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Private Pilot AircraftWhat Aircraft Can Private Pilots Fly?
By Kyle Garrett
Once you've earned your private pilot's license, there are many ways to get up in the air. Rental planes are available at most airports, and, after a thorough "checkout" with a local certified flight instructor (CFI), you can usually rent an airplane "wet" (meaning the price includes fuel and oil) and go for a day trip with family or friends. But if you want to go on longer trips, renting a plane can be challenging. Another option is to join your local flying club. Flying clubs are organizations designed to reduce the cost of flying through shared expenses. When you join a flying club, you typically must either pay dues, or "buy in" to the club's aircraft ownership program. After this initial investment, you will be able to fly the club's aircraft at reduced rates. Everyone in the club pays a portion of the maintenance, hangar, and insurance costs for the aircraft. Clubs are often a better way to take longer trips. Read more about private pilot licenses.
Fractional Ownership Programs
A third way to get flying, and a fairly recent development, is the fractional or shared ownership programs. Both these programs require you, the buyer, to pay money towards the purchase of an aircraft, but not the entire purchase amount. For example, a fractional ownership company could offer a 1/4 share of a new aircraft, and you could purchase that "share" for 1/4 of the cost of the airplane. Of course, you'll be sharing "your" airplane with three other owners, but at only 1/4 the total cost. Fractional companies typically manage all aspects of owning the aircraft including maintaining, cleaning, hangaring, and often even fueling the aircraft. This is a great way to go if you want to fly brand new, glass cockpit aircraft and don't want to handle all the details of aircraft ownership.
Aircraft ownership is the ultimate way for a private pilot to fly. As an aircraft owner, you have the freedom to fly where you want, when you want, for as long as you want. You are in total control of the aircraft including maintenance and storage, and you are free to operate and upgrade the aircraft as you see fit. There is no greater feeling than driving out to the airport and opening your hangar door to find your airplane or helicopter eagerly awaiting its next flight. Many pilots develop a special relationship with their aircraft, and this relationship cannot easily be described. Hopefully, one day, you will know first hand what it means to own your own private aircraft. Learn more about private pilot training.