The Real Cost of Becoming a Private Pilot

By Bloomberg Rankings - 2012-03-08T22:04:05Z

Photograph by Renee Keith/Getty Images

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If you're going to be stuck at 10,000 feet with an instructor, you need to make sure he's competent -- and that you like him. "A good instructor can talk you through every maneuver, and if he touches the controls before final approach, he probably isn't doing a good job of explaining," says Greenspun. Another tip: Find an instructor with more than 3,000 hours of teaching behind him. "That way, you know he likes to teach," says Greenspun. The cost: $55 per hour at Executive Flyers and $38 per hour at Sporty's. All told, expect to spend about $3,000 on ground and flight instruction.