November 2019

Accumulate flying hours – How to build up your flying experience at a reasonable cost


privat training pilot flying small airplane

As you learned in the book, collecting flying lessons is one of the biggest obstacles for young pilots to apply to an airline.

Therefore we want to see how you can collect flying lessons and pay as little money as possible for one flying lesson.

1. Flight instructor

As a flight instructor you can teach other prospective pilots how to fly. This has two advantages for you. You collect many flying lessons quickly and free of charge and by teaching your skills you also learn by yourself. In addition, your additional qualification can also give you a bonus when applying with an airline.

There are also flight schools that offer pilot training including flight instructors, so after two years you have collected your 1500 flight hours.

2. Banner flights

In order to be allowed to carry out banner flights you need less hours than with some other jobs. Even if it looks easy, you will need some additional flying skills. If you're lucky, you often fly over water, beaches or sporting events.

3. Towing gliders

As the pilot of the glider towing the glider to the top, you must not only fly your own glider, but also pay attention to the glider's flight characteristics. You collect flying hours, but you only fly 5 to 10 minutes per towed glider. It takes some time until you get your hours. On the other hand, you collect the hours for free.

4. Flights for skydivers

Here you need a CPL, because you carry passengers in your plane. You must always have your skydivers and your plane under control. Your flying hours will only accumulate slowly, because your airplane time, for once up and down, is only 10 to 20 minutes maximum. But the hours are also free here.

5. Sightseeing flights

As soon as you have a pilot license, your friends and acquaintances will ask you if you can go flying with them. It's best to fly along the beach into the sunset, over your own house, your old home or special places like the Grand Canyon. Such tours bring you some flying hours. Now you have to be careful with the costs. With a PPL, you can only share the cost equally among all passengers. So you have to pay an equal share of the costs yourself. With a CPL you can do sightseeing flights without having to bear the costs yourself. But you are not allowed to offer the tours yourself. The flight school where you are employed has to take care of that for you.

6. Flights for photographers

There are many photographers who take aerial photographs of buildings, houses and landscapes for their business purposes. For this they need a pilot. The flights can be very exciting, but also very monotonous. As with sightseeing flights, the cost depends on your license. With the PPL you have to pay a part of the costs yourself, with the CPL it would be possible to collect hours free of charge.

7. Hang out at the airport

New pilots and owners of a PPL often get good opportunities to collect flying lessons. Pilots and aircraft owners only meet you at the airfield and many simply take you on their flights. There you can fly in one or the other very interesting airplane and collect flying lessons. You just have to be in the right place at the right time.

8. Safety Pilot

Many pilots only fly the minimum flying hours they need to obtain a license. To make them feel safer, some like to take another pilot with them. Offer yourself as a safety pilot and collect flying hours as well. It also helps to hang out at the airfield and get in contact with other pilots.

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