Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

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02nz
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by 02nz »

OP, I don't see how flying private can possibly be cost-effective in this case, unless you're so rich costs just don't matter. :moneybag
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am 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.
What kind of car do you drive? I find that good driver-assist systems like adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist can greatly reduce the fatigue from long-distance driving. I did a trip of about that length in my Kia Niro EV with those two key features, and found that it did about 80-90% of the work of driving for me, and I was much less fatigued at the end. If your car doesn't have them, definitely look into one with these features. Some are implemented better than others, so definitely test drive those specific features.
neglogic
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by neglogic »

02nz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 12:00 pm OP, I don't see how flying private can possibly be cost-effective in this case, unless you're so rich costs just don't matter. :moneybag
I just came to that same thought... This falls into the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" category.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

Usually, I have to honk or swerve twice per one-way trip due to someone on the highway merging into my lane without looking, or just moving into my lane while texting or otherwise paying little attention to the road.

During the 10 years I've been at my present position, 3 physicians and a CRNA have been killed in 3 MVAs.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

02nz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 12:00 pm OP, I don't see how flying private can possibly be cost-effective in this case, unless you're so rich costs just don't matter. :moneybag
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am 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.
What kind of car do you drive? I find that good driver-assist systems like adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist can greatly reduce the fatigue from long-distance driving. I did a trip of about that length in my Kia Niro EV with those two key features, and found that it did about 80-90% of the work of driving for me, and I was much less fatigued at the end. If your car doesn't have them, definitely look into one with these features. Some are implemented better than others, so definitely test drive those specific features.
Currently available driver-assist features rely on the driver to be ready to take control in an instant. If the feature is good enough to relieve the work of driving for 8 hours, I doubt that I would be attentive and alert enough to take effective evasive action quickly enough when needed.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

neglogic wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 1:02 pm
02nz wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 12:00 pm OP, I don't see how flying private can possibly be cost-effective in this case, unless you're so rich costs just don't matter. :moneybag
I just came to that same thought... This falls into the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" category.
I'd be willing to spend about $15,500 for a round trip.
LFS1234
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by LFS1234 »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am
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.

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

I looked at one company that estimated $10,500-$15,500 for a six seater jet for my 1 hour, 42 minute route
There is a limited supply of jets, and a lot of people who would like to fly.

This is problematic especially during "peak travel days", including most (or all?) 3+ day holidays. During and around those holidays, the jets are booked by those with the highest priorities (e.g. those who fly 25+ or 50+ hours per year), or by those who by luck or otherwise are the beneficiaries of a special situation. Everyone else will have to choose different travel days or find other ways of getting to their destinations. Or book very early and pay a very high price.

The price range you mention, $15,500 for a round trip on a jet consisting of 1h 42min flight time each way, strikes me as extraordinarily optimistic in today's pricing environment, even during low traffic days. However, it never hurts to make inquiries.

Best of luck!
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

LFS1234 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:09 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am
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.

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

I looked at one company that estimated $10,500-$15,500 for a six seater jet for my 1 hour, 42 minute route
Or book very early and pay a very high price.

Best of luck!
Booking early means paying more?
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snackdog
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by snackdog »

LFS1234 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:09 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am
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.

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

I looked at one company that estimated $10,500-$15,500 for a six seater jet for my 1 hour, 42 minute route
There is a limited supply of jets, and a lot of people who would like to fly.

This is problematic especially during "peak travel days", including most (or all?) 3+ day holidays. During and around those holidays, the jets are booked by those with the highest priorities (e.g. those who fly 25+ or 50+ hours per year), or by those who by luck or otherwise are the beneficiaries of a special situation. Everyone else will have to choose different travel days or find other ways of getting to their destinations. Or book very early and pay a very high price.

The price range you mention, $15,500 for a round trip on a jet consisting of 1h 42min flight time each way, strikes me as extraordinarily optimistic in today's pricing environment, even during low traffic days. However, it never hurts to make inquiries.

Best of luck!
A Pilatus PC-24 runs around $3300/hr so a three hour round trip might be $10k? 30% less for a PC-12 turboprop.

https://www.mercuryjets.com/pilatus-pc- ... 840%208000.
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Yooper
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Yooper »

JSX may be an option. I read this last month (https://www.yahoo.com/news/airlines-wan ... ccounter=1).
LFS1234
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by LFS1234 »

snackdog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:38 pm

A Pilatus PC-24 runs around $3300/hr so a three hour round trip might be $10k? 30% less for a PC-12 turboprop.

https://www.mercuryjets.com/pilatus-pc- ... 840%208000.
From the Mercuryjets blog (highlights mine):

"If you want to find out the charter cost of your private jet, you may use a charter cost estimator to calculate the cost of your trip.

