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Has anyone or is anyone using their GI Bill benifits for flight training? I know that you have to pay out of pocket for your private license, but I am just curious the ease of things for using it and what kindof cost coverage you get...I've read the 60/40 but am just trying to get some "user" views on it... I am looking at most likely flying at Guidance Helicopters in Prescott, AZ. Thanks in advance.

 

AZinAK

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Has anyone or is anyone using their GI Bill benifits for flight training? I know that you have to pay out of pocket for your private license, but I am just curious the ease of things for using it and what kindof cost coverage you get...I've read the 60/40 but am just trying to get some "user" views on it... I am looking at most likely flying at Guidance Helicopters in Prescott, AZ. Thanks in advance.

 

AZinAK

I'm at Quantum down in Phoenix doing my Private right now. I'll be doing the VA thing shortly. Here's the scoop... First of all it has to be a Part 141 school. If you're doing the regular GI bill (Chapter 1606) they will reimburse 60% of the commercial training costs up to 120% of the minimum hours. The school should have the right forms for you to fill out, and you need to have the approval before you start the course. If you are a Reserve/National Guard who has deployed for OIF or OEF there is a 1607 program that will reimburse a prorated amount based on your time deployed. Talk with the school as soon as possible, there's a certain amount of time to get the stuff processed.

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Talk with the school as soon as possible.

 

Definitely. It takes a long time to get the paperwork thru. Call the VA often thru the process because they wont call you if your school fails to send a piece of paper. :angry:

 

Check with the school to see how many hours toward each rating the VA will cover. For instance mine covers up to 35 hours toward my instrument rating. No more.

 

 

 

Good luck.

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I did my CFI training (airplane) using VA. The school not only has to be 141, it also has to be VA approved. The paperwork wasn't too bad. The processing time was the killer. It took me 6 months before I got mt first check. They lost my paperwork several times. I am not kidding you, THEY actually used the term "black hole" to describe what may have happened to it. Make copies of ALL of your paperwork.

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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. And of course, the NG/RS Chapter 1606 will be less per month.

 

 

 

You can get VA money for your PPL rating if you are enrolled in a degreed course at a college with an approved flight degree. The only problem with that is you only get the monthly max if you take 12 crd hrs or more per semester. Roughly 3 thousand bucks per semester.. for active duty GI Bill.

 

Pogue,

 

Can you please explain what you mean by up to 120% for commercial training? Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pogue,

 

Can you please explain what you mean by up to 120% for commercial training? Thanks.

Sure... the VA understands that the minimum hours required by the FAA are not typical, so they will reimburse 120% of the minimum. So if the minimum for Commercial is 115 hours, they will reimburse for up to 138 hours. Interestingly enough, they don't specify at what rate, so I intend to get about 50 hours worth in the R44 while I'm doing this. Bear in mind that reimbursement is at the 60% of the cost. There's also a couple of details you want to be aware of. The VA does not consider the Instrument rating to be a commercial endorsement, so the school needs to enroll you in the instrument and commercial courses concurrently. But if you do it right they should help out on the Commercial, IFR, CFI and CFII tickets. Also you need to have the Class 2 medical before you start the commercial courses. If the school is VA approved they should have all the info you need unless you're applying under 1607 (deployed guard and reserve) - That's new, but it's done the same way, it just pays less.

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Pogue,

 

LOL, you almost have it right!

 

 

 

38 CFR Book G, 21.4263 Approval of flight training courses. (i) (b)120% of the minimum number of hours of dual flight instruction required for the course by FAA regulations.

 

38 CFR Book G, 21.4235 Programs of education that include flight training.

©(2) VA will pay educational assistance to an eligible individual for an enrollment in an instrument rating course only if the individual simultaneously enrolls in a course required for a commercial pilot certificate for the category for which the instrument rating course is pursued or if, at the time of enrollment in the instrument rating course, the individual has a commercial pilot certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for such category. The enrollment in an instrument rating course alone does not establish that the individual is pursuing a vocational objective, as required for VA purposes, since that rating equally may be applied to an individual's private pilot certificate, only evidencing an intent to pursue a non-vocational objective.

 

 

 

The word dual killed the 138 hrs. The schools can certify a combination CPL/IFR course or do them seperately. I know Vortex has a CPL/IFR and IFR only VA approved courses. Its more like 36 hrs max dual at 120%. Since the part 141 min dual is 30 hrs. Vortex lists +10 hrs solo on their courses. Mr. Sheeran aleast publishes his courses. Most schools don't.

 

 

 

38 CFR Book G, 21.4263 Substitute Aircraft.

 

(k) Substitute aircraft. Except for minor substitutions a veteran, servicemember or reservist enrolled in a flight course may train only in the aircraft approved for that course. If a particular aircraft is not available for some compelling reason, the veteran, servicemember or reservist may be permitted to train in an aircraft different from that approved for the particular course, provided the aircraft substituted will adequately meet the training requirements for this particular phase of the course. Substitutions should be explained on the monthly certifications of flight training. If this shows that the charge for the substituted aircraft is different from the charge approved for the regular aircraft, the reimbursement will be based on the lesser charge. When substitution becomes the practice rather than the exception, VA will suspend payments and notify the veterans, servicemembers, reservists and the school. VA will refer the matter to the State approving agency for appropriate action.

