Aircraft hire makes flying an affordable reality for many pilots. Let’s look at the pros and cons, and how to hire a plane. This post is about hiring light aircraft, not a private jet for domestic or international air travel.
Pros & Cons of Aircraft Hire
There are several advantages and disadvantages to hiring a plane for recreational flying on a private pilot licence (PPL) as opposed to owning your own aircraft or having a share in an aircraft group.
- Flexibility: Hiring a plane allows you to choose the make and model of aircraft that you want to fly, as well as the time and location of your flight.
- Convenience: You don’t have to worry about the maintenance and upkeep of an aircraft, as that is the responsibility of the operator.
- Cost: Hiring an aeroplane can be more cost-effective than owning one, especially if you only fly occasionally.
- Cost: Hiring a plane can still be expensive, especially if you fly frequently.
- Availability: You may have to book a plane in advance, and there may not always be a suitable aircraft available when you want to fly.
- Responsibility: As a pilot, you are responsible for the safety of the aircraft and passengers, and you may feel slightly more pressure when you are hiring a plane as opposed to flying your own.
Aircraft Hire Step By Step
Here is a step-by-step plan for choosing and hiring a light aircraft for recreational flying on a private pilot licence (PPL):
- Determine your needs: Consider factors such as the number of passengers you will be carrying, the distance you will be flying, and the type of flying you will be doing (e.g., cross-country, aerobatics). This will help you narrow down the options and find a aircraft that is suitable for your needs.
- Research rentals: Look for flying clubs and schools that operate in your area and offer the type of aircraft you are interested in. Compare prices and read reviews to get a sense of the quality of the service.
- Contact aircraft operators: Contact them and ask about their pricing and availability. Make sure to discuss any specific requirements or preferences you have, such as a specific make or model of aeroplane.
- Review rental agreements: Carefully review the rental agreement before signing. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions, including any restrictions on flying, maintenance responsibilities, and insurance requirements.
- Schedule a pre-rental briefing: Many flying schools will require you to undergo a briefing before your first rental to ensure you are familiar with the aeroplane and its systems. Attend this briefing and ask any questions you have.
- Rent the aeroplane: Once you have found a suitable aeroplane and rental company, make a reservation and pay for the rental. Follow any instructions provided by the rental company and make sure you have all necessary documents and payments ready.
- Fly safely: Follow all aviation regulations and guidelines, and use good judgment to ensure the safety of yourself and any passengers. Enjoy your flight
Aircraft Hire: Dry or Wet?
When you hire an aircraft, the cost of the rental is typically quoted on a “dry” or “wet” basis.
“Dry” rental refers to the cost of the aircraft only, and does not include any fuel. This means that you will need to pay for the fuel you use during your flight separately. This can be a good option if you are planning a short flight and want to minimize costs.
“Wet” rental refers to the cost of the aircraft as well as a set amount of fuel. This means that the fuel is included in the rental price and you don’t need to worry about paying for it separately. This can be a convenient option if you are planning a longer flight, but it may be more expensive overall.
It’s important to carefully consider the type of rental you choose, as the cost of fuel can vary significantly depending on the aircraft and the location of your flight.
Hire A Plane: Additional Costs
There are several additional charges that may or may not be included in aircraft hire charges:
- Fuel: As mentioned earlier, fuel is often not included in the cost of a “dry” rental, and you will need to pay for a fuel surcharge.
- Insurance: Some rental companies may include insurance in the cost of the rental, while others may require you to purchase it separately. It’s important to make sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage for your flight.
- Maintenance: The cost of maintaining and repairing the aircraft may be included in the rental price, or it may be an additional charge.
- Taxes: Some rental companies may charge taxes on the cost of the rental, while others may not.
- Landing fees: If you are planning to land away then it is most likely that the rental price my exlcude landing and circuit fees.
- Additional services: Some rental companies may offer additional services such as pilot training or transport to and from the airport. These services may be an additional charge.
Hire Aircraft With Discounts
There are several ways you can try to obtain discounts for landing fees and other rental charges for light aircraft:
- Join a flying club: Many flying clubs offer discounted landing fees and other benefits to members, such as access to a fleet of aircraft for rental.
- Buy a bulk package: Some operatorss offer a discounted hourly rates block for bulk bookings of rental hours. If you plan to fly frequently, this can be a cost-effective option as it makes hiring more competitively priced.
- Negotiate with the aircraft operator: Some may be willing to negotiate discounts, especially if you are a regular customer or have a large group. It’s worth asking if they can offer a discount or negotiate a better rate.
- Look for promotions or discounts: Keep an eye out for promotions or discounts offered by rental companies and in the aviation press. These may be advertised on their websites or through email newsletters.
- Use a rewards program: Some rental companies at smaller airports have loyalty programs or rewards programs that offer discounts or other perks to frequent customers. Signing up for these programs can be a way to save money on future rentals.
Remember to always ask about discounts and promotions when renting a private plane for private flights. It never hurts to ask!