Funding for professional, career-type training presents special challenges for both students and schools. Compared to students who fly for personal or recreational reasons, career training costs are higher, the schedules are usually more accelerated and frequently there is a need to defer payments until training is complete. This section addresses the extent to which Pilot Finance programs may or may not be useful for career training.

 

 

 

Career Training Concerns

FAQs for Students and Flight Schools

Q:

Is there a minimum program size?

A:

Yes.  Our programs are designed for “full” private pilot and instrument programs.  These programs typically include 55-65 hours of aircraft rental.  We consider any program with 45 or more hours of aircraft rental to be a “full” program.

Our minimum program size for our standard repayment terms will include at least 45 hours of aircraft rental.  We consider programs that include 25-45 hours of aircraft rental on an exception basis, but with shorter-than-normal repayment terms.  Programs with fewer than 25 hours of aircraft rental cannot be approved for financing.

Q:

Is there a maximum program size?

A:

Pilot Finance does not have a maximum program size.  The maximum financed program is determined by your training goals, training schedule, demonstrated payment history, and of course your ability to pay the monthly payments.

Q:

Is career-type training incompatible with Pilot Finance programs?

A:

Unfortunately, it often is.  The issues you are likely to encounter include:

  • Monthly payments that are too large;
  • Training schedules that are limited to 1- 5 lessons per week;
  • No deferred payment options;
  • Substantial paydown requirement before add-on financing can be considered.

Each of these issues is discussed in more detail on the FAQs that follow.

Q:

Why would monthly payments be too large?

A:

Our standard repayment plans are designed to accommodate part-time training. Monthly payments for part-time training are affordable – usually $200 – $300 per month – depending on the number of flight lessons per week (1-5) you select and the length of term (18 – 72 months) available.

Financing larger commercial or career programs within these parameters can quickly cause the monthly payment to become too large. If you need to complete training quickly, you should note that payments can become quite large even for our part-time programs when training schedules of 4-5 lessons per week are selected.

Q:

Can I accelerate my training to complete it as soon as possible?

A:

Using Pilot Finance programs, accelerated training can become difficult or impossible.  The most accelerated program we can offer is 5 flight lessons per week.  A flight lesson is defined as up to 2 hours of aircraft rental time and up to 3 hours of total instruction.  And, more accelerated training schedules have shorter repayment periods.  For example, 5-lesson-per-week programs are repayable over only 18 months; 4-lesson-per-week programs are repayable over only 30 months.

For accelerated programs, these short repayment periods will result in increasingly larger monthly payments.

By comparison, our typical students who use 2 or 3 lesson per week programs can repay their financing over 4 or 5 years.  For that type of flight student, payments are very affordable.

Q:

Can I defer payments on my finance account?

A:

No. All Pilot Finance transactions require that monthly payments begin 30 days after you purchase your training program and commence training.  

We understand that as a career-minded student you may want to defer payments until after your training is complete. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer deferred payments like some student loan companies can, as Pilot Finance is not a student loan company.

Q:

Can I finance more training after I obtain a certificate or rating?

A:

Frequently, you need to quickly move on to the next certificate or rating, or even build time, after one training goal is achieved.  We want you to be aware that quick add-on financing can be difficult or impossible with Pilot Finance programs.

Substantial paydown is required before add-ons are considered.  Normally, we are not able to consider add-on financing until 50% of the payments on an initial account have been satisfactorily paid.  This policy was established to ensure monthly payments will continue to be affordable.

While we welcome new business, we also strive to avoid transactions that would leave you “stuck” in your career training cycle, needing more training to achieve another certificate or rating, but financially unable to continue.  Our goal is to avoid a situation where you are without a financial path to achieve your goal.

Q:

Why doesn’t Pilot Finance offer programs specifically for career training?

A:

We would like to.  For any type of lender, the question is all about balancing risk.  For a number of underwriting reasons, lenders have been unable to sustain many career-oriented flight training programs.  There have been many attempts over the years.  Realistic interest rates have not been able to support origination costs, servicing costs and default rates on these portfolios.

Q:

Will Pilot Finance offer career training programs in the future?

A:

We will continue to seek ways to serve the career segment of the flight training industry in a way that will be financially viable over the long term.  We feel any new source must be stable and reliable.  However, it is important to note that obvious or likely solutions are NOT on the horizon at this time.

Q:

What other options are available for career students?

A:

Unfortunately, there are fewer finance options for career training than there used to be.  Formerly, student loan firms like Sallie Mae and Key Bank were very active in financing for professional flight training.  Pilot Finance has no connection with these organizations, but we understand their finance and loan programs for career flight training have been cut back and in some cases eliminated entirely.

Some of the larger, long-established career training schools may have arranged special finance programs available exclusively to students at their particular school.  If you have a specific school in mind, you should ask them about financing they can offer.

From a personal finance perspective, home-equity type loans, when available to a student or his or her family, can often be the lowest-cost source of career training funds.  Interest rates for this type of financing are low, and in many cases, tax deductible too.

Pilot Finance is sympathetic to the need for financing of career programs.  We pledge to update this space with any new information we may receive about programs that are offered from reliable sources.

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