Trade ya!

Thanks and a tip o’ the headset to Greg Brown for this little interlude. Greg’s July Flight Training column, coming to you in magazine format sometime in late May/early June, focuses on a new private pilot who bought his own Cessna 150 to complete his training. At the end of the column, the pilot tells Greg that he traded a pickup truck to his flight instructor in exchange for instrument training.

When I read that, I thought of all the crap, er, stuff, in my home. If I could convert those goods to flight instruction I could probably get all the way to ATP, if not CFI. The comic books alone might get me a multiengine rating. (They’re my husband’s, lovingly packed in Mylar, and once upon a time he told me with a straight face that these would be¬†like a pension. We were so young and dumb.)

I put out the question to my Twitter followers: “Pilots, have you ever bartered or exchanged goods/services for flight instruction? CFIs?” and got a few responses. Casey (@casey_a1) said he has given flight instruction in exchange¬†for guitar lessons. Len (@ThePilotReport) said he trades flight instruction for use of owners’ aircraft and other cool toys, like boats and jet skis.

For a flight instructor tied to a Part 61 or 141 school, trade/barter likely isn’t an option. But with an independent CFI, it might very well be. What about you? Have you ever traded goods/services for flight instruction? Tell me in the comments section.—Jill Tallman

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  • Herb Ludgewait

    As an independent CFI, I sometimes trade dual time for customer’s aircraft time if the client’s plane has more capability than mine

  • Cliff Robinson

    I once traded 2 hrs of acro insruction in my Decathlon for a S&W 357 pistol.

  • Fred Wilson

    Yes, lots of times. Currently have a student who has a lawn service business. Gardening for flight instruction and airplane time.

  • Andrew Woeber

    Yes, I have traded services to improve my flight instruction business. I traded with a marketing company owner to develop a corporate identity and design a website ( for me. This person wanted to transition to G1000 avionics so I gave him training in my Redbird TD. We continue to fly together trading development of brochures and other marketing materials for instruction. I also traded flight instruction with the website programmer. This trade resulted in a private pilot certificate for the programmer in April of this year. That student bought a share of a Piper Archer and is starting on an instrument rating. I have also traded instrument flight instruction for the use of a different owner’s airplane. As a small business I am always on the lookaout for ways to reduce the amount of cash I have to spend to get what I need for my business. I also trade instrument approaches with other instructors in my simulator as a way to stay current.

  • Billy Craft

    Yes, I traded dual instrument instruction for use of our C182. It worked out well for both of us. I got some really quality instruction and my CFII got the use of a very nice 182. All parties satisfied.

  • William Dillon

    When I was 16, working on my pilot’s license for the first time, (now I’m 31, working on it for the second time!) I used to do yard work for aircraft time and flight instruction. It was a good deal, but it turned out that the required yard work was finite. I ran out of chores before soloing.

  • Ray Hawkins

    I am a CFII in the western suburbs of Chicago. I would be willing to provide instruction on a trade/barter basis.

  • Tim Hanstine

    I have a BMW R1100 RTP motorcycle that I would like to barter/trade for flight instruction. I’m located just south of Seattle. Any tips on how to socialize or get the word out. I’m fine with an independent CFI if it would help stretch the value of my offering a bit more.
    I suspect the best way to structure the deal is the value of the bike equal to the hrs of availability by the CFI. I’m thinking about the obligation part as something like a log book situation. With the target of 40 hrs instructor/flight time minimum, and a “not to exceed” of 60 contact/instructional hrs. Does this sound reasonable? Any advice, changes to the plan are appreciated.

  • jtallman

    Funny you should mention this! We just ran an article on a pilot in Colorado who has started a new website, She does require a one-time registration fee of $18.95 for people who are looking to barter goods or services.
    Another thought is just to go out to flight schools in the Seattle area and put up an old-fashioned flyer, OR you might consider posting your offer on an aviation forum such as AOPA’s, or Pilots of America, or the like. Hope this helps! –Jill