Modular Flight Training
Recently I have been getting contacted by people with the same concern. They want to be a pilot but they cannot afford the £80,000 – £120,000 price that they have been seeing for the training. Some have asked how I find such huge amounts to do my training. I always reply the same way, it does not cost anywhere near that much to get a fATPL. You can get cheaper flight training via the modular route and I will show you how.
What’s the catch? There is no catch, no strings, I am not selling you anything. This information is totally free and all I ask is that you pass it on to as many people as you possibly can who have the same concerns.
You can qualify as a pilot for around £45,000*. Ok, maybe cheap isn’t the right word, but it is cheaper than £100,000.
*Quick calculations by myself but defiantly around this figure.
When I first looked at flight training I came across the expensive £100,000 ish courses and pretty much said “I can’t afford it” but I started to save money for flying anyways. I was lucky enough that my brother’s friend had recently completed his training and was now flying for easyJet. How? I asked as we are from similar backgrounds and he most certainly didn’t have that kind of money lying around either.
“Go modular,” he said. I wasn’t totally sure what the modular route was, however, he proceeded to inform me, and the more he talked the more sense it made. This is the real difference between myself and most people I have met. They don’t have that person who is there to show them the “other way” so that is what I am trying to achieve with this post.
Firstly what is the modular route? The modular route is a process where you do your training step by step until you are fully qualified. Flight training is cheaper abroad than it is in the UK, this is just the way it is so if you want to qualify towards the lower end of my estimates you will most certainly have to go abroad for some parts of your training.
This post is not designed to explain each part of the route in detail, I have other posts and there are lots of information online in regards to that. If you need more detailed information that you cannot find then you can contact me. This post shows you what you can realistically train as a pilot for.
Class 1 Medical
Before you do anything, you need to get a class 1 medical. Without this, the hopes of becoming a commercial pilot are dead in the water. I have heard of many people who have completed expensive parts of training only to find out that they cannot get their class 1 medical, and all that money has gone to waste.
I would budget around £800 for this, however, if you need any further investigations this can go up significantly.
These are my posts about my initial class 1 medical.
PPL (Private Pilots Licence).
This is the initial licence you must complete. You will learn the basics of flying and how an aircraft works before finally doing your cross-country qualifier and skills test. During the course of this, you will also have to complete 9 exams.
I know this is a UK-based blog and my experience is mainly based on a UK point of view but this information is valid for anyone who is looking to get a EASA licence.
You can get your PPL anywhere in the world as long as the PPL is an ICAO standard PPL. This means that you can go to cheaper locations such as the USA and South Africa and complete this training and still come back and complete the next step.
These posts are about my PPL training. I made a post about every single lesson so it really is a start-to-finish account.
Again, you can complete this anywhere that offers EASA theory training. During the ATPL theory you will complete 13 exams covering the following subjects.
- Air law
- Aircraft general knowledge
- Flight planning and monitoring
- Human performance and limitations
- Operational procedures
- Principles of flight
- General navigation
- Radio navigation
- Mass and balance
There are many theory providers and you need to do your own research on what school you go to as they all offer different things and it is a personal decision. Also you need to decide if you want to do distance learning or full-time in a classroom-based environment.
These posts are about my ATPL theory.
This is your first “add-on” course. It is normally around 5 hours of flying time. The aim of this course is to get you familiar with flying at night as pretty much all of your training would have been done in daylight hours up until this point.
These posts are about my night rating.
Again you can do this pretty much anywhere in the world as long as the aircraft qualifies. On the whole the UK is a very expensive place to do this however this doesn’t mean that you can’t find a good deal.
Flying schools on the whole in the UK is the most expensive way of doing this, so should be discarded unless you can negotiate a favorable rate. Cheaper ways of doing this are by joining a flying club/group or buying a share in a plane. If you do not want to do this then some of the cheapest flying in the world at the moment is in the USA or South Africa. You should also not be afraid to negotiate as there are more savings to be had.
These posts are about my hour building.
CPL ME IR
Now this is the most expensive section of your training. The commercial Pilots Licence, Multi-Engine and Instrument Rating. In the UK this is most likely going to cost you something like £21,000 – £25,000. However in Eastern Europe this will cost you as “little” as £17,000. As you can see there is quite a difference and if you can be away from the UK it makes sense to go abroad to complete this if possible. The training in Europe should still be EASA and can normally be conducted under your local aviation authority.
EDIT – This post was originally written before the UK left EASA. If you are training for a UK licence you may now have to complete your CPL ME IR in the UK.
These posts are about my CPL ME IR.
Cost £17,000 – £25,000.
MCC / JOC
This is the final part you will do. This is the course where you learn to work as part of a crew as you would in an airline.
These courses are not all equal. In some courses, you will get the bare minimum in regard to getting the certificate. In other courses, you will get a lot more, interview prep, and even support in finding a job. So again this is a personal choice that you need to make and do your own research on.
These are my posts about the MCC/JOC
Cost £4000 – £10,000.
Things like flights, hotels, licence application forms etc do need to be budgeted for.
£500 – £4000
So as you can see the cost of becoming a pilot is nowhere near £100,000 and you can train for considerably less. Adding up the figures I personally put the cost at between £40,000 – £70,000.
You would only see the £70,000 cost if you choose the most expensive possible option at every stage. Realistically if you are smart, you can be qualified for £35,200 – £45,000 with high-quality training.
Yes, it’s still expensive but it is perfectly doable for anyone who is dedicated and willing to put in the work.
Now don’t forget that once you get your fATPL you may still have to find £15,000-£40,000 for a type rating. You most likely would have to find this on the more expensive courses also.
I followed this route myself and I am now flying a large turboprop.