Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

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TheNightsToCome
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Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

For those in the know: How safe is flying private? The large commercial airlines are very safe. Pilots flying as a hobby not so much.

How does the risk of flying on a private jet (e.g., 6 seats, 1 hour and 42 minutes) with professional pilot compare to the risk of driving about 480 miles (about an 8 hour drive, stopping only for gas)? Are the charter jet services nearly as safe as the larger commercial carriers?

Which companies are best?

Here is the scenario: I drive about 8 hours each way several times per year to see family. For example, drive 8 hours Saturday. Memorial Day or Labor Day family party on Sunday. Drive back 8 hours Monday. I work long hours and find that these trips wear me out more than work.

To fly commercial we need to find and pay dog sitter for 2 small dogs, drive 2 hours to nearest metro area (in same direction as family destination), drop off dogs, and go to airport early for a flight scheduled at a time not of our choosing. Then we fly to layover city (because no direct flights), wait there in airport, catch connecting flight, drive 40 mins to final destination. It takes longer to fly and is greater hassle, but I hate the drive.

I found we can fly out of our local, rural airport to small municipal airport 20 mins from final destination.

I found this online: "It typically costs between $1,300 and $3,000 per flying hour to charter a turboprop or smaller jet plane, which seats 4 to 6 passengers; between $4,000 and $8,000 per flying hour for a midsize jet, which typically accommodates up to 9 passengers;..."
https://www.afar.com/magazine/how-much- ... e-jet-cost

I looked at one company that estimated $10,500-$15,500 for a six seater jet for my 1 hour, 42 minute route, so quite a bit more than above. I've haven't searched extensively yet. I'm wondering if bogleheads have any insight. There were quite a few pilots posting in another thread. Fingers crossed. :happy
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

The green part of me doesn’t favor flying private. My wife, smarter than I am, disagrees with me.

I think safety wise a lot depends. Quality of airplane, quality of pilot, quality of car, driving style in your part of the country, weather, etc.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
stan1
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by stan1 »

For 8 hour drive: I would rent a bigger vehicle if needed, and spend a night in the middle if 8 hours straight through is too much for you and family including pets. That would $1,000-2,000 max. I'd consider this before an air service.

Different situation if it was over 12 hours.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by dodecahedron »

Is train an option?
neilpilot
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by neilpilot »

For years we traveled via private aircraft, but I owned & piloted the aircraft. :D

The cost to charter the aircraft is way too much for most to consider, and the cost is very much greater if the trip is broken up by several days at the destination.

As for green ( @tomatoTomahto ) my 4-seater would typically get the equivalent of about 18 mpg, which isn't too bad for going ~160mph via air. It's even better when you consider that air miles are sometime much shorter than the driving distance. Just try to drive from NYC to Martha's Vineyard.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

dodecahedron wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:56 am Is train an option?
No train.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

neilpilot wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 11:04 am [snip…]As for green ( @tomatoTomahto ) my 4-seater would typically get the equivalent of about 18 mpg, which isn't too bad for going ~160mph via air. It's even better when you consider that air miles are sometime much shorter than the driving distance. Just try to drive from NYC to Martha's Vineyard.
My father was a pilot for much of his life, and I soloed before I was legally allowed to drive. I was referring to private jets, which I’m pretty sure don’t get 18mpg :D
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
NYCaviator
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by NYCaviator »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am I looked at one company that estimated $10,500-$15,500 for a six seater jet for my 1 hour, 42 minute route, so quite a bit more than above. I've haven't searched extensively yet. I'm wondering if bogleheads have any insight. There were quite a few pilots posting in another thread. Fingers crossed. :happy
Flying private is generally quite safe if you go with a large, reputable charter company. Some guy with a commercial license offering to fly you in his 4 seat Cessna? Probably not so much.

The problem with flying private is that it is ludicrously expensive. Most people I know that fly private are doing so on a company's dime. The others tend to have a subscription to something like NetJets. It's very expensive, but they have nice, new aircraft and well trained pilots. I think it's just as safe as flying commercial. Even companies like Delta have gotten into the charter game with Wheels Up.

I would definitely get some quotes before you commit. If you are flying into/out of some remote airports, it could cost more because the charter company is going to have to get the plane to that airport. For that short of a flight, I'd stick with something like a King Air or Pilatus. A jet is more expensive and unnecessary.

