I am looking for some general advice - this is specific to the UK but may be similar else where.

I know it is possible to hire a private aircraft, I see comments like this on club/rental sites all the time:

Fly ASG members can experience affordable personal air travel for the Channel Islands, France and beyond. Fly ASG offers their services of non chartered aircraft rental to engage customers with a new streamlined approach to business and leisure travel.

Many sites mention the brakes on - brakes off fee per hour, but say you took that trip to the Channel Islands, France, or beyond: how do these companies usually charge for the bit where you will presumably be parked while you work on your sand castles at the beach for the day?

Just to be clear I'm not asking about airport parking etc. but how the owner of the aircraft will charge when it is not flying.

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Flying clubs and aircraft renters generally only charge for the time the plane is actually in use. In the U.S. at least, this is commonly measured using the Hobbs time (actual clock time used, triggered by oil pressure or some other indicator that the plane is "in use"), or by Tach time, which is a bit trickier but can very roughly be thought of as the amount of wear you've put on the engine. (Strictly speaking it's a count of the number of engine revolutions, converted to "hours at cruise RPM".)

For overnight or longer trips, it's common to find a minimum hourly usage per day. For example, if you take a plane on a 3-day trip, and your club/owner requires 2 hours/day, you will be paying for 2 x 3 = 6 hours of Tach / Hobbs / whatever time, even if you didn't actually use the plane that much. You'll pay for the higher of your actual usage or your minimum usage per day.

It's extremely rare in the U.S., but not unheard-of, to encounter an extra fixed fee per day for taking the airplane for more than one day. (I've never personally encountered a fixed fee like this.) I'm not sure if things are different in the U.K.

Hourly rates can also either be "wet" (the rate includes fuel: any amount you pay for fuel will be deducted from your rental fee when you return) or "dry" (the rate includes the airplane only and you must pay for fuel). "Dry" rentals may or may not also require you to pay for oil or other consumables used.

(This is general information. Of course, if your question is specifically about Fly ASG's policies and fee scales, your best bet is to contact them directly. I know nothing about them.)

  • Ah ok that's interesting. Would you say that the minimum hours per day would usually be higher than 2 or not? To me it feels like if they had the opportunity to keep it local and have it out for more hours then they would do so. – connersz May 21 '14 at 22:45
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    @connersz I have seen the "minimums" vary from 2-4 hours per day. – Lnafziger May 22 '14 at 1:34
  • @connersz Sometimes they could make more money on a particular day by keeping it local, but then they wouldn't attract those pilots who want the ability to go on trips. It's a sacrifice to increase membership in the long run. – TypeIA May 22 '14 at 11:57
  • checked local club here. Rental rates assume 1/3 of time away from home to be airtime. So overnighting can get rather expensive (especially as rental rates are including the fuel the engine would use while flying, so if you're on the ground for 40 hours after a 4 hour leg, then another 4 hour leg back you're charged among other things for 8 hours of fuel you never used, which at avgas rates isn't cheap). – jwenting May 23 '14 at 10:18
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    @jwenting So effectively an 8 hour/day minimum? Wow, that's by far the steepest I've ever heard of! That club must cater mostly to students. – TypeIA May 23 '14 at 11:50

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