unless you really really know them and you have some sort
of guarantee of what’s going to happen to your lump sum if something bad
happens to that flight school. Once you have your fixed reserve in place and you
have an idea of how much your flight training is going to cost you this is
where you need to start getting creative with ways to save that money. Your first
and easiest step is to cut your expenses. Go into your credit card statements
export the last three months and highlight everything in there that’s a
luxury item. I’m talking about Netflix Foxtel whatever cable you have Amazon
Prime takeaways restaurants breakfasts. All the times that you’ve gone out and
watched a movie. Find all those subscriptions and cancel those luxury
items. Now if you can’t or don’t want to cancel those items one other thought is
you can actually get in touch with a lot of these companies and say to them
you’re thinking of canceling can they give you some sort of reduction in the
subscription fee that you pay. You’ll be surprised what companies will offer you
in order just to keep you on as a customer especially if you’ve been with
them for a while. Now don’t switch off but this is
thing that you’re probably not gonna like the most in this video but you need
to hear it. If you’re serious about generating more income or saving on your
expenses you’re really going to need to set up a monthly budget. It doesn’t have
to be complex a simple monthly budget just put your income in one column and
all your expenses in the other. Go through those expenses and see if there
any that you can take out and at the end of the exercise have a look at what’s
coming in versus what’s going out and if what’s going out is more than what’s
coming in you’re gonna need to make some changes. If you can’t cut any more of
your expenses you’re gonna need to look at your income. Are there other ways that you
can generate money? Do you have a spare room in the house that you can lease to
somebody? Yeah of course nobody wants another person in their house but if you
really need the income it’s potentially a way that you can do it. If you don’t
own a property or you don’t have a spare room what can you sell? eBay is a
brilliant way to try and generate some short-term quick money just by having a
look at the things lying around your house that you really don’t need and you
can sell. That includes technology which sells really well clothing does well
books entertainment CDs. If Christmas is coming up or you have a birthday soon
talk to friends and family and tell them that you’re trying to save for your
flying career and then instead of having presents which at the end of the day
you’ll probably end up selling on eBay anyway, ask them just to put money
directly into your flying account. And when it comes to flying gear remember
you don’t need the latest gear don’t think that you need a pair of noise
cancelling Bose A20s however amazing they are. When you start flying you don’t
even need your own headset. When you start flying your flying school probably
has one that you can ask if you can borrow. With one exception which is my
recent instrument rating for every other theory exam I’ve done in the past at the
moment I pass that exam I’ve sold the theory book and I’ve done that for two
reasons. The first one is so I can continue to pay for some of my flight
training through that money that goes straight into my flying account and the
second reason is those books go out of date. Just before I talk about ways to
reduce your overall flight costs I want to answer one question which you may be
thinking right now which is should I go into debt in order to pay for my flight
training? Debt for the sake of just speeding something up is not the way to
do it you’ve got to ask yourself why do you have to start learning to fly now
why do you need to go into that debt now? If it’s just because I want to do it now
because everyone else is doing it now because I think there’s a pilot shortage
and it’s a good time to do it? I don’t necessarily think those are good
reasons to get yourself into debt now. Why not wait a year and get a second job
maybe at the weekends working at the airport so you can gain some experience
in the environment you’re going to be working in and you’re earning additional
money that you can put into your flying account instead of going into debt. Because debt in itself whilst it can be useful sometimes it’s also expensive. Be
very careful about expensive loans like credit cards or taking out a personal
loan from a bank or a financial organization. Just looking at a $30,000
loan over a five year payback it’s over $42,000. You’re going to be
paying back an additional 1$2,000 on top of what you borrowed and if you have
$12,000 just lying around that you can afford to give straight to the bank then
you’re probably not watching this video. Anyway if you absolutely have to take on
debt and you have reasons for doing it and you have a plan for how you’re going
to pay it back consider asking people close to you. Consider asking family or
friends if you can have something in writing between you, an actual formal
agreement but with an interest rate that’s are either a lot lower than what
the banks are going to be offering or preferably no interest rate whatsoever.
