25 Reasons Renting an Airplane is Better than Buying

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Updated April 18, 2017
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Trever

Trever is a commercial pilot with over 1,700 hours of flight time as well as the owner and general manager of Inflight. He has numerous hours of mountain flying experience and a serious passion for teaching. In just 2 years he earned his Gold Seal Flight Instructor at the age of 22 and became a flight school owner at 23 years old.

There’s no greater feeling than piloting through the air on a solo flight. But many pilots face indecision when choosing between renting or buying an airplane. If you’re becoming a certified pilot, and the decision about whether or not to purchase an aircraft comes along, here are some reasons to consider renting instead:

1) Better for Your Budget

Overall, renting is much more affordable for those pilots in training or those that fly a low number of hours throughout the year. The rule of thumb is that owning a plane make sense once you’ve passed 100 hours of flying per year.

2) Great for Pleasure Cruising

Rental planes are perfect for cruising the sky at your leisure. Since you normally pay by the hour, it’s perfect for short sunset flights or quick training sessions.

3) Ideal for All Types of Situations

Whether you’re flying for personal reasons, or are piloting for a business, renting gives you the freedom to fly for any type of situation.

4) Flexible Amount of Passengers

Are you flying your family, yourself or a suite of business executives? If the type of passengers you carry varies, it’s best to rent so you can have the option of expanding or decreasing the size of your aircraft when necessary.

5) Better Variety of Aircraft

When you own, you’re stuck with what you have. When you rent, you’re able to pick from a fleet of aircrafts that provide a wide number of instrument options and flying capabilities.

6) Develop Skills for Multiple Types of Aircraft

If you’re learning (or want to expand your knowledge) renting is ideal. Instead of learning on one plane and a specific set of controls, you can diversify your knowledge to prepare yourself for your instrument rating or commercial license.

7) Perfect for Flyers with Low Hours

For flyers with a low number of hours, renting will help increase your experience with respect to your budget.

8) No to Low Maintenance

When you rent, someone else does the maintenance, check-ups and detailing for the planes. You don’t have to worry about replacing parts, hiring mechanics or going through inspections.

9) Reduced Costs

Buying a plane comes with big expenses. Everything including taxes, insurance, detailing, maintenance and hangar fees can add up to huge monthly bills. Keep your costs down by renting.

10) More Money for Other Things

Piloting may be your lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need money for anything else. You can’t be flying all the time (unfortunately), and you don’t want to go homeless or hungry just to buy a shiny new plane. Think before you make an impulsive purchase.

11) Try Before You Buy

Renting gives you the opportunity to try several types of aircraft before you make a purchase decision. If you’re thinking about buying, try renting for a few months to find out which plane is best for you.

12) More Convenience

Renting a plane provides convenience, more so than some might think. If you own a plane, you have access to it 24/7, which is great, but that comes along with added maintenance requirements that could leave you grounded if you don’t have a reliable mechanic.

13) No Surprise Maintenance Expenses

Planes are operated under strict regulations, meaning every element of the plane must be in tip-top shape before it’s flyable. Some maintenance expenses can be extremely costly and unaffordable for the average person.

14) Explore Different Airfields

When you rent, you can explore the various airfield in your area. Renting gives you the freedom to fly skies untravelled.

15) A Trainer Airplane is Likely Not One You’d Want to Buy

Usually an airplane you want to train in, something basic and simple to control, like a Cessna 150, is not an airplane you would like to own – because it’s not that comfortable for most flying situations. Traveling in a 150mph is not a lot of fun in a C-150 – a twin Comanche, on the other hand, may be perfect.

16) Off-set High Insurance Costs of being a Student

A student pilot will see high insurance costs at the very beginning of their training, which will negate the benefits of owning an airplane.

17) No Long-term Commitment

If you’re still learning or have just recently received your license, you might not have the experience necessary to make a purchase. Once you learn more about flying, you can make a more informed decision.

18) Get Discounted Rates by Joining a Club

If you join a flying club, you’ll most likely receive a discounted rate on plane rental.

19) Buying a Plane Restricts Your Flight Instructor Pool

When you buy a plane, you need to find an instructor who is certified to teach with that aircraft. This lowers your pool of instructors to pick from.

20) Never Get Duped into Buying a Lemon

If you’re inexperienced in plane mechanics, you may end up buying something that will cost you dearly in the long-run. You need to have working knowledge of an aircraft to ensure you’re not getting ripped off.

21) Avoid Added Risk

If you do end up buying a lemon, you add risk in that you may, for monetary reasons, end up having to abandon your dream of getting your pilot’s license just to pay off aircraft debts. How much risk are you willing to take? That’s the question every pilot has to answer for themselves.

22) Don’t get Restricted by Learning Requirements

If you’re looking for a trainer plane, you can normally get by with an IFR equipped Cessna 152 or Warrior for most flying. But you still need access to a twin engine for at least 20-30 hours for any commercial and certified flight instructor tickets.

23) Fits Every Mission Profile

No matter what type of flying you want to do – low and slow, high and fast, heavy or light – renting gives you access to the type of plane you need to do it.

24) Stress-Free

Aircraft ownership isn’t the end all be all of flight training financial problems. To be successful, you have to compare the costs and benefits just right – and have a little luck – for it to work out noticeably in your favor. Most of the time it’s a financial wash.

25) It Beats Not Flying at All!

Can’t decide between renting and owning? Well, until you own your own plane, rental is the best thing for you – because, hey – it beats not flying at all!


Trever

Trever is a commercial pilot with over 1,700 hours of flight time as well as the owner and general manager of Inflight. He has numerous hours of mountain flying experience and a serious passion for teaching. In just 2 years he earned his Gold Seal Flight Instructor at the age of 22 and became a flight school owner at 23 years old.