I have embarked on the journey to a new decison - should I buy an aircraft (or a share of an aircraft)?
I am, and will continue to be, a member of the Rockcliffe Flying Club. They have a a fleet of aircraft (mostly 172s, with two 152s and a 182) available for rent. These aircraft have various levels of equipment, there are enough of them that you can get one pretty much when you want one. They are of course older aircraft, but well maintained, and safe.
And expensive. By the time you rent one (wet rental), add HST, figure on $150 per Hobbs hour.
There is also the price of "opportunity cost" - by the published rates, if my wife and I take a club aircraft to PEI for a week, then there is a minimum charge of 3 hours per day even if I never start the engine.
However, if I don't fly, the cost to me of a rental aircraft is nil.
Renting, and not owning, makes sense if you do not fly a large number of hours per year. There are rent vs. buy calculators, but the more you fly the more it makes sense to consider owning instead of renting (the crossover point is determined primarily by the costs associated with owning, such as the purchase price, but is usually somewhere around 50-100 hours per year).
The cost of ownership can be dramatically reduced by owning a share in an aircraft, instead of a whole aircraft. The operating costs per hour are the same, but the capital cost (purchase price), annual costs (tie-down, insurance, annual inspection, ....) are divided n ways, as are the costs of any upgrades, paint jobs, etc. Owning a share of an aircraft can drop the crossover point to as little as 30 hours per year. Instead of $150 per hour, flying is half that cost.
I'm a husband and father who always loved flying, and always had a reason to not go do it - mortgages, young kids, unemployment, whatever. For my 50th birthday my family, having heard enough, told me to go do what I should have done long ago (see the Feb 10 2006 post). This is my "Dear Diary".