Can You Make Money with a Private Pilot License

The easiest flight certification to acquire is most definitely a private pilot’s license. This is a great license for people who love flying planes but do not want to do it full-time as their career.

However, having a private pilot’s license is a bit inhibiting since there are strict rules as to how to use this license. One of these rules strictly states that using your private pilot’s license, you can only fly small personal aircraft, solo or with passengers but without charging any money for the flight services.

In essence, people who seek to obtain a private pilot license do so for their benefit since they love flying. Nevertheless, one might want to capitalize on their skills and there are several ways to do this without compromising your pilot’s license. Here is how to go about it;

Become a Tour Guide

If you live in an area that has a variety of tourist attraction sites and you are well versed with the area, then this is a good option for you to consider.

Touring an area with an aircraft is a unique and invaluable experience that people would be willing to pay so much for. As a pilot tour guide, you will be responsible for flying the aircraft while narrating the trip to your clients. Similar to road tours only that you will be experiencing the area from a bird’s view.

However, with a private pilot’s license, you are not allowed to charge your passengers, but, there is no law prohibiting your passengers from giving you generous tips for your services.

Work as a Volunteer

Do you feel like you have a calling to help those who are in need? If yes, then you can put your flying skills into great use by training to be a transport mission, disaster relief or a search and rescue pilot.

Currently, anyone who already has their private pilot license and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) can undergo training in either one of these volunteer missions. Some so many private pilots are already involved in such missions; generously donating their time and resources to help people in need.

You can easily be able to do this by joining Non-Profit Organizations (NGO’s) that are in this line of work. These NGOs will help to connect private pilots with patients who need their services. Most often than not, these organizations take the responsibility of facilitating these services. That is they cater for fueling the aircraft and tipping the pilot as well as processing the specific needs for the patients to limit the liability of the pilot.

Become an Aerial Photographer

As an aerial photographer, you get to make money from your photos. This is a great opportunity for anyone with a private pilot license and is interested in photography. It will immediately help to set you apart from the millions of other photographers in existence.

However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Think about it, to make a perfect shot, you need to concentrate on the subject. On the other hand, you have an aircraft that is flying midair that also needs to be controlled least it becomes catastrophic. Risky, isn’t it?

Therefore, most often than not, you will find that people who do this kind of photography prefer working in teams; as one person maintains control of the aircraft, the other takes charge of taking candid photos.

You will then take time to go through the photos and edit then you can decide on how best to make money from the photos.

Become an Instructor

While having a private pilot license is not mandatory for you to start theory teaching, it is an added advantage to have flying experience. Other requirements include;

  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Pass the knowledge test on the basics of instructing
  • Pass the knowledge test on assigned aeronautical areas

Based on your knowledge and expertise, you can decide to either conduct basic training such as recreational and private pilot flight review or complex training such as instrument ground instructor.

Become an Aircraft Salesperson

Every year, the aircraft market has been seen to sell thousands of aircraft, both used and new. Although not quite popular, this is a good and legit way of making money with your private pilot license. To qualify to be an aircraft salesperson, you need to meet the following requirements;

  • Have a Private Pilot License
  • Holder of a high school diploma
  • Have a minimum of 200 flight hours (a must)
  • A degree in sales and marketing is an added advantage

Just like a salesperson in any other industry, you will be compensated by commissions for every sale that you make.

Tow Glider and Unpowered Ultralights

This is one of the most profitable ways of making money with your private pilot license. The requirements you need to meet to do this work includes;

  • Have a record of 100 flight hours in the plane that you will be using to tow glide.
  • Have a Certified Flight Instructor endorsement for ground and flight training in the type of aircraft that you will be towing.
  • Have expertise in glider and ultralight safety, signals and emergency procedures amongst others.
  • Have at least three tows of glider and ultralights within the past 2 years. This can either be actual or simulated tows.

This is just but the beginning. After meeting these requirements, you will then need to fulfill others that are mandatory by the Federal Aviation Regulations.

It is not an easy process, therefore, to avoid getting lost and confused in the process, you can find a pilot who already does this and ask for their guidance.

In Conclusion

The Federal Aviation Administration has laid down rules and regulations that make it hard for people with private pilot licenses to make money off their skills. This however does not mean that it is entirely impossible. With the above-mentioned ways, you can be able to make a few extra cash lawfully using your private pilot license.

However, you could also decide to advance on your skills and training to become a commercial pilot. This will enable you to unlock more benefits and opportunities for making money as a pilot.