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ATG-47

VA not paying for Private Lic. How to get it done

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So this is really just a cry for help and advice.

 

I just came off of active duty and planned to use my GI Bill for flight school training. I was accepted to BRCC and Guidance Aviation and set to start flight school in January.

 

Yesterday I was informed that the VA will no longer be paying for Private Licenses at this school and that I was put on a Veterans waiting list for the Comerial, CFI, Instrument Rating, etc.. portion of school. Obviously, I would need to get my private license before I would be able to do the rest of the school and I would have to pay for that part of training out of pocket.

 

That's roughly $25,000 and don't forget I won't be receiving any GI Bill benefits during the training since the money is coming from my pocket.

 

I guess my question is how do y'all do it? How do you pay for the private license without drowning in debt afterwards. I've looked for scholarships, found only a few. I've looked at financial aid, and not even Pilot Finance Inc will give out $25k loan.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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If you research more, you’ll find schools that offer Private certification for less than 15K. Even though that amount still sounds insurmountable, you’d be amazed what a motivated individual will do in order to achieve their goals….. Basically, get a job and save up for it…… However, take it from this long-time flyer. Use your benefits to pay for higher education in order to get a better paying career. When you do get that “better” paying career, then you can save up for flight lessons…..

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$25k for a private? What are they flying an R44? Private should not exceed $15k.

 

Did you save up any money while on active duty? If not, a job plus saving will probably be your best bet now, unfortunately...

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If you research more, you’ll find schools that offer Private certification for less than 15K. Even though that amount still sounds insurmountable, you’d be amazed what a motivated individual will do in order to achieve their goals….. Basically, get a job and save up for it…… However, take it from this long-time flyer. Use your benefits to pay for higher education in order to get a better paying career. When you do get that “better” paying career, then you can save up for flight lessons…..

 

When I found out that the VA cut funding for a private license, I almost took out a loan and pulled from my savings to pay for it the next day. Luckily I held off a bit and called around the area at some other flight schools. Even got a hold of one of the students at Guidance. It looks like that location is dealing with repercussions individually and some other flight schools near by may benefit from their bad judgement.

 

I've got a few options, working with Bristow Academy right now since they're the closest to me.

 

Thanks for the reply

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$25k for a private? What are they flying an R44? Private should not exceed $15k.

 

Did you save up any money while on active duty? If not, a job plus saving will probably be your best bet now, unfortunately...

Haha that's $25k for an R22, I believe they charge more for the R44.

 

I've got money in savings and a job that I'll be starting once I move to Baton Rouge, but I expected to be starting flight school in Jan instead of working this job full time. Should be an interesting next couple of months. Hopefully the VA works out a deal with Bristow Academy and I can be flying soon.

 

Thanks for the reply

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Here is an important lesson for you in aviation:

 

CFI - "What makes a helicopter fly?"

Student - "Is it the lift equation?"

CFI - "No……MONEY…….Lots and lots of money makes a helicopter fly"

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I did it the old fashioned way. Something not taught at home or in school anymore, apparently. 1st, Obtain employment in order to make money. 2nd, Save some money by living on less than you earn. 3rd, Apply the saved money towards the things in life that you want and need. I got my private certificate without any debt. I believe this to be a trustworthy recipe for success. Good Luck!

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The only way you can get your private license paid for is though an institution of higher learning and private license is part of the actual degree program. Some of the four-year aviation programs that terminate with a bachelor’s degree in aviation include getting a private pilot’s license as part of their VA-approved program.....so, when it is part of a larger aviation training program, like one that would lead to being a commercial pilot, then it is a requirement of the program and covered.

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Just to add to what ftgokie said:

 

The only way the VA will pay for Private Pilot Certificate is if the flight school is a part of the college itself, as in they own the aircraft. If the flight school is a 3rd party in all of this and is only partnered with the college, then you have to pay for Private yourself. After that, the VA pays everything.

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You are a GO at this station :D

 

 

Just to add to what ftgokie said:

 

The only way the VA will pay for Private Pilot Certificate is if the flight school is a part of the college itself, as in they own the aircraft. If the flight school is a 3rd party in all of this and is only partnered with the college, then you have to pay for Private yourself. After that, the VA pays everything.

