Should I Rent Or Should I Join a Club Or Should I Buy
It's a question every person should ask themselves. Here's how we answer the question.
Learning to fly: Almost everyone is better off renting at this stage. Clubs typically don't have full time instructors so getting time is difficult except when they aren't working and aren't having fun. And you don't really want to put some of those early landings on your brand new-to-you airplane.
After Private Pilot: This stage boils down to three scenarios.
If availability is your number one priority and cost is no consideration, then buying is the best option. Both clubs and renting have other people renting the airplane.
If cost is your number one concern, then the spreadsheet below sets the bar as to when clubs are less expensive and when rentals are less expensive.
The least risk is rentals since if you don't fly, you don't have any expense. With a club, you are paying whether you fly or not. This is the number 1 reason you see club memberships available. People are tired of paying, but not flying
* Clubs typically charge by tach time. For doing pattern work, this is roughly 80% of Hobbs time. For short cross country, they are approximately equal times. For long cross country flight, tach time is a penalty compared to hobbs time because hobbs and tach are equal at 2400rpm. Cross country flights are usually run at 2500 or 2600 rpm.
** There was no attempt made at determining salvage value of either the purchase of a plane nor of a share. Both were assumed 'sunk' costs. . *** The rental rate using a 20hr rental block was used since the reason one would join a club is that they plan on flying quite a few hours/yr. There is little reason to join a club unless a lot of hours will be flown. . **** Maintenance of $2000/yr was used. However, it probably would be higher than that depending on what actually needs repair. Almost everything that breaks is a $1000 minimum repair. . ***** Clubs typically charge assessments when upgrades are needed. Make sure you ask about assessment history and probabilities of any future assessments. Members have little control over assessments.