March 13, 2014
By Jill W. Tallman
Do you have services to barter in exchange for flight training? Or, are you a flight instructor who would accept those services in exchange for your skills and knowledge? If so, Stephanie Thoen hopes you’ll visit a new website, www.willworktofly.org.
Thoen, of Aurora, Colo., created the website as a means of offering an alternative method for student pilots to pay for their flight training. Certificated flight instructors can register free of charge. All others pay a yearly fee of $18.95. Thoen said she has begun the process of registering her business, Limitless Aviation, as a nonprofit. She plans to set aside 10 percent of registration fees toward monthly scholarships for registered users.
The website suggests numerous services that registrants may wish to offer, such as accounting, automotive work, house and pet sitting, property management, tutoring, catering, and many more. If you aren’t particularly skilled in any of those areas, the website also suggests that timeshares, cabins, hunting property, recreational vehicles, or boats can be posted if owners are willing to barter for the use of the items or even trade them outright for instruction.
Thoen said she was inspired to create the website after running out of funds to pay for her own training. Discharged from the U.S. Army in January, she had applied for flight training assistance through the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. She has been unable to get full credit for her active duty time from the Department of Veterans Affairs and is just 16 hours away from completing her private pilot certificate.
“My business isn’t just targeting” primary student pilots, Thoen said. “I want to find CFIs of all ranks of experience who are willing to barter with students all the way up to ATP.”
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
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