 

Please read

 

Links 38 CFR Book G , 21.4263, and 21.4235

 

also

 

21.4235,(f) Flight training at an institution of higher learning.

 

(2) An individual described in paragraph (f)(1) of this section may pursue courses that may result in the individual eventually receiving recreational pilot certification or private pilot certification, provided that the courses also lead to a standard college degree.

 

 

 

I have been there with flight schools trying to hook you to come to their school using loose percentages etc.. Its better you read the Reg's yourself and don't listen 100% to the schools. I have found a High Percentage of schools don't know how the VA program really works, it is just a selling point for them.

 

Blue Skies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks everyone so far for all of your input...sounds like a rerun of my dealings with my recruiter when I was enlisting... ;) Anyways, just curious if anyone knows if going by the 60% rule, how far this would typically go through the ratings based on the "$" value of a normal GI Bill amount. 50 to 70 thousand dollars is a ton of money...20 grand or whatever the amount is would seem to get gobbled up pretty quick. I am also looking on the bright side though, that is 20 grand or so that I get back... Thanks again for all of the quick, "to the best of everyones knowledge" info. Even the reg. like any other military affiliated document, is all into interpretation. Thanks again...

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AznAK,

 

When I did all my est's, back when block time was 180.00 hr, I was hitting $15-16,000. return at the flat 60% not the 120%. If you are AD Chap 30 w/more than what? 3 yrs you get $1034.00 x 36 months, plus any kickers? I think you will be hard pressed to get exact numbers to match your estimate when your done. I said all of the above so you can get in the ball park with your estimate. You can go to Vortex's website and check out Mr. Sheerans estimates of his courses. I am not aware of any other flight heli school websites that list that much info about their VA courses.

 

 

 

You can always check with your Regional VA Office to verify the schools claims and the reg's listed above. I know what I am talking about. I have been to several fixed wing schools and they said sure we have VA finiancing. You get 60% of our 190 hr course back. Hog Wash.... I have also been told by heli schools that I would get 60% of 150 hrs back, too.....The VA, I my opinoin does not "like" to pay flight training costs. Back in 97' when I went to a Fixed school we got into this same conversation about using more expensive aircraft, the CFI said they had been in trouble before and really try not to substitute anything. Others have said how long it takes to get the refund as well as lost paper work, too. I never had these problems going to a Jr. College..

 

Blue Skies

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AznAK,

 

When I did all my est's, back when block time was 180.00 hr, I was hitting $15-16,000. return at the flat 60% not the 120%.

Blue Skies

 

I guess I'm still not clear on this part. 60% is the rate they will reimburse at. The 120% refers to the number of hours they will pay for.

 

Mechanic, I used a bad example for time, the dual time is what they reimburse, but the return you stated is about what I would expect . Basically the VA helps, but it's not going to "pay for your school" like it can for a straight degree program.

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Pogue,

 

I hope I don't come across as an ass? I just know of many that have been misled with the VA Benefits thing. I hope Quantum treats you good. I do not know anything about them. Its better to estimate low and get more back than to estimate high and come up short, especially if you are having a tough time covering the total cost of the training. I was wanting to do the R44 switch too.

 

 

 

I was taking a advanced vocational course at a Jr. College while I was trying to jump through all the hoops Key Bank kept throwing up. When I finally satisfied them, I did not have enough time to get to my CPL training before my delimiting date (10 yrs since I separated). So I am having to go part time now.

 

 

 

I listed the Reg's so all could be better informed when making a decision with the school of choice. When you know what the reg says its easier to discern the truth. My local VA rep knew nothing about Vocational Flight Training and the there was one guy at the Regional Office that acted like I was tapping his personnel bank account and was a real jerk when I called. I guess he got a lot of calls about Vocational Flight Training.

 

 

 

Later

 

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Talk directly to the VA.

 

I have spoken to the VA on many occasions about this. I have also spoken to my state's higher education board (which certification of flight school through that is also a requirement). The bottom line I got from the VA is that will only reimburse you for 60% of your training (period). This works out to be exactly 24,000 of your 40K entitlement (less any buy ups). I started digging as to WHY can a SM only use 24k of their earned entitlement for flight training, but have a full 40 grand if they want to become a sprinkler technician from jerkwater community college. Needless to say, I ruffled some feathers at the VA. But, with a legal background in the military....I sort of learned how to play politics with indignant "officials." I went so far as to write a letter to my congressman stating that the SM's and Vets out there are getting hosed and the VA told me directly that the only way the rules can get changed is via congress. Much to my suprise (ha ha), my congressman didnt have fortitude to even respond.

