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Is Vocational Flight Training the Same as Private Pilot’s Flight Training?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Is vocational flight training the same as private pilot flight training? I would like to find out if I enroll in private pilot flight training in order to get me a private pilot license will be covered under my GI bill. I am entitled under Chapter 30 and I have 12 months left of entitlement until 2014. Thanks!

A: In most cases, no it isn’t. If you are planning on only getting a private pilot’s license and fly for the fun of it, then your GI Bill most likely will not cover the cost of the flight training and getting your license.

The GI Bill is meant to train you in a vocation – something you can make a career out of. They view getting a private pilot’s license as an avocation or a hobby, so they will not pay for it.

However, if you plan on flying commercially for a career, then they would pay for additional flight training once you have your private pilot’s license. If you also qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, under the current rules, it would pay up to $10,000 per year for flight training, however you would not get the housing allowance or book stipend.

If you took a flight training degree-producing program at a private institution of higher learning (IHL) school, then they would pay up to $17,000 per year and you would be eligible to receive the housing allowance and books stipend, just as you would with any degree-producing program.

If you stay with Chapter 30, paying for flight school can use up your Chapter 30 entitlement at a higher rate because they pay out more than a normal month of entitlement for each month of school.

Some schools include getting a private pilot’s license as part of their flight school and in those cases, because it built-in to the curriculum, it usually is covered by your GI Bill.

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