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Can Anyone Help with VA Benefits?


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Does anyone know where I can find accurate information on Veterans' Affairs benefits for flight training?  I've heard that VA covers anything from 60% of flight time only to 100% for flight time, materials, testing, etc... I'm almost positive that's not true though.  I've tried searching their website and it's very vague- all it says is something along the lines of "one month charged per $1034 spent."

 

Specifically, this is my situation/question:  I am currently deployed overseas, but I took an intro ride shortly before I left and decided to pursue a license, with the intent of making a career out of flying.  However, I only have from late Feb-mid July (at the latest) to get as far as I can.  I know I have to cover my PPL out-of-pocket, but once I qualify for VA assistance, what license do I need to get to not reneg on my benefits?  This is extremely important, as I will be transferring to a duty station early this summer where a flight school will not be readily available, and I have to fly at least 6 hrs/mo to qualify for benefits.  I can make it to CPL before I leave, but I highly doubt that I can make it to CFI before I leave, especially with a normal 7-4 job and wife and kids who will naturally be begging for attention after a long deployment.

 

Sorry for the length of this post... and thanks ahead of time for the info!

 

::thanks::

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It is 60% of the total cost each month up to the total GI bill benefit money. Your flight school will send their info to the VA each month and you receive the check.

 

I dont think there is a minimum rating you have to receive so to not reneg. Your school can answer that better.

 

What school are ya going to?

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It will be at Civic Helicopters in Carlsbad, CA.  I got along really well with Chin.  He is a great guy and I can't wait to fly for him.

 

I got lucky though, I kinda have to go where Uncle Sam sends me, and Camp Pendleton happened to be what he chose.  I was supposed to transfer to San Antonio, and I was going to continue to fly with Helicopter Experts, but that didn't work out... so that's why I'm worried about how far I can get before I leave California.

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Hey helonewbie,

 

Here is some of the info I posted on anther thread. If you have any other questions, I would be glad to help you out with them. Also, if you wanted to get an aviation degree you can get the full GI Bill Benefits, including the PPL, if you are going for a 4 year degree. I have found many schools that offer VA training and don't understand how the program works. The first one I visited was a fixed wing school and they said 60% of the Total cost of their Prof Course, WRONG!

 

"The most well known flight benefit is the Montgomery GI Bill Vocational Flight Training program. It reimburses for 60% of approved flight charges from the IFR rating and up. The flight school must be FAA Part 141 and must get each course offered approved by the VA office. You will pay for your  training up front and will only get 60% reimbursment for flight hours you flew for the month of an approved course (IFR or CPL). Each course the school offers will have X amount of approved hours dual and solo. Every month with the school, you will certify your hours flown and the VA will send YOU the check not the school. The maximum monthly rate is $1034.00 as of Oct for Chapter 30 Active Duty. You have 36 months of benefit available at $1034. $1034 = 1 month and for each equal amount of money you spend, they will deduct 1 month from your 36 month of benefits account. "

 

Regards

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::lost::

 

Ok, thanks!  That clears up most of it.  My only questions now are- is the X amount of hours a predetermined number (I.E., FAA mandated minimums, minimums plus 5 hrs, etc) or is it just however long it takes me to get certified, and is that the school's call or VA's?  Also, does the specific school (in this case, Civic) have to be certified or does any 141 school automatically qualify?  The way you made it sound, it's on them to get it done, I just want to be sure.  

 

I'm sure you already answered those two, but I just didn't quite get it.  

 

My last two- If they need to get certified, how long does it take?  Finally, my big one- if I don't qualify for IFR or CPL, do they collect those benefits back from me?  Ha, StuandJoy, it's not that I dont trust your answer, it's just that that's a big one, since money's tight and so is time, in this case.

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Hi Helonewbie,

 

"My only questions now are- is the X amount of hours a predetermined number (I.E., FAA mandated minimums, minimums plus 5 hrs, etc) or is it just however long it takes me to get certified, and is that the school's call or VA's?  Also, does the specific school (in this case, Civic) have to be certified or does any 141 school automatically qualify?  The way you made it sound, it's on them to get it done, I just want to be sure."

 

When the flight school submits its syllabus to their local Regional VA Office for approval the VA will tell the school what hours are approved for reimbursment. The main qual's for a flight school to obtain VA status is Part 141 and I am sure there are some other req's.

 

 

 

"My last two- If they need to get certified, how long does it take?  Finally, my big one- if I don't qualify for IFR or CPL, do they collect those benefits back from me?  Ha, StuandJoy, it's not that I dont trust your answer, it's just that that's a big one, since money's tight and so is time, in this case."

