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Renting An Airplane? 8 Things You Should Always Check For

If you're renting an airplane for the first time, there are a few things you should do. Remembering these tips could save you a lot of heartache...and cash!

1) Are Block Rates Available?

If you're planning on staying local and renting the airplane quite a bit, ask if the FBO has a block rate charge. If not, try negotiating one. You could get a pretty large discount over time by buying your flight hours this way.


2) Dry Rate Or Wet Rate?

A huge cost difference between rentals is a dry rate (without gas included) or wet rate (gas included). New renters have been surprised when they see a $125 hourly rental rate and suddenly they're paying upwards of $160 per hour.


3) Checkout Process And Cost

What is the checkout process for the rental? How many hours does the FBO require that you fly with an instructor or complete ground training?

Nicolas Shelton

4) Maintenance Records

Does the airplane you want to rent have complete maintenance records readily available? It's a good idea to check the maintenance history of the airplane before deciding on a rental aircraft.


5) Talk To Other Renters

If you have the chance to, talk with local renters about which airplanes are the best choices. You may get lucky and find a rental in great shape, or one that keeps phasing in and out of maintenance down-periods.


6) Look At The Airplane Schedule And Ask About Alternative Aircraft Available

Ask the FBO to pull up the rental schedule for the airplane/airplanes and see how often they're being used. A full schedule of students and renters isn't a good sign that you'll be able to use the plane all that often. If there are alternative aircraft available, you'll find yourself in the most flexible spot when unanticipated maintenance occurs.


7) FBO Insurance Vs. Your Insurance

What does your insurance cover vs. what the FBO covers? Before you rent, you should have a renter's insurance policy. They typically only cost a few hundred dollars per year, and if you don't have one, you could be on the hook to pay for damages when you're renting the plane.

Nicolas Shelton

8) Consider A Pre-Rental Inspection

Once you've found the best option, consider completing a pre-rental inspection. It's a lot better to see what you're getting into vs. looking at a few pictures online. If you don't like what you see, move on and find something else.

Haley Howard

What other tips do you have? Tell us in the comments below!

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Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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