Al Marsh

Are you flying less? Just wondering.

June 2, 2011 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

In the past week I’ve seen a newspaper story from Kansas about a Cessna 152 owner who says the price of fuel is limiting his flying activities. Then a story appeared in a Seattle paper indicating it isn’t just fuel, but the recession that has a flight school “hanging on by its fingernails.” A quick trip to Tennessee a week ago turned up a Cessna 182 pilot from Connecticut who said he might not keep the airplane if fuel prices remain where they are, and added, “None of my friends [airplane owners]¬†are flying much.” Is this typical?

After I wrote the above, AOPA came out with a new partnership program to help share ownership costs.

12 Responses to “Are you flying less? Just wondering.”

  1. Kurt Thams Says:

    Just had a 3.5 hour flight that cost $22… One of the benefits of flying gliders.

  2. Andrew Smolenski Says:

    I haven’t flown in 8 years, and have been trying to get back into flying over the past year. My plans keep getting pushed back as fuel costs and other expenses keep it just beyond reach. I’m hoping by the end of summer, I’ll be able to get back in the air, but that’s still an unknown, and that’s only because my flying club rents their planes at a ‘wet’ rate, on tach time rather than hobbs.

  3. Miles Cowan Says:

    Definately. I got my private certificate in February. My FBO/flight school (where I rent 172s) added a fuel surcharge last month, and I am, for the first time since I began flying, opting not to fly on perfectly flyable weekends. And considering that I’m currently working on an instrument rating, most weekends are flyable. A rental rate based on hobbs time is especially ugly in this environment.

  4. Mike Says:

    4 years ago i was flying 40 hours a year. 3 years ago prices started going up, only did 25 hours. 2 years ago 12. Last year 6 hours. So far this year, 2.

    Prices to rent are up considerably and clubs aren’t as available anymore.

    Its not just AV gas prices, but everything else. 4 years ago I was spending about $150 per month on groceries, now I am spending nearly $400 a month for the same amount of food. Inflation, at least in this area, is far exceeding increases in pay. That takes a toll on how much we can spend to go flying.

    @Kurt Thams. Would love to take up soaring, but there isn’t an instructor in the area. A couple clubs (2, each about an hour away. neither has an instructor anymore).

  5. Ross Says:

    I am still flying close to weekly, but it is mostly utility flying. My fun flying just for the sake of poking holes in the sky has declined. Fuel prices vary as much as $0.85 per gallon in my area (at GA airports), so I’m very selective about who gets my business at fill up. Also, the fuel cost when adding on ratings makes it less attractive to fly for instructional purposes.

  6. Dave Says:

    No, increased fuel prices aren’t really affecting my flight time at all. When I bought my aircraft, I made sure to budget for $7/gal fuel. We’re still at $5.10/gal where I am in the Midwest. So until it hits $7/gal, I am good to go. I have, however, noticed that I actually don’t fly as much as I could based on my budget. This is not due to fuel prices but more due to work travel and weather.

  7. Dan MacDonald Says:

    Yes, I had already done everything I can think of to reduce fuel costs:

    – GAMI injectors
    – Lean of Peak
    – Mogas
    – Reduced speed

    All that remains is to fly less.

  8. Dom Derasmo Says:

    Back in April I flew my F33A Bonanza from New Jersey to Burnet Texas Fuel cost alone was over $750.00 for the trip. With fuel over $5.00 a gallon we now go for VERY FEW $100.00 burgers. So YES fuel prices have forced me to reduce my flying.

  9. Jay Says:

    I’m still flying my Aeronca 120 plus hours each year. At 4 GPH I don’t mind the price of gas. Not sure I would feel I was proficient at anything less than 100 hours.

  10. Larry Homan Says:

    It’s not the price of gas that’s keeping my logbook from a lot of use but the lack of airports. The little ones are going back to crops. My Champ doesn’t cost much to fly but it’s a 45 minute drive one way to my plane. I spend almost as much on car gas per flight as I do on Avgas.

  11. Dave Says:

    Nope, Fuel doesn’t bother me. Yes it sucks dropping 200-300 at a time to fill up but I feel my time that would be spent driving to places is worth more than that. I can cut an 8 hour drive to between 2-3 hours – Thats worth the cost of fuel!

  12. Randy Says:

    I still fly for business weekly but I now plan my trips more judiciously. Having said That I’m off to Alaska next week because I love to fly my mooney long and fast.

    All in all the gas price isn’t a major determinant of my flying. The recession has had a bigger impact. If I didn’t fly I’d loose a lot of my business so I still fly just lean of peak and a little more slowly.

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