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Finding Time for Flying

It is said that people are either time rich & money poor or money rich & time poor. Perhaps retiring after a successful career might allow being rich in both time and money but then you’d also require good health to make use of both.

Having been in the former category for many years, more recently I find myself in the latter. I’m not particularly wealthy but think I qualify since I don’t have enough time to spend the money I have. It is quite some time since I last flew and my licence has lapsed. Work, a young family and life in general seem to take up all my available time. Don’t get me wrong; my job is rewarding (if tiring) and I love my family. But I would like to go flying as well!

Combining family time and flying would be great but my aircraft is only a two seater and my wife, not yet having flown with me is not particularly keen to start now. In time I hope this will change but it will first require me to gain some more flying experience.

How common is this situation? What methods do you use to organise yourself and make sure you have time for your hobbies? Employ a housekeeper? Ditch your friends? Give up sleep?

Last Edited by S57 at 02 Sep 22:40
EGBJ, United Kingdom

A very important topic. Probably the single most important reason why people drop out of GA, way ahead of all the other “hassles” which we regularly discuss here in great detail.

I am in a similar situation: Demanding job which I nevertheless enjoy doing and which is decently paid at about 6000+ €/month before taxes. A family with two young kids, which (rightfully) demands all of my spare time. A pilot license which I massively underuse as a result (last year I revalidated my SEP with an FE because I didn’t have the 12 hrs/year to do it with an FI).

I don’t think there is an easy way out. If my wife would finally join me on a flight and not run away scared afterwards, there might be a way to combine family time + aviation. But she’s scared after she saw me do a bouncy landing years ago (on my first solo!). I don’t want to exert any pressure, which will be counterproductive, but her argument of “you need more experience” is fallacious because I’m not staying current enough because of her insisting on me spending all my free time with the family…

I love my wife but if she doesn’t get more supportive of my piloting hobby, I will have to put it on hold until the kids are older (afaik @Airborne_Again and several others here did the same)

Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

The classic way to have both money and time is development of a unique skill, one which is sufficiently in demand, and which thereby allows you to find work on your terms at a reasonable hourly rate of pay.

It does take a while to get there, I’d say it took me 20 or 25 years. Although I worked long hours in the past, and even more so traveled on business a lot, as time has gone on it hasn’t been so often necessary. Other than infrequent business trips I haven’t often worked more than 40 hrs a week for quite a long time, and the pay is seven times what it was 30 years ago.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 03 Sep 01:53

Silvaire wrote:

The classic way to have both money and time is development of a unique skill, one which is sufficiently in demand, and which thereby allows you to find work on your terms at a reasonable hourly rate of pay.

That is certainly true. Although I recently read an interview with a sociologist on “how to become rich (in Germany)” and he said you cannot become truly wealthy through your own hard work, you need to create a successful business to do so. Even the highest paid professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineers etc. do not really earn enough to become “money rich” enough to buy and maintain their own GA plane to a "money no object " standard (to quote @Peter ), at least not without also becoming so “time poor” that they can’t really enjoy it. At least not over here, things might be different in the US where wages are less constricted by social expectations.

Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

I express my sympathy

I have 2 questions for @S57 :
- would the situation be different if your plane was 3/4 seater ?
- do you worry for the shape of your aircraft if it doesn’t fly ?


I’m working 4 days per week for an international bank.
Next to that I’m running a small business where I cut marble/granite/composite kitchen tops with diamond tools.
It’s a niche market. I hardly have any competition. Customers are happy they found me and I charge a good (but fair) rate.
I like the work and it pays for my expensive hobbies (flying, boating, skiing).

This is me on my “free” wednesday

Last 12 months I flew 70 hours, mostly SR22.
Especially now in Covid-19 times I greatly enjoy the freedom of flying to nice places.
My wife is often joining. We block time in our agendas for flying trips. Previously we had to arrange the grandparents to take care for the kids.
But now they’re getting older it gets easier also on that part (the youngest is 14).

Finding the time is a matter of setting priorities. What works for us is just blocking weekends in our agenda.

Trying to find a way to excite the wife/girlfriend/partner with flying is surely the single biggest most important thing, outside of everything actually directly necessary to get airborne.
If you think of what it takes to actually do a couple of hours…… In many cases it could be 45min each way to the field. 30 mins to prep. 25 mins to fuel. 30 mins to put the A/C to bed.
That really eats up a big chunk of a saturday or sunday. That’s without chatting to anyone or landing away for food.
I’m lucky in that if I head toward going flying, the wife will be gathering the flight bag and charging the ipads.
My way of doing it was to involve her from day1 on the adventure of flying, and deliberately choosing destinations for us to enjoy together, whether in company with others or not.
I know not everyone can achieve that but it really helps

United Kingdom

The ultimate strategy is to find a reason to fly for work.
This puts one in the position of regular flight and offsets a good deal of the typical costs.

At first, companies are topically opposed due to the expense, but creative accounting enables many things.

For instance, traveling from the UK to almost anywhere in Europe requires a few hours to the airport, a short flight, a rental car, then a couple hours of transit, requiring a full day each way, or two days for one meeting.

With GA this is a round trip in a day for a lot of destinations.
Especially in the UK, the travel times go down substantially with GA.

I regularly flew from Swansea to Exeter, a 25 minute flight, (minimum 3hr drive).

Showing the cost benefit of that time gain helps to alleviate some of the cost argument.

If you are making £100k/yr, that’s about £45/hr.
So my cost benefit worked out like this:

Flight = £455. [Airplane 1hr (£175) + Landing (£70) + rental car (£30) + 4 hrs labour (£180)]

Driving = £635. [Car 7 hrs (£175) + 8 hrs labour (£360) + hotel (£100)]

Those are real numbers.
Plus, I was back the same day and at work the next morning after flying vs arriving late in the afternoon the next day while driving.

It is a great example that isn’t all to common, but everyone I encountered was blown away at the ease of travel, the real ROI and how my productivity was better when flying.

I have a company that owns the plane, and I just fly it instead of taking commercial because of the time savings and ease of scheduling.

In the US the mileage reimbursement rate for tax purposes is $1.21 / mile which is slightly double the vehicle rate.

Not sure what it is in the UK, but it is easy enough to claim the drive distance to the company (which is often a lot further than flying, easily double in some cases) but fly instead.
Or claim the flight miles.

It’s important to not force the flight, as weather plays a large role, and learning to plan that flexibility in advance takes a bit of practice.

You will pay more out of your pocket to travel GA, but you will be flying while you do it, and paying less to fly than you would otherwise.

If you succeed, you’ll find that others look at you as a pilot, and will have confidence in you and want to fly with you. Hopefully that includes your family.

If you can work it into your work life, you don’t have to worry about working it into your personal life.

Last Edited by AF at 03 Sep 12:41

I like your concept of “fly to/for work”, AF, but it only works in jobs where you need to travel to farway places.

The furthest I had to travel to work so far was 57 km. Really should have gotten a PPL(H) instead, could fly to work everyday with my place of work having a huge 100×100 m helipad…

Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

MedEwok wrote:

Really should have gotten a PPL(H) instead, could fly to work everyday with my place of work having a huge 100×100 m helipad…

drooling – that would be so cool.
The only disappointing part would be the short flight times, but they could be easily made up for.

It is true what you’re saying, if one doesn’t travel, they can’t play the angle.
I should have opened with that. Thanks

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