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Interested in the training time and cost to become a licensed pilot to fly airplane light sport aircraft (LSA) at Sport Aviation Center?

Everything you want to know about pilot training time and cost is listed here for Sport Pilot, Private Pilot, Instrument, Commercial, and CFI…

LSA Airplane Rental, Instruction, Checkride and Proficiency Check Line Item Fees

    • Intro Flight with Flight Instructor and Aircraft LSA – $250 per session short, $330 per session medium *
      (Counts as official flight training time with preflight and post flight briefing. Short is 30 minute Hobbs time, medium is 60 minute flight time.  Logbook $15. Pictures $80 or video $150)
    • Flight Instruction Hobbs time with Aircraft LSA – $205 per hour *
      (includes $130 airplane per hour and $75 per hour flight instructor)
    • Flight and Ground Time Instruction – $75 per hour **
      (ground school and pre/post flight briefings, time spent with instructor that is not flight time)
    • Group ground instruction two or more people – $50 per hour per person
    • Aircraft Rental Hobbs time- $130 per hour *
      (General rental, student solo and Checkride/Proficiency Check. For overnight out of town rental a minimum of 3 hours per day)
    • Flight Simulation Instruction Time – $125 per hour
      (includes $50 flight simulator and $75 flight instructor simulator time)
    • Flight instruction time in owners aircraft $155 per hour
    • Flight Simulation Solo Time – $50 per hour (after getting checked out)
    • $590 Sport Pilot Practical Test/Checkride (no aircraft)
    • $570 Sport Pilot Proficiency Check (no aircraft)
    • $670 Sport Pilot Flight Instructor (CFIS) Proficiency Check (no aircraft)
    • $690 Sport Pilot Flight Instructor (CFIS) Initial/Renewal Practical Test/Checkride (no aircraft)
    • $230 Biennial Flight Review in pilot supplied aircraft (minimum time requirements  2 hours with no aircraft rental needed)
    • $310 Biennial Flight Review in rental aircraft (minimum time requirements with aircraft rental)
    • Maintenance $110 per hour
    • First/initial S-LSA Annual Condition Inspection document research $700. Service Bulletins applicable and logbook documentation.
    • Annual Condition Inspection/100 hour $950. Any maintenance or parts (such as oil change/carb sync) additional (second time after first initial).
    • Travel $800 per day plus expenses for flight instruction, aircraft time and/or maintenance. Travel time, any location $75./hour.
    • $1000 pre paid non refundable deposit for full time accelerated training.

NOTE:

* Includes aircraft, headsets, and fuel.

** Ground/flight time includes time from meeting applicant to when the applicant leaves.

How much does it cost to get a sport pilot license?

It can cost between about $5,000 and $12,000. Why such to huge range. Everybody is different. This depends on several factors listed below. Let’s look at the variables first to understand the large variance in costs and time.

  1. Will you be learning in your own aircraft or renting one?
  2. Will you be doing a concentrated course where you are flying every day until you get your license, will you be doing the optimum schedule of flying one day on and one day off, or will you be dragging it out by only flying on weekends, every other weekend or one a month?
  3. Do you have good study habits, motivated to study on your own or will you need someone to teach you the material?
  4. How fast do you pick up the motor skills to control the aircraft?
  5. How long can you last in the airplane before you become menially or physically fatigued? Some can only last less than 1 hour of flight, some more than 2 hours of flight.
  6. How old are you? It is a fact, the younger the faster. A common answer is it will take you 30 hours of flight time if you are 30 years old. It will take you 50 hours if you are 50 years old.

So if you do the simple numbers, average cost is $8,000 and there is a 50% chance of getting the average. Some more, some less. Most potential pilots feel they are above average. This is the nature of a pilots perspective on the world. Yes you are above average for the total population, but the average for pilots is at a higher level, based on your nature, than the general public. In other words, if you are reading this now, YOU are above average for the general population since you are thinking of pursuing aviation. Yes that is a compliment…..

Overall, the time and costs to become sport pilot airplane are about half that of a private pilot. It must be understood that numbers presented here  are realistic numbers, not something pared down to make it look inexpensive to get you hooked into coming to Sport Aviation Center. Most “learn to fly for $2XXX” do not include the FAA test fees or much in training materials or any ground time. The following is provided to give you a realistic view of absolute minimum cost and a higher costs for comparison.

How long does it take to get a sport pilot license?

