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Independent Flight Instruction FAQ


Why would I want to learn with an Independent Instructor?

Independent Instructors charge less than flight schools and provide flight training with flight club aircraft, which cost much less than flight school aircraft. Independent Flight Instructors also offer more flexible schedules and guided home study programs for students who are working or going to school. Both flight schools and independent flight instructors teach students on a one on one basis, so no advantage is gained by using a school.

Will I receive the same quality of instruction as I would through a flight school?

Flight instructors who teach independently have received the same training and must meet the same qualifications as those who teach through a school. In fact, often school instructors teach students on the side.  Most school instructors are paid poorly and only teach in schools in order to build the flight time required by the airlines.  Once they have that time, they no longer teach.   Therefore, independent flight instructors are often more experienced.  For example, I myself have over 10,000 hours giving instruction.  IN EITHER CASE - The student should talk with the instructor to determine that they have an organized but flexible training program and to ensure that a good rapport is established.

Besides lower rates and more experience, independent flight instructors give the student better quality of training than flight school instructors because their focus is on teaching the student most efficiently/effectively, while flight school instructors are more focused on building their own flight time.  This means they often do not take the time to teach the student the principles on the ground and instead make them try to "figure it out" as they are flying the airplane.  Common sense says it is better to "learn" it on the ground and "practice" it in the air, but that doesn't happen when the flight instructor's focus is on their own benefit instead of the flight school student's.

What do independent flight instructors charge?

Independent Instructors charge $60 - $80 per hour of (Hobbs Time) which begins and ends with the start and shut down of the aircraft engine. Most Instructors also charge for ground instruction, especially when it is extensive or if a particular lesson requires a special session.  For airplane costs, which are typically much less than flight school aircraft, see the flying clubs section of this website.

What do flight schools charge?

Schools charge from $65 to $85 per hour, in most cases from the moment the student walks in to the moment they walk out. Often, payment must be deposited in advance.  For airplane costs (which are typically higher) see the flight schools section.

What do you (the author of this page) charge?

I charge  $60  per hour for flight  training time  and  only  $40  per  hour for ground instruction.   Pay as you go.
Late Afternoon/Evenings & Weekends $10/hr more. 

Why do flight instructors choose to teach independently?

Time and Money. Schools expect the instructors to be at the school full time but typically only pay the instructors $20 to $30 per hour and only for time spent instructing. In contrast, Independent Instructors usually work part time around their student's schedule and collect the full fee themselves. This also saves their students considerable money. Remember, when it comes to having to pay to learn to fly, all instructors have been there and hate to see their students get stiffed by expensive flight schools whose salesman is better at selling than the instructing.


Question or comment?
Contact the Author: Bruce J. Elig CFII/MEI/ATP