Are you willing to bet that this page gets more views than any other? It’s a safe bet. Why? Because the cost of GA is totally misunderstood.
Flying general aviation can cost the same as or less than boating, golfing, health & fitness clubs, motorcycling, car racing, hockey and a host of other pastimes enjoyed by many – but it is thought-of by many as expensive.
The one area where flying does probably cost more is licensing. You need a license to fly an aircraft as you do to operate a motorboat in Canada. A pilot license costs more however. We have an article on that here. Suffice to say it’s an expense but once you have it, its maintenance is not expensive.
You can rent an aircraft at your local flight school or flying club. How much is that? It depends on the aircraft, club etc. but perhaps $150 – $250 per hour for an average machine. This may sound like a lot but many pilots fly 25-50 hours a year, so look at it annually.
Remember also that flying for an hour does not take an hour. You have to prepare, check, often discuss and brief. A one hour flight can take two to three hours at the airport, plus the usual banter with follow pilots.
Some pilots own their aircraft wholly or with others (called fractional ownership). This can drastically reduce the per-hour cost of flying depending on how much you fly but carries more up-front cost. More on that here.
Aircraft are regularly bought for under $25,000. They are regularly maintained and stored for $3,500, insured for $1,000 and operated for $50 per hour. These figures are little different to boating and marinas are full of tenants.
Some ultralight pilots can fly for much less than this, with small engines sipping fuel, reduced machine and licensing costs and aircraft they can store at home – this can be a wonderful way to enjoy the Canadian skies.
Flying is not a “cheap” recreation – that’s obvious. Walking is cheap (not necessarily getting to the right destination though). There are ways to fly, learn and participate in GA which don’t need to break the bank and we’ll explore them all over time.
This is a social site so feel free to share your experiences in the comments below or click here to see how you can contribute more.