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Also...remember the 85/15 rule....we have been seeing ALOT of flight schools taking advantage of Govt funding and the VA has suspended schools for this...

 

M22-4, Part X, Chapter 4, 4.05

May my school restrict the number of veterans or VA eligible persons enrolled in my program?

 

  • Yes. According to the law (38 CFR 21.4201) schools must ensure that no more than 85% of the students enrolled in any specific program of education are having charges paid for them by the educational institution or the VA.

 

  • Schools must restrict enrollment of new students into a program when the ratio rises above 85%.

 

  • Students, who are currently enrolled in the program when the ratio rises above 85%, will be allowed to continue in the program. Students may continue in their current program as long as they remain continuously enrolled.

 

 

Do all schools have to comply with the 85/15 Rule?

 

  • A school is allowed to waive the 85/15 ratio requirement if no more than 35% of its total school population are veterans or eligible persons receiving assistance under Chapters 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36 and 1606.

 

  • Schools wishing to maintain this waiver and avoid monitoring individual programs for the 85% ratio may restrict total school enrollment to no more than 35% veterans or eligible persons receiving assistance under Chapters 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36 and 1606.

 

  • Farm cooperative courses are excluded from this rule.

 

  • Courses offered by the Department of Defense on or adjacent to military bases and open only to military personnel and their dependents are also excluded.

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Ok i'm old, but the Montgomery GI bill didn't pay for a private either. So try this. Get a private fixed wing and then do a commercial helicopter add on. Read the FARS for your hour requirements. More than one way to skin a cat. Also get your fixed wing inst and then do the heli add on. It will save you the money your looking for. Use the rest of your GI money for additional rating or courses.

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Just some perspective from the inside…..

 

A bachelor’s degree in aviation has little value out here in the real world. It may slightly increase your value within the aviation industry with management gigs which require a degree but even then, it would highly depend on the specific position being offered. With that said, a non-aviation degree will allow you the ability to seek positions outside aviation but would also include aviation positions……

 

If the ultimate goal is flying helicopters for a living, you’ll need helicopter PIC time and lots of it. Therefore “adding on” to fixed wing time won’t increase your chances simply because the competition will have more helicopter time….

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Thanks for all the great info. I've got in touch with a few other flight schools that are telling me that they still have openings for the spring semester. These flight schools are all partnered with a college so by enrolling in the flight school, you are also enrolling in a degree program related to aviation in some way.

 

This is the same kind of set up I would have been starting in January with Guidance and BRCC but they didn't follow the rules so now that route is closed.

 

I think I'm gonna take my time and wait a couple of months to see what happens with these schools and the VA. It seems like the process is still on-going. Most of them are telling me that since nothing is on paper yet, to get in a school now and then I'd be grandfathered in. Not sure if I should trust that, I don't want to me s.o.l right at the beginning.

 

Bristow Academy seems to think they have a good set up with the VA coming in a couple of months so I might just wait for that. Otherwise, I'll be traveling to another state to get this done.

 

Thanks again for y'alls input on this

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I would be cautious about Bristow right now, they are in the worst shape they've ever been in. They lost their MTP program and have only like 3 students enrolled in the EASA program. The last five or so times I drove by Titusville on the Interstate I did not see a single helicopter. Years past, it was impossible to not see at least three or four while driving by. I shot an approach into T'ville last week and the frequency was dang near empty.

 

Since becoming an Instructor is the most reliable way to advance in the industry I would select a school based on future employment opportunities as a strong consideration in the decision process.

 

In the "must pay for your own Private" is there any stipulation that is must be in category and class? Like kghpilot, under the Montgomery GI Bill I had to pay for my Private and I did my Airplane Private then added on commercial heli to that. Saved a crap ton of money that way and taking up the wife for fun on the weekend - a dry rate of $64 for a little Cessna is a whole lot easier to chew than rotorcraft rates.

