What does it cost to get a private pilot's license in metro Boston?

Philip Greenspun's Homepage : Philip Greenspun's Homepage Discussion Forums : Aviation : One Thread
Notify me of new responses
I see a number of local to MA references so I thought this might be a
good forum for my newby question.

What does it cost to get a private pilot's license in metro Boston?

I had one float plane ride from Martha's Vineyard to the Cape and
loved it. Since that ride 20 years ago I've always wanted to learn to
fly and eventually fly a float plane to various places in New England.
Then I visited Alaska in the early 90s, everyone had float planes
docked behind their houses on man made lakes. I was told its the only
way to get into Alaska's interior as the state is just too big to
drive around on vacation.

I did some research already and determined that at least $7500 and a
few months time are needed to learn to fly. After that, learning to
fly and land a float plane is likely to be more hours of practice.
Owning a plane will have to wait. (Can you time-share them?)

So I'm interested in the experience of the forum on good places and
instructors to take flying lessons in the greater Boston area. I work
in Burlington, MA not far from Hanscom and live in Ipswich, MA, not
far from the Beverly airport. And I think there is a landing strip in
Newbury near Plum Island.

I'd love to get started next spring.

-- MARK HARDIE, December 19, 2005


http://www.ecas.com/considering.html estimates $7500 (60 hours; the FAA minimum is 40 hours), which is probably realistic for a student who doesn't spend any timing goofing off and taking fun flights to Martha's Vineyard, etc.

If you want to get a rating cheaper, you need to go to a school in Arizona where the weather is perfect every day and the planes are really old and cheap (and they buy their own Avgas in bulk). Of course, a person who got a rating in Arizona and tried to fly in the terrible weather and complex airspace of New England would need 10+ hours of dual instruction just to be safe in this neighborhood.

You can time-share planes! There is a company, AirShares Elite, that offers fractional Cirrus ownership out of Hanscom and Beverly. Most people will split a plane with one or two other pilot/owners. Insurance companies are very strange. A plane that is shared with two pilots will fly almost exactly twice as much as a plane that is solely owned (because two owners almost never conflict). So the risk exposure is doubled. Yet the premium will be the same as for one pilot, assuming both are of equal experience.

Float planes are kind of a problem. Insurance is very expensive, especially for the amphib floats that you would need to land, say, at Beverly. If you can somehow base a plane on straight floats from a cottage on Moosehead Lake, for example, the price of the plane and the price of insurance comes way down.

-- Philip Greenspun, December 19, 2005