Ultimately you have to decide if it's worth it. It's safe. It's convenient. But it's very expensive. I'd rather take more time off work and spend it with family, or re-arrange my schedule to stay the night at the big metro area airport before dropping $10k for a charter flight for a short weekend trip that's only an 8 hour drive away.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

NYCaviator wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 11:48 am
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am I looked at one company that estimated $10,500-$15,500 for a six seater jet for my 1 hour, 42 minute route, so quite a bit more than above. I've haven't searched extensively yet. I'm wondering if bogleheads have any insight. There were quite a few pilots posting in another thread. Fingers crossed. :happy
Flying private is generally quite safe if you go with a large, reputable charter company. Some guy with a commercial license offering to fly you in his 4 seat Cessna? Probably not so much.

I would definitely get some quotes before you commit. If you are flying into/out of some remote airports, it could cost more because the charter company is going to have to get the plane to that airport. For that short of a flight, I'd stick with something like a King Air or Pilatus. A jet is more expensive and unnecessary.
Thanks. I'm not familiar with the aircraft brands or models. I'll check King Air and Pilatus.
Last edited by TheNightsToCome on Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
gch
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by gch »

It’s in between the safety of commercial flight and driving, so very safe. I’d guess the cost will be closer to 50k if you want round trip with days in between though.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

gch wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:14 pm It’s in between the safety of commercial flight and driving, so very safe. I’d guess the cost will be closer to 50k if you want round trip with days in between though.
If so, that would be too much.

Edit: Looking online, I see prop planes for much less than that for 2 passengers. Interestingly, the price is doubled for 2 passengers versus one. The websites don't mention pets, but I presume 2 small dogs (8 lbs and 15 lbs) would not change the arrangement? My wife and I are barely more than 250 lbs together.
Helodriver
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Helodriver »

Safety comparison here is difficult lots of variables.
Weather for flying Vs. Weather for driving. Both raise the risk level not necessarily equally however.
Experience of pilots is hard for you as a outsider to accurately assess as is the associated risk level. But typically larger operations with larger aircraft IE Turboprop or small jet. King Air (twin engined) or Pilatus (single turbine) mentioned earlier can be indicative of a operator with quality personnel and equipment Versus a small operator with single engine piston aircraft. But the safety record of a longtime local operator under part 135 running a small Cessna 206 year in year out in the mountains of Idaho is pretty impressive. So again safety really depends.

Safety aside. The costs are hugely variable depending largely upon equipment, personnel, single pilot vs two pilot operation.
Likely this aircraft won't sit on standby for a three day weekend or longer. Unless you are willing to pay for one to two pilots and a aircraft to remain parked for you. So your costs will be expected to pay to get it elsewhere.... and then to come and get you again.

So depending on aircraft type, distance etc. I think a twin engine turboprop such as a King Air with a single pilot for a destination two hours away with a multi day return can easily be in the $15,000- $20,000 range.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

Helodriver wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 1:22 pm Safety comparison here is difficult lots of variables.
Weather for flying Vs. Weather for driving. Both raise the risk level not necessarily equally however.
Experience of pilots is hard for you as a outsider to accurately assess as is the associated risk level. But typically larger operations with larger aircraft IE Turboprop or small jet. King Air (twin engined) or Pilatus (single turbine) mentioned earlier can be indicative of a operator with quality personnel and equipment Versus a small operator with single engine piston aircraft. But the safety record of a longtime local operator under part 135 running a small Cessna 206 year in year out in the mountains of Idaho is pretty impressive. So again safety really depends.

Safety aside. The costs are hugely variable depending largely upon equipment, personnel, single pilot vs two pilot operation.
Likely this aircraft won't sit on standby for a three day weekend or longer. Unless you are willing to pay for one to two pilots and a aircraft to remain parked for you. So your costs will be expected to pay to get it elsewhere.... and then to come and get you again.

