Flying is expensive. In fact, recent initiatives by the FAA and AOPA list the cost of flying as one of the reasons people either opt not to learn to fly, or stop taking lessons once they start. A little further digging reveals that, more than anything, flying has a high cost of entry. But once that’s surmounted, the ongoing cost is on par with boating or various other pursuits (though the general public still maintains it’s an activity only for the rich). Although flying may never be considered cheap (it never has been, save for the years following World War II when you could buy a surplus warbird for pocket change), it can still be affordable for those with the passion to seek it out.
Affordability is a touchy subject in these tough economic times, so rather than trigger a barrage of letters fuming about how I could dare call aviation “affordable,” I want to show you how you can make flying simply less expensive. Presented here are ideas to lower your cost of flying, and perhaps spark in our youngest readers a sense that, for anybody bitten by the flying bug, there will always be a way to do it; that, with some ingenuity and sweat equity, anybody can fly.