The range of flight hours varies greatly. We have had some get through with as little as 25 hours flight time. Others 70 hours flight time. As discussed above, there are several factors. Let’s use the average of 35 hours of flight time. If we average 2 hours per day flight time this is 18  days or more than two weeks and less than three weeks. Actual time depends on many of factors, but with a concentrated course and good weather plan on 3 to 5 weeks to get it in one stay. Want an average, 4 weeks and a 50% chance of doing it in 4 weeks. I usually tell people to plan on 5 weeks.

What about a private pilot license?

The piloting stick and rudder skills are the same for Sport Pilot and Private Pilot. If any one thinks that a Private Pilot is safer, NOT TRUE. Private Pilot is about twice as long and costs twice as much as a Sport Pilot because of  night flying, control tower airport operations (can be added as a sport pilot if wanted), more instrument training, VOR navigation (outdated now with GPS navigation) and a longer cross country training and solo flights. So in the tables below flight and ground times simply double the Sport Pilot times and cost to get Private Pilot. Many do Sport Pilot first to achieve a full FAA Flight certificate, than move on to Private. Most of  the Sport Pilot hours count towards Private pilot hours.

How much can be done “self study” before or during the actual classroom/hands on?

Significant aeronautical knowledge “ground school” plus practical stick and rudder “airmanship” theory can be accomplished through self study. This saves considerable time and money. If you have the discipline, motivation and/or study skills, this can save you up to 80% of the knowledge and flight theory required for a FAA sport pilot certificate. Typically, you get the on-line student pilot training and follow the training course ground and flight lesson assignments. This are designed to provide the most efficient learning sequence. The more you study on your own, the faster and less expensive your training will be.

Sport Pilot License Accelerated Program

The steps for typical Sport Aviation Center Sport Pilot license accelerated program:

  1. You buy the on-line student pilot course and you do all the homework for flight and ground lessons by following the course syllabus. This allows you to progress quickly and efficiently through your flight training and ground school. If you are going to do this in one visit, you should pass your FAA written/computerized Knowledge Test before you get here. This is included in the on-line student pilot course.
  2. You apply for a student pilot certificate which takes 2 to 3 weeks to obtain so you have this before you start training.
  3. You reserve your valuable time slot for intensive training ($1000/week deposit required see cancelation policy below).
  4. You show up here in Reno/Tahoe/Carson for 2 to 4 weeks concentrated flight and ground training. We fly every day weather permitting until you are ready to solo.
  5. You finish your training with another CFI who recommends you for the Checkride (practical test).
  6. You take your Practical Test/Checkride with Paul Hamilton DPE who issues you your sport pilot license.

NOTE: This accelerated process can be broken up into two 7 to 10 day visits.

Sport Pilot License Cost Options Range

For costs, let’s look at the optimum situation using your own aircraft, with a concentrated course or optimum flying three days per week, you study everything to get through your three types of ground school, and you have great motor skills to have the minimum flight hours required for the license.

If you take out additional costs what most schools do not include such as training materials, renters insurance, ground school, FAA knowledge test and checkride with the minimum training hours,  this would total the $2,000 to $3000 you see advertised. However, we are going to include ALL these in our comparisons since this is part of the overall cost in the following tables.

Let’s look at the optimum situation where you have your own airplane for dual and solo training, with a concentrated course or optimum flying three days per week, you study everything to get through your three types of ground school, and you have great motor skills to have the minimum flight 20 hours required for the license. Note that it typically takes more flight hours to get through the course, usually 25 to 35 hours of dual. Here is an example with the hours and costs:

Task or itemtimecosttotal
Student Pilot on-line course$495
Flight/Hobbs time CFI15$155$2325
Flight brief/debrief and ground school lesson review CFI15$75$1125
Solo flight time5 to 10 hoursuse own aircraftfuel costs
Solo flight ground instruction CFI2$75$150
Ground school for the aeronautical flight, knowledge test and Checkride CFI40
$75self study
FAA Knowledge Test$160
Checkride$590
Totals$4845

Let’s look at the situation where you rent the airplane for dual and solo training, with a concentrated course or optimum flying three days per week, you study everything to get through your three types of ground school, and you have great motor skills to have the minimum flight 20 hours required for the license. Note that it typically takes more flight hours to get through the course, usually 25 to 35 hours of dual. Note if you rent the airplane you will need about $350 additional renters insurance for solo. Here is an example with the hours and costs:

Task or itemtimecosttotal
Student Pilot Kit$495
Flight/Hobbs time CFI and Aircraft15$205$3075
Flight brief/debrief and groundschool lesson review CFI15$75$1125
Renters Insurance1 year$400
Solo flight time5 $130$650
Solo flight ground instruction CFI2$75$150
Ground school for the aeronautical flight, knowledge test and Checkride40
$75self study
FAA Knowledge Test$160
Checkride$590
Totals$6645