 

Its sounds as though the VA likes to drag its feet on paying, or adapting policy to the nature of flight training. If a guy actually NEEDS his GI Bill to get through flight school and uses only his GI Bill payment....he'll never become proficient as a pilot if he/she can only fly 5 hours (+/- 200 per her = GI BILL check)per month. Second to that, it will take years and years to get through, if relying on that. Third - you only get your 24 grand if you're enrolled full time. Well, you'll be done with flight school LONG before 3 years, if you are serious about it. However, if you ARE serious about it.....The V.A. can weasel its way out of paying you. You'll be finished, and if you aren't enrolled you surely won't get paid! Catch 22 for us Joes. Do we drag our feet through school ensuring we burn up 2 years flying 5 hours a month to get our full 60% (24K)?? Or do we get though school, become pilots, finance ourself to Ramen Noodles and finish....so that the VA can say, "well, you're not enrolled, we ain't payin'? The VA WILL NOT reimburse the cost of the course. IE: Commercial cost xxx and the VA sends school a check for 60% of xxx. Oh no, a thousand dollar check comes to the student. You can blow that in a weekend at school!

 

Yeah, I fought this battle to the higher levels of our "governing body" and the conclusion that I draw is this:

 

Yet another "pat on the back" for your service. Suck it up and Drive On! Thank You Uncle Sam for allowing me to use my entitlement for its intended purpose (Further Education). Last time I looked, I didnt see where the VA could pick and choose what it wanted to pay on a Service Members / Veteran's entitlement that he/she rightfully EARNED! Yet the Gov will willingly hand out millions of dollars to punk kids to get an education who have never done a damn thing to Earn it!

 

Not to mention, flight training doesn't fall into the structural realm of FAFSA to be eligible for any type of Student Loans (as you could get if you wanted to be that sprinkler technician from jerkwater community college). So as a further result, We get to finance our life to the max at 9, 10, maybe 12% for the next 15 years with a glorified credit card with Sallie Mae at the top. EXCELLENT!

 

We worked for it, We got shot at for it, Some have paid the ultimate price for it, and then they rig it up so that if you want to be a pilot.....they get to wave that big green middle finger in your face. Personally, I'll be long done with school before the VA has to pay out more than 4 or 5 checks. Funny how they got that little work around in there. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the flight schools either!

 

Wow, sorry for the rant. Needless to say the VA and Congress have pissed me off. I Earned 40K to go to get an Education. The VA, Congress, and the States have all agreed that Flight Training is education. Why then do we get the shaft....even AFTER our service expires? If anyone would like to see the letter that I sent to Congress, just ask, I'll post it. Maybe we old Joes need to band together as Civilians and put a little heat on this issue. You earned it...dont forget that.

 

 

Jay,

Student spending about 5 times per month what a GI Bill check coves....

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Flyfisherman79, this sums up everything I was looking for, with some added enlightenment. I would love to see your letter and am now definately thinking of doing one myself. We should all write one up, and send one in once a month until we get a response. From there depending on the response, we can keep the pressure on. I am all for it. I have a year and a half until I am out, so I have a year and a half before I will be asking the VA for my entitlements. Thanks again fisher...and thanks everyone else...

 

AZinAK

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Flyfisherman79, this sums up everything I was looking for, with some added enlightenment. I would love to see your letter and am now definately thinking of doing one myself. We should all write one up, and send one in once a month until we get a response. From there depending on the response, we can keep the pressure on. I am all for it. I have a year and a half until I am out, so I have a year and a half before I will be asking the VA for my entitlements. Thanks again fisher...and thanks everyone else...

 

AZinAK

 

Just a couple more thoughts - remember that Congress decides benefits, not the VA - they just administer them. Write those letters to the right people. In my experience with the VA they're not actually malevolent, they're just doing beaurocrats. Being prior service I got my college degree with VA assistance under Chapter 34, now I'm under 1607. Since it looks like your're from AZ you might want to check out what the state will do. www.arizonaworkforceconnection.com is one possibility. There's also an AZ veretans services organization that may or may not help I'm not sure what kind of programs there are. Since it sounds like you've got a year plus left - SAVE MONEY! The less you have to borrow the better off you'll be.

 

Mechanic - no offense taken - The CFR links are great to have out there. I do want to defend Quantum (http://www.quantumhelicopters.com) - There's a lot of schools in the Phoenix area and I selected them based on their training and organization. The only VA discussion was on them being VA approved. They were very clear on actual costs, number of hours, flight schedules, etc.... all the stuff that gets spun by some operators. I'm a little over 30 hours with them and I have nothing bad to say about the organization.

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Flyfisherman79,

 

Where did you find the $24k max payment for flight training? I remember seeing something like that a few years ago and cannot seem to find it now. I was also thinking I read you HAD to fly a min of 6 hrs per month to be able to stay in the program, but I can not seem to find that now either.

 

Here is another spin. Wouldn't it be nice if some large operators would develop a apprenticeship program that we could use for the VA program! Or, a CFI apprenticeship that would qualify, too.

 

We can dream can't we?

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