No Shortcuts to Pilot Training

No Shortcuts to Pilot Training

I always get asked what it’s like to fly the Boeing 737. My answer is it’s just an airplane. Pull back to go up, push forward to go down. Yes it’s more complex and much faster than the Cessna 172 I started with but at the end of the day, it’s still just an airplane. If I had started my pilot training journey in the 737 I’d likely have a different opinion. Why? Because learning to fly is about putting together the pieces. Flight by flight, lesson by lesson we create a strong foundation and build upon what we previously learned. Eventually, we have the skills required to earn our wings. If I started day one by learning to fly in a 737 one term comes to mind… HELMET FIRE! There are no shortcuts.

Whether you are looking to become a professional pilot or fly recreationally everyone starts in the same place, the Private Pilot License. Private Pilot Ground school and flight training at its simplest form is a right of passage for any pilot. I’ve seen people try to cut corners and it doesn’t work... There are no shortcuts

Pilot training requires determination, hard work, and perseverance. In the beginning, your flight training will consist of taking baby steps as you practice the most basic skills. These skills are ones you will use no matter what aircraft you eventually fly. The ground school provides you with the foundational knowledge you require. Together with practice and studying you will progress. 

Inevitably though, you will likely hit roadblocks. Your learning will plateau and you might feel frustrated. This is ok and normal. But this is also where perseverance comes into play. Push through, study harder, and practice more. Maybe even take a step back to regain your footing. As you crawl over each obstacle you will find that more doors open and things move faster... There are no shortcuts. 

Once you complete your initial pilot training (PPL and CPL, IFR, ME) you will begin the hunt for a job. Again, this might be a slow process to start. I always say the first job is the hardest to find. Once you have that first job you will be surprised how quickly things move. Before you know it, the total number of hours you had in your logbook from your initial flight training will have doubled and someone will have paid you to do it! Remember, the experiences and reputation from this job will be the foundation for the next one... There are no shortcuts. 

Now the hours are adding up and the doors are opening. As you move through your career you will see one common theme. Study and practice. No matter what level you are at or what aircraft you fly you will be subject to recurrent pilot training. This means you will always be studying and learning as you master your craft. There is a well-known adage that says it takes 10,000 hours to be considered an expert at something. I believe that with flying it’s even more than this because 10,000 hours in the log book does not equate to 10,000 hours of takeoffs and landings, especially when you’re flying 10-12 hour legs... There are no shortcuts. 

How can I accelerate the process?

While there are no shortcuts to pilot training there are ways you can help speed up the process. The first is to find a flight school and training regiment that works for you. If you want to fly every day don’t choose a school with one airplane and one instructor.

If you have life commitments and responsibilities while training it might be best to choose an online ground school that allows you to learn when it’s convenient for you. While you still need to complete the required hours for that ground school you could accelerate the process by logging in daily for several hours a day. 

The single most important thing you can do is study hard, practice hard, and always show up prepared for your lesson. This not only saves you time but money. You still go through the process of learning but you get to do it faster… There are no shortcuts.

Earn Your Wings

Hitting each milestone brings a sense of accomplishment. Over a long flying career, there will be many of these! If you haven’t started the flight training process yet, now is a great time. There are incredible opportunities available right now that some might say are shortcuts. While you might be able to get to the airlines quicker than in the past you still must have the licenses, ratings, and experience to qualify. When it comes to aviation, timing is everything, START NOW

For information about pilot training, online ground school, or aviation in general reach out to the Level Flight team! We’re always available to chat aviation with you and share our experiences. Contact us by filling out the online contact form or call us at 403-483-2880. If you’re ready to get started check out our courses HERE.


It sounds like a difficult process to become a pilot. Truth is, it's fairly straight forward and you are guided every step of the way. Refer to the following links to learn about the process to become a pilot and the various licenses and ratings. Included in the links is our articles page which is always updated with new content that can answer more of your questions. 

You need to start with a Private Pilot License and then get a commercial pilot license, multi-engine rating, and an instrument rating. From here you need to build some experience to meet the current qualification requirements that the airlines are looking for. Jobs might include flight instructing, survey or Arial work, charter flying, or bush flying. Eventually, you will obtain an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). This license is not required to work as an airline pilot in the First Officer position but if you want to be a captain you will need your ATPL license. 

To answer this we need to know what kind of pilot do you want to be. Do you want to be a private pilot and fly recreationally? Or do you want to be a commercial pilot and fly for hire? One thing to note is that flight training can be a variable cost that is dependent on each specific person's rate of progress. Be wary of anyone that will give you a solid low price figure as it may be based on an absolute best-case scenario and not average statistics. Check out the link below and click on each license and rating to learn more about the specific costs and requirements. Each one is listed in the typical order in which you might obtain them. 

Licenses and Ratings

Generally speaking, a pilot will spend anywhere from approximately $12,000 to $100,000 to become a pilot depending on what kind of pilot they want to be. Note that ground school is the cheapest part of the flight training experience. The actual flying part of the training is where the big money is spent. Flight schools roughly charge an average of $200/hr for each flight. 

Take Flight Now

Level Flight is Canada’s best online ground school. It is our mandate to provide higher quality, more engaging training for Canadian Student Pilots. If you are seeking the exhilarating freedom of flight for a hobby or with aspirations of a career in the skies, Level Flight offers the best ground school experience available. Sign up for our online learning platform now and discover the adventure that awaits you at Level Flight. 

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