So depending on aircraft type, distance etc. I think a twin engine turboprop such as a King Air with a single pilot for a destination two hours away with a multi day return can easily be in the $15,000- $20,000 range.
Thanks. EvoJets estimates $16-21.4K for King Air 90, so looks about right.
Thesaints
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Thesaints »

Flying private jet and turboprop are two different experiences. Not so much from a safety point of view, but as comfort is concerned.
Personally, I would never trade commercial passage for a small turboprop
wingman4uz
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by wingman4uz »

Unless there is an age/mobility or other concern, could you pay your family’s airfare to come visit you once or twice a year ? Share the load etc.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

wingman4uz wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:33 pm Unless there is an age/mobility or other concern, could you pay your family’s airfare to come visit you once or twice a year ? Share the load etc.
I have parents, 5 siblings and their spouses, and all of their children, their children's spouses or significant others, and in a few cases now, my sibs' grandchildren. We have large family parties in the town where I grew up because almost everyone in the extended family lives there.
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

Thesaints wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:09 pm Flying private jet and turboprop are two different experiences. Not so much from a safety point of view, but as comfort is concerned.
Personally, I would never trade commercial passage for a small turboprop
If we had the option of direct flights from the nearest metro, I'd go that route.
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Thesaints »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:50 pm If we had the option of direct flights from the nearest metro, I'd go that route.
If you haven't had the experience yet, try to go for a 1-hr flight on a small plane, preferably in less than good weather.
I still remember when NW flew DTW-ITH on Dash-8 (iirc) and those are large planes, not those tiny 8-seaters.
dani0100
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by dani0100 »

Thinking outside the box a little, if I had this problem, I would just hire a driver and get a vehicle that would suit my needs as far as comfort for the 8 hour trip. I imagine you could easily find a very safe driver who would work for $2K a weekend and find their own accommodations while you are with your family. If one were to have a personal assistant they trusted driving, they could also take on this duty and would likely be available whenever needed. All of this would be orders of magnitude cheaper than flying private. On the drives, you could be working or sleeping.
wingman4uz
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by wingman4uz »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:48 pm
wingman4uz wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:33 pm Unless there is an age/mobility or other concern, could you pay your family’s airfare to come visit you once or twice a year ? Share the load etc.
I have parents, 5 siblings and their spouses, and all of their children, their children's spouses or significant others, and in a few cases now, my sibs' grandchildren. We have large family parties in the town where I grew up because almost everyone in the extended family lives there.
Fair enough :thumbsup

Is there a limo service you could hire to handle the driving ?
mw1739
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by mw1739 »

dani0100 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:08 pm Thinking outside the box a little, if I had this problem, I would just hire a driver and get a vehicle that would suit my needs as far as comfort for the 8 hour trip. I imagine you could easily find a very safe driver who would work for $2K a weekend and find their own accommodations while you are with your family. If one were to have a personal assistant they trusted driving, they could also take on this duty and would likely be available whenever needed. All of this would be orders of magnitude cheaper than flying private. On the drives, you could be working or sleeping.
+1 - I know folks that regularly rent Sprinter vans with drivers for vacations. The vans have tvs and wifi and plenty of room to spread out. The cost for the driver plus their lodging isn’t cheap, but it would be thousands less than a private flight.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

Thesaints wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:04 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:50 pm If we had the option of direct flights from the nearest metro, I'd go that route.
If you haven't had the experience yet, try to go for a 1-hr flight on a small plane, preferably in less than good weather.
I still remember when NW flew DTW-ITH on Dash-8 (iirc) and those are large planes, not those tiny 8-seaters.
I've been flown once to an interview (by another cardiologist, a hobby pilot), and once by a medical equipment sales rep (by his personal friend, a commercial airline pilot) in small, single prop planes, for about 1 and 2 hours respectively. Not luxurious, but not a problem.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

dani0100 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:08 pm Thinking outside the box a little, if I had this problem, I would just hire a driver and get a vehicle that would suit my needs as far as comfort for the 8 hour trip. I imagine you could easily find a very safe driver who would work for $2K a weekend and find their own accommodations while you are with your family. If one were to have a personal assistant they trusted driving, they could also take on this duty and would likely be available whenever needed. All of this would be orders of magnitude cheaper than flying private. On the drives, you could be working or sleeping.
This is actually a good idea, but I don't know where I would find this service with spacious vehicle and trustworthy driver. The driver would need to have DOT clearance for this type of job. I've taken "limo" service (actually a beat up van) from the airport 2 hours away, but was not impressed with the drivers, and that particular service is limited to the airport. The drivers I've had didn't strike me as the sort of people I'd want to depend on to drive safely for 480 miles, take care of themselves in my destination city, and show up on time for the return trip. Maybe I underestimate them.
Last edited by TheNightsToCome on Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

