Frugal pilots aren’t cheap or unsafe. Their buying and flying decisions are based on getting the greatest value for each aviation dollar spent, not on squeezing every dollar until Washington yelps.
Frugal pilots aren’t poor. They may or may not be financially rich, but they do know the significance of money and that a dollar saved wisely can be a dollar spent on more avgas or iPhones or retirement.
Frugal pilots aren’t alone. There are many thousands of us who fly comfortably within a budget for a variety of good reasons: To go somewhere, to go nowhere, to see the world from above, to discover ourselves, to share recreation, to overcome fears, and/or to build an aviation career.
At my airport, I hear many stories from grinning pilots who started out mowing lawns, washing airplanes, or taking on a second job to afford flying lessons. Over the years, these veteran pilots have logged thousands of hours in their owned or co-owned aircraft by being frugal — and safe.
What are their secrets?