Have you ever had recurring dreams of flying? Like you are floating in the air like Peter Pan?
Some experts say dreams are usually the product of a person’s goals and desires in life. The more you think about it, the more likely you will dream about it. You might not realize it, but perhaps in the back of your mind, you have always wanted to become a pilot. A commercial pilot at that.
Being a commercial pilot simply means you are allowed to do flying services and be paid for it. Wouldn’t you be excited to get around $60,000 to $150,000 annual salary? But hold your horses. You need to get licensed first. But how much it would cost to get commercial pilot’s license?
Average Cost of Commercial Pilot License
The commercial pilot license price depends on whether you attend a pilot school or you hire an instructor to learn and accumulate logged hours.
Private training would involve hiring an instructor which costs around $40 to $80 per hour depending on your location and the instructor’s qualifications. The reported rental cost of an aircraft ranges from $45 to $150 per hour depending on the model.
The average cost of various pilot training and licenses in the USA are the following:
- Private + Commercial Pilot License – from $10,000 to $17,000+
- Private + Instrument + Commercial Pilot License – $18,000 to $24,000
- Private + Instrument + Commercial + ATP – $30,000+
- Commercial Single-engine Add-on Rating – $3,000
- Private Pilot License – from $6500 to $15,000
- Sports Pilot License – from $3,000 to $5,000
- Instrument Pilot Rating – $18,000+
- Recreational Pilot License – from $6000 to $7700
- Certified Flight Instructor Certificate – from $8000 to $12000+
- Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument Rating – $5,000+
- Multi-engine Instructor Rating – $5,000+
- Airline Transition Training – $3,000
What are Included?
The commercial pilot license price in a pilot school typically includes the following:
- You will be provided with a complete set of training manuals and handouts
- You will be given access to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) online question bank or Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) in the case of Europe.
- Theoretical and practical training through qualified instructors
- The cost of aircraft rental.
Since the landing and communication fees which are based on the destination airport that trainees would choose are not covered in the cost to get commercial pilot’s license, a list of airport and corresponding fees will be handed to you beforehand, for you to cover as an additional cost.
Airport landings may be in and out of the USA so expect to pay the US dollar equivalent based on the foreign exchange rate averages.
Examination fees range from $100 to $400 depending on the examiner while books and other training materials such as log book, navigation plotter among others can cost around $100.
The cost of books and learning materials range from $200 to $500 depending on whether you are studying privately or in a pilot school.
Also, consider getting your own aviation or pilot headset which cost around$109.99up to $1,095.95 according to PilotMall.com depending on the brand.
Flight insurance, like renter insurance or the one you get when you rent or borrow an aircraft, which costs around $81 to $175 according to AOPA, ranging from just a liability coverage to a more comprehensive coverage that covers even up to bodily injury to passengers.
Fuel might or might not be covered by the rental price of the aircraft, so be prepared for the cost if it is not.
Factors Affecting Cost of Commercial Pilot License
- The pilot training school – the commercial pilot license price largely depends on the school where you train to get certification as pilot schools tend to have varying rates due to a lot of factor like the location, competition, cost of living, etc.
- Pilot school or private training – whether you like to attend a formal school or prefer the convenience of private training will affect the cost of getting a pilot license.
- Type of pilot certification or license – the type of certification you want to gain will also dictate the cost you will incur to get it.
- The cost of aircraft – while most training packages include this in the cost, it is different when you opted for convenience and hired someone to privately teach you. Some students cannot completely learn within the standard time frame and would still need additional flights.
Also, if you want to upgrade your license, logging more flight hours is necessary so expect to pay a bigger cost associated with the aircraft rental. Not to mention the rental rates of the different aircraft rental companies.
- The landing airport – as mentioned, it is usually not covered in the training price the landing fee to the airport of your choice while on training. Therefore, your cost to get commercial pilot’s license may be higher than expected.
- Instructor cost – when you attend ground school to get the license, the instructor cost would normally be included. But you can also get certified by hiring a private instructor because the FAA does not mind whatever manner you obtain your license as long as you completed the required time logged. Your license cost will be affected by how cheap or expensive the rate of your instructor is.
Where to Get License
The Federal Aviation Administration offers a pilot school locator so you can choose to train near your place of residence.
Other Types of Pilot Certificates in the United States
There are basically six types of pilot certificates and licenses you can obtain in the United States, the commercial pilot being one. The rest are the following:
- Sport Pilot – this is the easiest certificate that any student can get in terms of a pilot license. This is intended for those who wish to fly light aircraft only and can be earned through different categories like the airplane, powered parachute, glider, rotorcraft and hot air balloons.
Please note that sport pilots are only allowed one passenger each flight and are not allowed to fly beyond 10,000 feet and to fly at night.
- Recreational Pilot – this type of pilot license can be considered a more advanced than the sport pilot as it is allowed to fly a heavier aircraft but are still subject to limitations like the sport pilot. Some of these limitations include: they can only fly within the 50 nautical miles or less from their airport of origin, can only fly at daytime and are not allowed to land in controlled airports.
- Private Pilot – this is the most common type of pilot certificate and much more intensive and complex than the training done by sport and recreational pilot. Plus they get allowed to do things that are prohibited to sport and recreational pilots. These are flying at night and they are allowed to land at controlled airports.
But it is not without limitations as private pilots are not allowed to fly commercially and as such, are not allowed to receive compensation for the pilot services.
- Flight Instructor – if you have every intention to teach or coach in the future, this certificate is right for you. Although it is not a prerequisite to getting a pilot license as many aspiring pilots bypass this step, it is sure a big plus if you want to get the necessary experience, not to mention being paid for the service.
- Airline Transport Pilot – all commercial airlines around the globe nowadays require an airline transport pilot certificate to applicants as this is the most advanced certificate of all. Sort of “the mother of all pilot licenses and certificates”. To obtain the certification, you must be at least 23 years old and must have logged a good 1,500 flight hours.