mw1739 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:41 pm
dani0100 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:08 pm Thinking outside the box a little, if I had this problem, I would just hire a driver and get a vehicle that would suit my needs as far as comfort for the 8 hour trip. I imagine you could easily find a very safe driver who would work for $2K a weekend and find their own accommodations while you are with your family. If one were to have a personal assistant they trusted driving, they could also take on this duty and would likely be available whenever needed. All of this would be orders of magnitude cheaper than flying private. On the drives, you could be working or sleeping.
+1 - I know folks that regularly rent Sprinter vans with drivers for vacations. The vans have tvs and wifi and plenty of room to spread out. The cost for the driver plus their lodging isn’t cheap, but it would be thousands less than a private flight.
Tell me about this "Sprinter van" service?
adamthesmythe
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by adamthesmythe »

I don't have any references to cite, but I have watched a few youtube videos about air accidents. I think of it this way- it's like picking a surgeon, there's nothing better than a professional who does nearly the same thing every day.

Personally I would consider driving myself in my own car safer, unless it was in a snowstorm or ice storm, in which case I would stay home.

I'm not sure why a hired driver would be safer. Although they do it all the time it seems to me they cannot be considered professionals. I know more about my abilities than theirs and in particular I know when to stop and take a break or an unplanned stop.

Safest would be commercial air, which is probably safer than staying home where there are sharp objects.
LCX2000
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by LCX2000 »

If you can afford a private jet, I would recommend doing that in a heartbeat. But I doubt any of the bigger firms like NetJet or Wheels up (has a partnership with Delta) et al., service a small airport. So you'd probably have to drive to the major airport anyway, though to a different (much easier) terminal.

I think the turbo prop is safe, but not that comfortable, especially in weather. But, perhaps try it once and see how it goes.

I hear you on the arduous trip to get there and back. We used to do that every holiday for years. Basically all day traveling to get there and another day for travel back.
stan1
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by stan1 »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:01 pm The drivers I've had don't strike me as the sort of people I'd want to depend on to drive safely for 480 miles, take care of themselves in my destination city, and show up on time for the return trip. Maybe I underestimate them.
It's no different than a pilot, there are professional chauffeurs who do what you are looking for. You can look for local agencies (such as limo or black SUV service). Call and let them know what you'd like to do. Be a repeat customer, appropriate tip, reasonable per diem reimbursement, no unreasonable situations like barking dogs the whole trip goes a long way. There could be hour limits and mandatory break times for a professional driver. If you find one you like maybe they will pass you their personal phone number for the next trip.
Xrayman69
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Xrayman69 »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:01 pm
dani0100 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:08 pm Thinking outside the box a little, if I had this problem, I would just hire a driver and get a vehicle that would suit my needs as far as comfort for the 8 hour trip. I imagine you could easily find a very safe driver who would work for $2K a weekend and find their own accommodations while you are with your family. If one were to have a personal assistant they trusted driving, they could also take on this duty and would likely be available whenever needed. All of this would be orders of magnitude cheaper than flying private. On the drives, you could be working or sleeping.
This is actually a good idea, but I don't know where I would find this service with spacious vehicle and trustworthy driver. The driver would need to have DOT clearance for this type of job. I've taken "limo" service (actually a beat up van) from the airport 2 hours away, but was not impressed with the drivers, and that particular service is limited to the airport. The drivers I've had don't strike me as the sort of people I'd want to depend on to drive safely for 480 miles, take care of themselves in my destination city, and show up on time for the return trip. Maybe I underestimate them.
You don’t even need a driver for the entire 480 miles. How about just a driver to the nearest metro airport. Spend the night at airport and same person pick you up upon return.

I regularly take a car service from milwaukee to downtown Chicago which is about 80-90 miles and it’s about 150-200 each way. I can’t imaging a driver or black car service isn’t available at the major metro to come pick you up.

