Real Answers from Real Pilots

Approximate cost for a ppl

(Diego A. Culajay ) #1

Hello my name is Diego and I am excited to hopefully start my career as a pilot. What is the approximate cost to acquire a ppl. I was told by a flight school in San Diego that it would run about 15,000. I want to make sure I am not getting ripped off. Also does anyone know a good place near Los Angeles or San Diego with a good flight program that takes the GI bill?


Hey Diego and Welcome,

$15k is definitely on the high side. Much of it depends on you and how consistent you can be with your training. While the FAA min is 40hrs of flight instruction required for your Private, the national average is more around 60hrs. Not sure what the current rate is in San Diego (probably not cheap) but even at $200 hr that would only be $12k.

Unfortunately I’m not familiar with flight schools in the SD area perhaps someone else will chime in? If you’re serious about making this a career I would recommend you take a look at ATP’s Career Pilot Program. That said they don’t accept the GI Bill so I understand if you’re looking elsewhere.


(Diego A. Culajay ) #3

Hi Adam,
Thank you for your response. Coastal flight training in San Diego is quoting me at that price. They accept the GI bill but I have to get my ppl first. I am still researching Los Angeles to find a cheaper place and then just start at a university or coastal flight training.

(Bryan Delarmente) #4


Unfortunately the GI Bill doesn’t pay for your private. I’ve done a fair amount of research and back in 2014 was when the private was no longer covered under MGIB or Post 9/11. and to qualify for the program in Coast Flight you’ll need a PPL. out of pocket. no way around it. And if you do decide to go to ATP they’all cover 60% of approved charges as long as you already have your PPL. You’ll have to take a loan out front to pay for it but they’ll pay their part.


Thank you Bryan.

(Carlos Diaz) #6


Are you currently using the GI Bill for ATP? When i spoke to VA, they said that they wouldn’t cover a program like ATP. They would only reimburse if you went to a school where you did each rating individually, not a fixed cost program like ATP. I could have gotten some bad info on my end.

(Bryan Delarmente) #7


Sorry for the late reply. classes have started and haven’t gotten much free time. but as far as your question. I did call the Veteran Administration Benefits here in Washington D.C. and have explained what kind of program ATP offers. and I was told straight from the source that. as long as you have your PPL the VA will pay 60% of the approved charges. i.e. IR to CPL.



The VA will not pay towards a flight program like ATP’s. They will pay towards flight training that is done in a university setting and that is done with the intentions of getting a degree, but they will not pay for the fast paced type of training that ATP offers. Trust me, ATP would love to participate in the GI bill program, but the government has chosen to exclude programs like what ATP offers.


(Carlos Diaz) #9


That’s what I remembered hearing as well. They will reimburse you for type ratings, just not in an ATP style setting. It’s also capped out at 12k a year.

(Tucker) #10

For those of you not sure if flying is your thing, here are some amazing photos from my sunset flight tonight. This is why I fly. Disclaimer. I had a pilot buddy in the right seat flying while taking these pictures


Great photos! Thanks for uploading them.


Those pictures look awesome, where is that?
I can’t wait to get back into some GA flying!

(Tucker) #13

Eastern Minnesota about 30 miles north east of KMSP. Was over top the St. Croix river heading south. I fly out of a nice little airport in Lake Elmo MN (21D)!

(Tucker) #14

In the first picture if you look closely at the Horizon on the left side of the picture, you fan see a little bump in it, thats the Minneapolis Skyline!


I didn’t realize that there were still airports that had numbers as their identifier, I thought that I had heard that the FAA was changing all of them to standard, four letter ICAO codes. Good to know that there are still a few numbered ones left.

(Tucker) #16

There is currently a “year 2020” vision plan to expand the airport and with that would come the ICAO code and many needed upgrades!


That makes sense, thanks.