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Flight School Comparison Checklist

As you can see in this example, the dry renter actually pays $3.33 more per hour than his equivalent wet renter. Note that we have not even factored in the additional in- structor cost if the rental pilot is accompanied by a CFI who bills for his time.

Further, it must be remembered that the dry rental pilot will do everything possible to conserve fuel. Pilots who rent dry may fly with excessively lean mixtures to help conserve fuel which can have detrimental effects on the health and life expectancy of the engine. Aircraft condition also suffers as additional landings and takeoffs associated with each flight, along with more start cycles and brake usage, lead to more wear and tear and higher maintenance costs.

Another surprise that often awaits the dry renter is the fuel bill that comes each month. More than likely, the renter will put fuel charges onto his/her credit card, and those charges can add up quickly in the background. To the unsuspecting pilot, that lump sum payment that comes due each month can be an unanticipated financial setback, and dampens much of the enthusiasm that was generated by the seemingly “low” dry rate.

When trying to figure out your true hourly cost on a dry lease, do not be mislead by artificially low fuel burn rates quoted by the rental company. An airplane that is adver- tised as burning “only 7 gph” in cruise, may burn 8 to 9 during low level training opera- tions. An extra 1 to 2 gallons equates to a $4 to $8 increase in the hourly rate.

Finally, keep in mind that dry renters must deal with the hassles of refueling the air- craft after each flight, which in itself creates a greater hazard as most likely the pilot has to taxi to a fuel farm and manually self-fuel the aircraft. Also, if the aircraft was not refueled to the proper level when the pilot departed, the pilot will be picking up the prior pilot’s gas tab when they return and do refuel to the proper level.

In summary, be careful to consider the true cost of renting dry and do not fall victim to a misleading comparison. It is not rocket science, and a little time invested in creat- ing an accurate assessment will help you make an informed decision about what works best for you. In the end, whether you rent wet or dry, the cost difference will be mini- mal.

Revision No: Original Revision Date: 01JUL2006

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© 2006, Avia Aero Services Inc.

Flight School Comparison Checklist

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