Guide to Rent a Plane

by Bob Young

Puchasing an aircraft is very pricey, therefore most people will begin their flying experience by renting and aircraft. Even between different planes there are countless variations and each has a different price tag. This can become very frustrating. Prior to those details, lets discuss how to get started and rent a plane.

Go to google maps and find the nearest airports. If an airport has more than 2 familiar commercial carriers, then it's probably too large and won't be a good place to rent anyhow. The lowest prices for aircraft rentals can be found at small fields in small towns away from the major international and regional airports. Remember: busier airports have more aircraft in the pattern and this might mean you'll spend a good chunk of your rental time taxiing to the runway behind a 737.

After you find a nice, small airport near you - one without a lot of commerical service -- find the FBO (Fixed Base Operator) on the grounds. This is where you will want to ask about anything related to general aviation, including aircraft rental or learning to fly. It's counterintuitive, but the older, run-down facilities often have the best-priced airplane rental.

If nobody inside the FBO knows about rentals, ask to talk to the maintenance person. Rentals have strict maintenance requirements from the FAA, so if there's one nearby this guy will know it!

Speak with the owner of the airplane or whoever they have running it. Be sure to ask them about their rental system, their unique requirements, what instructors they approve of, etc. Ask about insurance and what it covers and what it does not cover. Consider purchasing your own renters policy through a reputable insurer since premiums are usually cheap.

Take a checkride or a lesson. If you're already current, they'll probably want you to take a 30 minute flight to show you know how to fly the airplane. If you're a student, you can begin by taking lessons from one of their instructors. Instructors often work independently so remember that cash payments for their fee are always appreciated.

About the Author: