Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

So I’m preparing for an intensive two week CFI (flight instructor) training program in Las Vegas this December.

Ooooh, Las Vegas! you’re thinking. Time for some gambling, a bit of sun out by the pool, maybe catch a show.

Not quite. It’s more like fourteen straight days of round-the-clock flight training, three checkrides with the FAA, then high-tail it back to Los Angeles for Christmas. The only exception might be if Lesley decides to drive out for a visit.

Not that I’m complaining. On the contrary, I can’t wait to get in the cockpit and knock these ratings out. When I’m done, I’ll have a CFI-A, CFI-I and MEI (I’ve already got the AGI and IGI ratings).

What’s bumming me out is the cost. It doesn’t sound so bad when you see the program listed at $4,995. But this is turning out to be like purchasing a car. You gotta have the rust-proofing, sir. Don’t forget those must-have options. Or the finance charges. Delivery fees. Dealer markup. Tax, license and registration. Pretty soon that $10,000 Kia is taking a $15,000 chunk out of your wallet.

I made the mistake of adding up what the CFI program will cost, and speaking of cars, it’s about the same price as that Kia:

$80.00 - CFI-A written exam fee
$80.00 - CFI-I written exam fee
$80.00 - FOI written exam fee
$80.00 - AGI written exam fee
$80.00 - IGI written exam fee
$50.00 - Books
$4995.00 - CFI/CFII/MEI training program
$1000.00 - Multi-time upcharge
$1050.00 - FAA checkride fees
$100.00 - Transportation
$1400.00 - Lodging
$300.00 - Food
$9295.00 Total

Education is expensive, and I’d be the last one to suggest skimping when you’re talking about flight training. But $10k is approximately what one makes — gross — during an entire year as a full-time instructor.

Well, at least the long-term job prospects for pilots are bright. Not.

  1 comment for “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

  1. Jon
    September 19, 2004 at 10:52 pm

    Does this mean that soon you will be able to teach me to fly?!? That’d be awesome! Hey, my dad, my son and I are going to Airport Day at Fullerton this coming Saturday. Wanna meet up for a bit if you’re going?

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