Flying Costs Got You Down? It Could Be Worse.

In this month’s AOPA Pilot (Feb 2011) the “Pilot Briefing” column provides us with some sobering statistics from across the pond.  I recently did a podcast talking about the price of learning to fly in the U.S.   I commented that while the cost is high to many pocketbooks, it isn’t likely to decrease and I offered some ideas on reducing the cost of training.

But compare American aviation prices with that of our English counterparts and you begin to thank your lucky stars you’re learning to fly in the States.  Check out these prices:

A Cessna 172 (simple 6-Pack) $164/hour.   PLUS

VAT (Value Added Tax) of $36 PLUS

A per-circuit (touch-and-go) fee of $12.21 PLUS

Full Stop Landing Fee of $36.84.

And fuel is $9.75/ gallon.

Therefore the hourly cost with one touch-and-go is…. $268.64

Instrument students?  An ILS has a fee of $78.  So just an approach to a full stop is $114.84 and you haven’t even paid for the plane (and all those fees) and your instructor.

While it’s not “cheap” to learn to fly….hey, it could be worse…a LOT worse.




4 responses to “Flying Costs Got You Down? It Could Be Worse.

  1. Chris, I’ll be paying around $270 AU per hour for training in a Piper Warrior here in Sydney. Plus $15 landing fee. So yeah – think you guys still have it *relatively* cheap.

  2. You’re right….it’s all relative. There’s an expectation of low-cost that is just part of our culture. I, like everyone else, wants a deal. I want that 172 rental to be $40/hour….but it’s just not. Here in the U.S. luckily we do still have a system that is relatively free of fees. I feel for you guys where you’re doubly taxed for flight training. (You can take off, but you’ll have to pay to land!)

  3. So be it. I do understand that GA has come from a place where there’s a general expectation that it’s going to be cheap. But personally I don’t think that’s sustainable. Fuel, good maintenance, appropriate regulation, insurance & risk management – all of these things cost money. I know a lot of older pilots in Australia whine about “user pays” and while I think a healthy GA sector contributes a lot to our economy generally, I think it’s unrealistic to expect others to heavily subsidise our choices to fly recreationally.

    Not to mention factoring in the cost of carbon if/when we do that here in Australia …

    • While I know and accept the cost of flying as a fact of life, I do think it is an overly inflated industry by and large. The $.37 bolt costs $3.70 simply because it is sold to go into an airplane, similar issues come into play with insurance. That stuff drives me crazy. At the end of the day, no matter if we’re flying in TN or AUS…it’s a complicated matter and we have to make the most of the situation we find ourselves in and get involved in the process where we can.

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