Airplanes cost a lot to operate.
From fixed costs like the cost of the airplane itself, insurance fees, taxes and registration fees to variable costs like fuel, oil, and maintenance fees, a single airplane costs a lot to operate.
Aircraft insurance rates are extremely expensive.
This is true especially for aircrafts that are used for flight training. Aircraft insurance rates are dependent upon the type of aircraft, the type of operation the aircraft will be involved in, and the experience of the pilots flying it among other things. Complex retractable-gear airplanes cost more to insure than non-complex aircrafts. Multi-engine aircrafts cost much more than single-engine aircraft. Aircrafts used for flight training cost more to insure than aircrafts flown in a professional operation with experienced pilots.
Rising aviation fuel prices mean higher operating costs.
Aviation fuel like 100 Low Lead (called avgas) has surged in price since the early 2000s. In 2002, avgas was about $1.15 per gallon. Today, depending on the region, 100 low lead aviation fuel is found between$4.00-$8.00 per gallon.
Flight instructors are in demand and paid more money today than in the past.
Traditionally, flight instructor jobs served as a pipeline to the airline industry. In the past, flight instructors were paid close to minimum wage but were never expected to stick around long. Today, the industry has seen a demand for flight instructors, which means flight instruction costs more than it used to.
Airplanes need to be maintained.
Maintenance is one of the highest costs an airplane owner has to face. EASA regulations require airplanes be maintained to a very specific level of airworthiness. Aircrafts that are operated for hire must undergo a thorough inspection every 100 hours as well as require annual inspections. In addition, in a flight-training environment, airplanes are put through a lot. They get banged up and beaten down more than in other operations, raising maintenance costs.
Add landing fees, tie down fees, hangar fees, and pilot supplies.
A student pilot alone will spend upwards of $500 on books and supplies only like headsets and charts.
Becoming a pilot is expensive. However, after examining the reasons for the high price tag, it is not difficult to understand why.