"To quickly get a quote for a charter flight request on your route, you need to enter the departure and arrival points, number of passengers, date, and time in the appropriate fields of our calculator. After that, click the Search button. You will be presented with the most suitable aircraft categories and specific models, as well as the private jet charter prices for each. Choose the one best suits your needs and desires, and click Inquire. After that, our manager will contact you to hear your wishes and discuss additional conditions with you."


The OP needs to go through the process, describe exactly what he wants and exactly when he wants it.

Any actual price quote will be forthcoming only after the manager has "discussed the additional conditions" with OP.

It would be nice if the OP could share the details of actual price quote with us.
teCh0010
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by teCh0010 »

snackdog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:38 pm
LFS1234 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:09 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am
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.

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

I looked at one company that estimated $10,500-$15,500 for a six seater jet for my 1 hour, 42 minute route
There is a limited supply of jets, and a lot of people who would like to fly.

This is problematic especially during "peak travel days", including most (or all?) 3+ day holidays. During and around those holidays, the jets are booked by those with the highest priorities (e.g. those who fly 25+ or 50+ hours per year), or by those who by luck or otherwise are the beneficiaries of a special situation. Everyone else will have to choose different travel days or find other ways of getting to their destinations. Or book very early and pay a very high price.

The price range you mention, $15,500 for a round trip on a jet consisting of 1h 42min flight time each way, strikes me as extraordinarily optimistic in today's pricing environment, even during low traffic days. However, it never hurts to make inquiries.

Best of luck!
A Pilatus PC-24 runs around $3300/hr so a three hour round trip might be $10k? 30% less for a PC-12 turboprop.

https://www.mercuryjets.com/pilatus-pc- ... 840%208000.
You pay for flight hours and some fixed amount of taxi time (I think 12 minutes) on each end. So 1.75 hours each way turns into 4 hours billable time. If you are going and coming back on the same day, which is what makes flying private so effective, you will also pay a per-diem for the pilots to wait on you all day, and catering.


If you aren’t going and coming back the same day, and instead are going on say Monday and coming back on Friday you now have to pay for the positioning flights. So instead of 4 hours you now pay for 8 hours.
jbmitt
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by jbmitt »

As others have mentioned, it depends.

At the flight school I work with you have a range of people and aircraft who can provide you with this service. There are low time commercial pilots with as few as 300 hours that can fly you in a piston aircraft. That’s typically a Bonanza.

There are more experienced pilots that could fly the same airplane or help crew a Citation Mustang or PC-12. These airplanes are also safe for single pilot operations. We do have ATP, airline transport pilots on staff that can fly these trips. Some have thousands of flight hours. It’s hard for an outsider to assess the quality vs quantity of flight training. Our insurance often sets standards for the experience that we must have for what flight operations we can perform in which aircraft.

We can get in/out of smaller airports and also serve many of the regular commercial airports, via the local FBO.

The problem though is we generally prefer and cater to business and repeat travel. We also enjoy our holidays with families and aren’t desperate to make a few bucks, so charters are priced accordingly.

It’s going to be easiest for an operator based at or near your departure or destination airports to handle this for you. Anyone that has to reposition in/on will charge you for it.

Fractional memberships (NetJets) may make more sense and can often begin with as few as 25 hours of annual flight time.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

snackdog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:38 pm
LFS1234 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:09 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am
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.

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

I looked at one company that estimated $10,500-$15,500 for a six seater jet for my 1 hour, 42 minute route
There is a limited supply of jets, and a lot of people who would like to fly.

This is problematic especially during "peak travel days", including most (or all?) 3+ day holidays. During and around those holidays, the jets are booked by those with the highest priorities (e.g. those who fly 25+ or 50+ hours per year), or by those who by luck or otherwise are the beneficiaries of a special situation. Everyone else will have to choose different travel days or find other ways of getting to their destinations. Or book very early and pay a very high price.

The price range you mention, $15,500 for a round trip on a jet consisting of 1h 42min flight time each way, strikes me as extraordinarily optimistic in today's pricing environment, even during low traffic days. However, it never hurts to make inquiries.

Best of luck!
A Pilatus PC-24 runs around $3300/hr so a three hour round trip might be $10k? 30% less for a PC-12 turboprop.

https://www.mercuryjets.com/pilatus-pc- ... 840%208000.
$16,020 for Citation CJ3 jet per website on my first search, but more on subsequent searches, apparently due to dates selected.
A little over $12,000 for turbo prop on first search.
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TheNightsToCome
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

LFS1234 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:59 am
snackdog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:38 pm

A Pilatus PC-24 runs around $3300/hr so a three hour round trip might be $10k? 30% less for a PC-12 turboprop.

https://www.mercuryjets.com/pilatus-pc- ... 840%208000.
From the Mercuryjets blog (highlights mine):



It would be nice if the OP could share the details of actual price quote with us.


