Updated: Jan 24, 2020
We all know flying and learning to fly can be expensive. Here are a few tips to help you save some money on your flying lessons.
Be Prepared For Lessons
Record Your Lessons
Pursue an Ultralight Licence
Use A Flight Simulator
Let's look at each one of the above items in a little more detail.
1. Fly Often!
Flying is a perishable skill. Not leaving a big gap between lessons will help retain skill and knowledge from lesson to lesson. Minimize the lessons you have to repeat and that will save you a lot of money in the long run. Aiming to fly 2-3 times a week should help save money in the long run.
2. Be Prepared For Lessons
Always review your previous lesson(s) and the plan for the upcoming lesson. A good instructor should give you some homework after every flight. Coming prepared will reduce your ground briefing time with your instructor and will help you get the most out of your in-flight lesson.
The Flight Training Manual is often used in flight schools to prep for the flight exercises. Try to read this manual before and after covering a particular exercise to keep it fresh in your mind.
As an instructor, I can see the difference in performance often shows between those who prepare for the lesson and the ones who don't.
3. Immerse Yourself
Immerse yourself in the learning process. Read and watch the multitude of videos that are now available on the internet. For instance, if your lesson involves doing some radio work, review videos of others flying in the area you practice in to get familiar with the common calls.
At Skyview Ultralights, when practicing specific radio work for example, we ask student to review videos such as the ones below prior to the lesson so they come prepared and know what to expect.
4. Record your Lessons
One of the most useful tool for your flying lessons could be an action camera. Ask your instructor and/or your flight school to record a lesson once in a while (perhaps for an additional fee). You can use it during de-briefing sessions as well as for review at home. We will often notice things during the video review that we missed during the lesson. Be mindful of where the action cameras are attached. I would avoid attaching anything to the outside of the aircraft.
5. Pursue an Ultralight Licence
Having an Ultralight permit will allow you the privilege to fly fantastic, modern Advanced Ultralight aircraft such as the Flight Design CTLS (video shown below). The legal number of hours required to obtain an ultralight permit is much less than a Private Pilot Licence. Of course, the focus should be on become a safe and proficient pilot, and non getting a permit in the least number of hours!
6. Couch Fly
Sitting at home on your couch and visualizing and miming through the various procedures or reviewing your lesson can be invaluable in building muscle and mental memory. I used this technique on a regular basis during my flight training. Helps keep the memory sharp when you get weathered out few lessons in a row.
7. Use A Flight Simulator
Simulators such as X-Plane 11 are relatively affordable and another good supplement your flight training. Although you won't get the feel of the movements, it will help you practice the various flight exercises so the procedures come a little more naturally in flight.