By Jennifer Cairns 09 Jan 2023 6 min read

How much does it cost to become a Pilot?

Almost everyone who is interested in flying asks this question: "How much does it cost to become a pilot?"

Well, precisely speaking, learning to fly requires a hefty financial investment. We'll go over all the major expenses if you are wondering about the pilot training cost...


Pilot Licence Cost – PPL 

You should allot about £12,000 for this phase of the project. Some pilots can undoubtedly finish the PPL programme for less money, but this depends on various circumstances and elements we'll cover in this section. You should be aware that a self-funded PPL(A) course is usually advertised as costing between £8,000 and £11,000. The national average is between 55 and 60 hours, although this recommendation assumes a minimum of 45 hours. Make sure to include the hours in your cost projections. 


Modular or Integrated

PPL(A) courses can be tailored to your unique needs, which affects how much learning to fly will cost. The PPL course is offered in two formats: integrated (as a component of a rigorous ATPL curriculum) and modular (less intensive, subject-by-subject).



A "modular" course is an option for those who have some flying experience or who cannot immediately quit their current jobs / come out of education. This allows the student to finish each PPL module on their schedule. The student can continue working for a living, although it is a more expensive option than taking an intense PPL (A) course.



Some people might select an "integrated" course. This path entails a full-time programme of study that lasts 14 to 18 months. It advances a student from being an absolute beginner to being prepared to assume a role as a pilot ready to work for the airlines. Naturally, all of the PPL (A) training modules are included in the course. Although integrated aviation courses are thought to be less expensive in the long term, this course may also include living expenses, dramatically raising the entire pilot training cost.


Additional Pilot Training Costs to Consider When Calculating PPL(A) Expenses

What is "bundled" in your package will determine how much you pay for the PPL(A). Think about the following:


Costs of Flight School

• Hourly charge for hiring an aircraft with an instructor
• Examiner fee for skills tests
• FROTL exam and test cost cover ground and flight tests.

Fuel expenses, landing fees (at nearby and other airports), Touch & Go fees throughout the course, and cancellation and no-show fees are part of the pilot training cost. Some flight schools provide bundles that include some or all of those above. You must find out this information to prevent any "surprise" costs.


Costs associated with non-flight education

Class 2 medical certificate (£150-£200).

• Fees for issuing CAA licences (£186 for PPL(A) plus £73 for FRTOL = $259).
• Tools and educational resources (between £350 and £2,000)


Equipment and instructional materials

The study materials, flight gear, books, and stationery needed to assist your learning are frequently forgotten among the bigger costs associated with learning to fly.


Equipment required:

Stationery - This will probably cost you at least £150. You should allocate an additional £200 if you buy a PPL beginning bundle, so a total of £350.

Textbooks - Each of the nine PPL topics costs about £20. The maximum you could spend on all PPL subjects is £200. Of course, purchasing used books from eBay or Amazon is a lot more affordable choice.

Specialised ground training - These frequently cost between £500 and £1,000 a week, making them pricey. Although they are not required, some pilots believe that learning directly from an expert is more effective than doing extensive self-study. It costs a lot to take a famous class from an expert teacher.

Extra flight apparatus - You can borrow flying bags, kneeboards, and aviation headphones if you want to (or go without some of them). But estimate that they could run you more than £300. For instance, you might decide later that getting a new headset or updating your current one will help you learn to fly or perform better. For all of this, we recommend setting aside £350 – £2,000. The cost of the PPL(A) course varies greatly between flying schools, as evidenced by the cost considerations in this section. Some are more reputed or well-known than others. Then it would help if you accounted for your usual expenses, which vary according to the airfield or location (landing fees, hourly aircraft hiring rates, etc.). You must conduct your research on this.

Some people finish their PPL more quickly than others. If you pick up the material quickly, you could need less practice or study time to complete each module successfully. This will lower your expenses. However, it's important to remember that many student pilots like their PPL(A) course so much that they aren't rushing to finish it. Until you start learning to fly, you might not be able to identify the sort of aviation student you are.

By emphasising the anticipated costs, we hope to assist you in spending less than £10,000, but your research will determine a large portion of your overall expenditure. Always weigh your alternatives carefully and do your research.


The price of obtaining a licence to fly commercial aircraft (ATPL)

Even though our first goal is to help you pass the PPL(A), we understand that it's crucial to be upfront about the costs associated with the ATPL. After all, the majority of your flying expenses will be incurred during the ATPL course. The remaining expenses you'll incur for each ATPL core segment are listed in general terms below. Be mindful that because of the distance remaining, your budget estimates may vary more than they did with the shorter, more predictable PPL(A) course. The ATPL is subject to many financial limitations as your PPL(A) course.

Class 1 Medical Certificate:

After passing the PPL(A), you must obtain a Class 1 medical certificate to go on to ATPL(A) theory. The CAA at Gatwick needs to finish this. Therefore, you must spend between £600 and £700 on this.

Night Rating (NR)

You can fly between official day and night if you complete the night rating course (30 minutes before sunrise). It takes 5 hours to complete, 3 of which are under the supervision of a trained instructor. You should anticipate spending up to £1,000 to £1,200 on the Night Rating for 5 hours at a rate of roughly £135 to £200 per hour, expenses included.

Hour Building (HB)

Here, you will gain flying experience and hone your skills to the level necessary to become a commercial pilot. Depending on the needs, this will take 20–100 hours. The budget lies between £3,000 (20 hours) and £15,000 (100 hours), fees included.

Pilot Licence Cost - Ground School for the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL)

The ground school training necessary for commercial pilots must be completed. In most cases, the ATPL Ground School is a full-time (FT) programme. The pilot licence cost should budget between £4,000 and £5,500. Alternative locations for completing the Distance ATPL ground school include CAE Oxford, L3Company (formerly CTC Wings), FTA-Global, and Stapleford. Bristol Ground School is something we can suggest. The distance pilot licence cost for ATPL is about £2,500, including fees, which is significantly less.

Piston Rating for Multiple Engines (MEP)

You must successfully achieve an MEP Rating if you want to be certified to fly an aircraft with more than one engine. Spend no more than £4,000 on this type of pilot training cost. 

Rating for Multi-Engine Instruments (MEIR)

Students need a Multi-Engine Instrument Rating (MEIR) to fly an aeroplane under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) in regulated airspace (ME-IR). One of the most expensive components of the pilot licence cost is this. Students pursuing PPL and CPL may pay separate fees. You must budget up to £18,000 (for PPL pilots) or £16,000 (for CPL pilots) for this pilot licence cost. 

Multi-Engine Commercial Pilot License (ME CPL)

Your multi-engine commercial pilot licence will come next. The instrument rating is frequently offered together with the course (MEIR). The candidate will be prepared to take the test for an MEP Commercial Pilot Licence once they have completed the Commercial Pilot Course (with IR) and have gained the abilities essential to operate single and multi-engine aircraft to the standards required. Expect to spend up to £9,000 on this pilot licence cost.

Multiple Crew Collaboration (MCC)

This course section will give you the information, abilities, and attitude necessary to fly a multi-crew aircraft. The MCC course combines simulator and classroom instruction. This pilot licence cost up to £3,000.

We sincerely hope that this was instructive and was able to help you avoid spending too much money on your pilot training!