Why make things complicated. Major airport is easiest for flying and just stay at airport day prior if you have a morning flight. A flight for 500 miles takes about 2 hours so you could even take car to airport and leave same day and get to destination airport in less than 8 hours
Xrayman69
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Xrayman69 »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:01 pm
dani0100 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:08 pm Thinking outside the box a little, if I had this problem, I would just hire a driver and get a vehicle that would suit my needs as far as comfort for the 8 hour trip. I imagine you could easily find a very safe driver who would work for $2K a weekend and find their own accommodations while you are with your family. If one were to have a personal assistant they trusted driving, they could also take on this duty and would likely be available whenever needed. All of this would be orders of magnitude cheaper than flying private. On the drives, you could be working or sleeping.
This is actually a good idea, but I don't know where I would find this service with spacious vehicle and trustworthy driver. The driver would need to have DOT clearance for this type of job. I've taken "limo" service (actually a beat up van) from the airport 2 hours away, but was not impressed with the drivers, and that particular service is limited to the airport. The drivers I've had don't strike me as the sort of people I'd want to depend on to drive safely for 480 miles, take care of themselves in my destination city, and show up on time for the return trip. Maybe I underestimate them.
You don’t even need a driver for the entire 480 miles. How about just a driver to the nearest metro airport. Spend the night at airport and same person pick you up upon return.

I regularly take a car service from milwaukee to downtown Chicago which is about 80-90 miles and it’s about 150-200 each way. I can’t imaging a driver or black car service isn’t available at the major metro to come pick you up.

Why make things complicated. Major airport is easiest for flying and just stay at airport day prior if you have a morning flight. A flight for 500 miles takes about 2 hours so you could even take car to airport and leave same day and get to destination airport in less than 8 hours
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ResearchMed
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by ResearchMed »

stan1 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:15 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:01 pm The drivers I've had don't strike me as the sort of people I'd want to depend on to drive safely for 480 miles, take care of themselves in my destination city, and show up on time for the return trip. Maybe I underestimate them.
It's no different than a pilot, there are professional chauffeurs who do what you are looking for. You can look for local agencies (such as limo or black SUV service). Call and let them know what you'd like to do. Be a repeat customer, appropriate tip, reasonable per diem reimbursement, no unreasonable situations like barking dogs the whole trip goes a long way. There could be hour limits and mandatory break times for a professional driver. If you find one you like maybe they will pass you their personal phone number for the next trip.

Go through something like an executive limo service, the type that business executives use.
Yes, these are "professionals". It's what they do.
And a good service should have a variety of vehicle types, although with something less common, you might want to reserve well in advance.

We've done this on a few occasions.
However, I do admit that there was a hint of "are they as good a driver as we are?" type of feeling. But every time, we had absolutely zero quarrel with the driving as the trip progressed.

It might be worthwhile at least exploring this option.

RM
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

adamthesmythe wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:09 pm I don't have any references to cite, but I have watched a few youtube videos about air accidents. I think of it this way- it's like picking a surgeon, there's nothing better than a professional who does nearly the same thing every day.

Personally I would consider driving myself in my own car safer, unless it was in a snowstorm or ice storm, in which case I would stay home.

I'm not sure why a hired driver would be safer. Although they do it all the time it seems to me they cannot be considered professionals. I know more about my abilities than theirs and in particular I know when to stop and take a break or an unplanned stop.

Safest would be commercial air, which is probably safer than staying home where there are sharp objects.
Safety is not my primary concern. I just wanted to know if flying private was akin to riding a motorcycle, i.e., significantly more hazardous than driving.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

LCX2000 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:10 pm If you can afford a private jet, I would recommend doing that in a heartbeat. But I doubt any of the bigger firms like NetJet or Wheels up (has a partnership with Delta) et al., service a small airport. So you'd probably have to drive to the major airport anyway, though to a different (much easier) terminal.

I think the turbo prop is safe, but not that comfortable, especially in weather. But, perhaps try it once and see how it goes.

I hear you on the arduous trip to get there and back. We used to do that every holiday for years. Basically all day traveling to get there and another day for travel back.
When I saw a site online suggesting $10,500 to $15,500 for a roundtrip on a 6-seat jet, I thought I might be willing to do that 3 times per year. It's extravagant, but I'm at a point where I'm willing to pay for time, convenience, and comfort (i.e., flying a couple of hours in a prop plane still more comfortable than driving all day).

