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Seven Tips for Getting a Pilots License

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Since young, some pilots have known that all they ever wanted to do was get in an airplane and soar high above the clouds. It seems they were born to fly. For others, the reasons are more varied. Some were inspired by a great trip and desire to become an airline pilot in order to see the rest of the world. Since the average airline pilot's salary is quite high, it makes the profession extremely desirable. Whatever the motivation, learning to fly is an expensive pursuit. Many private pilots who fly for their own enjoyment wait until they’ve already established themselves in another profession. The day job is the job that funds their flying hobby. For those with a limited budget who choose to make flying a profession, here are six tips to help reduce your costs in getting your license.

1. Research
Your first step to becoming a pilot is to obtain a private pilot’s license. There are three major avenues to obtain the license and each has pros and cons. The path you take will depend on your situation. You can choose to enroll in an aviation degree program at a college. If flying for a major airline is your ultimate goal, this could be the best route since major airlines require a 4-year degree in aviation or a related field. In an aviation program, you can earn your bachelor's degree and your pilot's license simultaneously. If you take out student loans to finance your education, research various schools since pricing can fluctuate significantly.

Another avenue to gaining your license is through one of the military branches. All branches of the military have pilots.

Finally, you can go to flight school at a local airport. Research costs of the education and the flight hours.

2. Acquire an Instructor Rating
Once you’ve achieved your private license and are planning to continue to be a commercial pilot, get an instructor rating in both single and multi-engine aircraft. Instructing may not pay a wage as some instructors waive payment and instead consider the accrual of flight hours to be the benefit. This lessens the cost of aircraft rental significantly while the student picks up the tab and you accrue flight hours.

3. Apply for Scholarships
Apply for scholarships. There are plenty of aviation scholarships, though it takes a little digging. Consider discussing this with the college or ask your fellow flight students and instructors if they know of any programs.

4. Purchase Second-hand Books and Training Guides

Included in many programs are the books and materials needed, but not all. If you attend a college, you may be able to purchase and sell used books at the annual book exchange. Look online and ask any students who recently graduated if they are planning on selling their materials. With any purchase, make sure you have the current edition or verify with your instructor if an earlier edition works.

5. Pass Your Exams
Study hard and pass your exams the first time. This will save you time and money since each exam has an exam fee.

6. Apply for a Commercial Pilot Position
Once you’ve logged in enough hours, you can get a commercial pilot's license. This certification allows you to fly goods and people. Commercial pilots fly all sorts of cargo and small groups of people. If working for a major airline is your goal, a commercial pilot can be a great route to start. You’ll earn moderate pay, but you’ll be accruing commercial flight hours on a variety of aircraft.

7. Share Expenses
Your first job as a commercial pilot may be out of town or another state. Often pilots rent a room in a home near the airport where they are domiciled. If you need to take a position out of your area, check out the employee bulletin boards at the local airport and see if you can find a room to rent.

Flying planes require rigorous training and commitment. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) regulates the training, certifications, and flight hour requirements for each certification. Getting your pilot's license is a significant financial investment with awesome rewards. Follow the tips above, and you can do it.

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