 

I have looked at Civic's website and they don't advertise being VA that I could tell. You should ask them to be sure. If they are not you can ask if they have considered getting certified? Its up to them. I am not sure how long it would take. If you qualify for Mont GI Bill bene's and still have intitlement left then you qualify for flight training reimbursment. Remember, you will pay for your PPL first. Then, if you start a VA approved IFR or CPL course, you still pay for your training first. Then at the end of the month the fight school certifies your hours and turns them in to the VA, the VA will review the hours and cut you a check and mail it to you.

 

If you have more questions just ask.

 

Regards

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Just to clear up some details...The GI Bill benefits that pays 60% can only be used beginning with your Commercial training (most helicopter pilots don't do Instrument immediately after Private--that's a F/W handicap).  The only way you can access VA benefits for your Private license is as a full-time student enrolled in a VA-approved college or university (taking at lease 12 credit hours).  VA currently pays $960/month while you're enrolled...it will help defray your tuition and living expenses.  If you choose to use it on flight training, that's fine, the money's yours.  

 

If you use the GI Bill for flight training for Commercial, CFI, Instrument, and CFII, you'll need to plan on spending about $25,000 out of pocket.  Another hitch... the 60% is paid to the veteran, not the flight school; meaning that everything has to be paid up front by you.

 

You can do this...just be aware that you'll need to borrow about $25,000 to cover your part, and that you'll need the funds to pay for your ratings while waiting for reimbursement.  That took about three months in the case of one of my employees.

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Ok, thanks for the info!

 

I was planning to pay up to my PPL out of pocket.  My concerns were with how to use my benes once I started working on my CPL.  I'm financially stable enough to get a loan, although SM is offering rates "as low as" (scoff)12.75%... yeeouch!!  Anyone know where to get a better interest rate than that?

 

The way things have been looking though, I may not be able to get past my PPL for up to 3 years... so, slightly off-topic, would anyone recommend doing this?  Or should I just wait till I can knock it out all at once?  I'm afraid if I do that I'll put it off forever, and I FINALLY figured out what I want to do with my life after the Marine Corps (at 26 years old).  

 

Oh, and finally... I'm still pretty new to the jargon and acronyms... what's F/W?    :cool:

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Hey helonewbie,

 

Oh boy, Marines! HAHAHhahah, I was AF 88'-92', Italy. Tried the Marines second after Army, neither would work with me so I said screw it and joined the AF aleast I got what I wanted with them.

 

Tx Training wrote:

"The only way you can access VA benefits for your Private license is as a full-time student enrolled in a VA-approved college or university (taking at lease 12 credit hours).  VA currently pays $960/month while you're enrolled...it will help defray your tuition and living expenses.  If you choose to use it on flight training, that's fine, the money's yours."

 

I am sorry Mr. B. ;) but that is wrong. The VA allows degreed training in increments of lesser credit hours with less monies paid for the lesser hours. Also, current max rate is $1034.00 as of Oct 05'. The statement about spending your benefit money the way you want is correct. A part 141 school can offer a IFR prior to CPL with out the 50 hour cross country.  Helonewbie, all you have to ask the school is how many hours dual and solo will the VA reimburse for your IFR or CPL course. Then you can figure out what to expect back based on the schools charge per hour of the aircraft used. One thing Tx Training and I forgot to mention, is if you can't fly regular and finish the course close to the minimum time, you may go way over your flights hours and spend more out of pocket than you originally expected too. And, the VA require's a minimum of 6 hrs flight time per month to continue to recieve benefits in the Vocational Flight Training program, of course in a degreed program you would fly more per month.

 

GI Bill pay rates

 

Mechanic wrote:

 

"The most well known flight benefit is the Montgomery GI Bill Vocational Flight Training program. It reimburses for 60% of approved flight charges from the IFR rating and up. The flight school must be FAA Part 141 and must get each course offered approved by the VA office. You will pay for your  training up front and will only get 60% reimbursment for flight hours you flew for the month of an approved course (IFR or CPL). Each course the school offers will have X amount of approved hours dual and solo. Every month with the school, you will certify your hours flown and the VA will send YOU the check not the school. The maximum monthly rate is $1034.00 as of Oct for Chapter 30 Active Duty. You have 36 months of benefit available at $1034."

