my training so far at dca


New Member
listed below will be my flight hours and costs at dca so far. I am currently a little more than halfway thru my commercial rating. I started 0 time on January 28th 2005 and have never flown outside of the academy. I have taken two 5 day vacations during the nearly 7 months that I have been here. this is something I wish more people would do about each school so that prospective students can have an idea of the exact costs and hours as opposed to projected costs and hours.

total time: 134.0 Airplane SEL: 134.0 complex: 0 Multi: 0
landings: 194d 35n night: 19.7 actual IMC: 7.7 simulated/hood: 38.9 approaches: 41 FTD/simulator: 21.7
PCATD: 13.3 Xcountry: 37.5 Solo: 16.5 PIC: 93 Dual: 117.5

charged to my student account which is only for airplane and instructor costs and written exams: $35563.46

books, uniforms, materials, and headset charged to my credit cards total: $1966.37

grand total $37529.83

I spent just under $300 on a telex headset and it has served me well. I spent about $900 the first week on books and uniforms at school and then more to get a flight bag and other odds and ends that i needed like a knee board and such.

my private training without books and materials cost $11174.10 and i finished it with 46.6 hours total time and 5.6 hours of solo time. I failed only one lesson out of 26 that caused me to fly an extra 1.5 hours to redo the lesson so you could potentially finish the rating a little faster. one of my friends finished in 43.0 and everyone ive met is somewhere around 45

my instrument training again without books was $16330.84
I had 51.7 hours for this and 17.8 in the sim and 10 in the pcatd. i failed 3 lessons in this out of 32 which caused an extra 2.5 hours of flying.

the estimated costs and times i got from delta when i came in were
private: 7 weeks $9550.00
instrument: 8 weeks $14144.00
commercial: 10 weeks $11828.00
com multi: 5 weeks $8797.00
cfi: 8 weeks $8273.00
cfii: $4052.00
total: $52592.00

MEI only after youre an instructor: $5330.00

so far i have been here 31 weeks minus 2 for vacation so 29 weeks so by their estimates i should be finishing my commercial multi not in the middle of my commercial single. most of the guys that started 0 time with me are within two weeks either ahead or behind me. costwise i am already beyond what they advertise it takes for private -commercial.
I was 17% above cost on private not including books and materials and 15% above on instrument. taking into account books and materials then i am 26% and 25% above their projected costs. I dont have too much more in materials to buy maybe $300 worth of books charts and plates. from talking to people at school im in the middle of everyone. people have spent less and people have spent more. I just want everyone to have an idea of what it might take to go thru this program. at the rate i am going i will finish with a little over 210 hours and have spent about 68500 and then i will have to do my MEI for 5330 more as an instructor which makes the total cost $73830. this is acually about what one admissions officer told me it would cost. he told me "add 15% to their estimates and that is what most people spend"
well I am sorry about the really long post but I hope it is helpful and enlightening to everyone out there. feel free to email me any questions or comments at


Well-Known Member
"134.0 Airplane SEL: 134.0 complex"

So, from square one, first flight, you're in a complex? That seems sorta odd.

"my private training without books and materials cost $11174.10 and i finished it with 46.6 hours total time and 5.6 hours of solo time."

As to the price, I can only say HOLY CRAP. If you're flying a complex from the first flight, though, I guess it makes more sense. So you only had 5.6 solo? I thought FAR's were 10 hours solo. Maybe you're under part 141, which I'm not too familiar with. Don't mean to ruin your day but you paid about $240 an hour for your private. Are they flying new Bonanza's at DCA these days?

"charged to my student account which is only for airplane and instructor costs and written exams: $35563.46"

You could buy a NICE Cessna 150 on ebay for 20K. I've always been surprised more people don't consider aircraft ownership when it comes to flight training. It would only help you for private, instrument, time building, and part of the commercial. Not much good for the Multi, though, hehe.

Anyhow, thanks for the honest post about prices, we've always known DCA wasn't cheap. You didn't comment about quality of training or overall satisfaction with the program? Is that too controversial?


