Bitcoin Takes Off at the UK's Top Flying School

The North London Flying School is now offering wannabe pilots the option to pay in bitcoin.

AccessTimeIconJan 13, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:15 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The UK’s number one flying school is now letting wannabe pilots pay in bitcoin.

The North London Flying School in, you guessed it, North London took the step in November and is using Coinbase to process bitcoin payments.

From leisurely flights in a two-seater Piper Cherokee to full-on acrobatic experiences in a Extra 300L, the school offers a range of options for bitcoiners wanting to get up into the air.

Like many bitcoin-accepting businesses, the school began taking the currency after one crypto-curious employee took the initiative.

General Manager Gavriel Merkado explained: “I had been keeping track of the rising popularity of bitcoin and proposed to the company director the idea of accepting payments in bitcoin.”

Bitcoin transactions

Only a handful of the products on their website can currently be purchased with bitcoin, but they can do payments in person for any of their products – if Merkado is there that is:

"If an aircraft landed and the pilot bought some fuel, it is simple to pay with a credit card and anyone can handle the transaction. If they want to pay with bitcoin then I need to be around, as the others haven't been shown what to do."

Which would seem to be in keeping with Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam’s recent comment that “99.9% of merchants do not currently accept bitcoin or have a good understanding of what it is.”


So far the school hasn’t had any customers pay in bitcoin, but Merkado says he’s optimistic about the broader question of bitcoin’s acceptance as a currency:

“In order for a 'thing' to be a currency it has to have certain prerequisites, it has to be limited, it has to be hard to fake, it has to be easy to store, it has to be easy to transfer and it has to be generally accepted. In my view, bitcoin beats all other traditional currencies in the first four categories."

The North London Flying School isn’t the only place you can use your bitcoins to get up into the air. Just 20 kilometres outside of Bratislava, Slovakia, the PilotClub, a family-run business, began accepting bitcoin at the end of 2013. They take customers up in a "small sports airplane", which PilotClub's Norbert Chromek says makes all the difference:

"We definitely recommend you to try this type of adrenalin because, believe us, it’s a huge difference between flying with an airline and small sport airplanes."

Images via North London Flying School and PilotClub


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.