Recently, the Technical Difficulties discussed the \$100 hamburger on their show Citation Needed.

A "\$100 hamburger" refers to the practice of flying to another airport, eating a hamburger there, and flying back again.

The hamburger is used as an "excuse" for flying — the actual reason is just getting flight time to meet minimal flight hours. Presumably, it once cost around \$100 to do this, which is a lot for just getting a burger.
The Wikipedia article mentions that a hundred dollar hamburger likely costs more than \$100 these days, due to increased fuel prices.

Is it feasible to accomplish this mission (in the United States) within a \$100 budget today (2017)?

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    $\begingroup$ Wait a minute - what? $\endgroup$
    – Koyovis
    Jun 22, 2017 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ I'm open for any additional tags; I couldn't think of any. $\endgroup$
    – SQB
    Jun 22, 2017 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ please consider using the non-clickbait title, we are not desperate for views and we don't want to mislead visitors. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Jun 22, 2017 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ I thought the title quite good, yes it's slightly clickbait but it's also representative of the actual question so it's not exactly misleading IMHO. Also I didn't realise this was something pilots did and I thought it was interesting, stop being so miserable and let's allow some light hearted questions once in a while please! $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Jun 23, 2017 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ I'm so British. We call this the "Hundred and fifty quid cup o' tea" $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Mar 6, 2020 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


The flight school I fly out of rents a 152 at 86USD an hour wet. Assuming you need some cash for the burger lets say you save the remaining 14 dollars for that you are right at your 100. With the 152 cruising at just about 95 Kts you need to keep the distance (both ways) under 95nm to say in our budget.

KDYL → Sky Manner (N40) is a 15nm hop and Sky Manner has a nice little restaurant.

If you want to put some actual time on the plane

KDYLKRDG is a 39nm hop and there is a restaurant there.

Both of these hops keeps the hobbs at under or right at an hour of flying which keeps you under your total of 100USD for the flight and the burger.

That being said, there are bigger, faster, more expensive planes you can fly much farther to get food. I was chatting with a guy who flew his PC-12 from PA to Martha's Vineyard for lunch with some clients... I assume that was far more than 100$.

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    $\begingroup$ I have flown from my home airport to Marthas Vineyard for lunch also. My plane burns 10 gal/hour, it's about 45 minutes to get there (76 miles), so at $4.59/gallon that works out to 45/60 X 10 X 4.59 dollars/gallon = 34.43 dollars each way for gas, 68.85 total. Can even take the wife & son if we don't get too carried away with a meal. Drive, ferry, taxi, and taxi, ferry, drive to get there & back would be an all day trip. We did Nantucket once last year also (another 26 miles), was before Memorial Day tho so places hadn't really opened for the season. Had a Nantucket Nectar, in Nantucket :) $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Mar 6, 2020 at 13:17

It depends on location. The prevailing rental rates at a busy airport near me are around \$200/hr wet Hobbs for a C172. Only \$100 gives you about enough time to start up the plane, taxi out, wait in line, do your run-up, taxi back to the hangar, and grab a burger on your drive home. At the nearby (but less busy) field where I fly from, it's only \$150/hr and no line, so you might actually get a few laps around the pattern before running out of money.

With avgas prices of \$4-5/gal and typical light planes burning 8-10gal/hr, two or three hours of flying can easily reach \$100 in fuel costs alone. Add the cost of the plane itself—and of the burger, of course—and that burger costs a lot more than it used to.

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    $\begingroup$ It seems that /$ is necessary to keep MathJax from hijacking your $ signs and making unreadable text. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Mar 6, 2020 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan -- thanks for pointing that out, helped w/ my answer -- $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2021 at 21:00

A "\$100 hamburger" refers to the practice of flying to another airport, eating a hamburger there, and flying back again.

Is it feasible to accomplish this mission (in the United States) within a \$100 budget today (2017)?

Seeing as you've set no minimum distance that must be flown, the answer is unambiguously "yes".

For example, they sell hamburgers at the airport in Salem Oregon, and the airport at Independence Oregon is only about 10 miles away.

Actually they sell hamburgers at the airport in Independence too, so you could make the trip either way.

You could even make the trip in an ultralight if you wish-- which b.t.w. the FAA does consider to be "aircraft" (see related ASE questions)-- and some are known to be based at the Salem airport, despite the Class D airspace.

You could even make a round trip with hamburger consumption at both ends, or at all three ends. As long as future medical bills are not included in the accounting, you might still stay under budget.

You could probably even swing a round trip (including consumption of a single hamburger) in a rented aircraft from Lebanon Oregon, where as of the time the question was originally posted, a 2-place Cessna aircraft could be rented in the ballpark of 40-50$/ hr (wet).

  • $\begingroup$ Happy to have preemptively helped with the anti-MathJax hijacking. ;) $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Apr 13, 2021 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ But does the flight have to be made in a rented aircraft? E.g. my Cherokee burns 8-10 gph, and has an autogas STC, so I could do about 3 hours of flying and still have enough for a fairly cheap burger. (FWIW, I don't think I've ever flown anywhere just to get a burger: I might hike, bike, or visit local tourist attractions.) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Apr 13, 2021 at 18:06

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