We all know the perks of being a pilot or any role in the aviation field. But we also know that this requires a lot of effort and of course, financial obligations such as mandated maintenance, rising fuel costs, airport expenses, and fly in restaurants. These can really add up to your costs. But there are several ways to cut down your expenses. Yup, you can fly more and spend less. You just need to learn how to be a “frugal”—not cheap—pilot.
Remember why you fly
Your flights and travel plans should always be evaluated. Know your priorities and stick to your objectives. As they say, “what starts out as a dream of travelling around the world, can burn holes into your pockets in the future.” You need to learn how to allocate your budget. Take note that you will be dealing with aircraft payments, hangar leases, insurance payments, avionic upgrades and unexpected maintenance bills.
Just want to share my friend’s experience. He owns a simple Cessna 150, which is likely less expensive than my 182RG. I get to places faster, but he can go the same places as well—not all though. From the start, you should know your objectives or purpose why you fly—whether for recreation, business, short hops, cross-countries, family vacations, and many more. This will guide you select the right aircraft. And having the right aircraft means more efficiency when it comes to costs and usability.
Keep it simple
This is quite related to knowing your goals and getting the right aircraft. Once you have evaluated your priorities, it is always bet to play it safe and keep it simple. Many pilots prefer IFR aircraft at additional purchase and maintenance costs when they only fly on instruments a couple of times a year, and only to stay current. If your purpose for flying doesn’t really require an instrument aircraft, avionics, and recurrent training, you might want to opt for VFR-only plane—thus saves more money. On the other hand, if local weather is temperate, and your aircraft is made of aluminum, then it might be a good idea to just rent a tie-down rather than a hangar. This can really help save a lot of money annually.
Manage your wants
Sure, we have a long list of cool stuff we want for our aircraft—perhaps a couple more planes in you new executive hangar? But let’s be realistic and try to manage your wants. Personally, I would prioritize safety above all. Stick with what you really need. What are the upgrades that could make the plane safer? Does your additional purchase help you achieve your flying goals? These are some of the things you need to consider when getting an aircraft.
Be smart about aircraft maintenance
Just like any other vehicles, aircrafts require regular maintenance to keep it in good running condition. Find a reputable aircraft maintenance service provider to make sure your unit is in good hands. It would be wise as well if you review the Pilot Operating Handbook or POH to make sure you’re on the right path.
Keep these things in mind and you will surely cut down your flying costs. Consult an experienced aviator for more tips and suggestions.