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Can I Use My Post 9/11 GI Bill to Start My Flight Training Before the Facility is VA-Approved?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have some Part 61 flight instructors willing to support my intended use of GI Bill to pay for a Commercial Twin Engine rating. However they want me to do all the leg work to get them all forms they would need to fill out to become approved by the VA and such. Couple of questions:

• Can you get me more info such as the required forms that the part 61 trainer will need to fill out.
• Roughly how long would it take them to get approved?
• Can I start my training before they are approved and still get reimbursement once their VA approval comes in?
• Do I have to have a Class 2 medical prior to starting the training
Thanks! — James

A: Hi James. I’ll answer each one of your questions in the order asked. First, your flight instructors will have to be part of a VA-approved flight school before the VA would approve the rating you want to take. If their school is not approved, they can go to this link for information on how to get approved. While the link refers to foreign schools, the requesting process is the same for U.S. schools.

As far as how long it takes to get approved, I won’t even guess. The VA has to investigate the entity requesting approval. It can get to be a lengthy back and forth process. If you are in a hurry to get started, my suggestion is to go to a school already approved.

No, the school has to be approved first before your Post 9/11 GI Bill can pay for the training. The rational is what happens if the school ends up not getting approved? Approval is not a rubber stamp process and many schools don’t get approved.

Yes. Again the rational is what happens if the VA paid for a bunch of flight training only to find out you can’t pass the medical exam required to fly. It would be a waste of money so they required you to pass the medical first if required, before they pay for training.

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