 

GI Bill pay rates

 

Regards

 

Oh, F/W = Fixed Wing

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Tx Training,

 

You wrote:

"You can do this...just be aware that you'll need to borrow about $25,000 to cover your part, and that you'll need the funds to pay for your ratings while waiting for reimbursement. "

 

I know your school is not 141, so are you quoting 25k in a degreed program or vocational flight training? If vocational flight training? How are you quoting that since you can't offer Vocational Flight training or are you 141 now? Confused. If you are going by your employee's cost then that could be way off. My figures 2 years ago was more like 15k based on Vortex Heli hour estimates. I know rates have gone up so the reimbursement will go up some.

 

Thanks

 

Good day Sir.

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Fixed Wing... duh.  You'd think I'd know that considering my dad's a hobby Cessna pilot...

 

I can fly semi-regularly, I figure probably 2-3 times a week plus a day on the weekend.  Don't know if this would qualify as "regularly".. but that's just to CPL.  For PPL I plan on taking 3 weeks off work and just flying Civic's R22s into the dirt (hopefully not literally)  :P

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Hello Tx Training,

 

My intent was not to make you mad. Just to clarify the info presented, especially  since you corrected me with basically the same info. You gave examples I gave examples. I called you Mr. B because your profile remains anonymous as does mine, after some thought I realized I must be speaking to Mrs. B, I apologize for the presumption. I didn't want to use your name and possibly disrespect you, which it seems that I have done anyway. And no ma'am, I DON'T know it all or have ever met you either. I just have dealings with the GI Bill program since I am a veteran and used the GI Bill program at a local Jr. College and had plans to use it for my flight training but my delimiting date caught me and I never had the chance to use it. I lost Thousands...........  Makes me sick every time I think about it and that’s why I try to help people understand so they can use that PAID FOR benefit to the fullest.

 

I apologize ma'am, for any offense that it may have seemed I directed towards you.

 

Regards

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  • 3 weeks later...

Please make sure you keep copies of the paperwork sent in each month. Having just finished a CFI program with VA, they lost my paperwork on several occassions. Keep checking and make sure you get reimbursed. Also, as mentioned already, be prepared to pay for everything up front. I did not receive at least half of my reimbursements until well after completing my CFI checkride.

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Helonewbie.....

 

 

Got some bad news for you........ Civic is not VA approved any more. I have been leaning on them to recertify as I'm in the same boat as you. I'm active at Pendleton and have an SEL Inst rating and want to transition to Rotor CFI. When you get here, hook up with me and we'll both go down there and see if 2 students could get them to get back on board with the VA.....

 

 

But, from what I gathered the couple times I have been there, they either got in trouble for not doing paperwork, or screwed something and they were dropped....couldn't get a clear answer.

 

If you want to do fix wing....I know....I know..... I reccomend Pinnacle Aviation. They are at CRQ right around the corner from Civic and a very busy and professional school. Don't know if Randy Evans is still there, but he's prior navy and a good guy with tons of knowledge. Another of their permanent instructors is retired a Marine. They are 141 and VA approved. It gets you in the air, and will give you a solid foundation to do a later transition once a VA school is located.

 

 

When I earned my ratings, as you know, the PPL was on my dime. When it came time for the Instrument course, the VA was slow and I had to front a lot of money, but then the deposits started rolling in. For reference, my inst ticket ran about $7500 total and it used just under 7 months worth of entitlement. Your paid based on months worth of used time, not nessessarily the dollar amount. Of course, they are pretty much the same, but that's the way it works.

 

And as far as other schools close who are VA approved, San Diego has a couple. Otherwise your traveling to the LA area.......

 

 

I'm assuming your on float? talk to a couple of the pilots there and see if they have some books you can read for now.....if your boots on ground, cruising the forums will keep your wistle wet for now....

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If San Diego isn't too far away, try the North Island Navy Flying Club.

 

I am sure they do not have rotorcraft training, but I'll bet you can get fixed wing ratings through them. I picked up my airplane CFI and am working on my CFII with the Jacksonville Navy Flying Club. It took me 8 months forthe CFI because I had taken an 8 year break from flying. I should finish up the CFII 4 months or less. I will then go to a nearby 141 school with VA approval to add on my helicopter CFI/CFII. I figure thatshould take only a few months at most.

 

NOTE: I did this while working full time in an IT job and with 2 kids.

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you have to pay for your private out of your pocket ,, then once you wish to get your commercial cfi instrument or atp the va will ,, reinburse you 60% of you cost.. all paperwork is submited by the flight school ,, we have sent i think three students via va in the last three years without any hitch and yes ,, it must be a part 141 school that tiy use

 

see http://www.acecopters.com

or call 508-747-3336

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