What is the cheapest and cheapest path to obtaining my CFI cerrtificate from ground zero?

Chris Yohn

New Member
I haven't attended any kind of schooling yet, I plan to one day however. My only pitfall is supporting my son and fiance financially as I pursue this path. I am self-employed so I can shift my days around a little bit, not completely but a little.

This has something I have wanted to do for a very long time, and I decided that I better get the ball rolling by researching. What is the fastest and most cost efficient way to reach my goal?
 

Toobdrvr

Estrellas Asesino
Ok, I'll bite...

While I cetainly understand your motivations for "cheap" and "easy", please allow me to suggest this: Also consider that your life, and possibly the lives of others, may depend on the QUALITY of the training you recieve, particularly early on in your career.

There are plenty of "fast-track" programs that also offer quality programs. I'm sure some of our younger members can point you in the right direction (I'm relatively old and out of touch with the current training environment). Good luck.

See you out there,
Toob
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
I would go talk to the nearest local flight school. Also, see if there is an EAA chapter nearby you could join and meet some pilots. See if you could find a free-lance CFI who has his own plane. Possibly consider buying a Cessna 150 if you can find a CFI to work with you. You could likely sell if for close to what you paid for it when you're done.
 

skypilot6

Well-Known Member
The fastest? Quit your job, take out a loan, and enroll in a fast track program. You'll be eating, sleeping, living aviation 24/7 till you are done.

The cheapest? A lot of that depends, Buying a plane like DE727UPS said will have a big upfront cost, and a long as you don't run into any major problems and sell the plane when you are done then all it will cost you is fuel, instructor, maintenance costs, and some slight depreciation in value.

Check out your local flight school, see if they allow you to buy a block of flight time, if they do it will usually be at a discount, it will be a small savings but better than nothing.

And if there is a flying club in the area it can be middle of the road cost between the other 2, you will have a good size upfront cost as you are basically buying a share in one of their planes, but hourly costs after that are usually pretty low, and some flying clubs have their own CFI's.

The actual cost will vary greatly on where you live, and what aviation resources you have around you. Good Luck!
 
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Lunchbox

Well-Known Member
The cheapest way would be to buy a share into a flying club and when you're done you can sell the share to someone else to break even. There is usually a small dry hourly fee to cover maintenance. You'd have to hire a free lance CFI and typically this only works from after private to CFI for insurance reasons but YMMV.
 

CFI A&P

Exploring the world one toilet at a time.
What is the goal once you are a CFI? Is your area "quiet" for flight training or is it busy? If it is busy, then talk to the providers on the field and see what they offer, it might also be your future employer. However if you live in a quiet area, and there isn't much prospect of return on investment, it may not be a good decision other than personal satisfaction.
 

Chris Yohn

New Member
Ok, I'll bite...

While I cetainly understand your motivations for "cheap" and "easy", please allow me to suggest this: Also consider that your life, and possibly the lives of others, may depend on the QUALITY of the training you recieve, particularly early on in your career.

There are plenty of "fast-track" programs that also offer quality programs. I'm sure some of our younger members can point you in the right direction (I'm relatively old and out of touch with the current training environment). Good luck.

See you out there,
Toob
That is certainly a good point that you bring up, safety comes before anything! I suppose I shouldn't say "cheapest," but maybe I should say most cost efficient for the best quality training I can get.

Thank you for the reply Toobdrvr! :)
 

Chris Yohn

New Member
I would go talk to the nearest local flight school. Also, see if there is an EAA chapter nearby you could join and meet some pilots. See if you could find a free-lance CFI who has his own plane. Possibly consider buying a Cessna 150 if you can find a CFI to work with you. You could likely sell if for close to what you paid for it when you're done.
I suppose the 150 would be more cost efficient than the c172! That is an interesting proposal DE727UPS!

Thank you for the idea!
 

Chris Yohn

New Member
The fastest? Quit your job, take out a loan, and enroll in a fast track program. You'll be eating, sleeping, living aviation 24/7 till you are done.

The cheapest? A lot of that depends, Buying a plane like DE727UPS said will have a big upfront cost, and a long as you don't run into any major problems and sell the plane when you are done then all it will cost you is fuel, instructor, maintenance costs, and some slight depreciation in value.

Check out your local flight school, see if they allow you to buy a block of flight time, if they do it will usually be at a discount, it will be a small savings but better than nothing.

And if there is a flying club in the area it can be middle of the road cost between the other 2, you will have a good size upfront cost as you are basically buying a share in one of their planes, but hourly costs after that are usually pretty low, and some flying clubs have their own CFI's.

