How to Afford Flight Training

Financing Options for Student Pilots: How to Pay for Flight Training

Flight training is an exhilarating and rewarding experience that can open up a world of opportunities for aspiring pilots. However, the costs of flight training can be a significant barrier for many who wish to pursue a career in aviation. Fortunately, there are financing options available to help student pilots pay for their flight training. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different financing options available for university flight training, part 141 schools, and part 61 schools.

University Flight Training

One financing option for flight training is through a university aviation program. These programs can offer financial aid to cover the cost of flight training or provide students with access to scholarships, grants, and loans. University aviation programs often follow Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified curriculums and provide a structured learning environment for students pursuing their pilot’s license.

To qualify for financial aid through a university aviation program, students must first apply for federal student aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This aid can come in the form of grants, subsidized or unsubsidized loans, work-studies, and other resources.

Scholarships are also available for aspiring pilots through university aviation programs. These scholarships can be given by private organizations or universities to help offset the cost of flight training. Some examples include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and Women in Aviation International (WAI).

Part 141 Schools

Part 141 schools are FAA-approved flight schools that follow a structured curriculum designed to meet FAA-approved training standards. These schools typically offer programs for private pilot licenses, instrument ratings, commercial pilot licenses, and instructor ratings. Part 141 schools require less flight time than Part 61 schools to complete a training course, which can help reduce costs.

Financing options for Part 141 schools can include private loans, federal student loans, and scholarships. Private loans can be obtained through financial institutions, such as banks or credit unions, and can require a co-signer or collateral. Federal student loans can be obtained through the federal government’s financial aid program and can provide flexible repayment options and low interest rates.

Scholarships are also available for students pursuing flight training through Part 141 schools. Some examples include the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the Flight School Association of North America (FSANA), and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

Part 61 Schools

Part 61 schools are flight schools that are not subject to FAA-approved curriculums and training standards. These schools offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling and course requirements, but may require more flight time to complete a training course. Part 61 schools can be more affordable than Part 141 schools because they do not have the same regulation requirements.

Financing options for Part 61 schools can include private loans and scholarships. Private loans can be obtained through financial institutions and can require a co-signer or collateral. Scholarships for Part 61 schools can be obtained through private organizations, such as the Aviation Scholarship Foundation (ASF), and academic institutions.


Becoming a pilot can be a costly endeavor, but with the right financing options, student pilots can achieve their dream of flight. University aviation programs, Part 141 schools, and Part 61 schools offer different financing options for aspiring pilots, including federal student loans, private loans, and scholarships.

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