Looking a little more today, I'm beginning to think it will be more like $16-21K on a King Air, rather than a jet, so not so sure I'm willing to go that high.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

Xrayman69 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:16 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:01 pm
dani0100 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:08 pm Thinking outside the box a little, if I had this problem, I would just hire a driver and get a vehicle that would suit my needs as far as comfort for the 8 hour trip. I imagine you could easily find a very safe driver who would work for $2K a weekend and find their own accommodations while you are with your family. If one were to have a personal assistant they trusted driving, they could also take on this duty and would likely be available whenever needed. All of this would be orders of magnitude cheaper than flying private. On the drives, you could be working or sleeping.
This is actually a good idea, but I don't know where I would find this service with spacious vehicle and trustworthy driver. The driver would need to have DOT clearance for this type of job. I've taken "limo" service (actually a beat up van) from the airport 2 hours away, but was not impressed with the drivers, and that particular service is limited to the airport. The drivers I've had don't strike me as the sort of people I'd want to depend on to drive safely for 480 miles, take care of themselves in my destination city, and show up on time for the return trip. Maybe I underestimate them.
You don’t even need a driver for the entire 480 miles. How about just a driver to the nearest metro airport. Spend the night at airport and same person pick you up upon return.

I regularly take a car service from milwaukee to downtown Chicago which is about 80-90 miles and it’s about 150-200 each way. I can’t imaging a driver or black car service isn’t available at the major metro to come pick you up.

Why make things complicated. Major airport is easiest for flying and just stay at airport day prior if you have a morning flight. A flight for 500 miles takes about 2 hours so you could even take car to airport and leave same day and get to destination airport in less than 8 hours
There are no direct flights. As above, the day would be 2 hours to metro, go to dog sitter, arrive early at airport for flight. Flight could be at very inconvenient time. Go to second city and wait for connecting flight. Hope for no cancellations or delays. Fly to destination and drive 40 mins to home. The drive is awful, but much better than this. We leave when we are ready with no worries about delays/cancellations/missed flights, and we don't waste time in airports.

A friend flew this route and lost 11 hours in an airport due to cancellation.
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AnnetteLouisan
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

The small planes, even small jets, can feel like boarding a closet if you are used to jetliners. Not for the claustrophobic. And you really feel every cloud and gust of wind outside. I’ve been on a helicopter once and that will do me.

On the other hand I’m sure it’s fine once you get used to it.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

I see this service for $3,348.10 one way in Denali or Suburban, before layover fees, tip, etc.
https://myblacksuv.com/

Roughly $2000 all in for roundtrip as suggested above would be worth it, but $7000ish plus not so much.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

AnnetteLouisan wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:51 pm The small planes, even small jets, can feel like boarding a closet if you are used to jetliners. Not for the claustrophobic. And you really feel every cloud and gust of wind outside. I’ve been on a helicopter once and that will do me.

On the other hand I’m sure it’s fine once you get used to it.

I took a helicopter tour in Maui and really enjoyed it, but they are definitely not safe. Here is a recent video of helicopter engine failure in Hawaii, where the Cool Hand Luke pilot managed to land it on a beach with no fatalities; just one injured back among four passengers. Very Sully-esque:
https://twitter.com/search?q=helicopter ... yped_query
ddurrett896
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by ddurrett896 »

Only thing I hate about flying private is where the plane is small enough for 1 pilot. As long as there are 2 pilots I’m good.
wingman4uz
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by wingman4uz »

There are so many variables that can influence the safety of small aircraft flights. There’s the age and maintenance of the aircraft, the maturity and capability of the pilot, the weather (depending on where you are, this is often the biggest one). I’m not a commercial pilot, just a regular private pilot but I would be very cautious to load my family on an aircraft I don’t know with a pilot of unknown skill.
Xrayman69
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Xrayman69 »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:45 pm
Xrayman69 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:16 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:01 pm
dani0100 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:08 pm Thinking outside the box a little, if I had this problem, I would just hire a driver and get a vehicle that would suit my needs as far as comfort for the 8 hour trip. I imagine you could easily find a very safe driver who would work for $2K a weekend and find their own accommodations while you are with your family. If one were to have a personal assistant they trusted driving, they could also take on this duty and would likely be available whenever needed. All of this would be orders of magnitude cheaper than flying private. On the drives, you could be working or sleeping.
This is actually a good idea, but I don't know where I would find this service with spacious vehicle and trustworthy driver. The driver would need to have DOT clearance for this type of job. I've taken "limo" service (actually a beat up van) from the airport 2 hours away, but was not impressed with the drivers, and that particular service is limited to the airport. The drivers I've had don't strike me as the sort of people I'd want to depend on to drive safely for 480 miles, take care of themselves in my destination city, and show up on time for the return trip. Maybe I underestimate them.
You don’t even need a driver for the entire 480 miles. How about just a driver to the nearest metro airport. Spend the night at airport and same person pick you up upon return.

