Simtech Aviation

Flight Training Cost in NY/NJ Area!

This is one of the most commonly asked questions, and yet the answer often begins with, “It depends.”  Between $12,175 to $32,250. Why the big difference in the cost of flight training to earn a Private Pilot Certificate?

How much does it cost to earn a Private Pilot Certificate in the New York/New Jersey area?

How do you get charged for the airplane?

You normally book the airplane for a two-hour lesson. But you will only get charged based on the HOBBS meter. The HOBBS meter generally runs from when the engine starts until the engine stops. It is a meter, similar to what a taxi meter does; once the meter starts, you are paying.

In a two-hour lesson, you might only fly 1.2 hours or (1 hour and 12 minutes.)

There is another meter named TACH. Some flight clubs charged via TACH meter. The main difference between the HOBBS and TACH meter is that TACH does not count when the engine is in a low power setting. The TACH meter is mainly used for maintenance.

How do you get charged for Instructor time?

Generally, when you book a two-hour lesson, you should expect to pay the instructor for the full two-hour lesson.

In other words, if you book a lesson, expect to pay the instructor for the amount of time you booked.  Example: If you already know how to do the airplane pre-flight, and you showed up right on time for the lesson, and the instructor was waiting on you, it’s not uncommon for the flight school to charge you for the instructor time, as they are ready and waiting for you.  On the order hand, if the instructor is running late and lands 10 minutes late on a prior lesson, you should not pay for the 10 minutes the instructor is late.

Expect that you may only fly an hour and a couple of minutes on a flight lesson. The remainder of the 2-hour lesson is spent in ground training, briefing the goals and what you will accomplish on that flight, and a short post-flight briefing, assessment, question, and next lesson session.  DON’T SKIP THE BRIEF.  Brief the flight, fly the brief.  You need to have clear goals set before each flight.  It’s also important to get an assessment of your progress post-flight, even if it is an email or text, and should include items to prepare for the next lesson.

The exact amount of time spent on the Pre/Post flight brief will vary through your training.  In the beginning, it is about 1hour because the instructor has to teach you the skills for you to get the airplane on the way, but as you progress, the briefings can be abbreviated.

Expect something like - a two-hour lesson: 1.2hrs for the airplane, 2 hours of instructor time, including the 1.2 airplane time, and .8hours of PRE/POST flight brief.  As you progress in your flight training, it could look like 1.7hours in the airplane, and 1.7 for the instructor airplane time, and .3 for PRE/POST.

Does 141 vs. 61 make a big difference for a Private Pilot Certificate?

Short answer, NO. The main reason is that it is challenging to finish a private pilot at 35 hours (the reduced number of hours common in most 141 schools.)  The only way to finish a private pilot certificate in the NY/NJ Area is by flying 2-3 times a week and studying on the non-flying days.

If you find a Part 61 flight school with a syllabus, and the instructor uses it, it's pretty much the same as a 141.  Look for established schools with instructors that use a structured syllabus and preferably conduct “phase” checks - or opportunities to fly with senior instructors at critical junctures in your training, such as before solo.

Here is the breakdown of costs to earn a Private Pilot Certificate:

Why is the national average 80-100 flight hours to earn a Private Pilot Certificate in New York/ New Jersey?

Is a busy region is a simple answer. Just like the roads in the area, the airspace is congested and strewn with “potholes.”  It is not uncommon to spend 30-45 minutes waiting on the ground to take off at airports like Farmingdale or Cadwell in NJ.

Then, of course, if there was congestion getting out, there is congestion coming in.  Further, due to airspace considerations for the large airports in the area, it takes about 15-20 minutes of flight time to get to the practice area where you are free to practice your maneuvers.

The other major factor in the NY/NJ area is (hate to say it) the weather.  Not all days are suitable to fly in a light aircraft.

What Can you do to earn your Private Pilot Certificate closer to 40hours?

Study, study, study.

  1. Get your FAA Written out of the way before you start flight training; learn more on our blog.  Look into “self-study” courses for the written test.
  2. Use a home flight simulator! There are many procedures you practice at home. Visit ReadyRoger.com to find a coach to help you study at the home Flight simulator.
  3. Use a Certified Flight Simulator! Many Flight School instructors and even pilots will discourage using a simulator at the Private Pilot level. Yes, you need to learn to fly the airplane, but there are many procedures you need to learn to make them second nature. Learn more
  4. Explore fast-track programs in areas of the country where good flying weather prevails.  This will require traveling to Florida or the southwest US for an average of 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on your situation.

After I get my Private Pilot, can I get a job as a pilot?

NOOOOO. Private Pilot only allows you to have an equal share of the expenses of the airplane. Visit our blog on how to be a pilot as a career.

I’ve seen videos on YouTube that say I can get my private pilot’s certificate for under $X thousand. Why do you say it is so much more expensive?

It’s not uncommon to find “hacks” that claim to save you beaucoup bucks.  Most of these are mathematical exercises that might add up on paper but have little relationship to the realities of operating airplanes in the airspace system.

If you train out of a cornfield in Iowa and fly to one airport with a control tower once or twice during your training, then, yes, you might be able to get your certificate in the minimum number of hours.  However; just like the tourist in midtown who causes a sidewalk pile-up at rush hour because they want to stop and look at the Empire State Building (or is that one the Chrysler building, honey? Which way is uptown?); you will only prepare yourself to get into trouble if you come to the “big city” airport.

The reality is that the complex airspace in a major metropolitan area will cost you some additional flight time and dollars.

The advantage to training in more congested airspace is that you will be prepared to operate in any area of the country or world, for that matter.