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What next?

PUBLISHED: 11:45 06 December 2005 | UPDATED: 13:45 10 October 2012

Used aeroplane prices start at £6,000 for a single-seater, rising to £12,000 for a basic two-seater, and £30,000 for a four-seat aircraft. New aeroplanes start at around £40,000. Microlights are roughly three-quarters these prices, helicopters, roughly double.

What next?



Used aeroplane prices start at £6,000 for a single-seater, rising to £12,000 for a basic two-seater, and £30,000 for a four-seat aircraft. New aeroplanes start at around £40,000. Microlights are roughly three-quarters these prices, helicopters, roughly double.



           
Many people fly a four-seat aircraft which operates rather like a family car, and use it for short flights in the local area at the weekend and for longer touring holidays. The main running costs are hangarage, maintenance, fuel and insurance, which adds up to around £6,000 a year. However, it is common for three or four families to co-own the aeroplane, so a budget of £2,000 per family is well within reach. Pilots who fly under twenty hours a year often hire club aeroplanes — prices start at around £75 an hour.



           
At the cheaper end it is possible (like Pilot’s Editor) to operate a simple single-seat aircraft for £1,000 a year.

Build a kitplane



There is a wide range of kit aeroplanes on the market, and building your own aircraft is becoming increasingly popular. Construction and materials are carefully supervised, and the kits are not cheap, but the satisfaction of flying in an aeroplane you built yourself is unbeatable. The rules allow you to do your own maintenance on homebuilt and factory-built aircraft, but it must be supervised and signed for by a licensed engineer, and you must use approved parts.



 



Start your own airfield



Under UK planning regulations, any piece of land can be used as an airfield with the owner’s OK, without planning permission from the local authority, for up to 28 days a year (the same rule applies to car boot sales). There are well over a thousand small private airstrips in the country taking advantage of this generous rule. You only need a strip of flat turf 300 by 50 yards to operate a simple light aeroplane. Helicopters can be operated from a large back garden… hundreds are.



 



Classic aircraft



Enthusiasts operate and maintain aeroplanes like the Tiger Moth biplane dating back as far as the nineteen-twenties and thirties. There are also hundreds of American fabric-covered light aeroplanes like the Piper Cub flying in the UK dating from the fourties and fifties. Restoring and operating classic aircraft is every bit as popular as restoring and maintaining classic cars, and is often cheaper.



 



Aerobatics



For many people, having an aeroplane is ab

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