1. How long does it take to obtain the five ratings necessary to become a professional pilot – Private, Commercial, Instrument, CFI & CFII?
The average student takes 12 to 18 months to complete all five ratings. Pilots who complete our program through Treasure Valley Community College will have a much more structured experience, while Silverhawk's Professional Pilot Program will provide you with the flexibility to finish as fast or slow as you like.
The average student takes 15 to 21 months to complete all five ratings. Silverhawk's Professional Pilot Program will provide you with the flexibility to finish as fast or slow as you like.
2. How much will it cost to obtain my pilot's license?
The FAA requires a minimum of 200 flight hours to finish all five ratings, but some students will not gain the knowledge and competency required to pass in the minimum hours required. Hence, the difficulty to estimate the exact costs. The average student can complete the five ratings for $70,000 to $75,000; this estimation increases by about $20,000 for the degree program through Treasure Valley Community College.
The FAA requires a minimum of 275 flight hours to finish all five ratings, but some students will not gain the knowledge and competency required to pass in the minimum hours required. Hence, the difficulty to estimate the exact costs. The average student can complete the five ratings for $55,000 to $60,000. The multi-engine program ranges from 10 - 25 hours.
3. How do I finance my flight training?
You can finance through traditional student loans at Treasure Valley Community College, or you may find private loans through a variety of companies. For the Professional Pilot Program through Silverhawk, we recommend the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan. Visit out an online application and receive your eligibility status within 24 hours.
Another great source for loans and scholarships is the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. You can get up to $25,000 of assistance through AOPA's Flight Training Funds program. Also, you will have access to many other sources and benefits by joining AOPA as a student pilot.
If you are interested in finishing or adding a rating and need financing on a smaller scale, we offer financing through Pilot Finance.
4. Will my VA benefits pay for my private rating?
Depending on what type of benefits you have you may be eligible for up to 100% coverage through the degree program. However, it is likely you'll need to pay for your private rating through the non-degree, Professional Pilot Program. Check your benefit status here:
5. When can I start training?
If you're not a degree-seeking student, you can start your training program any day of the year. The degree program through TVCC has specific start dates each fall and spring. Please contact our Director of Student Services, Alisha Sweeney, for more information.
6. If I can start making money with my Commercial rating, why should I continue training through CFII?
Pilots must fly a minimum number of hours to be insurable for a particular job. One of the most common ways to acquire flight hours is to become an instructor; Silverhawk requires instructors to have a CFII rating. Unless you're applying for a specific job that requires only a Commercial license, you should plan on completing all five ratings.
7. Does Silverhawk help with job placement?
While we cannot guarantee you'll be hired by Silverhawk Aviation Academy, we promise to help our CFIs reach their career goals by getting them out into the industry when they reach 1000 hours. This creates a revolving door effect so that we may give new graduates an opportunity for employment. Since we only hire students that completed their training here, being a Silverhawk graduate ensures you'll be eligible for hiring.
Silverhawk has a great reputation in the helicopter industry and our pilots are sought after. Graduates of the degree program will also complete a Capstone course that covers job-hunting, resume writing and interview skills.
8. What is the average salary for a pilot?
According to salary.com, the median annual helicopter pilot salary is $91,274, with a range usually between $74,206-$112,574.
The median annual salary for an commercial airline pilot is $105,720, whereas other job positions have salaries closer to $80,000.
9. What kind of aircraft does Silverhawk have?
Our fleet currently consists of 13 Robinson helicopters:
8 - R22 (two-seat, piston engine rotorcraft)
4 - R44 (four-seat, piston engine rotorcraft)
1 - R66 (five-set, turbine engine rotorcraft)
In addition, we have fixed-wing aircraft for training purposes:
7 - Cessna 172 (four-seat, single-engine aircraft)
1 - Cessna Cardinal
1 - Beechcraft Duchess 76 (twin-engine aircraft)
10. What is the housing situation in Idaho and does Silverhawk provide housing?
Silverhawk has a limited amount of student housing available for $400 - $525 per month. There are a number of apartment complexes and rentals in Caldwell, as well as surrounding cities in the Treasure Valley. An average commute from Boise, Idaho, to Silverhawk Aviation Academy is 35 minutes.
11. What are the pros & cons of the Helicopter Degree Program and the Professional Pilot Program?
PROFESSIONAL PILOT PROGRAM:
You'll complete all five ratings required to be fully employable in the helicopter flight industry: Private, Instrument, Commercial, CFI, and CFII.
- Completely self-paced, self-scheduled training program
- Takes an average of 12 to 15 months to complete
- Pay as you go
- College courses are not required
- Flexible schedule for students to work or take time off
- Accepts some types of VA benefits
- Limited options for financing, i.e. Sallie Mae or private funding
- Loans through Sallie Mae have an average interest rate of 10%
- No accredited collegiate degree earned
You'll receive all five ratings required to be fully employable in the helicopter flight industry: Private, Instrument, Commercial, CFI, and CFII AND earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Aviation Science.
- Students will obtain an associate degree in Aviation Science
- VA benefits are applicable up to 100%
- Wider range of financing options, typically with lower interest rates
- Financial aid is available, as well as Pell Grants
- Subsidized and un-subsidized loans are obtainable
- You will receive additional knowledge in the aviation field
- Takes 18 months to complete the degree program
- Additional non-aviation courses are required for graduation
- Courses schedules are not flexible