View Full Version : I want to fly and own but worry about costs.

15-07-09, 10:12 AM
Hello everyone, I'm Dave and I'm addicted to aircraft....

I'm 38 in September and it's dawned on me that the pledge I made when I was 15 that I would own and fly an aircraft by the time I'm 40 is getting close!! I served in the RAF for 15 years and due to moving around a lot and then various other excuses (they are plentiful but don't hold much water...) I never really got started. The costs have always been a factor for me as well but five years ago I was knocked off my motorcycle by some plonker, medically discharged from the RAF and left unable to walk for three years. I'm walking now and my court case against said fella is drawing to a close. Although I can expect a decent amount of money to buy an aircraft with I am unsure of the running costs of owning an aircraft once i'm back to spending money on a month to month basis.

So the questions are:

If I went down the route of purchasing a 3 axis, what are the usual costs for hangerage? On wing fold aircraft is it really feasible to store the aircraft at home in a garage? I had thought about going down the gyrocopter route briefly as well. What are your thoughts on this? As a new guy I have loads of questions before the money lands and I get myself to a school but any info I can gain on running costs of an aircraft would be greatly appreciated.

15-07-09, 11:12 AM
Hi there, loads of options really. You can join a syndicate and own a share, this keeps the costs down however availability can become an issue if the syndicate has too many members who all want to fly when the weather's good. Typically hangerage is around the 100 per month mark if you own your own machine, some choose to rig and de-rig however i guess it really depends on the aircraft and the time you have available (some clubs charge less for flex as they can cram more into the hangers). Gyro's are superb looking machines, iv'e never tried it but we have a leading school at Rufforth and quite a fleet based there...i think the MT-03 retails for around 50K, unfortunately i have no idea of the running costs although i do believe training is slightly more expensive. I think the best thing to do would be to decide exactly how much money you can initially spend then explore your options from there.

To give you an idea of aircraft costs, have a look on http://www.afors.com/ There are all sorts of aircraft for sale here. Most schools charge around the 100 an hour for training on the school machines which includes the instructor and aircraft hire. You will need some study materials however the essentials dont amount to much. Training takes as long as it takes, factor in weather, aircraft and instructor availability and your own aptitude and ability...try not to pay too much attention to the minimums or other pilots achievements as this may serve only to disract or demotivate you, with persevere and you will get there.

There are loads of guys on this forum who can supply clear advice if you decide to purchase your own machine...better still have a look down your local club and go flying, there are always other pilots there only too keen to welcome and help out with any questions.

Best of luck.

Bob T
15-07-09, 11:33 AM
You missed your chance there then. I learned to fly microlights with the RAFMFA at Halton back in '95 '96. It was counted as adventure training and cost next to nothing. I ended up at Wyton with free hangarage.
You may still be able to learn with the RAFMFA, but I am not sure if they teach 3 axis, but they are now based at Henlow. You need to do a web search and try to contact a chap called Dale Coupland, who will give you all the info.

15-07-09, 15:01 PM
Thanks for the quick replies there. I'm living in Newark now so i'd better start looking around this area. I popped up to Wickenby airfield in Lincoln the other day as they seem to do flight training on all types including Gyros. unfortunately the weather was pretty bad so no-one seemed to be flying although just as we left a Thruster landed in a massive crosswind. I was mightily impressed!!

I actually used to work with Dale in the engine bay at RAF Marham and talked to him a couple of times about it. Unfortunately as I have already mentioned I always had an excuse not to do it. What I was playing at there I have no idea.... I was discharged back in September 05 but I will look them up and see if they can hopefully do something for me.

Thanks for the advice, watch this space!!

Dave / Moggy

PS. If anyone knows of a good club close to Newark please let me know!!

15-07-09, 20:47 PM
Is Sandtoft not too far from Newark?

andy dixon
15-07-09, 21:12 PM
get in your car and come to rufforth and me or vince(pink cat suit in posting above !) will take you for a spin ........not literally,but you pay for the fuel and we will take you out to play for the day

15-07-09, 21:21 PM
Hi Dave, hangarage costs vary a lot depending on whereabouts the country you are and also on what a particular field has to offer in the way of facilities.

In my area (Essex) hangarage cost are between 70 and 210 per month, the first at a farm strip and the second at a large ex- military airfield with 2 tacmac runways and a grass runway all mainintained in good nick. As a costing exercise it is well worth visiting a few strips in your area a checking them out.

Also worth consideration, with a suitable aircraft, is an outside tiedown as long as your aircraft is a toughie (like a Thruster, AX or X Air) and you have good covers. Typicaly that is just over half the cost of hangar space.

Unless you have a monster garage it is unlikely that even a wing fold type will fit, garages are a bit short normaly. The advantages of a wing fold are that you should get cheaper hangarage as you usualy pay for the space that you take up. Many wing fold types will fit within a shipping container and for that most airfields charge no more than the cost of a tie down. Another way that works is to have a hangar trailer, this can be kept on a driveway or kept in the same way as a container.

