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Should Daddy Pay for Flight Lessons?

My son is in university; there is a flight school nearby and he’s mentioned a couple times that he’d like to start. Obviously, he can’t afford it himself. Now on the forum we often gripe about how flying seems like an old codgers’ club, but realistically at that age (unless from a wealthy family AND under control of some of that money) no one can afford it. So how should I answer?

Tököl LHTL

Treat it as a loan, so he takes responsibility for the money not being wasted?

EGKB Biggin Hill

If he’s really into it and you can afford it, go ahead. It is turning money in an additional set of skills.

EBST, Belgium

What a dumb question. Of course. Why did you conceive him in the first place?

I would say DEFINITELY YES but make sure he does the written exams first – all of them.

My younger son started on his PPL this way but dropped it upon opening the first book. He did later pass 2 exams but sadly dropped it again, and those two will now be lapsed. One of them was Air Law which is the hardest. It was a pity because he was easily getting pass scores on the computer QB on Met which is the only other hard one. Now he is busy running his own business and will no doubt get back into it at another time.

Lots and lots of people start a PPL and drop it when they see the exam content.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I paid for it myself in my mid 20s and that period (about 3-4 month, weekends only) was one of my most focuseds. Never went out, studied a decent bit, learned some new skills. I think it was better value than my masters overall.
My younger brother is 13 now but it’s defintely something I’m looking at for him later as he might need a bit of that focus.
Plus, wouldn’t you enjoy doing flying trips with your soon and share a common passion?

Get him the US FAA PPL test prep book, and tell him to do the theory test there online. Ninety percent easier then the EU version. Then he can do a two week intensive FAA PPL there on a holiday, somewhere with good weather. He will have his PPL in no time.

Upper Harford, United Kingdom

Get him the US FAA PPL test prep book, and tell him to do the theory test there online. Ninety percent easier then the EU version. Then he can do a two week intensive FAA PPL there on a holiday, somewhere with good weather.

We did the “PPL in the USA” bit a few times in the past e.g. here and I did actually look into that for my son, who back then had “unlimited” time and lots of adventure spirit. That link and others should contain enough info and a search for e.g.

“faa ppl” AND california

will dig out more. The route, if done right, gets you an EASA PPL and an FAA PPL concurrently which is a highly cost effective way of obtaining two sets of papers, one of which never expires, is widely internationally recognised, is administered by a system which has been regulatory-stable for decades, and can be revalidated anytime with just a BFR and a fresh medical.

However this is a very personal choice – for the right personality (someone independent). You have to get out there and live there and socialise there for perhaps 2-3 months; longer if doing the IR also. The social scene will vary massively according to where you are; e.g. the place I did my FAA IR (KCHD) had none whatever.

Also you can’t do the writtens in Europe anymore, which makes the FAA papers route an “all or nothing” proposition because you can’t get your ducks in a row before buying the airline tickets. All you can still do over here is the FAA medical.

He will have his PPL in no time.

Without wishing to divert this thread into yet another “why does the PPL take x years” thread* it has to be said that if you set aside as much time as required and flew every day (which is what you will be doing in the US) you will also do the PPL in Europe pretty fast. Even in really bad wx you will get say 3 lessons per week (compared with 12 in the US… 2 flights a day and Sunday free to recover) which is probably 5x to 10x faster than most do because they fit lessons in when convenient.

* Of course “efficiency” does matter if you (the parent) is paying

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

My parents (quite a while ago) used the principe that they’d do whatever was needed to prepare me for a life and a job in society. So they did pay for my drivers license, hobbies that would be good for me, and my studies. They did not pay for extravaganza things with no real benefit though – I had to work for those.

By the same principle I intend to judge the requests of my children, and I would judge this request too.

If he intends to pick up flying as a professional career, then by all means yes, go ahead and fund it to the furthest extent possible. But if it’s just going to be a whim or an extravagant hobby, then no. In fact, if he’s got an interest in flying but for a hobby only, I’d start him off in gliding, and take it from there. It’s a lot less expensive but requires at least the same, if not more commitment, time-wise, than powered flying.

Last Edited by BackPacker at 17 Nov 13:03

Gliding might be a good idea. He loved mountain gliding (with an instructor) in the French Alps. Of course, we have a SEP, so it would make sense for him to be able to fly that….
This is a hobby, not a professional choice (at least not yet).

Tököl LHTL
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