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Funding your flight training - How I did it?

It costs up to $120,000 to train to become an Airline Pilot. How do you find this kind of money when your dream is to just fly?

Becoming a Pilot is a very costly mission and can put you back over $100k or more in cost. All this without a guaranteed job can make such a hefty loan stressing. I will share here how I applied several techniques to collect the funds for flying when I started this journey of gaining my wings.

First rule is to never rely solely on flying so I would highly recommend attending college or university and to have something to fall back on. This will also help later if you're in the hunt for your first flying job.

So how does one find $100k? You could try the casino at their black jacks table but I don't recommend this too much. Back in 2007 when I needed this amount of money to start my career I hardly had any savings, my parents could only lend $10k and as we didn't own a property, the banks loan was limited to a maximum of $20k. I still needed a large portion of money and this was going to be a huge challenge.

What did I do? I decided to type up a 3 page simple business report. That's right, I made myself a product for people to invest in. I created a report in which I first explained my background, my education level and my ambition to fly. I included positive pilot aptitude results which I did with some private companies to show investors I was capable of passing the course and getting selected later in an airline. In the report I then explained the market and potential jobs available when I graduate and a chart of pilot salaries from start to captain level. This chart assured my investors paying back won't be a problem. At the end I finish off with a thank you for giving me your time and my contact details. I made the report simple and neat with a nice header and footer and signed each one manually at the end.

The next big question...How does an investor just give you such a large sum of money? Well, they don't! The idea is to not ask one or two people for such high sums of cash. It's way easier to get your funding asking 100 people for $1k each then to ask one for the whole lot! This worked really well for me as I then wrote on a piece of paper a list of people I knew starting from loved ones to collegues and friends. I would then also ask them to pass my report to anyone they knew who was fairly well off or had spare cash. I started from family and friends and finished off with local business individuals, school friends, neighbours etc.

Did it work? Yes, absolutely. I managed to literally collect sums of cash ranging from $250 to even $5000. By the end of it I was short by just $12k which didn't stop me from starting my course as I knew I would have plenty of time before course ends to complete my funding.

I graduated in 2008 from flight training Europe in Spain with my commercial flying license and now fly the Airbus A320 for easyjet in Europe. When I look back I still remember the desperate young guy who just wanted to fly and now when I'm at 37,000 feet looking at the sun set in the horizon, I realise sharing this could possibly help someone who is in that same boat I once was in. Don't give up on your dream of flying, I almost did and would have regretted it. I assure you that if you keep at it and keep on pushing, you will eventually be flying a shiny 60 tonne bird through that very same sunset I see. Perhaps I'll hear you on the radio Comms very soon ;).

All the best and I hope this article helped. Please share it with other enthusiastic Aviators who dream to fly.

I'll finish it off with...

"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return."

(Leonardo Da Vinci)

Best wishes,


Faraz Sheikh


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