New Member
sorry about the confusion it should be read as
total time 134
asel 134
complex 0
i have yet to be in a complex

yes dca is part 141 and the minimum is 5 hours solo for private

as for buying a cessna 150 instead of going to school i explored that option and found that yes i could have got an airworthy plane and gone that route but as you said then its harder for multi and of course theres the airport fees for storing the plane, insurance, and maintenance. besides getting a bank loan for a plane is harder than getting a school loan when i already had plenty of college loans.

as for the quality of training and my satisfaction
the quality of training seems great to me, i have a little experience from long ago of some fbo flying i did but its been 10 years since so i have to rely more on what i can compare with my brother who is doing part 61 up north. i learned more than him in a shorter period of time.

as far as instructors like every school fbo workplace and house in the entire world there are good bad mediocre great ignorant intelligent absent minded and the sharpest minded people here. more good than bad more intelligent than not. can you find a great instructor here? easily, i have worked with at least ten different guys and nine of those ten were great instructors. they know their stuff better than is needed and fly great and know how to teach. if you do get an instructor that you dont get along with or dont like in any way all it takes it walking into the office and saying id like a new instructor and you fly with someone else the next day.

ground school at dca is good too. to me it was a little slow paced after college but i studied a lot in college. if you havent been to college ground school will seem fast to you. it goes above and beyond the required FARs here and makes you very prepared for the written tests and the many oral exams youll take.

as for my satisfaction
I like how much ive learned. I feel that i am a very safe and competent pilot when I go up in the air. I have experienced a lot of different flying situations here that I dont think are possible at a small fbo at a small airport. Ive had the chance to deal with busy airports towered and nontowered. Ive been to some really small out of the way airports too.
The only thing I dont like about the program is the cost. Its expensive and everyone knows it. a lot of people i have talked to are shocked when they start going over the projected costs which for my class started on the first day when they told us that we would spend about 2500 on books and materials that wasnt included in the 62000 estimate we were given. I think that they could publish how much the average student spends because it would help future students to plan better. I was lucky that the admissions rep told me to be prepared to spend between 70 and 75000. I planned more accordingly than some who took out a 62000 loan.
i appologize for another super long post. theres just so much that can be said since ive been here for seven months


Well-Known Member
"my private training without books and materials cost $11174.10."


Thx for the taking the time to post, Hobo. I always enjoy reading the actual experiences people are having at the various schools.

Let us know how your training progress!


New Member
Excellent post, Hobo! Keep it up! I see you finished under estimated costs in Instrument, that's great! IFR is usually where a lot of people get hung up.

If you don't mind answering, I have a question about your costs, since I didn't do all my ratings here. Of your cost estimates, is your rent and utilities for student housing included? That is IF you live in student housing. I think it would also be helpful if admissions included that expense in their quotes as well.

Again, nice detailed post!


New Member
actually i went over cost by 15% in instrument
I did not include any living costs in what ive spent for training at dca. the almost 37000 is strictly for flying. I figure that living cost is separate since I would pay that if I were not in school anyway

im not in the delta housing tho i live in the same apartment complex. as i understand it the housing contract is separate from all published training costs and is 515 a month plus the electric bill and cable, phone or anything else you want. i live in the same style of apt and my electric bill is averaging 50 to 60 a month. i have internet and a cell phone but I didnt get cable. you can get housing cheaper on your own if you lookbut dca housing is furnished. I had all my own stuff so it didnt matter and i have a dog so i couldnt do the student housing.


Staff member
Wow.......and I thought $3,900 for PVT was bad. Granted that was back in 1986, and inflation and all...........


Well-Known Member
"I have experienced a lot of different flying situations here that I dont think are possible at a small fbo at a small airport."

Just for the sake of conversation. Name a few.


New Member
I almost decided to go the academy route then decided to go part 61 with a smaller school. Right now I'm looking at spending around a total of $35000.00 for all my training. This is money from some profits earned from the sale of my previous home and the rest of the money is for cost of living for the next two years I've planned. My school just got approved for part 141. I may go the 141 route cause I hear its a bit faster ? I'm not gettin any younger, the sooner the better. Yes you are risking a $70,000.00 loan to persue your dreams and when you succeed you will make that back in the first 10 years of your career, so its well worth it, how ever you value it. It's great to know that you are staying positive..keep at it, stay focused and positive and it's wise that your keeping tabs on your budget.

Right now I'm just flying and not having to work but I'm getting a bit restless when not flying or studying, so I've decided to go and get a sales job for the afternoons. Selling fine furniture and possibly making an extra $3K-$5K a month..WOW ..I did'nt know you could make some cash selling furniture?? I have my interview Monday afternoon. Its going to be a funny feeling when I'm ready to flight instruct and will have to give up the sales job for a $1,000.00 a/mo CFI job to build time and gain more experience for the magic numbers 1200/150 for the regionals...LOL.. and then to have to start all over again at the regionals at $21K a/yr.. I figure just make the extra cash to stretch the money that I'll need for the first three years...then after that off to the majors...LOL..

Stay positive Hobo!!



Well-Known Member
my private training without books and materials cost $11174.10

[/ QUOTE ]

HOLY S**T!!! I can name about 3 schools in the area that could get that done for 5 grand easily with books, supplies and a DE included.

my instrument training again without books was $16330.84

[/ QUOTE ]

unbelievable. you could get the same thing for around 6-7 grand round these parts.

same FAA prints out my certificate.


