Funding your Commercial Pilots Licence training
There is no hiding from it; becoming a commercial pilot takes a lot of money. Ultimately by the time you have taken into account extra costs such as living expenses you can expect to spend around £50-60,000 to get your Aviation Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL). You should look at this as an investment in your future that will pay off when you are earning a good salary as a professional pilot.
Outlined below are a few thoughts and suggestions on how to make your money go further.
When budgeting, it is easy to overlook costs that seem to slip under the radar. These include CAA and medical fees, living expenses or even something as simple as the cost of your text books. Westair has tried to make the pricing plan as transparent and simple as possible but no matter where you fly, there is always the possibility that you may require more than the minimum hours to complete a course. Try to take as many of these costs into account and if possible have a contingency ready in case you go over your planned expenditure.
It is very easy to see your flight training as simply the time you spend in the air or at your flying school. But there is a lot more preparation required. Instructors will often say that for every hour you spend in the air you should spend about 4 hours studying. If you arrive at a lesson ill prepared your instructor will have to spend time in the air explaining concepts that could have been learnt on the ground. This will waste your time and ultimately your money. Make sure you arrive for your lesson having thoroughly reviewed the exercise you are intending to fly. Your instructor will tell you at the end of every lesson what you will be doing on your next flight. Arrive early for your lesson so you can make sure you are relaxed and prepared and if you are really not sure about something ask before you go flying! This will become more and more important as you progress through your training and fly more complex and expensive aircraft.
Some companies and organisations, such as the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators (GAPAN), offer scholarships to fund some or part of your training. Whilst the competition for such programmes is fierce it is always worth applying. In addition some companies such as British Airways and Virgin offer various cadet schemes to help with training costs.
If you aren’t lucky enough to be offered a scholarship and you don’t have vast amounts in the bank you may need to look to a bank loan. A business plan will impress your bank manager, proving that you have thought things through. You can also use it as a guide for yourself, where you have set realistic goals and timeframes. Some companies offer specific loans for flight training. These loans ask for security, usually in the form of property. Please be aware that, as with all loans, there are financial risks.
The principle advantage of the modular route is that the training is flexible to suit you. If you opt for a full time integrated course make sure you take into account the loss of earning whilst training. A modular training programme will allow you to maintain a job whilst completing your flight training. In addition you will be able to spread the financial expenditure over a longer period of time to suit you. You will also find that the overall cost of modular flight training is significantly less compared with an integrated course.