 

edit PS - conversely however, while doing airplane first may save a lot of money the SFAR 73 requires you to have 200 hours to teach in a robbie

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I would be cautious about Bristow right now, they are in the worst shape they've ever been in. They lost their MTP program and have only like 3 students enrolled in the EASA program. The last five or so times I drove by Titusville on the Interstate I did not see a single helicopter. Years past, it was impossible to not see at least three or four while driving by. I shot an approach into T'ville last week and the frequency was dang near empty.

 

Since becoming an Instructor is the most reliable way to advance in the industry I would select a school based on future employment opportunities as a strong consideration in the decision process.

 

In the "must pay for your own Private" is there any stipulation that is must be in category and class? Like kghpilot, under the Montgomery GI Bill I had to pay for my Private and I did my Airplane Private then added on commercial heli to that. Saved a crap ton of money that way and taking up the wife for fun on the weekend - a dry rate of $64 for a little Cessna is a whole lot easier to chew than rotorcraft rates.

 

edit PS - conversely however, while doing airplane first may save a lot of money the SFAR 73 requires you to have 200 hours to teach in a robbie

Is their program in New Iberia, LA struggling the same way? That's the one I'm looking at right now.

 

Honestly, they are the only ones that have been up front with me so far. While there are some schools saying that I can get in right now and start flying, Bristow has told me to wait it out for a couple of months to see what the VA has in store.

 

I've thought about doing a fixed wing private license and then switching over to rotary but like you said, that's time that I lose in an R22.

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I have nothing bad to say about Bristow, they gave me exactly what they said they would and more. I have only noticed the lack of helicopters in the air at Titusville and after discussing the lack of helicopters with friends/former alumni found out what I've already said. I have no idea on the particulars of New Iberia. Great school but if the prospects of getting hired there after training aren't good then they aren't good.

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In my case, I used a personal loan and credit cards to pay for my training. NOT the best option, but it allowed me to get the job done.

Now, AOPA is offering flight training loans. The rates can be better than a personal loan or credit cards. Check them out here:

http://finance.aopa.org/Flex-Aviation-Loan?CMP=Redirect.FinMyTrain.04FEB15

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From what I have heard every school is coming up with different ways to handle this. I believe Leading Edge Aviation in Bend, OR has a good solution. But I recommend you check around with the different schools that offer VA training and assess which one will work best for you. Check out this link for a list of schools in the U.S. that offer training for veterans.

 

http://www.besthelicopterflightschool.com/place_category/verterans/

 

Good luck in your search!

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ATG-47 & fellow veterans concerned with the cost of obtaining you PPL,

 

I'm not a big poster on these blogs but there is so much misinformation out there concerning changes with the GI Bill I want to try and clear some things up. The VA has put certain conditions on obtaining your private pilots license, many schools will tell you that means YOU have to pay for it out of pocket. That is NOT true everywhere and certainly NOT the only option.

 

The VA has tightened requirements on schools who wish to have veterans 100% covered. For many schools it is too difficult to make changes as they've been taking advantage of the system the entire time (turbine primary training, 85/15, etc.) and thus students will no longer be funded.

 

Some schools are able to meet the new specifications set by the VA, one specifically I know of is the one I'm associated with. Leading Edge Aviation (LEA) in Bend, OR. LEA is associated with Central Oregon Community College (COCC). Flight instructors are employees of the college, training is completed in a cost effective manner, there is no wait list and training is really done as fast or as slow as the student would like. Veterans covered 100% under the Post 9/11 GI Bill are covered 100% from their first flight as they obtain their PPL all the way through the program. Book stipend, BAH, and exam fees are all provided through the VA.

 

ATG-47 you said you were looking at Guidance. I also looked at them when researching where to go to school. My understanding is they are on a 2 year suspension after abusing the VA system.

 

This information is accurate as of February 2016, please feel free to message me or respond with questions as I know there is a lot of mis information and rumors out there.

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Thanks for the information OR-Flyer! Unfortunately, I already moved to Baton Rouge with the expectations of being in school with Guidance. They notified me last minute of their suspension, so I'm kind of stuck here. I'll hopefully be flying in July with Bristow, they have sold their facility to a college in New Iberia and from what I've been told, will accept the GI Bill.

 

If not, I'll be giving you a call.

 

Thanks again for the info

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