Using your VA Benefits for flight training
Option 1: Minimum Cost
Drawback: Slowest route to airlines
Enroll in a 4-year college flight training program. Normally the VA doesn't cover the cost of your first step in flight training, a Private Pilot License (PPL). But a 4-year collegiate program can offer PPL to you for free by consuming all four years of your GI Bill in exchange for 12 months of flight training spread out over four academic years.
Do not choose an aviation SkillBridge program for this option. Instead, we recommend you use SkillBridge to pursue a non-aviation job field that will earn supplementary income while you're in college.
Option 2: Maximum Speed
Drawback: Out of pocket costs to you
Enroll in a 2-year associate or non-degree vocational school program. The fastest route to an airline job is one year of training followed by one year of time-building as a paid flight instructor. The first step is a Private Pilot License (PPL), which is not covered by the GI Bill. Consider the value of speed. All airline pilots face a mandatory retirement age of 65, and pilot pay is set by strict seniority gates. Every year you delay starting your first airline job costs you over $200k in career earnings. Aviation is a cyclical industry, and Covid-19 was just the latest of many furlough and layoff events. The first pilots in the door are the first ones re-hired.
SkillBridge is the best first step. If you can afford any out-of-pocket costs, we recommend this route.
Flex Air is a Department of Defense SkillBridge flight school
Learn how you can use SkillBridge to unlock your GI Bill flight training benefits while still on active duty.