(July 2011) I've met far too many people who dream about learning to fly, but don’t act out on their desire to be at the controls of an airplane. One of the greatest deterrents to flying is cost. And realistically, learning to fly can be expensive. But there are several ways to reduce that cost. With a little bit of imagination and a lot of motivation, it can be affordable. The following five recommendations (in no certain order) could save you thousands of dollars — money you may as well spend taking your friends up for fun flights.
1. Get a sport pilot license.
The introduction of the Sport Pilot license gives you an opportunity to become a pilot in a total of 20 hours —
half that required for the private pilot license. While the Sport Pilot license has limitations, the certificate still allows you to take a friend up for a flight to any airport in the United States, as long as you have a logbook endorsement to operate in Class B, C and D airspace. And when and if you get the desire and funds to continue your training to get your private pilot certificate, you are already well on your way.
This tip may at first glance appear a little bizarre, but it’s amazing how much money you can save by simply being prepared. Study the concepts for your upcoming lesson thoroughly and go over the required maneuvers in your head. Visualizing the maneuvers stimulates the brain in similar ways as the actual performance of the task. Dr. Richard Restak, a neuroscientist and author of 12 books about the human brain said: “Positron emission tomography (PET) scans reveal that the mental rehearsal of an action activates the prefontal areas of the brain responsible for the formulation of the appropriate motor programs.”
You can also study for the written test on your own using a book or programs on-line, rather than taking a class or paying an instructor to teach you. Just make sure that you are learning the most up-to-date information.