Currently $15 per flight hour
As every motorist knows, the only thing predictable about fuel costs is that they will fluctuate unpredictably. Recent sharp increases in energy prices have hit the aviation industry especially hard, causing airline fares to skyrocket. Now AvSport of Lock Haven, the sport aviation training center on the Piper Memorial Airport, has been forced to add a fuel surcharge to its aircraft rental and training package costs.
In our first year of operation, our fuel costs doubled. Rather than raise the price of our training programs themselves, it seemed fairest to the local flying community for us to simply institute a variable fuel surcharge, which can hopefully be decreased (or even eliminated entirely) should energy prices ever normalize.
One reason for the sharp rise in fuel costs for sport aircraft is the unintended consequence of a legislative mandate. Modern sport aircraft, as well as many classics (such as the legendary, locally produced Piper Cub) were designed to run on automotive fuel. AvSport's primary trainer, for example, is compatible with 93 octane unleaded premium auto gas. However, current laws require all auto fuel sold in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to contain at least 10% ethanol. Unfortunately, for various technical reasons it is unsafe to use fuel containing ethanol in most aircraft. Thus, a policy intended to reduce our dependence on foreign oil has forced AvSport, and other aircraft operators, to convert to the considerably more costly 100 octane leaded AvGas (which itself has negative environmental and maintenance implications).
The formula used by AvSport to establish our hourly fuel surcharge is:
($ current - $ baseline) x rate
- $ current = Piper Memorial Airport's price per gallon for 100LL avgas (currently $5.88/gal)
- $ baseline = Price per gallon paid by AvSport for ethanol-free 93 UL in January 2010 ($2.89/gal)
- rate = hourly fuel consumption of AvSport's trainer aircraft (5 GPH)
The above rate is rounded to the nearest dollar, and is subject to 6% Pennsylvania state sales tax.
AvSport regrets the financial impact of this newly established policy, and is actively pursuing various remedies (including seeking legislative relief from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's ethanol mandate). We would like nothing more than to eliminate this unfortunate burden, and will eagerly phase out the fuel surcharge at the earliest opportunity.
If you can drive, you can fly!
Copyright © AvSport of Lock Haven, a subsidiary of Microcomm Consulting
This page last updated 23 May 2013
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