If you are in the US, go for you Private License. I know many will tell you to go Sport or Recreational, but the Private will allow you more freedom at a lower overall cost.
Nowdays, aircraft rent for $80-100/hr and a good instructor will run $15-18/hr. Minimum hours required are 40, but the national average is between 56 and 72 hours.
Don't forget testing fees, possible ground school costs (rare for Private), and Examiner fees. Figure about $4-5000
if you want a good, solid and SAFE experience. A little higher than some would want to pay, but the Private license it DEFINITLEY worth it.
You could go for sport or recreational and test up for less money in the beginning, but if you go the Private route from the get go, as a long time pilot I'd have it's the only way to go.
E-mail me if you have any questions, I'd be glad to help.
firstname.lastname@example.org Put in the SUBJ line: pilot questions
Your country of residence, which you left out, will affect this answer greatly!
In the USA hourly aircraft rental varies from $75/hr to $130/hr for a primary trainer like a Cessna 172 depending on what part of the country you live and if you rent from a flight school or a flying club. Some areas have very few options, so the rates are very expensive.
The fee for a Certified Flight Instructor can range from about $25/hr to $50/hr depending on whether the instructor is a freelance CFI or a flight school CFI.
So, you can expect to pay any where from $100/hr on the cheap end to $200+ on the pricey side for lessons. That equates to about $5,000 at a minumum to around $10,000 on the pricey side for a PPL done at 40 hours. I know a person who did their PPL in a $130/hr airplane (very pricey!) and it took them almost 90 hours to complete training. (At American Flyers.) In the end, their PPL cost them a whopping $18,000! Talk about getting ripped off... They just didn't know any better.
I suggest going to your local airport and finding out exactly what they charge per hour for rental & instruction. Then you can input those figures, plus other training related expenses, into this "Learn to Fly Cost Calculator" and figure your price for the PPL- http://www.firstflight.com/features/costCalculator.htm
Many schools advertise a price for the PPL. Be aware that price is based on finishing in 40 hours and does not include any extra hours that may be required! While 40 hours is the minimum, expect to finish in 60-80 hours if you fall into the national avergage.
Read my site about flight training for more info-http://www.geocities.com/av8trxx99/FA.html
the first message is a little on the low end, the second is a bit high. From what I hear regarding costs, it takes about 6k to get through a private pilots course.
*instructors rates in california run $40- $80 / hour.
From Â£75. But always fly from a reputable Flying School with a excellent safety record and, aircraft that are in very good condition throughout.
Make sure you see and sit in the plane before parting with any money, take a note of the planes registration so you fly the same aircraft that you have chosen, the registration is easy to see it will be on the side of the plane and also on the wing, it will look like G-H***.
Ask how long will each lesson be actually flying? and not sitting in a room just talking about the flight!!!
Good luck and happy flying!
Do check out the previous posters website.... but the url is wrong as it got truncated. The correct one is http://www.geocities.com/av8trxx99/FAQ.html
Personally, I think the Sport pilot certificate is a good idea. It has the potential to open aviation up to a much wider audience. In time, people can do additional training to earn a private pilots certificate, but for many folks, all they really need is the Sport pilot. Probably the biggest disadvantage is the currently limited amount of aircraft, followed up by the single passenger limitations.
Otoh, the faster training, and the reduced cost can return aviation to the realm of the average Joe once again.
It's much cheaper to take kite flying lessons.....save your dough!