May 31, 2023

How I Completed Flight Training Debt Free!

Published May 21, 2023, 3:20 p.m. by Violet Harris

I was determined to become a pilot. I wanted to fly ever since I was a little kid, but I knew that it would be an expensive endeavor. I didn't want to take out loans and incur debt just to achieve my dream, so I set out to find a way to finance my flight training without going into debt.

I was lucky enough to have a friend who was a pilot and he agreed to teach me how to fly. I paid him for his time and expertise, and I also worked odd jobs to earn extra money to put towards my training. It took me a few years to save up enough money, but I eventually completed my flight training debt free.

If you're passionate about becoming a pilot, don't let the cost deter you. There are ways to finance your training without going into debt. You just have to be creative and resourceful. With a little bit of effort, you can achieve your dream of flying without breaking the bank.

You may also like to read about:

hey guys my name is Michael back with

another video here to talk about how I

completed all my flight training without

debt yes that's my journey that's how I

did it I did it completely without debt

and I made sure that I paid as I went

and I completed it and I'm now 25 years

old I graduated college back in 2019 and

since then I've learned so much and this

video is to give you guys some ideas on

how you guys can complete your flight

training also without debt and what are

the benefits what are the negatives and

what other people have to say about my

decision for me it all started when I

was five years old my dad said as soon

as I hopped onto a plane

I told him that I wanted to be a pilot

and ever since then that's been the

dream right I started in high school on

the flight simulators doing tons of

flight simulator stuff right just going

at it every single day I was enamored by

uh everything there was Aviation I

remember my first approach in the flight

Sim that was to Princess Juliana Airport

in a crj I believe that was the intro

Mission and Flight Simulator X back then

and it had me hooked at the age of 15 I

was presented with the opportunity my

parents took me to Linden airport in New

Jersey to have my first introductory

flight and it was incredible I was

completely terrified I hated turbulence

and to the Bone I was completely

terrified of the noises of the sounds

because when you're focused on the

flight simulator when you play a lot of

flight simulator

when you go into the real plane it is so

much bigger and everything looks huge

um and you know I said to myself this is

something that I want to do and I


right my parents at the time they did

not have a lot of cash a lot of funds

and it was a little bit tough right they

helped me get my private license and

after that I was pretty much had to work

for it on my own and get it all the way

from instruments to CF double I to where

I am today I got my pilot's license when

I was 18 years old and that was right

when I was graduating high school and

then from there I transitioned into

college I worked really hard to apply to

all the scholarships I could and I got a

full tuition scholarship to Rutgers

University in New Jersey I studied in

Information Technology right I spent

those four years and I graduated

during those four years it was extremely

difficult to focus on flying and also

focus on school work so one of them had

to take a back seat I was trying to do

both at the same time I was making no

progress on my instrument rating so it

really had to take the back seat so I

could get my four-year degree and uh

those four years were an interesting

year for me to try and figure out what

it is that I wanted I got a little bit

distracted I was a younger guy then and

um I was a little bit more advantageous

right so in my head I was like you know

if I

graduate get a degree in I.T go out into

the world I can make enough money in it

to buy my own plane and not have to fly

for an airline or someone else's

schedule and I got a little bit naive

and you know that kind of turned into

the plan so flying took a back seat and

I started focusing on my I.T career I

told myself I was going to try it for a

Max of three years and if it didn't work

I was out

well you guys probably know already what

happened but continuing on to this story

I continued there on after and I

graduated with my degree I went to work

in Wall Street and on Wall Street I

worked as a technical support engineer

working with the Traders helping on the

trade floor and I did that for a couple

of other hedge funds throughout

different jobs within those three years

after college

I was focused right I Penny pinched I

saved up a bunch of cash right to the

point to where I had tons of cash just

lying in my savings account and I know

it wasn't the wisest decision I should

have invested it but I had quite a bit

that I had to that I could sit on

because I lived frugally right I had my

own apartment at the same time I was not

eating out I was making my own meals my

workplace they provided meals I got into

a good job that provided meals and um

I pretty much lived extremely below my

means so that it could have a lot saved

up and those three years taught me a lot

about myself about what I wanted to do

what I was really passionate about and

it just turned out it wasn't for me it

was not what I wanted to do

um and looking back on it you know I'm

happy that I was able to use my degree

right at least for a little bit put

something on my resume but it was a good

exploration time to figure out that it

wasn't what I wanted to do so one day I

woke up I looked in the mirror and I

said hey I have to make a change I want

to become a pilot that's what I always

wanted to do from when I was young

have to make the transition and the time

to make the transition is now

so what I did I took all the money in my

savings account then I blew it all on

flying right I had my private pilot's

license at the time I joined a club and

then I spent a ton of money and I just

pumped it into flying every day I

commuted all the way from New York City

I got on the train went to Jersey City I

commuted an hour and 45 minutes down to

South Jersey

to fly in a club where I got extremely

affordable rates to fly

and then I did that every single day

woke up 6 a.m took a car out to Jersey

City took the PATH train into New York

City worked all day in New York City

took the PATH train out of New York City

hopped in my car drove an hour and a

half all the way to South Jersey hopped

on a plane and flew and I flew and I did

that and I did that for my instrument

rating because you know the instrument

rating you don't need a lot of daylight

so it worked out really really well and

I got my instrument rating uh September

of 2021 and it was the greatest feeling

ever from there as you can imagine it is

September 2021 I just got my instrument

ready now I want to get my commercial in

obviously if you look at the time zones

and how that works you can't really do

your commercial training at night time

those Maneuvers are pretty dangerous to