I regularly take a car service from milwaukee to downtown Chicago which is about 80-90 miles and it’s about 150-200 each way. I can’t imaging a driver or black car service isn’t available at the major metro to come pick you up.

Why make things complicated. Major airport is easiest for flying and just stay at airport day prior if you have a morning flight. A flight for 500 miles takes about 2 hours so you could even take car to airport and leave same day and get to destination airport in less than 8 hours
There are no direct flights. As above, the day would be 2 hours to metro, go to dog sitter, arrive early at airport for flight. Flight could be at very inconvenient time. Go to second city and wait for connecting flight. Hope for no cancellations or delays. Fly to destination and drive 40 mins to home. The drive is awful, but much better than this. We leave when we are ready with no worries about delays/cancellations/missed flights, and we don't waste time in airports.

A friend flew this route and lost 11 hours in an airport due to cancellation.
Net Jets 15-20K each way. Solved.
NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

What's the deal with the dogs? Do you take them with you if you drive, or do you have to board them either way? Consider in-home dog sitters while you are at it.

I know a guy who flies the kind of charters you describe. I would trust him with my life, and have. He's well over 40, which would be my minimum age for such a pilot.

I prefer King Airs to most commercial flights.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

NotWhoYouThink wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:19 pm What's the deal with the dogs? Do you take them with you if you drive, or do you have to board them either way? Consider in-home dog sitters while you are at it.

I know a guy who flies the kind of charters you describe. I would trust him with my life, and have. He's well over 40, which would be my minimum age for such a pilot.

I prefer King Airs to most commercial flights.
We take the dogs when we drive. We leave them with in-home dog sitters found on rover.com when necessary. My wife vets them thoroughly. :D
afan
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by afan »

Unlike commercial carriers, charter aviation ventures and private pilots are subject to much less regulatory (and consumer) scrutiny. The FAA and DOT aim to review and enforce best practices among aircraft operators; however, there is no governmental quality rating for these entities. Therefore, passengers generally engage a private jet or charter service at their own risk. Additionally, the safety of traveling in chartered and privately operated aircraft falls far short of what passengers of commercial aircraft can expect; the numbers of accidents and fatalities bear this out: over the past 20 years, charter and private aircraft have a far greater probability of crashing over commercial airliners–9.4 times and 32.9 times, respectively (see charts below).
https://rmas.fad.harvard.edu/pages/char ... commercial
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

afan wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:59 pm
Unlike commercial carriers, charter aviation ventures and private pilots are subject to much less regulatory (and consumer) scrutiny. The FAA and DOT aim to review and enforce best practices among aircraft operators; however, there is no governmental quality rating for these entities. Therefore, passengers generally engage a private jet or charter service at their own risk. Additionally, the safety of traveling in chartered and privately operated aircraft falls far short of what passengers of commercial aircraft can expect; the numbers of accidents and fatalities bear this out: over the past 20 years, charter and private aircraft have a far greater probability of crashing over commercial airliners–9.4 times and 32.9 times, respectively (see charts below).
https://rmas.fad.harvard.edu/pages/char ... commercial
Thank you. That's useful. Not nearly as safe as large commercial flights, but 9.4 times a very small number.
teCh0010
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by teCh0010 »

LCX2000 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:10 pm If you can afford a private jet, I would recommend doing that in a heartbeat. But I doubt any of the bigger firms like NetJet or Wheels up (has a partnership with Delta) et al., service a small airport. So you'd probably have to drive to the major airport anyway, though to a different (much easier) terminal.

I think the turbo prop is safe, but not that comfortable, especially in weather. But, perhaps try it once and see how it goes.

I hear you on the arduous trip to get there and back. We used to do that every holiday for years. Basically all day traveling to get there and another day for travel back.
Netjets for fractional owners will pick you up and drop you off anywhere that has a big enough runway for the plane, which is a whole lot of airports that don't have scheduled passenger service. Not sure if they handle jet cards any differently.
teCh0010
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by teCh0010 »

Thesaints wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:09 pm Flying private jet and turboprop are two different experiences. Not so much from a safety point of view, but as comfort is concerned.
Personally, I would never trade commercial passage for a small turboprop
The King Air B200 or Pilatus PC12 have a larger cabin volume than a Citation CJ3, one of the most common 6 passenger light jets.