New Member
for de727ups
some things i dont think i would have experienced if id stayed at a small airport

well im from ohio and where i lived up there a lot of the airports are nontowered back taxi style places. i flew at some great places there dont get me wrong. john glenn did his training at one of the airports ive used there but the airports down here are busier. a lot more traffic that i would never have seen up in ohio.
the loc back course 25 in daytona Ive flown it twice I never would have experienced this one if i had stayed at an fbo in ohio. i wouldnt have moved to florida for a small fbo either.
the number of instructors that ive been able to work with, study with or fly with is a lot higher than if i had gone to a smaller school or fbo. there are at least 100 instructors around here so that if I ever ask a question that mine cant answer there will be someone within ten feet that can. It makes it easy to find someone who can explain something in a different way that makes sense to me.

now for what you really want to hear can you experience all of what I have thru another school or fbo? YES of course you can if you go out and try you can experience any flying situation that you want. the bottom line with flying like so many other things is that you get out of it what you put into it.

I should add that I have a slightly unique situation as well with my training that since i have large college loans and i wanted to defer them while i did my training. this limited me to looking at just a few of the larger schools, I looked at Pan Am, Ari Ben, ATP, DCA, Phoenix East, flight safety and one in miami that ive forgotten the name of. I went around and looked and they all have ups and downs and in the end get you to the same place so I chose to live in orlando/sanford and go to DCA. I figure i would have the same experience flying wise from any of those schools and from what ive seen there are a lot of great fbos down here.
sorry for rambling along there

where did you do your training de727ups


New Member
thanks for the positive feedback naluryder, where did you have that job that paid 3k a month?

hey montana where did you do your training? what was it like? what did it cost? what schools for 5k for instrument that are part 141? part 61 yeah but usually they advertise the price for the instruction mins only and you gotta timebuild on your own.


Well-Known Member
"now for what you really want to hear can you experience all of what I have thru another school or fbo? YES of course you can if you go out and try you can experience any flying situation that you want"

Hey...that's what I was gonna say.

"where did you do your training de727ups "

I'll add that I started at 17 at the local flight school. They had about 10 Cessna's and did 135 charter, too. The airport was non-towered with a VOR approach. I think they can still do a private there for about 4K.

Did all my ratings up to CFI through this school. The only mistake was I underestimated what the CFI thing was all about and the guy that trained me (currently at United) had never trained a CFI before. I don't recommend small FBO's for the initial CFI. Go to a school that has a proven track record of getting guys through.

All my other ratings went fine. I was in high school and junior college and worked rather than take out loans, so none of my training was quick. I took no formal ground schools. Did it all home study but enjoyed the material and worked hard at it. I guess I can excel in a non-structured environment...

The big change in my training scheme was when I transfered to ERAU for my last two years of college. They gave me credit for all my ratings, through CFI, but I had to be "standardized" first. Bascially, I ended up doing additional CFI stuff in a Grumman Tiger (a new airplane to me). Then, I did my CFII through the Riddle flight program. No sims back in those days. It was me, an airplane, and a CFII following the Riddle syllabus. Good training, great CFI, I worked hard, ended up a competent CFII. Really, though, nothing that couldn't easily be done at the FBO level.

From the beginning of my training, I pretty much ignored multi flying cause of the expense. Got the CMEL at Northaire in Prescott while I was at Riddle. Got the MEI at the same time I got my ATP from a school in LGB. Seaplane rating on American Lake near Tacoma, WA.

As you can see, I jumped around a lot. Different schools, CFI's, parts of the country, experiences. I think there was a great education in all that.


New Member
youre a great example of if you put your mind to it you can get there. who do you fly for now?

oh how i wish i had known i could be an airline pilot before i went to college. id already be there and have $150,000 less debt. for anyone out there looking to go to college go to a state school like ohio state big enough name to be recognized but financial aid to help you. big named private schools only cost more if youre unsure of what you want to do.


Well-Known Member
Wow, and here I was thinking DE727UPS was just a clever name.

So Don, when are you going to change it to DE757/767UPS?


New Member
HOBO -- Where did you fly in Ohio? I did all my training in Ohio, at Ohio University to be exact. They had a great program there. I worked out of Burke Lakefront for a while after college, man, I miss that airport.

You make a lot of good points, Hobo, keep it up!


New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
My "brother from anotha motha" is old school.

Protect essential!


New Member
hey muscles, i flew out of ashland, portsmouth, and new philadelphia

when did you go to ohio u? ive known a lot of people that went there. who do you fly for now?