I can't find a strong number for this and I would like to know. I'm compiling a list of total cost for each part of getting a private license (training, study material, headset, medical exam, etc), but I can't find how much the checkride will cost.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Av.SE, and best wishes as you embark on the adventure of learning to fly! $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Jan 24, 2018 at 3:12
  • $\begingroup$ Also remember that while the FAA requirement to get a PPL is around 40 hours, most students average on 70 hours of instruction before getting their PPL. Just something to factor into your cost so you aren't surprised. Better to err on the high side than the low side. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jan 24, 2018 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ Our two local DPEs are very busy so they can basically charge whatever they want. In April of 2019 they are charging $700 with a wait time until late June for exams. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Apr 11, 2019 at 15:38

3 Answers 3


There's no standard fee for the checkride because each Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) is free to set his or her own price. I've seen numbers for a private checkride in the \$400-600 range depending on the location, but your instructor should know the local examiners and what they charge. Or just ask the DPE directly, of course. Bear in mind that you might have to pay extra if you have specific requirements like needing a checkride at short notice, on an awkward date, or at a particular location.

This question might be useful too, and see this one for the (unusual) option of using an FAA examiner instead of a DPE.

  • $\begingroup$ Anecdotally, I paid 450$ to a local DPEfor mine. My CFI said I might find an examiner through the FAA for less but you might have to schedule it further in advance and/or travel to the examiners airport. $\endgroup$ Jan 24, 2018 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Thaumaturgic You can schedule with an Aviation Safety Inspector (same people who do ramp checks), but may not be available locally (for example, an ASI for the Milwaukee FSDO lives in Tennessee). I'm not sure what the cost is, I can't find any information on doing it on an FAA website. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jan 24, 2018 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer Using an ASI is free; they are paid to do it by the FAA. However, there aren't nearly enough to go around so are usually booked many months in advance, meaning you'll burn a lot of money staying proficient while you wait, so paying a DPE to get it done faster actually saves money in a sense. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Oct 26, 2019 at 2:14

I spoke to multiple DPEs in my area. You can find the list on faa.gov. One asked for USD 600. Another one asked for USD 400. The cost is not really the problem. The problem is finding a DPE who can administer the test at a reasonable date. The first DPE which my flight school recommended didn't have any dates available for 6 weeks. The second DPE didn't have any dates available for 3 weeks. Normally you don't want to wait that long when you have done checkride preparation with your CFI. You really want to get it done and over with and get your shiny new license :) Also as pondlife mentioned, you can use an FAA examiner who is free but they are booked 2-3 months in advance. Before you select a DPE, I would also recommend looking at this resource. Not all DPEs are the same. You don't want someone like this to take your checkride. On the broader question of costs, you might have missed out the following:

  1. Landing Fee ( some airports charge a landing Fee and over the course of your training you will do at least a 150-200 landings
  2. Simulation equipment - I have a Saitek Yoke and Pedals and FSX on a PC. This will help you practice your lessons at home and will reduce your flight time and costs
  3. Recording equipment - tripod, cables to connect to your phone etc. This will allow you to record your lessons so that you can replay them and reduce mistakes in future.
  4. Insurance - the Flight School will have some insurance. But you might want to find out if this is enough for you and whether you want to purchase more
  5. Calculator - unless you think you can master the manual calculator, you will need to purchase an electronic one, at least for your exam
  6. Foggles for IFR Training required for private pilots
  7. Cross Country software : Your plane may or may not be equipped with a GPS. I tried to use Avare on Android but was not very successful. Some people suggest foreflight but it is very expensive. This is an optional expense and you can get by without it at least for your private pilot training.
  8. Last but not the least, once your CFI shows you how to checkout the plane, for all subsequent flights, make sure you get there 30 minutes before and checkout the plane by yourself so that you are not paying for CFI time.
  • $\begingroup$ "Some people suggest foreflight but it is very expensive." It's like $200 a year for a subscription. That's not very expensive. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Oct 26, 2019 at 22:48

Our local flight school maintains contact with an FAA examiner who was formerly associated with the school, and who charges a very reasonable $150 last I knew. Doesn't live that far away, so his drive up to the airport where the school isn't a big cost driver in the examiner's fee.


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