As has been mentioned the other way is syndication, groups of 2,3 or 4 can work really well.

Gyros I know very little about, but they are unlikey to be cheap to buy or maintain, they do look fun though.

Good Luck

andy dixon
15-07-09, 21:47 PM
GIROS at rufforth 5,000 per share. max 10 shares to a giro. 35 quid an hour wet (including everything,insurence,fuel,etc) there are 11 giros at rufforth and a gyro training school,food 7 days a week

17-07-09, 10:47 AM
Hmm, looking at the map I think Sandtoft might be just about doable. I'll keep looking though. I found a small club on a strip at Upton just north of me. It is only 15 minutes away.

Rufford is a fair way off mind you. I am going close to there to have an aerobatic flight at Sherburn on the 12th September. I'll do everything I can to pop up and see you.

Ginge, thank you for the extra info regarding hangerage. I'm not so sure about the tie down option. Wouldn't the condition of the aircraft degrade much faster? Knowing the British weather I'd be worried of leaving it for a few weeks and coming back to a pile of faded fabric and rusted metal...
You've probably picked up on the fact that I'm not too keen on joining a syndicate. Not at first at any rate. I really like the appeal of waking up, looking out the curtains and thinking, "great weather for flying" and just getting in the air.
On inside storage, 100 a month for me is doable but like you say I'll have to do the rounds to see what's available.

Is there a list of microlight strips and clubs?

Bob T
17-07-09, 11:12 AM
Dave, Have you thought that a good way of getting the training might be a holiday? Have a look at Dave Lords place at www.wanafly.co.uk (http://www.wanafly.co.uk). I can recommend him as will many others on this site. He trains on a skyranger or a flexwing.

17-07-09, 13:17 PM
Much Clipped
Ginge, thank you for the extra info regarding hangerage. I'm not so sure about the tie down option. Wouldn't the condition of the aircraft degrade much faster? Knowing the British weather I'd be worried of leaving it for a few weeks and coming back to a pile of faded fabric and rusted metal...
Certainly the aircraft types that I mentioned need give you no concern. As an example some of our students bought an AX3 that had spent 14yrs tied down outside without even the benefit of covers and we spent a few winter months checking it out pretty thoughly. It was a bit scruffy but pretty sound, we had the covers for the tail re-stitched, replaced several nuts and bolts and fitted new brake cables and trim tab cables (chafing damage to the outers) and she wizzed through her permit.

Like many, if not most school Thrusters ours has lived outside , with covers, for the last 5 yrs and is still smart and in good shape.
I think that you underestimate just how tough these machines are

If you do check out the local strips it may be worth seeing if they would allow you to put up your own T hangar, that could save long term cost.

21-07-09, 22:06 PM
Well, as luck would have it I attended a summer function of my wife's and as it happens a colleague of hers has a husband who used to fly out of Caunton about 4 miles away from Newark. He used to fly a Pegasus from there and tells me he paid 30 a month hangerage fully rigged!! Not only that, there is a school there that trains in both flex and fixed wing aircraft called Lightflight.

I just have to wait for the money now. My court case is scheduled for 27th August so hopefully i'll be airborne shortly after that.

Andy, I'd love to pop up and have a chat with you sometime. I want to see some Gyro's in action!! Like I said earlier, I'll be having an aerobatic flight at Sherburn on the 12th September and will try get up to you that weekend. I'll be in touch before then to see if you are around.

Thanks for all the info guys. A great and helpful community!! :D


22-07-09, 09:05 AM
30, thats the best price that I have come across, sounds like the answer to all, nice one


andy dixon
22-07-09, 20:56 PM
just send me a private message about coming up..........that weekend sounds good

26-07-09, 12:09 PM
Hi Dave,
Call in and speak to Andy Buchan at Caunton which is only a hop,step and a jump from Newark. ( www.lightflight.co.uk (http://www.lightflight.co.uk) ) He is a CFI on flexwing and his airfield has plenty of facilities. Before you decide though, have a good look around for what would really suit you. ie distance to airfield, cost of hangarage etc.
Coal Astons best Skyranger pilot......mind you I'm the only one here with a Skyranger.


28-07-09, 16:09 PM
Cheers Ade

I found Lightflight on the BMAA listings. It looks like Andy teaches fixed wing as well, my passion really. A couple more weeks and i'll hopefully have some money to think about getting started. The only thing to decide then is which aircraft to buy!! I'm thinking that about 20,000 will be my absolute top limit and I've seen a lot of good machines for that. The trouble is I have absolutely no idea what makes a good aircraft other than it's fuel consumption, it's MAUW and what colour it is.... I know cruise speed maybe worth considering but surely an extra 10 Kts isn't going to make a massive difference. There seem to be very few people who actually de-rig their 3 axis aircraft for storage so maybe that isn't as important as I thought it was. So without actually flying something the only thing I can do is decide if it looks good...!! :D

One more thing!! I'd like to buy an aircraft fairly soon after starting training so as to keep the costs down. Is the usual thing to buy a crate of beer for your instructor and have him fly it to your field? I have to take the cost of the beer into account when looking for an aircraft!!