Let’s look at the typical situation “lower time” where you rent the airplane for dual and solo training, with a concentrated course or optimum flying three days per week, you study everything to get through your three types of ground school, and you have great motor skills to have the lower range of flight 28 hours  for the license. Note that it typically takes more flight hours to get through the course but this is the lower range which many have accomplished. Usually 25 to 35 hours of dual. Note if you rent the airplane you will need about $350 additional renters insurance for solo. Here is an example with the hours and costs:

Task or itemtimecosttotal
Student Pilot on-line course$495
Flight/Hobbs time CFI and Aircraft20$205$4100
Flight brief/debrief and groundschool lesson review CFI20$75$1500
Renters Insurance1 year$400
Solo flight time8$130$1040
Solo flight ground instruction CFI2$75$150
Ground school for the aeronautical flight, knowledge test and Checkride40
$75self study
FAA Knowledge Test$160
Checkride$590
Totals$8435

Let’s look at the typical situation “average time” where you rent the airplane for dual and solo training, with a concentrated course or optimum flying three days per week, you study everything to get through your three types of ground school, and you have great motor skills to have the lower range of flight 35 hours  for the license. This is the industry average of flight hours to get a Sport Pilot license. Note if you rent the airplane you will need about $350 additional renters insurance for solo.  Here is an example with the hours and costs:

Task or itemtimecosttotal
Student Pilot on-line course$495
Flight/Hobbs time CFI and Aircraft25$205$5125
Flight brief/debrief and groundschool lesson review CFI25$75$1875
Renters Insurance1 year$400
Solo flight time10$130$1300
Solo flight ground instruction CFI3$75$225
Ground school for the aeronautical flight, knowledge test and Checkride40
$75self study
FAA Knowledge Test$160
Checkride$590
Totals$10,170

Let’s look at the extended situation where you rent the airplane for dual and solo training, with an extended training schedule not flying constantly and/or having to go back and repeat flight tasks as needed and/or it takes more time than the minimum to get through which is typical. You do not study much and require an additional 40 hours of ground time to get through your three types of ground school. This will cause sticker shock but notice the $2000 for the ground school which you can study on your own. Note if you rent the airplane you will need about $350 additional renters insurance for solo.

Task or itemtimecosttotal
Student Pilot on-line course$495
Flight/Hobbs time CFI35$205$7175
Flight brief/debrief and groundschool lesson review CFI20$75$1500
Renters insurance1 year$400
Solo flight time10 hours$130$1300
Solo flight ground instruction CFI3$75$225
Ground school for the aeronautical flight, knowledge test and Checkride CFI20
$75$1500
FAA Knowledge Test$160
Checkride$590
Totals$13,345

Overall, there is a wide range of costs required to get a sport pilot pilot certificate. Private pilot is typically double that of sport pilot. With a little planning and studying ground school on your own you can minimize the costs.

48 Hour Single Lesson Cancellation Policy

When you book a reservation you are reserving a time slot specifically for you. Sport Aviation Center LLC arranges all other bookings around your reserved time slot. If you will be unable to honor your reservation, you must call and talk with us to let us know at least 48 hours in advance so we can book someone else for this valuable time slot. If you call and talk to us before your flight within 48 hours to cancel your scheduled flight, we must bill you for 50% of your flight’s cost. If you do not call to cancel within 48 hours of your scheduled flight and we are mobilized/scheduled waiting for you, and you do not show up, we must bill you for the full amount. Your scheduled time slot is valuable and can be used by other customers so please call to cancel as soon as possible to avoid charges. We appreciate your understanding.

Accelerated Course Deposit and Cancellation Policy

We require $1000 deposit for each week of scheduled time for accelerated training so secure the aircraft and instructor. This $1000/week goes towards your flight and ground training time when you are doing your training. When you book time for an accelerated course you are reserving this valuable time slot (aircraft and instructor) specifically for you. Sport Aviation Center LLC arranges all other bookings around your reserved time slot. If you are unable to honor your reservation, you must call and talk with us 775.772 8232 (no e-mail or text) to let us know at least 1 week in advance so we can book someone else for this valuable time slot and you can reschedule at that time. If you cancel or reschedule within this 1 week period before your first scheduled time the $1000/week deposit for the first week is non refundable.  Your scheduled time slot is valuable and can be used by other customers so please call to cancel or reschedule as soon as possible. We appreciate your understanding.

All prices in USD.

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