How Expensive Is Flying Planes as A Hobby? (Breakdown Of Expenses)

For most people, their hobbies include; music, reading, swimming, watching movies, and other such activities.

But for some, hobbies come with a costly price tag.

As we speak about expensive hobbies, flying has to be one of them.

One will require to spend more to take up flying as a hobby.

But, How Expensive Is Flying as A Hobby?

Flying as a hobby can be very expensive.

For starters, there is a fee involved in getting your Private Pilot License (PPL), including paying for the time spent in the airplane, instructor fee, gear, and final exams.

We can break down how expensive to fly as a hobby is in a more straightforward way.

A significant section of your overall charge goes to flying the plane.

This will go for about $5000 to $8000, which is roughly 70% of the Private Pilot license fee. The charge also varies based on the type of plane and if one is training in a rural or urban setting.

The charge of the instructor is between $1000 and $2,500.

Therefore, as you find your training institution, ensure to check whether the fee also includes instructor fees.

See Also: Bucket List Of Hobbies From A – Z

Moreover, if one needs to fly solo, they will require to acquire at least a 3rd Class Medical Certificate, which goes for about $75 to $200 to acquire.

Also, one will be needed to take an oral, written, and practical examination which will cost about $800 to $1000.

After getting licensed, it is important to fly occasionally to remain safe; the more complex your certification, the more costly it is to stay current.

The aircraft gear needed to fly might also cost an extra $1000, which requires to be paid upfront.

This said, while flying as a hobby is significantly expensive, one can always borrow or rent gear to decrease expenses. Insurance for yourself and or the plane also comes as an additional fee.

The insurance rate widely varies by type and use of the aircraft, flying frequency, and other factors.

What Are the Different Choices That Influence the Price of Flying as A Hobby?

There are three ways of looking at flying expenses;

  • The ownership models
  • The renting models
  • The owner/leaser model

1. Ownership Model

The first option is the ownership model in which one owns their aircraft.

If one chooses to purchase an aircraft and can afford it, there are two things they can consider;

  • the type of flying you intend to use
  • and how often you will be flying.

If doing short distances on good weather for fun in an inexpensive plane to operate and insure, one might prefer a light-sport aircraft.

On the other hand, if looking to cover some distance away from home, it is recommendable to purchase something with decent instrumentation and range.

Aircraft are available in a wide range of prices depending on your affordability.

2. Renting Model

Most people don’t like dealing with the headache of ownership and prefer renting an aircraft.

This offers more flexibility in what one can do as a private pilot.

There normally are ‘dry lease’ and ‘wet lease’ options available with fuel included or not included.

However, one will need to pay for fuel, which is relatively expensive in one way or another.

A wet lease for an aircraft that carries more than one person begins at $100 to $130 per hour.

Also, renting involves time restrictions, and one will be with the aircraft for a specified time.

3. Owner\Leaser Model

Lastly, some people prefer fractional or shared ownership arrangements.

This involves teaming up and purchasing their aircraft, so they take turns to fly the aircraft for fun and even profit. In this case, the recurring and sunk costs are spread out between the members.

This way, a costly ticket repair is not as painful, and the aircraft will be in the air regularly, which helps keep all of the aircraft’s moving parts happy.

Some owners set up arrangements with enterprises and flight schools to rent out the plane during the time they will not be flying it, just like how people rent out vacation homes.

We would recommend joining such an aircraft club instead of renting aircraft.

What Is Required to Start Flying as a Hobby?

First, it’s vital to understand that anyone with decent motor skills can train to fly aircraft.

If your dream is to fly high in the skies, the great news is that one can bring the dreams to reality, courtesy of the many flight schools providing some of the best piloting courses.

Before considering flying as a hobby, ensure to meet all the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) eligibility requirements.

One is needed to have an excellent understanding of written and spoken English and have a private pilot certificate or a higher certificate that is  AAA accredited.

Furthermore, one is needed to meet the requirements of a private pilot license aligning with the model of the aircraft and the class rating applied for.

Basically, one will require to complete various exams and a specific number of solo flights, including a 2510 nm cross-country.

You will be given solo flights and need to display an unprecedented commitment level to complete the course successfully.

There are two license types;

  • commercial pilot license (CPL)
  • and private pilot license (PPL).

If one is doing flying as a hobby, one should consider taking the private pilot license because it involves fewer training hours and is of a lesser category.

You will require to complete the training class at least the class 10th.

One can also participate in shows such as Aero India as long as they have acquired a flying acrobatic license and are flying the type of plane rated to fly.

One must undertake and pass an examination with 70% and above for each aircraft to be rated to fly.

How Do Flying Ratings Work?

As a holder of a private pilot license, one can acquire multiple plane ratings and fly the planes.

This means the ability to fly different types of aircraft as long as one has a plane rating for that particular type.

On the other hand, a commercial pilot is prohibited from flying multiple aircraft even with multiple ratings.

When flying as a hobby, one can hire an instructor, fly solo, or get an extra pilot.

Also, based on the plane’s capacity, one can take their family and friends with them to enjoy the ride. 

Tips Of Financing a Flying Hobby

The charge of the flight training varies significantly depending on the college enrolled in your experience and how fast one graduates from the training.

However, there are various tips for lowering the cost of training.

To start with, consider getting a loan to cover some costs. One can also apply for a flight training scholarship.

Better still, inquiring with your recruiter about any training reimbursements available is another option.

You might be stunned to find yourself a good offer.

While it’s a hobby for some and others is a job, the joy to fly and the ability to do so is universal.

Bottom Line

Generally, flying is among the most expensive hobbies.

However, how expensive the hobby is varies depending on various factors, including the fee of acquiring the Private Pilot License and whether one prefers purchasing their own aircraft, renting, or shared ownership.

We hope you now have an idea of approximately how expensive flying as a hobby is with this article.

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