A pilot’s guide to funding an education in aviation.

You’ve followed your inspiration, you’ve done the research, you’ve decided to apply, now you just need to find a way to pay for your program. What’s the first step? A common misconception is that helicopter students are millionaires or come from wealthy backgrounds, as this is the only way someone could afford the program. We are here to dispel those myths and to provide you with a handy guide to help you navigate your path towards funding your aviation education.

Financial Institutions 

The first move is usually to ask your bank or financial institution how much can be covered through student loans, personal lines of credit, second mortgages, or all of the above all at once. It’s common for this option to end up with contributing to a portion of the flight training tuition, but usually not all. So what happens next? How can I cover the rest of the program cost without jumping from bank to bank?

Scholarships & Bursaries

A big suggestion is looking on Scholarships Canada and searching online for any open bursaries that you may be eligible for. It may seem small in the moment, but a couple hundred dollars here and there can add up your hours in a helicopter!

Search for the general aviation scholarships available online: 

Neil Armstrong Scholarship
The Webster Memorial Competition
COPA Scholarship Guide 

Take advantage of female-specific bursaries: 

Whirly-Girls 
Northern Lights Foundation 
The Ninety-Nines
Elevate Aviation 

Other Supports & Resources

Ask yourself “what other support groups could I fall under?” An open mind is an open door to other possibilities of financial contribution in unconventional ways that are often overlooked or not at the forefront of most minds: 

Second Career Funding 
Government Response 
Community-Based Support 
Barriers to Education/Employment Resources

Flexible Payment Plans

Be sure your Flight School offers a flexible payment plan, and if you’re not sure, ask! Every Flight School can run their operations a little differently, but requiring a large tuition in full all at once – and sometimes before you even start your program – adds to the already overwhelming factor of starting your flight training journey. If your Flight School of choice offers a “pay as you go” or installment option, this allows for more flexibility in financial planning of your program, making your payments more manageable in the long-term. 

“Pay as you go” with Helicopters Canada

Helicopters Canada offers both “pay as you go” for part time students who just want to cover the flight time and ground school they use on a daily basis, and monthly installments for students who are looking for more consistent payments. We take the total estimated tuition of your program, divide this by the number of months you expect to be training for, and pay this amount at the beginning of each month. For example, if you choose a $90,000 aircraft type combination and are enrolled in the full time program for 9 months, you will pay $10,000 at the beginning of each month until you graduate. This way you always hold a positive balance on your account and “fly it off” over the month so you are never owing money, simply staying ahead of the curve. If you have any money left over on account by the time you finish all of your licensing requirements, you can either be refunded this amount in full, or you can choose to use it for additional/specialty training such as long lining, a night rating, new aircraft type endorsement, gross weight training, hover entry/exit practice, and so much more!

Contact us to discuss you financial needs

Each experience is different from student to student for how much and what type of loans will work for them. There’s no one answer, so it’s important to do your research and exhaust every single option you can find. If you think a career in aviation is right for you, reach out to us to take that first step!

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