If I book a flight, I'll report back.
rogue_economist
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by rogue_economist »

As far as the risk of driving goes...the official statistic/wisdom that "driving is much more dangerous than flying" is definitely flawed.

This is something I intend to sit down and do more serious analysis on when I have time, but consider the following hand wavy analysis.

Saying flying is safer than driving might be true in the sense that the population average of people who are killed going x miles by car is higher than the number killed going x miles by commercial aviation.

But for the purposes of choosing between two options of travel that statistic is the wrong approach because it lacks some appropriate Bayesian updating.

First, the number of people killed in auto accidents per year includes accidents that occur on local trips for which flight is not an alternative. You aren't flying to the grocery store or the mall, you drive. This is important because the type of travel which is actually an alternative to flight is largely done on interstate highways which are significantly safer per mile traveled than any other kind of road due to their design, grade separation etc.

Second, when you fly you have very little control over the safety of your trip. There are some impacts from choosing a major carrier vs a regional one and picking a seat in the rear of the aircraft, but by and large the risk profile is not a function of what you do or don't do.

Driving however is a very different story. Want to change your risk profile driving? Wear your seat belt and don't drive under the influence. Those two factors alone represent such an outsized portion of driving fatalities that the risk profile for someone changing those behaviors is significantly different than the population average. And of course many other factors, such as vehicle choice, maintenance, not driving drowsy, not driving in adverse conditions, etc. would also help.

Finally, the use of fatalities per mile may not be appropriate either, the Freakonomics authors used time instead and found a similar risk profile between driving and flying.

The point being, the driving option is probably safer than you think. Private aviation is going to be riskier than commercial. At the end of the day, I would consider which is more comfortable and convenient. If the short time of flying is a big pro and you don't mind the discomfort of a small aircraft (lavatories are nonexistent or very small) then fly. If you don't mind the time of driving and the convenience of having your vehicle at the other end, more luggage space, etc. is worthwhile then buy a nice full size sedan and drive. But I doubt the risk is different enough to be the deciding factor.
Thesaints
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Thesaints »

teCh0010 wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 11:13 pm 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.
Yet, they still fly lower (more turbulence) and slower (more time to enjoy it).
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snackdog
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by snackdog »

rogue_economist wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:09 pm As far as the risk of driving goes...the official statistic/wisdom that "driving is much more dangerous than flying" is definitely flawed.

This is something I intend to sit down and do more serious analysis on when I have time, but consider the following hand wavy analysis.

Saying flying is safer than driving might be true in the sense that the population average of people who are killed going x miles by car is higher than the number killed going x miles by commercial aviation.

But for the purposes of choosing between two options of travel that statistic is the wrong approach because it lacks some appropriate Bayesian updating.

First, the number of people killed in auto accidents per year includes accidents that occur on local trips for which flight is not an alternative. You aren't flying to the grocery store or the mall, you drive. This is important because the type of travel which is actually an alternative to flight is largely done on interstate highways which are significantly safer per mile traveled than any other kind of road due to their design, grade separation etc.

...
We heard that 50 percent of all accidents occur within 25 miles of home. So we moved.
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Carguy85
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Carguy85 »

Geez…I just drove 36 hour round trip because I refused to pay well over $4000 for plane tickets/parking/taxi service for a family of 4. Driving 15 minutes to the local airport and immediately getting in a plane and taking off vs an hour and 15 min to the international airport 2 hours before a flight then dealing with crowds/parking/tsa would be a total game changer though…I totally get it! I just wish I had the kind of coin to justify it…until then, I’d rather drive. I definite like the much cheaper alternative mentioned of hiring a driver. This has been an interesting thread to read.
Cruise
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Cruise »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am 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.
Part 135 operations, as you have been told by another poster, have a more problematic safety record than Part 121 airlines. Equipment, service, training, and crew communications all add to this. Additionally, Part 135s often operate in environments that are inherently hazardous (think Alaska with wildly and rapidly changing weather). The NTSB acknowledges that poorer safety record of 135 operators and cites crew communications training as on factor. See: https://safetycompass.wordpress.com/201 ... ted-equal/

As an aside, one of my past gigs in life involved being part of the pilot hiring team for a major airline, and it absolutely scares me to be on a 135. Yet, I still get on a Pilatus PC-12 from time to time, crewed by two (very young) pilots. So far, so good.
HornedToad
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by HornedToad »

LFS1234 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:09 pm
TheNightsToCome wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:38 am
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.

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

I looked at one company that estimated $10,500-$15,500 for a six seater jet for my 1 hour, 42 minute route
There is a limited supply of jets, and a lot of people who would like to fly.

This is problematic especially during "peak travel days", including most (or all?) 3+ day holidays. During and around those holidays, the jets are booked by those with the highest priorities (e.g. those who fly 25+ or 50+ hours per year), or by those who by luck or otherwise are the beneficiaries of a special situation. Everyone else will have to choose different travel days or find other ways of getting to their destinations. Or book very early and pay a very high price.

