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According to Salary.com, the average pilot’s salary is currently $140,601. That’s certainly enough to get by.
What about those who know how to fly planes but don’t want to work as commercial pilots?
How can they make money?
Flying is in high demand, so there will always be options for those with that skill.
Today’s guide covers the best ideas for those curious about how to make money with an airplane.
Afraid of flying? No problem! Check out one of our other ideas, like How to Make Money from Sports Knowledge.
Securing a Pilot’s License
Having an airplane sounds profitable and fun, but you need to secure some qualifications, especially if you intend to pilot it.
If you don’t have the essential licenses required to fly a plane, we recommend enrolling in a flight school.
There are roughly 490 flight schools in the United States that provide various pilot training programs.
Write a list of your preferences so that it’s easier to determine which is best for you.
To begin your pilot training in the United States, you must be at least 17 years old and a high school graduate.
You also need to secure a medical certificate, which the flight school you’re enrolling to can make arrangements for.
Each school has its own processes and enrollment criteria, and the tuition fee depends on the pilot training classes you choose to attend.
However, if you want to get a degree while still getting flight instruction, you should look into aviation-related college programs.
These programs enable students to get a college degree while still receiving aviation instruction.
How To Make Money With an Airplane
Maybe you’re a retired pilot or just fly as a hobby. Whatever the case, there are several ways to earn cash with an airplane.
They can be a sole source of income or just to supplement it. Some don’t even require any active work on your part.
We’ve put together a list of the top ways you can earn. See what our favorites are below.
Be an Air Tour Pilot
Being an aerial tour guide is a great way to make money with your airplane.
You can set up shop independently, offering private tours and sharing history in the surrounding area.
How much profit you’ll make will depend on your location, as it might not get as many tourists.
That said, this is a perfect option if you live in a big city with lots of tourism.
Recreational flights are a popular attraction for tourists in states like Maine, Wyoming, California, and Alaska.
An aerial tour guide will often describe sightseeing attractions, transport passengers between local locations, or answer inquiries about the areas you pass over.
Most trips take you on a predeﬁned route that starts and finishes at the same airport.
As per the pilot’s discretion, dropping off passengers at specific spots and returning later to pick them up is also an option.
Although some tour pilots fly independently, you’ll find the majority working with aircraft charter companies.
Give Flying Lessons
Teaching others to fly is another great way to make an extra income.
You’ll help keep the skies safer by sharing your expertise with the next generation of pilots.
Depending on how much time you have, it can be a full or part-time job.
You’ll need to be at least 18 years old and obtain a flight instructor certification to instruct others legally.
Being a CFI (certified flight instructor) is a very challenging yet fulfilling job.
One of the most challenging aspects of being an instructor is communicating your aeronautical knowledge to amateurs.
Unless the safety of the flight is jeopardized, it is occasionally advisable to enable students to make mistakes for them to learn.
Resist the impulse to correct a student’s mistake before they have an opportunity to rectify it themselves.
If you want your pupils to preserve their self-confidence while developing their piloting skills, there should be a balance.
Specifically, find the balance between correcting and letting the student figure out how it’s done.
Then again, since flying an aircraft is not comparable to other modes of transportation when it comes to safety, extreme precaution should be mandatory.
Flight Instructor Programs
Agricultural Pilot Work
Offer to help local farmers who need help maintaining their crops.
It takes a special type of plane rigged with crop dusting equipment, but agricultural work can pay quite well.
Onlinedegree.com says these pilots can make up to $84,510 a year. That’s easily enough to live on.
It might require a little learning if you’re unfamiliar with the process, and, obviously, it helps if you already live in a rural area.
There isn’t much appeal in agricultural flying compared to being a tour guide or a flight instructor unless you love farming.
After all, most if not all operations are in distant farming districts.
The hours required to accomplish the work are long and irregular, making it difficult for those who always look forward to regular social interaction.
What’s more, agricultural aircraft models are usually visually unappealing, loud, and uncomfortable that only a few can appreciate.
Still, it is a job that necessitates a wide range of piloting skills.
When you effectively use your arsenal to help clients with their livelihood, you will feel genuine accomplishment and happiness.
Despite its lack of cool factor, agricultural flying is a fulfilling job for those who prefer seeing the tranquility of the countryside.
Special Airmail Delivery
People live everywhere these days, but some inhabited locations remain quite remote and without easy access to everyday items.
This gives you an opportunity to run supplies out every few weeks to those in need.
You don’t need to be affiliated with the postal service, as you’ll be working independently.
That gives you flexibility in setting rates, taking custom orders, and the number of clients you’d like to take on.
Offer Private Flights
This one’s similar to offering guided tours.
However, with private flights, you act as an independent charter flight company for smaller groups of people.
There might not be as much demand as some of the other ideas mentioned.
Even so, the amount you charge could be higher because you’re providing a luxury service.
Like with doing deliveries, you’d be in control of managing your own orders, so you wouldn’t get overworked.
Private Charter Services
Rent Out Your Airplane
Consider renting out your airplane to companies and individuals who may be in need.
They might not even need it for flying.
Airplanes are often used on filming sets and those seeking an inside look.
It is definitely the easiest option, with little active labor necessary. The only requirement is that you own the airplane.
The demand might fluctuate now and then, but it’s still an incredible passive income stream!
Traditional charter is an excellent way to make money with an airplane.
It enables aircraft owners to hire a full-time crew while requiring low maintenance.
Typically, the owner receives about 80-85% of the money earned during each hour the airplane is used in charter operations.
This revenue split can offset some ownership costs like workforce, insurance, hangar charges, repairs, and flight training expenses.
Another effective revenue-generating method is to lease out your airplane on a full-time basis.
The renter is then responsible for all operational expenses, including maintenance, insurance, pilot, and so on, as well as a set monthly payment to the owner.
As you can imagine, it is a savvy way to avoid expenditures when your plane is listed for sale but is not used.
Leasing it full-time will keep the airplane in airworthy condition at no cost to the owner.
Airplane Rental Sites
- Alliance Aircraft Rentals (Colorado, Oregon, California, Nebraska)
- Jettly, On-Demand Private Jet Rentals
Aerial photographers fly around in airplanes or helicopters to capture structures and landscapes.
They frequently utilize cameras with gyrostabilizers to compensate for ﬂight and assure high-quality footage.
Because the expense of petrol alone to fly them is exorbitant, this style of photography was formerly confined to large-scale enterprises and those with significant budgets.
This activity has several applications, including real estate, construction, company advertising, development planning, land surveying, and more.
However, because of the rise of high-quality drones, doing aerial photography to make money with an airplane is not as lucrative as before.
Making Money With an Airplane
As you can see, there are many options for making money using your airplane.
They range in earning potential, but most of them could easily give you a hefty full-time salary.
Even better, they allow you to be flexible with your time because you get to be your own boss.
Because revenue-generating activities involving aircraft include numerous intricate FAA laws and IRS implications, make as much research as possible before deciding.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Please leave any questions or comments below, and we’ll try to respond as soon as possible.