What Does it Cost to Learn Aerobatics?

Aerobatic airplanes are among the most expensive small planes to rent, not only because they are meticulously crafted but because insurance companies think aerobatic flying is more dangerous than other types of flying, and thus charge higher premiums. Aerobatics may be slightly more risky than flying straight and level, but with proper training, a well-maintained airplane, and sound judgment, aerobatics can be very safe.

Renting an aerobatic training plane is far more costly than renting most of the small trainers you might fly to earn your private pilot certificate. For example, the popular Great Lakes aerobatic trainer usually starts at $140 per hour, including fuel costs and instructor fees. Typical aerobatics courses might require 10 hours or more of flying experience.

What Does it Cost to Learn Aerobatics?

On Course

If you suffer from airsickness, whether during aerobatics or not^ you should consult a flight physi­cian. She might be able to pre­scribe medication that relieves the most severe symptoms. But if you really want to be an aerobatic pilot you should gradually get used to the g-forces and extreme flight conditions by beginning with short flights, then gradually increasing the duration of each flight until your body has adjusted.

What Does it Cost to Learn Aerobatics?

Turbulence

Although aerobatic flying is spec­tacular and inspiring when per­formed by an expert don’t be tempted to jump into it too soon, if at all. First earn your private pilot certificate, get some experience behind you, and gain some confidence in flying the airplane in normal circumstances. Then, when you have a couple hundred hours logged, it might be time to start looking for an aerobatics instructor.

Another popular aerobatics plane, and one that is agile enough and powerful enough to fly in competition, is the Pitts Special. Pitts are eye-catchers because of their flashy starburst paint scheme and their striking biplane design. But they can carry a hefty per-hour charge of $230 or more.

You can even find schools that will train you in the ultra-high performance Extra 300, a German-made plane that has become famous for carrying American pilots to international competitions. But the extra performance brings extra cost—$270 per hour or more, including instructor.

But there’s hope for would-be aerobatic pilots on a budget. Flying lower-performance planes such as the Standard Decathlon, a high-wing workhorse that is forgiving and docile enough for the beginner aerobatic pilot but capable of performing almost any maneuver you can imagine. The Standard Decathlon has another advantage: It’s inexpensive to fly, at least compared to the Pitts. You can rent a Decathlon, and an instructor to tell you how to fly it, for $120 per hour.

What Does it Cost to Learn Aerobatics?

Aerobatics are one of the most demanding aspects of aviation, but
once you’re in the select group, you’re a part of a great flying tradition
that includes the Navy’s Blue Angels.

(U. S. Air Force)

 

What Does it Cost to Learn Aerobatics?

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