Best Reasons To Become A Pilot
Want To Learn How To Fly Airplanes? Let these Greatest Reasons To Become A Pilot Help Motivate You!
Chances are, you're reading this "Top 5 Reasons To Become A Pilot" because you're trying to justify the time and expenses of learning how to fly an airplane or helicopter. Let me cut to the chase: Go For It! Learning how to fly is such an amazing experience that you'll kick yourself for not starting earlier. Granted it's not cheap, but in comparison with so many of life's expenses, becoming a pilot is actually more affordable than most people think.
In fact, most pilots say the same thing: "I wish I would have learned earlier." So take it from the pros, and buckle down, eat beans if that's what it takes, and find a reputable flight instructor and/or airplane club and start making your dreams a reality!
Okay, enough of the pep talk. You're at the point where you're trying to justify taking flight lessons, right? So let's make this argument a little more interesting by appealing to the very "right brained" hesitations that are holding you back in the first place:
1. It's Affordable.
Notice I didn't say "cheap," but becoming a licensed pilot is actually more affordable than many people think. According to most estimates, the average student pilot spends between $5,000 and $10,000 to become a certified private pilot. That sounds like a lot of money, right? I'm not going to lie, it IS a lot of money. But rather than sitting back and complaining, let's put it into perspective.
For instance, think about how much money you've spent on automobiles. Personally, I've never paid more than $5,500 for a used car, but many of my friends and family buy new cars every few years like clockwork. And those new cars cost at least $30,000. And most of the time, there's nothing necessarily wrong with their old cars, they just want something new and shiny. I've presented you with two extremes: A person who only buys used, and those who frequently buy new. Now imagine if instead of buying a new (or used) car, you set aside that money for flight lessons?
I can hear what you're saying: "But you can finance a new car, so I don't need the money in cash up front." Well guess what, you can do the same thing when it comes to flying. You can easily get a signature loan (or personal loan) at some very enticing interest rates (many lower than car loans) or even charge it to your credit card and pay it back in instalments. Heck, there are even financing programs available specifically for pilots-to-be.
If you're still not convinced, check with your local flight school. They might have grants and scholarships available.
2. It's Convenient.
Imagine traveling through the air rather than the highways? And doing it on your schedule rather than an airline's? When you learn how to fly, the sky is literally the limit (not to sound too cliché, given the subject matter).
Almost every city in the world has an airport or airstrip, which means you can pack up an airplane and go where ever you want without the hassle of busy road traffic. Plus, even the slowest airplanes cruise faster than the average speed limits - and they can travel in straight line. So you're almost assured to get where you want to go faster and with fewer interruptions.
3. It's Cool.
Let's face it, pilots are cool. Imagine the reaction on other people's faces when you tell them that you are a licensed pilot! It's kind of like saying that you're a movie star or rock and roll drummer. You'll instantly be the life of any party.
And let's take this a step further. Imagine how impressive it would be to a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife to whisk them away in an airplane that you're flying yourself! While I don't necessarily want this article to turn into a "Top 10 Reasons To Date A Pilot," just be aware that the wings carry a certain "cool" factor that not to many people have.
What's more impressive: A motorcycle or an airplane? I think you get my drift.
4. You Can Make Money.
Learning how to fly might only be the first step in your career in the skies. All pilots, even the ones flying the commercial airliners, started where you are right now: They took beginning flight lessons. Just like a trucker on the road who gets paid to drive had to start with driver's education classes at his high school, a commercial pilot must start at a beginning step, too.
And there are many ways to make money as a pilot. For starters, you can go on to get your commercial license and fly people and cargo in exchange for money (you can't do this with a private pilot's license, just so you know). And from there you can get what they call an "ATP" or "Airline Transport Pilot" endorsement. Airline pilots make very good money, but be prepared for a bunch of low-paid flight jobs until you get there.
Another option: Teach other people how to fly. Once you learn how to fly, you can become a Certified Flight Instructor "CFI" and teach people who are in your exact position right now. While I could easily list a Top 5 Reasons To Become A Flight Instructor, I'll simply say that teaching is rewarding for both the student and the pilot. As you teach, you'll be building your own hours, which you can use for more advanced licenses and even as a building block for a career in the airlines. In fact, many airline captains built their hours teaching students just like you how to fly in small, single engine airplanes!
5. The View From Above Is Breathtaking.
If for no other reason, looking down at the world from the inside of an airplane or helicopter is truly amazing. It's surreal and, in an odd way, almost Zen-like. Even if you're afraid of heights or flying, once you get high enough above ground level, your perspective will change, trust me, I'm deathly afraid of heights but LOVE flying.
For many casual pilots, simply taking a Sunday stroll through the skies or a couple of laps around the pattern on a calm night is therapeutic.
It just goes to show that you dont' have to be a professional-pilot-to-be to get a real kick out of flying.
So Now What?
For starters, go out and start talking to some flight instructors in your area. Ask them about their teaching styles, the kind of planes they teach in and the ground school corse work. Take the time to really get to know them, because you'll never want to make your final decision based on finances alone. You know the saying, "You get what you pay for?" It's true in the aviation world as well. My instructor didn't charge me very much, but he also left out a lot of valuable information - which in the long run took me longer. Whereas friends of mine learned from really great people who charged more per hour, but got them up to speed much faster.
If you're really gung ho, or have some extra money laying around, you might want to consider shopping for aircraft for sale. Even if you're just learning, owning your own plane offers two big advantages: 1) You'll be learning on the same plane you'll be flying, so everything will translate perfectly, and 2) You can save the cost of aircraft rentals. And yes, flight instructors will be more than willing to teach you how to fly in a plane that you own!
You might be surprised at how many types of airplanes are available on the open market. Everything from ultralight and experimental planes to private jets for sale. Your flight instructor should be able to help you narrow down your search, and in many cases, even help you find a great plane at a very good price. For instance, my cousin bought a back country Cessna 170B that's been hot rodded by its previous owner for less money than she paid for her car.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and learn how to fly already!