Costs for Single Pilot Part 135 Certificate

Hi All,

I know it is unique to each application but does anyone have some general cost breakdown associated with becoming single pilot Part 135 certificate or resources (other than the FAA site) for someone considering this? Thanks all, blue skies!

5 Replies

I've seen estimates of $28,000 to $90,000 to get a Commercial Pilot certificate. Several sources said around $68,000. Part 135 requires that the pilot have at least 1500 hours including at least 100 hours cross country time. If you have to rent an aircraft to get that time, then it might add $100,000+ for a Cessna 172. I'm a Commercial Pilot and aircraft owner. I considered getting a single pilot air taxi operator (SPATO) 135 certificate using my airplane but it would have required installing an autopilot at a cost of about $20,000 for a two-axis system. Insurance jumps to around $5,000 per year for liability for commercial operations. The FAA requires that a Part 135 operator participate in an approved alcohol and drug misuse prevention program. When I flew Part 91.147 air tours in my airplane, that added up to about $500 per year for membership in a consortium and random tests. The Part 135 SPATO certificate wouldn't have been profitable enough to justify the costs.

Scott Ward
1 Posts
Just completed the single engine land commercial certificate this past week. Rough check on cost to get to this phase with an instrument rating is just over $62,000. Total flight hours currently just under 600. 200 hours of logged flight training for me. Each rating took close to year to complete with delays (weather, plane down for maintenance, and multiple instructor changes.
Blaine Nay
1 Posts

Kirsten Kasper:  “…does anyone have some general cost breakdown associated with becoming single pilot Part 135 certificate or resources (other than the FAA site) for someone considering this?"

Kirsten, it appears that so far, respondents don't know the answer but want you to think they know the answer. I really don't think you were asking the cost of first flight as a private student through commercial + 1500 hours which is the answer you were given. Your question is obviously based on the premise that those requirements are already met. We're not thinking of some 15-year-old kid who wants to fly.

I'd like to know the answer too. Assuming the prerequisites (commercial  at ATP, 1500 hours, insurance premium increase, etc.) are met, what is the regulatory cost of satisfying the Feds that a pilot/owner is worthy of a Part 135 certificate?


To operate Part 135, the aircraft will have to comply with the applicable Part 135 requirements. Depending on the aircraft and how it has been maintained or not, that could get expensive. When a FAA Airworthiness Inspector conducts a conformity inspection, he/she will be looking at overhaul records confirming that the various components are within the manufacturer’s life limits for hour, cycle (if called for) and calendar requirements. Again, depending on the aircraft, that could be prohibitively expensive. Know also, that unlike Part 91, the manufacturers recommended TBO becomes the required TBO under Part135. 
Ronald Levy
1372 Posts

You've received a lot of disparate answers, all of which have good information.  But if you really want to know what it's going to cost to set up and gain certification for a single-pilot/single aircraft Part 135 operation, your best bet is to contact one of the several firms which provide consultation in this area.  Try googling “consulting firm faa part 135” to find a dozen or more.