They are a little louder in the cabin than a citation, but can be outfitted with all the same interior creature comforts.
Diluted Waters
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Diluted Waters »

Like medicine, it depends.

Flying is regulated in three broad categories: private flying, under part 91 of the federal aviation regulations (FARs), charter (what you’re taking about) under part 135 and airlines under part 121.

The concept is that if you’re paying for a charter you probably have less ability to weigh the risk than if you were flying with your friend in his single engine plane, and if you’re just the general public you have the least chance of weighing the risk. Regulations are inversely proportional to your likely ability to weigh the risk. It is incredible how heavily regulated airlines are. And it works, but isn’t perfect.

Charter jets are generally going to be safer than piston or turboprops, as pilots have to be specifically licensed (called a type rating) in each specific type of jet. Typically only turboprops over 12,500 lbs gross takeoff weight require a type rating. Still, charter pilots are not typically as experienced as airline pilots. There are no guarantees for any specific flight: it’s all probabilistic.

Charter jets occasionally have accidents, even big two pilot two-engine planes flown by highly experienced crew for long established companies. See the Challenger crash on the Florida freeway recently for an example. Apparently a double-engine failure, which is statistically a vanishingly low probability. But it happens. Still, the risk is hard to appreciate it’s so low. But it’s not zero.

Few modes of transportation are safer than flying charter jets in the US, and fewer still than on the airlines. Your eight hour drive is statistically much more risky.

In 2022 almost 43,000 people died in traffic crashes. [https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/tr ... for%202021.]

Yet, you probably don’t ask about the risk of piling the family in the car for 16 hours round trip on the road.

If anywhere near that many people died in airline or charter flights in a year in the whole world we’d never fly again.

But cost is a huge trade off. You’re going to be safer statistically chartering a jet from a reputable company than you would be driving, but you’d be a lot poorer too.
afan
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by afan »

I suppose if you are an aviation safety expert, then you can evaluate the risk of flying a specific private plane with a particular company. If you are not then you have to go with cumulative data. I agree that it would have to be pretty dangerous by flying standards to be as dangerous as a long drive.
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by snackdog »

You only have to open the paper to read about the latest private plane crash. It seems risky to me.

https://www.google.com/search?sca_esv=6 ... 28&dpr=1.1
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austin757
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by austin757 »

Looking at it from a safety perspective, there is nothing safer than commercial airliners flown by 2 pilots. One thing that adds to the complexity and risk in charter/private flying are the smaller airports they typically fly into.

The small airport where you live, for example, may have a runway long enough for small jet or turboprop, but it likely lacks other services and procedures that pilots rely on. Some of these recent charter jet crashes you'e heard about are at airports that can be extremely challenging to fly into, especially during periods of bad weather and windy days. This adds to the risk that larger aircraft can avoid much of.

You see, when you fly into a major airport that has airline service, the pilots have an array of services that enhance safety. The approaches to the airport are more precise. The air traffic controllers have good radar and weather detection to keep pilots in the loop. There are emergency services on the ground for incidents that are more readily available than at a small airport. And perhaps above all, there are many airplanes flying into these airports. Pilots rely on each other for up to date weather reports. How was the turbulence on the arrival? Did they have to abort the landing due to windshear? Which direction is the thunderstorm moving? This level of communication is very important.

As you can probably imagine, if you're the only plane flying into a small sleepy airport on a night with terrible weather, you're largely on your own. It could also be an airport surrounded by terrain and a place the pilots have never been to before. This makes it more dangerous and something to think about. I do know of a celebrity who will not fly back into a small airport he lives nearby at night time, and instead has his jet land at Newark and gets a car. Smart guy imho.

Just wanted to give a safety perspective that may not be so obvious to everyone.
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by neilpilot »

snackdog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:45 am You only have to open the paper to read about the latest private plane crash. It seems risky to me.

https://www.google.com/search?sca_esv=6 ... 28&dpr=1.1
Yes, private aircraft crash, but at least you don't usually have to worry about the other drivers :D

https://www.google.com/search?q=driver+ ... s-wiz-news
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