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All pilots beginning a career in aviation must start with a Private Pilot Licence (PPL). The PPL includes at least 45 hours of flight and 40 hours of ground school training. One of the most exciting parts of this training is the student’s first solo. As with all flight training, the amount of time it takes to finish the licence is dependent on a student’s schedule and skill. In addition, since the cost of flight training depends on an hourly rate, there is often a range to how much it cost to complete the PPL. On average, a student completes their PPL in 50-60 flight hours and pays approximately $10,000-$13,000.
In order to be paid to fly, the student must continue their training toward a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). Included in CPL training is at least 65 hours of commercial flight and 80 hours of ground school training. Moreover, to obtain a CPL a student must have a total of 200 hours of flight time. In order to conduct training efficiently, most students add additional skills and ratings within those 200 hours of flight time. It is at this point the time, cost, and skills acquired range for each individual.
Most students choose to pursue a Multi-Engine rating in order to be able to fly aircraft with more than one engine. To fly an aircraft in poor weather conditions, some students decide to expand their training by including an Instrument Rating. Some students choose to pursue a flight instructor rating to increase their chances of acquiring an entry-level job in the industry. There are also a number of other ratings including endorsements for float or specific types of aircraft that may further qualify students for the career path that they intend to take.
By the time a typical student finishes their commercial training, they should expect to have invested between $50,000 and $70,000.
Later in a pilot’s career, they will have the option of obtaining an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). This licence does not require any specific training, but includes a number of flight hour and written examination requirements. The ATPL allows a pilot to be a captain of large commercial airliners.