How much does it cost to become a commercial airline pilot? (total cost)?

I'm in Highschool now but I want to enter into the field of commercial aviation. (dont think im crazy, its cuz I love aviation and I currently wouldn't want to do anything else) ;) If I go through an aviation school, about how much would the total cost be from Private Pilot to ATP liscence? And also, what good aviation schools are in the Twin Cities area?

10 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Best Answer

    In the USA , the ATP rating requires a minimum of 1,500 flight hours and a host of other requirements. If you were to buy that amount of flight time, the cost would easily exceed $250,000. The majority of civilian pilots get a Commercial Pilot certificate and somewhere between 200 to 300 hours then get a job to build up the hours for an ATP certificate.

    The most common entry-level flying job for "time building" is teaching others to fly, so it is recommended that you get the Flight Instructor (CFI), Instrument Instructor (CFII) and Multri-Engine Instructor (MEI) certificates. The cost for the private, instrument, commercial, multi-engine and the three instructor ratings averages somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000 depending on where you train and what you fly.

    To work for an airline, a college degree is also recommended since 95% of all applicants for the major airlines hold at least a 4 year degree and for the Regional airlines 95% hold a 2 year degree or higher. Without a degree you won't be very competetive, so, add college costs to flight training. If you go to a State Community College, plan on spending a minimum of $5,000 per year and at least $6,000 for a State University for tuition. Add books, room and board and you're easily looking at a $100,000 investment. If you go to a private college, double that figure.

    So lets say you've finished 4 years of college and have the Commercial Pilot certificate and the other ratings mentioned. You're now about 23 years old and and guess what? You won't be eligible for an airline job. Plan on working as a flight instructor or other entry-level job for 2-3 years making around $20k per year until you have enough experience to get your ATP rating. If you're lucky, after a year or three of instructing you'll then get hired by a regional airline or charter outfit, where you'll also earn around $20k per year to start. You'll probably spend at least 5 years, and more likely 10, at a Regional carrier or charter operator before you'll have the experience to get invited to interviews at the major airlines. If you're lucky, you'll be around 30-35 years old at that point. The median age of "new hires" at the majors is actually 34.

    So in a nutshell, unless you're wealthy, very lucky and / or have friends in high places, plan on going into debt at least $100,000 for college and flight training, possibly $200,000 if you go to a private university, then put in about 10 years working lower-paid flying jobs before you'll get a shot at the big jets. I don't mean to discourage you, but that's pretty much the way it works for most people who do not become military pilots first. Only 40% of major airline pilots in the USA are civilian trained and half of all those who hold a commercial pilot certificate or ATP ever get hired by the "majors". It's a big, expensive gamble. I wish you luck and lots of patience.

  • 3 years ago

    Cost To Become A Pilot

  • 4 years ago

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    How much does it cost to become a commercial airline pilot? (total cost)?

    I'm in Highschool now but I want to enter into the field of commercial aviation. (dont think im crazy, its cuz I love aviation and I currently wouldn't want to do anything else) ;) If I go through an aviation school, about how much would the total cost be from Private Pilot to ATP liscence?...

    Source(s): cost commercial airline pilot total cost:
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    I would say 50-80k just for flight ratings private through CFI-II-MEI. Then you work to build the hours for ATP. You should really get a 4 year degree, it doesn't matter if the degree is in aviation though.

    I have several friends that went to Minnesota State in Mankato. They seem to have a good program and a lot of friendly people/instructors (at least those I've met). Several years ago I looked into doing my commercial, multi and CFIs at a place out of Flying Cloud called Thunderbird Aviation. At the time they seemed like a pretty good school, part 141 and a really good selection of aircraft, and price seemed average for a midwest flight school. I've been into their FBO a couple times in the last year and have struck up conversations with some of their instructors and they seem knowledgeable and friendly.

    If you decide to do your ratings at a college or big flight school I would recommend getting private & maybe instrument beforehand at a small FBO flight school (maybe T-bird Aviation depending on what prices are like now). Usually prices are lower than the big schools/ I just gave my dad his private license in a c152 for $77/hour. You can find an older 172 or archer for in the $100-110 price range sometimes. It took him about 55 hours and if I would have charged him for my time probably would have cost around $6500 vs the $9500+ that a lot of places are quoting now. I'm not sure if you can get a deal that good in the Twin Cities. If you're paying by the hour for ground instruction, come prepared to lessons and study material ahead of time - at the $30-$50/hour that CFIs charge for ground you can save a lot by cutting ground instruction time by a few hours per rating.

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Well its a minimum of 40 flight hours to achieve your private license, and at a minimum of 130 dollars per hour, oit gets spendy. Look to spend more than 40 hours getting your livense though. After that, you'll need to have hours logged in flight (250 minimum) school for commercial ratings, twin engine ratings, instument rating, etc...You're gonna spend close to 75,000 dollars to become a commercial pilot.

  • 10 years ago

    Private through ATP along with the flight hours to advance through the ranks, sans military experience.... today, expect to spend $50,000+ plus the cost of a four year degree.

  • Zander
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    There is a school in Europe called FTEJerez which is situated in the Jerez Frontera of Spain and there total cost is approximately £81,000 with everything included.

    So if you fancy a hop over the pond have a look at this one:

  • ric m
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    It's funny I saw your question.

    Just for the heck of it a few weeks ago

    I googled Poor Airline Pilots Pay and came up with a load of answers.

    It's going to scare you but google it anyway.


    Source(s): googled it
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    About the same as for a college degree - 4 -5 years, $200,000

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    It takes 11 seconds for Yahoo Answers webpage to load for me to be able to click on [add your answer] button. is my computer slow?

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