You’re just repaying the money that you borrowed over time. And if you do insist
on using a credit card to take on debt and to pay for flight training please do
your research and make sure that you’re getting a credit card which has got a
low or 0% introductory rate for a couple of years and by the time that interest
rate goes back up to the twelve fourteen sometimes higher percentages that it
will go back to you’ve paid back what you’ve borrowed on that credit card. So
then what about ways to actually reduce your overall flying costs. Think about
home studying your theory rather than doing it with a third party. If you need
to get theory books see if you can buy them secondhand online or borrow them
from your flying school. Try to do those exams early. In most situations that
theory exam once you’ve passed it it doesn’t expire. If you study yourself and
you buy your books online secondhand you can actually save some money up front
and you’re also a little bit more educated when you get to the point of
flying which should actually make the process of learning to fly a lot easier.
Go back to the flying school that you’re going to learn to fly with an ask them
if they’ve got any paid work available at the weekends, and that could be
anything from moving aircraft pumping gas in aircraft, cleaning them, washing
windows. Whatever it might be. And even if they don’t have any paid work ask them
if they’d consider any contra work. What I mean by that is everybody has a
skill. You watching this have something that you can offer the flight school
which is valuable for them and instead of them paying you in cash ask them to
pay you in flight time. When I was having that quiet spell I spoke about when I
couldn’t afford to fly so only flew once that year, what I was doing in the
meantime as I was building a bunch of websites because software development
and tech that’s my background. I was building websites for flight training
organizations and for companies that owned aircraft in return for hours
on those planes. Now you don’t have to be a website builder it could be anything. I
mean if you know social media if you use Twitter and Instagram to be honest
you’ve probably got a better handle on social media than most flying schools
out there. So see if you can run their Instagram account for a couple of months.
If you can get business in for them online they’re going to see a lot of
value in you, and giving you flight hours in return really isn’t going to cost
them that much considering you’re helping them get new business. And don’t
get carried away with thinking you have to learn in the most technically
advanced aircraft either. You don’t need to learn how to fly in a brilliant
Cirrus SR22 G6 with full flight into known icing and turbo, oxygen… You may end
up there but that’s not where you need to start. But equally don’t start too low
as well. Don’t start with an incredibly basic aircraft just because it’s the
cheapest one on the airfield because at some point you’re gonna need to pay more
to start getting into more technically advanced aircraft anyway. To reduce your
flying costs you want to find an aircraft that meets that sweet spot that
has opportunities for you to fly in the future but equally it’s still simple to
fly and it teaches you the fundamentals. Whatever you do if all you want to do is
go flying but money is the one thing that’s preventing you from going flying
do the one thing that feels most counterintuitive – slow down. Aviation
isn’t going anywhere. The temptation to focus on the end goal is huge of course.
We all want to see ourselves as a captain on the flight deck of an A350 or
flying ourselves around the world in our own plane but like anything amazing it
takes time to do it properly. Ffinding ways to afford to learn how to fly, and
to fly ongoing, is of course a problem. But if you want to become a pilot then
solving problems is going to be a big part of your life. Just treat this
exercise of trying to sort out your finances as the first problem that you
as a pilot have to calmly and safely solve. If it was easy then everybody
would be doing it. But, this video isn’t aimed at everybody. This
video is aimed at you. You’re the solution to the pilot shortage and
you’re the one that I want to share the skies with in the future. So I truly hope
that these tips help you solve the problem that you need to solve in order
to get yourself on with your flight training. I’ve made this playlist of some
of my recent flying adventures which hopefully will help you and motivate you
to get your finances in order and chase your own personal flying freedom and if
you’re new to the channel and this video is useful and you haven’t subscribed yet
do consider subscribing. Thanks for watching.

 

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