The actual cost will vary greatly on where you live, and what aviation resources you have around you. Good Luck!
Do you know much about the varying cost in the Hampton, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk area? I see that the CFI's on the lower 10% make a minimum of $70k a year according to google in this area, haven't found much for student cost however.
 

Chris Yohn

New Member
The cheapest way would be to buy a share into a flying club and when you're done you can sell the share to someone else to break even. There is usually a small dry hourly fee to cover maintenance. You'd have to hire a free lance CFI and typically this only works from after private to CFI for insurance reasons but YMMV.
Buy a share, as in like club stocks? Or it basically just a membership that you own sort of like a timeshare? What comes after CFI? Pardon my ignorance!

Thank you for responding!
 

Chris Yohn

New Member
What is the goal once you are a CFI? Is your area "quiet" for flight training or is it busy? If it is busy, then talk to the providers on the field and see what they offer, it might also be your future employer. However if you live in a quiet area, and there isn't much prospect of return on investment, it may not be a good decision other than personal satisfaction.
I live in the Hampton, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, Chesapeake, Suffolk area of Virginia, I see private airports and big commercial airports just about daily. I live within a 3 mile radius of Langley Air Force base. Also I noticed that the salary of CFI's around here range from 70k in the lower 10% to 114k in the upper 10% in this general area, could this be a good sign for an active area?

My goal as a CFI is help others become pilots if they so desire. I like teaching and passing on what has been taught to me. I suppose being able to achieve that goal and make a decent income at the same time would give me a level of satisfaction, what are your thoughts?
 

ahw01

Well-Known Member
Nah there's a CFI restricted to sport pilots only, where you only have to hold a sport pilot certificate.

You could then build up through the certificates from there

I did my certificates over a number of years of savings and leave, so building up to commercial can take a while.

Does Langley still have a flying club? That may be worth checking out if so.

Alex.
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
This has something I have wanted to do for a very long time, and I decided that I better get the ball rolling by researching. What is the fastest and most cost efficient way to reach my goal?
By far, the most cost efficient way to reach your goal is to join a soaring club, and fly gliders for 150 hours or so. Then add on the airplane ratings over the next 100 hours or so. Will take longer, but will almost certainly be much cheaper (and more fun).

I would take a look here: http://www.tidewatersoaring.org/ Free instruction according to their website, and not unreasonable to expect you could be a CFI for under 4 or $5,000 in gliders. Adding the airplane ratings isn't hard after that, and you'll have a good chance to see if teaching flying is something you like without committing a ton of money.
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
Do you know much about the varying cost in the Hampton, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk area? I see that the CFI's on the lower 10% make a minimum of $70k a year according to google in this area, haven't found much for student cost however.
Outside of maybe the San Francisco bay area, CFIs don't make anywhere near that. I would say half that is typical.
 

skypilot6

Well-Known Member
Do you know much about the varying cost in the Hampton, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk area? I see that the CFI's on the lower 10% make a minimum of $70k a year according to google in this area, haven't found much for student cost however.
I don't live anywhere near that area so I cannot help you out there. Not sure where you are finding 70K for flight instructing, That salary would make you one of the highest paid flight instructors in the country. 25-35K is much more realistic.
 

Chris Yohn

New Member
I don't live anywhere near that area so I cannot help you out there. Not sure where you are finding 70K for flight instructing, That salary would make you one of the highest paid flight instructors in the country. 25-35K is much more realistic.
I was finding that by typing "CFI salary in Virginia" and going to the salary site that shows up. 25-35 would only be worth a pass through for hours to me, i really don't want to drop over 40k a year without the end result. '

Thank you for your input!
 

Chris Yohn

New Member
By far, the most cost efficient way to reach your goal is to join a soaring club, and fly gliders for 150 hours or so. Then add on the airplane ratings over the next 100 hours or so. Will take longer, but will almost certainly be much cheaper (and more fun).

I would take a look here: http://www.tidewatersoaring.org/ Free instruction according to their website, and not unreasonable to expect you could be a CFI for under 4 or $5,000 in gliders. Adding the airplane ratings isn't hard after that, and you'll have a good chance to see if teaching flying is something you like without committing a ton of money.
I am going to check that out, it does sound fun! Thank you drunkenbeagle!
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
I was finding that by typing "CFI salary in Virginia" and going to the salary site that shows up. 25-35 would only be worth a pass through for hours to me, i really don't want to drop over 40k a year without the end result. '

Thank you for your input!
Given where you are in the country, that MIGHT be the salary for CERTAIN types of instruction. But I doubt it.

I'd have quit my non-aviation gig and started instructing years ago if CFIs made that much around here.
 
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