Getting a Pilot’s License for SHTF Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Remember the scene in in the movie “2012” when the heroes protect their family from an erupting super-volcano by taking off in an airplane? If you imagined yourself flying that airplane, you’ll be happy to know that getting your own pilot’s license for survival isn’t just a Hollywood dream.

How Much Does It Cost To Get a Pilot’s License?

A private pilot license gives you the most freedom for flying what you want, how you want and when you want. With a PPL, there are no limits on the type of aircraft (non-commercial) you can fly. You can legally carry passengers, travel cross-country and fly at night. However, this popular license doesn’t come cheap.

A PPL costs, on average, around $10,000. You need a minimum of 40 hours in the air to get a PPL, but the reality is usually closer to 60 or 70 hours because of the challenge. Expect to train and fly for at least six months.

How Can You Save Time and Money on Your Pilot’s License?

The good news is there are ways to save money and still learn to fly. Here are a few tips:

  1. Look for discounts: If you’re committed to getting a private pilot license, you may be able to save money by choosing your flight school carefully. Some schools offer discounts. Also, you can usually make payments as you go rather than all at once.

  2. Use a flight simulator: Simulators are cheaper than taking a plane into the air and you can often learn just as much. Even better, instructors can pause a simulator to give you specific pointers during the flight.

  3. Pick an easier license: Another great option for survival flying is a sport pilot certificate. It costs about half what a PPL does.

Remember that the absolute cheapest option isn’t always the cheapest in the long run. A good instructor can save you money by helping you learn faster.

What Are the Advantages of a Sport Pilot Certificate?

A sport pilot certificate is much easier to get than a PPL. It costs less and requires less training. Some people walk away from the flight school in just two weeks knowing how to fly. You can expect to pay around $4,000–$5,000 instead of the $10,000 of a PPL.

You need 20 hours in an aircraft to get your sport pilot certificate. You’ll spend 15 with your instructor and five hours in solo flight. After you pass a written exam and a final checkride, you’re good to go. With a sport pilot certificate, you can also fly drone aircraft.

What’s the catch? As a sport pilot, you can only fly light-sport aircraft, single-engine planes with a maximum weight of 1,320 pounds. Also, you’re only allowed to fly by day and carry one passenger.

What’s the Best Option for Your Survival Strategy?

A sport pilot certificate is cheaper and easier than a PPL, but it has some restrictions. Will that matter in an EOD scenario? It’s hard to say. Laws may not matter if there’s anarchy.

No matter what, the hours logged getting a sport pilot certificate count toward a PPL. Being a sport pilot can be a good stepping stone to becoming a private pilot.

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Harry Lennon - August 16, 2020 Reply

In 1944 I was able to solo after 8 hours of instruction. I was just 16 and got my drivers license two weeks later. As I recall, I only needed 35 hours and a flight check to get my Private Pilot License (PPL) flying a Luscombe Silvare in 1945, just as WWII came to an end.

Then I joined the Navy, Admiral Hollaway’s Program. Went to Univ. Miami in 1946, Pensacola for Navy Flight School in 1948, Corpus Christi to fly the F4U4 Corsair and then back to Pensacola to make my first five Carrier Landings in the Corsair and received my Navy Wings of Gold in December 1949. On to the fleet at Virginia Beach (Oceana Naval Air) to join Attack Squadron VA-25,flying the AD-4 Douglas Sky Raider Next three years flew off the USS Philippene Sea, the USS F.D.Roosevelt, and the USS Midway. Never saw action in Korea Got out in 1952, Got my Captains rating flying a DC-3. flew as co-pilot for Wyandotte Chemical’s Executive Lockheed Lodestar 2 years. Started my own business in a Cessna 310B, Went on tho own four other Cessna 310’s. Then to Top off my life, bought my Cessna 421, Golden Eagle (Turbo-charged for 30,000 feet) two crew seats, six passenger seats, that I flew to every state in the Union for fourteen years, and, all the Bahama Islands with many wonderful friends and accumulated my total 5,600 hours. At age 92 I do not fly my own, but you can tell, I have great memories.

    Joshua Morse - August 17, 2020 Reply

    Mr. Harry,
    I just wanted to say that reading your comment was inspiring. My grandfather Kenneth Rice was a paratrooper and test pilot in the army. He since has passed and I don’t get to hear his stories anymore. To which you’re comment has refreshed in my mind. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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