Paying for Helicopter Flight Training

AT ETL Aviation, we understand that flight training is expensive.  Learning to fly helicopters is a commitment in time and money, but it is extremely rewarding.  Obtaining a pilot rating is a major achievement for most people.  As the old joke goes, “How do you know who in the room is a helicopter pilot?  Don’t worry, they will tell you.”  We want to make the dream of flight a reality for everyone.  Paying for helicopter flight training is often a student’s biggest hurdle.  As such, we have listed some options for funding your helicopter flight training.

Pay-as-you-go:  Paying for flight training as you receive is an option for students with the cash already or that have a good income source to fund the training as it is received.  This option allows for you to maintain outside employment and earn the income to pay for the training over time.   If going this route, see if the training facility provides discounts for pre-purchasing blocks of training.  This can help save money.  At ETL Aviation we provide block rates for discounts if 5-,10-, or 20-hour blocks are purchased.  Learn more about our pricing at

Financing:  Obtaining a loan is one way to get the funds.  In most cases, the institution will require a cosigner or collateral of some sort.  Below is list of a few entities that provide lending to potential pilots.

Family:  Family members such as parents and grandparents, would like to see their loved ones succeed. In many cases, older family members are in a better position to help fund flight training.  However, no one wants to throw money away.  So, if this is the route that you would take, ensure that you have a plan and timeline before presenting the idea to others.  To help with such as request, we have outlined some items to consider.

  • How much is the total cost?
  • How long is the training?
  • Will you pay it back, or is it a gift?
  • When will repayment start?
  • What if you quit training?

If getting a loan from friends or family, we recommend using a system like ZimpleMoney ( to track the loan payments and facilitates payments via ACH.

Scholarships/Grants:  Scholarships are often overlooked by students as a vehicle for funding flight training.  With some effort, you can find scholarships for funding your helicopter flight training.  Below is a list of scholarships available for helicopter flight training, this list is not all inclusive. 

GI Bill:  If you are eligible to receive veterans’ benefits, this may be an option for you.  At any flight school, Part 61 or Part 141, the GI Bill can be used for paying testing fees, such as examiner fees, knowledge test fees, up to $2,000 per request.  If you would like to use the GI Bill for all of your flight training, you will need to find a part 141 school the accepts the GI Bill.  In many cases, this will require training at a university to get full coverage of flight training. 

Army/Navy/Air Force COOL:  If you are in the U.S. military you can use an approved vendor for continuing credentialing for service members, including active, reserve, and National Guard members.  You can receive up to $4,000 a year in reimbursement.

If you have any questions about helicopter flight training, please contact us