At Sport Aviation Center you get a great value. Paul Hamilton has earned the highest possible ratings for Sport Pilot Airplane, the first Sport Pilot CFI and FAA examiner, authored books for training schools, operated a full-time successful flight school full time for over a decade and is a FAA Light-Sport Repairman for WSC trikes/airplanes. You get the greatest practical experience and value, making you a safer and more competent pilot.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 & Proficiency Check Detailed 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 about 30 minute Hobbs time, medium is about 60 minute Hobbs time. Optional Logbook $10. Pictures $80 and/or video $150)
- Flight Instruction Hobbs time with Sport Aviation Center LSA – $235 per hour wet *(includes $150 airplane per hour and $85 per hour flight instructor)
- Flight and Ground Time Instruction – $85 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- $150 per hour wet *
(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 – $105 per hour
(includes $20 flight simulator and $85 flight instructor simulator time)
- Flight instruction time in owners’ aircraft including ferrying or flight testing $155 per hour, owner buys fuel.
- Flight Simulation Solo Time – $20 per hour (after getting checked out)
- $900 Sport Pilot Practical Test/Checkride or Proficiency Check (no aircraft)
- $1100 Sport Pilot Flight Instructor (CFIS) Initial/Renewal Practical Test/Checkride or Proficiency Check (no aircraft)
- $270 Biennial Flight Review in pilot supplied aircraft (minimum time requirement 2 hours with no aircraft rental needed)
- $340 Biennial Flight Review in rental aircraft (minimum time requirements with aircraft rental)
- Hanger rent for training or maintenance $20/day or $450 month
- 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 $900. Any maintenance or parts (such as oil change/carb sync) additional (second time after first initial).
- Travel $800 per day out of town plus expenses for flight instruction, checkrides, and/or maintenance. Travel time, any location $85./hour or $235/hour to fly to a location with Sling.
- $1000 pre-paid nonrefundable deposit for full time accelerated training.
- $1200 foreign, non US citizen, processing (deposit needed to utilize Sport Aviation Center as US training provider)
* Includes aircraft, headsets, and fuel.
** Ground/flight time includes time from meeting applicant to when the applicant leaves.
- Intro Flight with Flight Instructor and Aircraft LSA – $250 per session short, $330 per session medium *
How much does it cost to get a Sport Pilot License?
It can cost between about $5,000 and $22,000. Note this is half the private pilot costs. 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.
- Will you be learning in your own aircraft or renting one?
- 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 once a month?
- Do you have good study habits, motivated to study on your own or will you need someone to teach you the material?
- How fast do you pick up the motor skills to control the aircraft?
- How long can you last in the airplane before you become mentally or physically fatigued? Some can only last less than 1 hour of flight, some more than 2 hours of flight.
- How old are you? It is a fact, the younger the faster. The older the slower. 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 pilot’s 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, this is a compliment…..
Want to get the sport pilot certificate/license as quickly and inexpensive as possible? Take the online course so you will have the aeronautical knowledge and have been through the flight lessons before you get into the airplane.
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 $2000” are the minimum by law and 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 higher costs for comparison.
How long does it take to get a sport pilot license?
What about a private pilot license?
The piloting stick and rudder skills are the same for Sport Pilot and Private Pilot. If anyone 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, then 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 provide 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. These 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
- 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 “ground school” is included in the on-line student pilot course.
- You apply for the FAA student pilot certificate which takes 2 to 3 weeks to obtain so you have this before you start training. See Step 2 on this page to get student pilot certificate under the heading “Notes on how, when and why to apply a Student Pilot Certificate”.
- You reserve your valuable time slot for intensive training ($1000/week deposit required see cancelation policy below).
- You show up here in Reno/Tahoe/Carson for 2 to 5 weeks concentrated flight and ground training. We fly every day (including weekends and holidays) weather permitting until you are ready to solo. For staying here lodging/transportation see Where to Stay.
- You finish your training with another CFI who recommends you for the Checkride (practical test).
- You take your Practical Test/Checkride with Paul Hamilton DPE who issues you your sport pilot license.
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 costs with the minimum training hours, this will total the $3000 to $4000 you see advertised.
However, we are going to include ALL these in our comparisons since this is part of the overall cost you will actually see in the following tables.
Airplane - Minimum Cost To Own An Aircraft
Airplane - Minimum Cost To Rent An Aircraft
Airplane - Low Time Rent Aircraft
Airplane - Average Time Rent Aircraft
Airplane - Long Time Time Rent Aircraft
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 to 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, we 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 nonrefundable. 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.