Thanks for all your advice guys, it's very much appreciated!


PS. I'll PM you closer the time Andy, thanks mate!!

05-01-11, 17:23 PM
As a newcomer I have only just found this very useful thread and I am sure that the original query is one that concerns virtually everybody at the outset of their flying career.

I had my first visit to the local flying school yesterday and came away just a bit disheartened. Although people seem to arrange their own hangerage etc it does seem a bit hit and miss and dependent upon getting to know local farmers and doing some networking and this is compounded by the threat to the future of both Bembridge and Sandown airstrips (yes - live on the IW).

Also, bearing Ginge's remarks about the tie down option and how tough Thrusters are, this was not a view shared with my prospective instructor who keeps his Thruster in pristine condition and hangared at all times. I met some of the local members who seemed a really nice friendly bunch, but no one seemed to know anyone who had bought their own aircraft to learn in.

Like the originator of this thread, I'd really like this option ie buy a Thruster or similar, pay a reasonable rent for hangerage (and 100 a month seems not unreasonable) and get some tuition locally in my own aircraft - after all i am going to fly it when I have the license so why not get it sooner rather than later (I'm not a complete beginner so I know that it is definitely for me).

I'd really appreciate any thoughts from people who have local knowledge of the flying scene on the IW.

Oh, by the way, I wonder what was the outcome of Dave's (thread originator) quest - anyone know how it turned out?


05-01-11, 18:34 PM
Hi Ian.

You can send the user a private message on here. Simply click the user name and various options come up.

Once you do, he will get an e-mail telling him that he has a private message on the forum.

I flew to the Isle of Wight last year as most did for the spamfield event. Once you have your own aircraft you won't be cut off in the slightest.

The usual is that you do all your training on the instructors plane that you need to do "dual" then you need to get your own to do your solo hours. See the A to Z of microlighting by Chris Stow. Then you will need to get Brian Cosgrove's book. 7th edition is the latest.

08-01-11, 16:40 PM
Thanks for the words of encouragement Vince - I guess I just have to get on with it and get the license and see how things pan out. As you suggest, I'm sure things will become clearer as I get to know more members of the community. I am just in that period of uncertainty which all beginners must go through and microlighting really does seem to be a minority sport, especially here on the IW. Now were I to get back into sailing -- that's another matter --- you can't move here without tripping over a couple of yachties.

08-01-11, 18:42 PM
It's simple to be convinced.

Go for a trial flight. You'll be hooked.

See the albums on here, click gallery at the top. Also take a look at the video's, some great ones posted only yesterday. 3 of the fly UK.

Dave Morton
08-01-11, 21:14 PM
Dave, Caunton is only 10 mins from Newark, Andy Buchan 01623 883802 www.lightflight.co.uk (http://www.lightflight.co.uk) and the strip at Upton is actually Headon where I am based, instructor is Martin 07802 232555 www.microflight.co.uk (http://www.microflight.co.uk) both very friendly places.

edited... just realised the date of Dave's post so he's probably sorted now

Phil Perry
17-01-11, 21:59 PM
Hi Moggiz. . . .

I worry about costs as well, forget the Gyro if you want low cost flying anyway, I think they have a built - in self - destruct factor ( ! )

Plenty of secondhand aircraft about . . .take the good advice from the guys, join a club, get good gen from the lads and lassies. . . maybe join a group,. . . . taste and try before you buy. Got to be the best way.


18-01-11, 11:07 AM
Hi, 20K sounds a lot to spend on your first aircraft, there are plenty good aircraft around for under ten grand.

22-01-11, 14:26 PM
Thanks for the words of encouragement Vince - I guess I just have to get on with it and get the license and see how things pan out. As you suggest, I'm sure things will become clearer as I get to know more members of the community. I am just in that period of uncertainty which all beginners must go through and microlighting really does seem to be a minority sport, especially here on the IW. Now were I to get back into sailing -- that's another matter --- you can't move here without tripping over a couple of yachties.


I'm currently doing my training in my own aircraft a Rans S6, I initially did 10 hrs in my local schools eurostar and then decided it would be better to learn in my own aircraft as it had always been my intention to own.

I pay 129 per month for hanagarage which I don't think is too bad and the Rans cost me 14K obviously second hand but in excellent condition, also my flight training has dropped to 65 per hour so I save on the training costs.


Terry Viner
22-01-11, 16:26 PM
At 129 per month hangarage where are you flying from? The Gold Coast or what.