do at night time so what I had to do I

had to take advantage of accelerated

courses I went out to a very well

respected accelerated program out in

Minnesota eventually Northwest Aviation

and from there I got my commercial

license in February of 2022. it was a

really robust program I studied

beforehand before I went and then I got

it knocked out in a week

and I loved it because I used my time

off to focus on training right I was

enamored fully immersed in training and

I think that is where I strive right

when I'm fully immersed and I thought it

was excellent and I got that knocked out

of the park I used my vacation days for

that in the beginning of 2022 and then I

love the program so much I went back I

used my vacation days I studied for

about six months and I went back to

Minnesota to train for my CFI in August

of 2022 went there knocked it out and

that was the end of my vacation days I

had no more vacation days I couldn't use

it so what did I do I was a CFI so I

quit my job right I quit my job

um that same August at the end of the

month and I went back out to Minnesota

after I had quit

um because I was unemployed at that

point so I had all the vacation days in

the world to go back out there and get

it I got my double eye there a month

thereafter and here I am today I I fully

committed I changed my life in pretty

much a year time frame got my

instruments got my CFI got my commercial

my CFI my double I all in about a year

time frame and that was well after

having my private license assisted

through high school I did it without

debt and if you look at the chronology

and how I did it I pretty much worked

hard to get a scholarship to go to

college get my four-year degree and for

you it doesn't have to be a fancy

college right for Aviation all you need

is a four-year degree so I would do any

means necessary to make sure that you at

least get a good viable backup plan

from whether it may be a community

college whether it be anything that is

Affordable and apply for those

scholarships because I notice a lot of

people don't apply for scholarships I

believe they release statistics that

that say that the majority of

scholarships go unapplied for so I think

if there's anything that you can do

apply apply apply for any scholarship

that you can get

because the odds are nobody else is

applying for that same scholarship

you're going for and then from there I

took that degree and I utilized it right

I took three years went into Corporate

America and I saved up a bunch so I

saved up a bunch of cash I lived

frugally for three years so that I could

dump it straight into flying so that I

didn't have to go into the negative in

order to fly and even to this day I

still have reserves left over so that

I'm completely comfortable with a CFI

salary which is a blessing and that's

how I pretty much just bankrolled my

training through it's just about getting

your degree

taking a sacrifice of a couple years and

using that to fund Aviation now I've

shared what I've done with my peers with

my colleagues with people online and the

question that I normally get is Michael

what about seniority right well if you

don't know the airlines that the way

they work is that the sooner you get in

the better right so the date of hire is

when your senior already starts the

higher seniority you have in an airline

is the better pay the better schedule

and the better quality of life and

that's what airline pilots are really

striving for so the whole idea is that

you need to get into the cockpit as soon

as possible and a lot of people question

why didn't I take out loans loans may

have been the better option in order to

get into the cockpit a lot sooner and to

them I have to say

I just didn't want to I know that all my

friends were in the cockpit at Airlines

since the age of 21. I they completely

passed me I'm 25 right now I'll probably

get into the seat of a regional at

around 26 years old and that's fine by

me I lived my life stress-free

um I didn't have any stress I don't have

any stress right now even as a CFI a

double I and

um I think I would do it again if I had

the same Choice a lot of people they

point to the numbers right they say

that's millions of potential earnings at

the latter half of your career but to

them I say What's the difference right

what's the difference of one year versus

five years you could point me to many

millions but I'm still going to make

millions throughout my career and that's

fine all right that's fine by me

I'm okay with making uh let's say an

arbitrary number

35 million versus 40 million all right

at that point uh to me it's just numbers

and it's the quality of life that I've

been giving myself in the early years so

that I don't have to sacrifice it once I

get to the cockpit when I get into the

cockpit at my future Regional all the

pay that I get besides taxes is going to

be mine and I'm happy with that thought

because I have completely no debt no car

debt no school debt no Aviation debt and

I did it because I decided to sacrifice

in a couple years of my career so that I

could owe no man any money I mean the

main takeaway from this is any way that

you do it is perfectly fine right I

sacrificed a couple years of seniority I

sacrificed a couple years of earnings

401K all of that's for the Safety and

Security of not having debt on my back

right not having to be checking balances

not having to be worried

about a paycheck ever I haven't been

worried about a paycheck in years but to

those who don't have the time don't want

to wait as long as I did want to get in

there as soon as possible in order to

further their career that's okay too

right so I'm not saying one is better

than the other I'm just giving you guys

ideas I think what I hope with this

video is that you can take away some

ideas that you can use throughout your

flight training Journey I'm sharing

exactly how I did it and maybe you can

take away a key detail from here key

detail from there and utilize it in your

training at the end of the day what my

mom used to tell me is that we are all

going to make that Finish Line right if

you are just getting your private or if

you are a CFI building time we're all

going to get there eventually right it

may take some more years than others

some people are online you see the

photos on social media people who have

just finished ioe and training things

like that but the the reality is

eventually if you love it enough this is

your passion you're going to make it and

that's really what matters and I'm happy

with the journey that I took and I hope

again you can take away something from

this and learn from my journey if you

guys are interested in learning a little

bit more about me learning more about

Aviation feel free to subscribe right I

have tons of videos I try to release

once a week Aviation content speaking

about uh the state of Aviation and

different Topics in the world that I'm

interested in

I hope you enjoyed the video my name is

Michael Colley and I hope to see you in

the next one


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