How expensive and time consuming are flight lessons?

Answer by Guido Bartolucci:

Both the time and costs can be very different depending on the person and location. The minimum flight time for a less structured Part 61 school is 40 hours though I think the average is around 60 hours and people might even need as many as 80 hours.

If you learn in a city like Seattle or San Francisco and you are learning in a modern 4 seat, single engine aircraft expect to pay about $15,000 (assuming $200/hour for the airplane with taxes and extra fees, $75/hour for the instructor and 45 hours of dual instruction and 15 hours of solo).

If you rent an older airplane (like a Cessna 152), live in smaller city, and find an instructor outside of a normal flight school. You might be able to get away with $100/hour for both the plane and instructor and expect to pay around $6000.

As for the time commitment, expect it to be a lot. I fly out of Boeing Field which is in the city really not too far away from my house but I still give myself an hour to get to the airport and to preflight the plane before my lesson even starts and an hour to discuss the flight and get home afterwards. So a "1 hour lesson" becomes 3 hours.

Then there's the studying, I can't even imagine how many hours or how many thousands of pages I've gone though. I basically had to give up reading anything else for 6 months. And from the moment you start your lessons you will be spending a lot more time interpreting the weather, even if you aren't planning on flying that day.

How expensive and time consuming are flight lessons?