Pilots License?

So I’ve been contemplating getting my pilots license for quite awhile but had a question I thought maybe some of you might be able to help out with.

What does one even do with a Light Sport or PPL, I mean other than the obvious get to fly a plane. Is having a PPL even worth anything job wise? I know you can’t take passengers for money. I guess I’m just trying to find some other usefulness for having one.

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I’ve had my PPL for about 10 years and my commercial license about four, and its worth noting that I am located in the US since rules can differ. The PPL was a bucket list item, I only continued on through with the commercial because my GI bill footed the bill.

I figured I’d get my CFI someday and give lessons down the road. I never intended to be a true “professional pilot”. That being said A PPL wont do you any good career wise. Here in the US you cant accept more then the fair share compensation from you passengers, so with a PPL if your flyin, ur payin. Other then that, the only other benefit job wise I can see is if you have a boss that is interested in aviation and you take them up on sight seeing trips.

I’m sure the real pros will chime in with more insightful answers, I will say that I started flying for me but now rarely go up alone. I get the most enjoyment out of taking people up that don’t really get the opportunity. hope that helps.


Paging @EinsteinEP

FWIW it’s something I’ve been contemplating for a few years. I’m worried about the cost, because the consensus I’ve heard seems to be between gas, rentals, and instructors, you must pay an amount equal to your first born child.


Took me 43hrs and roughly $6500 for my PPL (gibill didn’t cover the PPL). Another bit of advice, if your going to do it, try to save up as much of the whole amount as you can and fly at least three times a week. Unless you have an excellent memory and muscle memory, you will be costing yourself more by taking breaks.


Use it to get…cough…familiar with the opposite sex.

I mean…it was decades ago when I got my private certificate, but whenever I took a girl flying it was a pretty solid starting point. LOL

Ironically, my wife has never been flying with me. The smart ones avoid it.

Job wise a PPL is nothing more than a stepping stone. At least in the U.S., you have to grind through that 250 hours to get to your commercial rating which allows you to start doing stuff like sightseeing rides, tours, plane ferrying, etc… But while you are working toward that 250 hours, you really should be doing your multi, IFR, and nearing your CFI or CFII if you want to do something for living. It’s a long slog though. I remember working at the airport, pumping gas on the line, and I’d work from 5:30AM to 10PM some days and go flying from 10PM to midnight to build hours. On payday, I’d often just sign the back of my check for being a line guy and slide it back over the desk to pay for my flight hours (but I was getting a killer rate of $32 and hour wet or something)…


This a million times. As a CFI(I) - I had students that would come fly with me 3 or 4 times a week and they could hustle through the program fairly quickly. The ones that would come fly once a week and maybe take a week or two off would forget everything I’d taught them and we’d have to do a lot of backtracking which just ended up costing them more money. I’d also encourage you to be around 80% ready to take you private written prior to starting flight training. Might as well, and you’ll learn alot from the coursework.


Assuming a student is able to hustle through at 3/4 flights a week, how quickly could they complete their PPL?

I think there are two types of schools…61 and 141. 61 students require 40 hours minimum…141 students 35 hours minimum. Rarely do people meet the mins, but it does happen. So if you flew 1.5 hour of Hobbs time (tach time) per hop, three times a week, you could probably finish in around 8 weeks. Keeping in mind that once you get to the solo cross country time, the time will start accumulating faster. You could compress that further. I’ve heard of schools that do it in just a couple weeks, but I question the “sticking power” of that accelerated learning. I had students get the PPL in 45 hours, and I had students that got them in 80-100, and I had students that I was amazed that made it past their checkride.

Good summary of 141 school requirements here:

And the difference between 61 and 141 requirements…



Thanks for the replies, So i guess i wasn’t missing anything, I know the instructor I had for the old introductory lesson I had awhile back said what he did to get hours was “give tours” key being, if they wanted a tour, they’d have to rent the plane and pay for fuel, but he’d happily pilot it for them.

If I just want to tool around myself in slightly smaller planes guess I could just do the Light Sport one which is only $3k.

Anyone familiar with heli licenses? Didn’t see that where I was looking, wondering if that would be a “better” option

Take everything I said and multiply it by 3. :wink:

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“Giving tours” in the manner described is still illegal if you are flying with a PPL. You have to pay your share of the flight expenses.

The first 250 hours are hard to get, mainly because you have to pay for them yourself. Like Chris said, you should train for your instrument rating during that hours building phase. I didn’t go the CFI route because I was lucky enough to have a job waiting for me as soon as I had my Commercial, Multi Engine and Instrument tickets. I also did the commercial single engine certificate before adding multi-engine. It is a bit cheaper that way.

so no then, haha

Oh well that settles it then. Not really worth the investment for me. Sorta like getting a CDL but without the benefit of the C part of it. Well, have to see if they’ll let me do another intro course though, kinda want to fly the Remos they got there, seems kind of neat.

I was only joking about the x3. I don’t know what helo requirements are…but I do know it is very, very expensive. And might be more time intensive. I’d encourage you to check into it though…! I would absolutely LOVE to get a rotor rating, but that’s some $$$$…

This thread reminded me of the Drone University segment on Fox Business today. 1 year/$3500.

I knew a gal whose husband wanted her to go flying with him, she said not until she had landing lessons!

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Lot of good info here.

Getting your PPL is extremely rewarding but you have to be willing to put forth the time and cash. Best way is, as mentioned above, to treat it like a job or school. (Actually, if you’re like me, treat it better than school. Less parties and football games, more studying.)

It’s going to take studying and consistently flying if you want to get it done efficiently and reasonably close to the minimum hours required.

But put in the effort and it’s very rewarding. I fly way more now than I did back when I got my PPL but I honestly miss the days of flying just for fun.

Used that more than once, tell them you’re going to lunch but not how you’re getting there. (Obviously making sure before they’re not afraid of things like heights or small airplanes.)

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Or pilots. Shudder. Pilots…

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Indeed. One was especially trusting, went with me on the first flight after my check ride.

…did she know?

She actually did. Knew ahead of time it was and wanted to go anyways.

Your instrument rating should really be the bucket list item. Still…at about 6-8 hours, when your CFI gets out of the plane, looks at you and says, “I need three landings to a full stop. Three landings to a full stop.” Then shuts the door and leaves you to your fate, it doesn’t get much more real than that. Having my shirt tail cut off was one of the seminal moments in my life, right up there with graduating college, getting married, and having kids. Sorry if that sounds shallow, but that’s how I felt at the time. In retrospect, I wouldn’t give up the later for the former, but the feeling of accomplishment when I soloed was extraordinary.