Q: I understand that the "old" Post 9/11 GI Bill did not cover a private pilot's license, but after reading about the "new" Post 9/11 GI Bill it seems that this might be covered now. If I read it right, it says that after Oct 2011, the GI Bill will cover certifications including pilot certifications and also it will cover non-degree programs. Can you please clarify this? Thanks.
A: First, none of the GI Bills will cover a private pilot’s license. You have to get that on your own. What the GI Bills will cover are pilot certifications beyond the private pilot level.
Flying recreationally is viewed as an avocation instead of a vocation, which is the purpose of the GI Bill – to teach you something you can use as a career. If you intend to fly commercially, then your pilot training is viewed as a career and the GI Bill will pay for the certifications you need beyond the private license.
Even then, you have to be able to first pass the pilot medical certification before GI Bills will pay the 60% of your pilot training expenses. The other 40% you have to pay.
Currently under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it will pay for flight training beyond the private pilot level if your training is part of a four-year aviation degree. But if your training is not taught at a school also teaching degree-producing courses, it is not covered.
All the “New” Post 9/11 GI Bill will change is that it will be able to used at those non-degree producing flight schools as well as degree-producing ones.