Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Friendliest aviation Ccmmunity on the web
  • Modern site for PC's, Phones, Tablets - no 3rd party apps required
  • Ask questions, help others, promote aviation
  • Share the passion for aviation
  • Invite everyone to Flightinfo.com and let's have fun


Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Modern secure site, no 3rd party apps required
  • Invite your friends
  • Share the passion of aviation
  • Friendliest aviation community on the web


Nov 29, 2001
A question for all you active CFI's.....since getting furloughed I have been doing some CFI work and am trying to get a better handle on the going pay rates at an FBO Part 61 type of operation. The place I work at has mostly new 172's and charges about 120 and hour for the aircraft plus 45 for the CFI....The CFI walks away with 16....They pay 20 for MEL instruction.

Is this about the going rate? I was making more 14 years ago with 300 hours, but this is aviation we are talking about!
CFI pay

I, too, was flabbergasted when I heard what CFIs charge hourly these days. I last worked eight years ago. My pay at Mesa was $15 an hour; not bad if I was busy, but things dried up at the end of the term. Back then, independent instructors were charging about $15-$20 an hour. Now, $40 an hour appears to be the norm.

$120 an hour for a 172 wet is too much money. That FBO is taking advantage of people. Eight years ago, even $55-$60 an hour for a wet 172 was high. I can understand even $80 an hour these days.

PS-Just for fun, I called a Cessna Pilot Center at Centennial in Denver. I was told $75 on the average for a 172, $30-$35 an hour for dual.
Last edited:
In Camarillo, CA...

I get $18 an hour for primary students, and $20 for advanced. the school charges $42 and $44 an hour for instructors, respectively. Our 172P's rent for somewhere around $90/hour. While the pay rates themselves aren't too bad, there are few students are FAR too many instructors on staff. Paychecks are minimal for us all.
I plan on being a CFI for a while when I get out of college. How many hours per week do you usually get? I hear people gripe about how low CFI's are paid, and of course if I was feeding a family, I'd be pretty concerned about cash flow as well, but since you are logging flight hours, doesn't that mean that your budget for flying on your own and getting hours would be lower (meaning that the money you would spend flying if you had, say, a desk job, would be eliminated)?
...Just a thought...
I think airplane rental rates and instructor fees vary widely across the country. Here in atlanta, it depends on which metro area airport you use. Where I am at the airplane goes for 75/hr (172 or warrior) and instructor 34 for primary. I get 15.50 now and in 3 months I get a raise to 17.50. I also get incentives for teaching in the sim or multi. We are part 61. There is a school at a more popular airport charging 89/45 (part 141). Where I learned it was 79/45 (part 141).

It was very difficult finding a job here. I took one as a part -time instructor having to recruit all my own students. When a full time job becomes available, I get it and start to get walk-ins and phone-ins. There are some other jobs coming available now, but I like the school I'm at and I don't feel like they are ripping off people compared to the other rates around the city.
Right now I have one regular student that flys 3x a week. So I get about 4.5 hours of flying and some ground a week. I have also found it hard to recruit more students. I have about 7 maybes at any one time. It seems hard for anybody to commit to spending when the technology jobs around here are still uncertain.

Even though it kinda sounds gloomy now, I think their are signs of improvement. Since things are slow and I don't get as much flying as I would like, I am going to get my A&P. I also have signs about to be a free safety pilot just for the hours. I tought that maybe this could be a way to talk somebody into doing a commercial license with me.

Anyway, I have rambled. It is though all around right now, but we are breaking out of it. It is time to take what you can and hold fast.

--- Snoopy
CFI for (little) pay v. Paying for flying

Well, if you're working as a CFI you really don't need to pay for your own flying, so that eliminates that concern.

It all depends. Probably right at the moment it'll be hard to find work, but when hiring picks up and instructors are picked up by regionals, etc., there will be more work per instructor. New student starts will pick up as well as people start believing again that there is a pilot shortage. :rolleyes:

Another point to consider is if you instruct at an FBO versus a 141-type school. You'll have a captive audience of students if you work at a place like FlightSafety. In addition, 141 students are usually there "for the duration," so you can count on keeping the same students or rotating among the same students for months at a time. At an FBO, you might get some who are training for the career and who will be steady customers, but you're more likely to get people who train sporadically for their Private, renters and people needing flight reviews. It's a different kind of clientele than at schools.

You can bank on maybe 30 contact hours a week or more if you have 5-10 students and enough aircraft and sims in which to train them. Expect to put in 50 hours or more a week at work to gin up your 30 hours a week of contact. Don't count on it being steady. Don't forget about weather, maintenance vagaries and student no-shows. You''ll find that you have good months and bad months.

Good luck with your plans.
Last edited:
The instructors charge from $50-125 per hour for their time, ground and flight. Depending on factors not revealed to me, pay can be from $14 to $125 per hour. Benefits include low rates on health insurance, gym membership, at cost aircraft rental, and free training time.

One instructor might have 2 lessons at $50, 1 at $70, and an aircraft certification flight at $125 one day. He usually takes home $5400 a month.

Another instructor will decline all attempts to get him scheduled, "oh I'm busy," then wonder why he is earning nothing. This instructor I don't understand. :confused:

I know a few CFIIs up north that are charging $125-200 per hour for their instruction. One only does heavy Piper twins, the other mainly remedial instruction ($130).

The key is to be worth what you charge.

Jedi Nein
After seeing these prices I'm glad I got mine done 15 years ago get this... C-150 $6/hr Instructor $6/hr. I miss those days!!!

(it was a club!)

Latest resources