Rent an Aircraft for the Weekend

by Bob Young

One of the largest reasons for general aviation would be the independence it gives us. We could go wherever we would like, limited only by occasional restricted airspace, weather conditions, and our funding.

Okay possibly it isn't a great deal of freedom, but dangit it feels like that! A great usage of an airplane rental is booking an aircraft for your weekend holiday. You can easily avoid all of the complications of commercial flying plus a 2-3 hour flight can cover some significant range even in the slowest aircraft. Renting an airplane just for this trip isn't that dissimilar to renting it on any given day, but here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Book the aircraft far in advance. Weekends are clearly sought after days for any rental aircraft, so if you want to monopolize it for 2-3 days you'll have to reserve earlier on. If you fall under a large club with lots of aircraft, you possibly will not have to worry so much, however if you're sharing 1-2 planes along with a large number of pilots, it's another story. Give people ample notification and you'll keep everybody satisfied.

Attempt to fly the plane a few hours every day. Most multi-day rentals will likely have a stipulation in the rental contract that you average a small amount of hours per day on your trip. This is just an average, however, so for instance: Lets say you want to take an airplane for Three days and the minimal average daily use is 4 hours. If your journey is Six hours total each way, you'll fly 6 hours on day 1, 0 on day 2, and 6 on day 3. You would average 4 hours per day even when you didn't fly at all on the second day. Worst case scenario you need to pay for several hours you don't fly, but many clubs will waive this if there was not really much demand that weekend anyhow.

Don't ignore basic safety. If you're flying considerably beyond your normal area, don't neglect to take into consideration additional precautions you'll need to take: water safety equipment if crossing a large body of water, make sure you won't come upon a required 100 hour inspection while away, etc.

Also think about the types of flying might be different. Are you current on night landings? If you're flying into mountains, are you at ease with the hazards of this type of flying? Since you'll need to book beforehand anyhow, you could use the interim to get current and brush up on any rusty skills you'll need on your trip.

Do you think you're prepared for bad weather? Incident accounts are filled up with stories of individuals who simply had to get back home for work and other responsibilities and made a bad choice. Try and pad your vacation with time to ensure you don't have this issue, and make certain everyone knows they could end up grounded someplace till conditions improve. Don't plan a major meeting for 9am Monday morning and propose to return late Sunday night; leave yourself a little bit of room for the unanticipated.

Best of all, have a great deal of fun and come back with a few great stories!.

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