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This is just an effort to explain how I personally am using my GI bill to learn to get my CFII and what I've learned during this process because I had a helluva time trying to figure it out searching for stuff online, including this forum, and I hope this will help someone.

First, your GI Bill benefits will not pay for your private pilots license.  That you're going to have to pay for yourself, either by saving your pennies (The smart way IMO), or through financing.  I saved my money for a year before starting my PPL.  Since you're paying for it yourself, it doesn't really matter where you get it.  I'm currently living at home while getting my PPL to save money.  I chose a med sized flight school an hour away from me in North Carolina called Total Flight Solutions.  They are partnered with a local community college if you want to get your degree as well, but at the moment they are not VA certified, though they are working on it.  

Next you need to find - and contact - a flight school that is approved by the VA.  From what I understand the only states with these schools are Arizona, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Texas.  I chose the school in Arizona (Guidance Aviation) because I'd already visited there previously and liked what I saw.  I was told by Max Bledsoe (In charge of the VA program at Yavapai College, which is partnered with Guidance Aviation) that there is a waiting list for people wanting to use their GI Bill benefits to get their CFII and 2 year degree. (They're only allowed to train a certain percentage of pilots using the GI Bill VS non-GI Bill).  Additionally, you must have your PPL before you can even be put ON that waiting list.

And that's pretty much it in a nutshell.  Hope this helps.

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Look WEAMS on the VA site to find VA approved schools. Definitely more than just those states.

VA won't pay for private pilot privileges (because it's not professional training), but some degree seeking programs will enroll you w/o ASEL private privileges. This way you can always get your private privileges 'paid for' by taking the checkride under Part 61 when you meet the requirements, but the VA won't reimburse you for the checkride. They will reimburse you for the checkride for professional ratings; I think it's https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-22-0803-ARE.pdf to get reimbursed. If your program of choice requires private privileges in category and class prior to enrollment then you're sh*t out of luck and you'll have to pay for it out of pocket like everybody else.

You can enroll in a VA approved 141 course and take the checkrides when you meet Part 61 requirements as well. You'll need a 141 school that will play ball. You'd do this if time is of the essence, as you burn through the GI bill quick this way. I know our local degree affiliated program milks your GI Bill for all it's worth, which means it'll take you all 4 years. You can only burn through so much $$ in one academic year, this year it's just under $14k. 

For those rating folks reading: If you've got your poop in a group, you could buy a cheap airplane, say a Piper Tri-Pacer, and do most of your time-building and instruction in it, while enrolled in a 141 school and use the 141 school instructor in your airplane. Use the 141 school for the complex, instrument and multi. Do all your instrument training at night. Sell your airplane when you're done. If you're lucky it'll be worth about what it was when you bought it. You'll need an IA, and don't cheap out on the pre-buy. The VA academic year starts on 1 August, IIRC, so you could own the plane for less than a year, and get ~$28k of 141 training, and nug out just about all of your ATP required flying, minus maybe some MEL time. If you managed to get your MEI along the way, you'd be golden like a shower.

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/20/2020 at 3:37 PM, kona4breakfast said:

but the VA won't reimburse you for the checkride.

The VA paid for my PPL checkride last year under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. So maybe they won't reimburse you for it but they'll certainly pay for it up front. My guess is it was included in the course fees through the college since the VA will just pay whatever the college charges and depends on the 85/15 rule to keep prices sane.

It is still possible right now today in 2020 to get all of your ratings, including PPL, with $0 out of pocket using the Post 9/11 GI Bill through an institute of higher learning that employs its own flight instructors. The school I went to even "gave" me a David Clark headset, an iPad 4 mini, a logbook, goggles, a POH, a knee board, and a CX-6. I put "gave" in quotes because I'm sure the cost was passed along to the VA as course fees.

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/17/2020 at 5:53 PM, Quizz25S said:

This is just an effort to explain how I personally am using my GI bill to learn to get my CFII and what I've learned during this process because I had a helluva time trying to figure it out searching for stuff online, including this forum, and I hope this will help someone.

First, your GI Bill benefits will not pay for your private pilots license.  That you're going to have to pay for yourself, either by saving your pennies (The smart way IMO), or through financing.  I saved my money for a year before starting my PPL.  Since you're paying for it yourself, it doesn't really matter where you get it.  I'm currently living at home while getting my PPL to save money.  I chose a med sized flight school an hour away from me in North Carolina called Total Flight Solutions.  They are partnered with a local community college if you want to get your degree as well, but at the moment they are not VA certified, though they are working on it.  

Next you need to find - and contact - a flight school that is approved by the VA.  From what I understand the only states with these schools are Arizona, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Texas.  I chose the school in Arizona (Guidance Aviation) because I'd already visited there previously and liked what I saw.  I was told by Max Bledsoe (In charge of the VA program at Yavapai College, which is partnered with Guidance Aviation) that there is a waiting list for people wanting to use their GI Bill benefits to get their CFII and 2 year degree. (They're only allowed to train a certain percentage of pilots using the GI Bill VS non-GI Bill).  Additionally, you must have your PPL before you can even be put ON that waiting list.

And that's pretty much it in a nutshell.  Hope this helps.

What college are you attending near Total Flight Solutions? I'm curious as I aspire to also become a CFII. 

 

Thanks.

Ryan

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