The price range you mention, $15,500 for a round trip on a jet consisting of 1h 42min flight time each way, strikes me as extraordinarily optimistic in today's pricing environment, even during low traffic days. However, it never hurts to make inquiries.

Best of luck!
I’m not up to date on prices but thought the price is possibly doable but you have to get several quotes as price can vary by 100%+. It also depends on where the aircraft is actually coming from. Or maybe instead of $15k it’s <$20k

If you are fine with a light jet configuration then could be viable, especially if doing fractional ownership, join one of the clubs or something that gives the commitment of couple times a year

For reference I’ve done 5-6 hr flights in what was considered a midsize jet or super-mid for $30k one way and the plane was based on other side of country. I had quotes up to $50-55k for same configuration so the charter jet company matters alot
SnowBog
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by SnowBog »

Can't remember where I heard about them, think it was a feature on a "fast growing" airline... But if you live/travel in the south (where they are primarily based out of) you might want to look at https://www.jsx.com.

As I understand it, they have a unique setup... But essentially they are a "private jet" experience sold with "scheduled routes" (or the option to charter a full jet). They operate out of smaller terminals (aka not your main terminals with all the airlines, long security, etc.).

The pricing seemed very reasonable, rather comparable as I recall to major airlines. I think they even mentioned being pet friendly, even allowing bigger dogs on planes (if you bought a seat for them - but they stay on the floor).

I think the big "catch" though is if they are in your area, and go near enough to your final destination to be useful... And these are still on a "schedule", so not quite the freedom to just show up whenever (but also at a fraction of that cost).
Napa Car Guy
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by Napa Car Guy »

In my past work life I flew a ton on small jets or King Airs. To be honest I always like the King Air better. Wife flys some on Wheels Up for work and has always had a good experience with that group. Time is money and so is the time you spend rested and enjoying the family instead of the drive hassles.
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by iamlucky13 »

Considering your situation, I find myself gravitating toward hiring out the driving. This won't save time, but it should accomplish your basic goal of reducing fatigue. That might, in turn, make it more practical to adjust your leaving time to allow more time at your destination.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the web site for a town car service in my area. They state they do offer long-distance transportation, even as far as Seattle to California. Their published hourly rate is $60. I don't know what kind of flexibility they offer, but hypothetically, it seems like they could be hired for a 3-day weekend for 8 hours per day, plus hotel costs and per diem for around $2000. I would expect that to be quite a bit less expensive than a Part 135 charter.

You might try to find a town car or similar service in one of the cities in your area to ask if they would drive your planned route and gives a cost estimate.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by ResearchMed »

iamlucky13 wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 5:20 pm Considering your situation, I find myself gravitating toward hiring out the driving. This won't save time, but it should accomplish your basic goal of reducing fatigue. That might, in turn, make it more practical to adjust your leaving time to allow more time at your destination.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the web site for a town car service in my area. They state they do offer long-distance transportation, even as far as Seattle to California. Their published hourly rate is $60. I don't know what kind of flexibility they offer, but hypothetically, it seems like they could be hired for a 3-day weekend for 8 hours per day, plus hotel costs and per diem for around $2000. I would expect that to be quite a bit less expensive than a Part 135 charter.

You might try to find a town car or similar service in one of the cities in your area to ask if they would drive your planned route and gives a cost estimate.

You should double check that they wouldn't charge for 24-hour days.
The driver may not be "driving', but he's also "on the job", rather than at home, relaxing with family, friends, or whatever.
And the vehicle is idle, not being used for revenue.
Perhaps it would be less for the "off hours"?

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

Post by protagonist »

I doubt if the risk is large enough to be a significant factor.
That said, if the flight is 1:40, that is only a fraction of the transportation time. Consider driving to the airport, parking , time in the airport and plane to takeoff, time in the arrival airport, time to rent a car at the destination, time to return and dispose of the car, etc.
PapaC
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Re: Flying Private: How Safe? Best Options?

Post by PapaC »

Flying is safer with the right plane and pilot. I would consider partial ownership in a small plane that meets your requirements. Small planes can carry 5-6 people but not at jet speeds. It may take an extra hour but provides more airport and landing options, allowing you to be closer to your destination...and maybe some fun excursions to beaches and out of the way places. With this arrangement you know the pilot and condition of the plane. I know of LLC's at my airport that consist of 1-2 qualified pilots and a few non-pilots that share a plane and expenses. It brings the hourly cost way down. It does cost more upfront for the purchase, but used planes have traditionally held the majority of their value if properly maintained. There may also be tax advantages depending on your situation. Check at your local airport(s) if interested. I know this works and am part of an LLC that enjoys this arrangement.
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