Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
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Flight Training for Veterans - GI Bill

A common question I receive is, "Does VA pay for flight training." The most common answer I give is, "Yes and No." 

First the bad news...

The GI Bill does not pay for flight training unless its to help you obtain employment.  A private pilot certificate, while a necessary step to your commercial pilot certificate, does not qualify.  So where ever you go for training, be sure its conveniently located and fits your work schedule because number #1 is paying for it. (Thats you.)

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Now the good news...

After you get your private pilot certificate, the VA will pay for about 60% of your flight training. That is only for VA Approved programs leading to advanced ratings such as Commercial Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, CFII, etc.  Contact the VA to find out who is a VA Approved Part 141 flight training school.  Contact the VA for those providers.  The VA will not usually pay for housing while you are in training or the incidentals of flight training programs: headset, books, exams, or your FAA medical. 

While I can't answer questions about VA benefits, to give you an idea of the approval criteria, here is a clip from the VA rules:


a. Flight Schools. A flight school must have a pilot school or a provisional pilot school certificate issued by the FAA under part 141 specifying each course the school is approved to offer. A flight school may be approved by the FAA to offer flight engineer courses under part 63. A flight school approved by the FAA under part 61 may not be approved for VA purposes.

b. Flight Training Centers. A flight training center or an air carrier that wants to use flight simulators or flight training devices for more hours than allowed by part 141 must request a special approval from the FAA. Before August 1, 1996, a training center or a carrier had to have a grant of exemption issued under part 61. On and after August 1, 1996, a training center or a carrier must have a training center certificate and a training specification document issued under part 142. (See paragraph 5 below for additional information on flight training centers.)

c. FSDOs. The FAA has FSDOs (Flight Standard District Offices) in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle. The Flight Standards Division, Operations Branch, can answer questions about flight training under parts 63, 141, and 142.

Here is the entire notice if you want to read it:  http://www.va.gov/publ/direc/benefits/229802.html

For more information....
Contact the VA at 888-442-4551 or see their website at:  http://www.gibill.va.gov

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