Financing Your Training

Learning to fly is extraordinarily rewarding, challenging, and exciting. For many, it is a lifelong dream. It is also an investment in time, effort, and money.

We understand that the desire to fly can burn deeply -- in fact, sometimes the desire to fly exceeds a person's financial resources. Therefore, we at Horizon Aviation have established a number of solutions to this problem by creating relationships with financial organizations which finance flight training.

Each of the following options has its strengths and weaknesses. Also, every time you apply for a loan, the financing company will check your credit. If this is done too many times in too short a period of time, your credit rating may suffer so you will want to try and determine which loan program is best for you and apply only to that one.

Horizon Aviation cannot function as a bank or credit counselor, but chances are we've seen someone in similar circumstances to you. We'll help you the best we can to find the right solution.

Contact us to find out the latest information we have and read on to see if one of these programs is right for you.

Pay As You Go

The first thing to understand is that Horizon Aviation does not require you to prepay for flight training. The only requirement is that each individual flight is paid the day it occurs. Most students pay as they fly, one lesson at a time. This way you can fly as often as your schedule and budget permits. If that's once a week, great. If it's once a month, that's O.K. too.

The only downside is that you will retain more from lesson to lesson if you fly more frequently. Ideally, you should schedule at least once a week to get the most from your flight training dollars.

However, for some paying "out-of-pocket" is simply not an option (including the owner of the company; it took him three years to get his license flying once a month!). If you would like to fly more often than your current budget permits, there are a number of companies that finance flight training.

Pilot Finance

Pilot Finance is a private company based in Illinois that provides financing to flight training students all over the country. Many students at Horizon Aviation have used Pilot Finance over the past half-dozen years. The application can be completed very quickly and once approved you could be flying in less than a week. If you do choose this option, we will have to help you complete your application because there is detail required about your flight training program. Visit their website at http://www.pilotfinance.com to learn more about their specific programs. You will also find details about interest rates, citizenship requirements, and the amount of financing available.

Historically, PF has been able to provide financing for one license per student. They have required students to repay at least half of their initial loan before lending additional funds for another license. Therefore, Pilot Finance has been a great solution for students who only want to get one license but students pursuing multiple licenses have sought other solutions.

AOPA Flight Training Funds

The Aircraft Owners' and Pilots Association (AOPA) is a not-for-profit organization that serves and protects the general aviation community. AOPA has created a program with MBNA Bank to provide up to $25,000 in financing for flight training. This is typically enough to get a student through several licenses. It is very similar to a credit card in terms of credit requirements and the approval process. Visit AOPA's website at http://www.aopa.org/info/certified/funds.html to learn more and complete an application.

Veterans' Administration / GI Bill Benefits

Horizon Aviation is the only fixed wing flight school in New England that is approved by the VA to accept flight training benefits. If you are entitled to VA Benefits and you were separated from the service less than 10 years ago, you may well be able to use these benefits to receive advance flight training at Horizon Aviation. Please note: these benefits can also be used if you are eligible and still on active or reserve duty.

The VA will require you to pay for the Private Pilot License yourself. In short, they want you to have some "skin in the game." After that, the VA will reimburse you (monthly) for as much as 60% of your eligible flight training expenses. The other 40%, plus the cost of the Private Pilot License and incidental expenses, can be paid either directly by you or through a combination of theVA Benefits with another of the loans described above. Either way, the VA will pay for an extraordinary amount of flight training if you're eligible.

Direct Student Loans and Grants from the U.S. Government

If you are enrolled in our college program, with either CCRI or Utah Valley State College, you may be eligible for U.S. Government Stafford Loans and Pell Grants. Once you've applied to CCRI or UVSC, you can apply for federal student aid. Over the course of a four year Bachelor Degree, this can be as much as $35,000. Approximately $18,000 of this amount will be used for academic fees (paying for you credit hours) at UVSC but the balance can be used for flight training or as you see fit.

US Bank Student Loans

For students enrolled in the Associate Degree or Bachelor Degree program with UVSC, there is another private bank to which you may apply for financing: US Bank. To qualifying students, they provide Alternative Student Loans which are administered by UVSC. If you're enrolled at UVSC, these loans can be used for your flight training at Horizon Aviation. We have seen US Bank loans as large as $40,000 which will cover almost all of the estimated flight training costs of our Career Pilot Program. After you have applied to UVSC, you may apply to US Bank online. The only downside to a US Bank loan is that there is an intermediary, UVSC, through which all funds must flow. Sometimes this process can take longer than desired and we've seen students get frustrated. For that reason, most of our recent students have chosen to use SLM.

Scholarships

Regardless of why you want to fly, chances are there is a scholarship for which you are eligible. There are two problems: finding these opportunities and completing the application. While we can't complete the application for you, we do have a few suggestions on how to find scholarship opportunities.

Once again, the best resource is AOPA. Unfortunately, you have to be a member of AOPA to access their resources. The good news is that it's well worth it: $39 per year the last time I checked. Give it a try and join them at www.AOPA.org. Once you're a member, just type "scholarship" in the search section. There were 25 specific scholarships listed with links to the appropriate organization.

If you don't want to join AOPA, then try searching on Google for "aviation scholarships" or "flight training scholarships." If you're a member of any particular group or minority, try using that description as well. For example, try "women in aviation scholarships." Get creative; you might be surprised by the number of opportunities available.

A scholarship application will often ask for a letter of reference from someone in aviation who knows you. While we couldn't complete such a form for someone we've never met before, we certainly can if you've been flying with us for a little while and we've gotten to know you.