If you’ve ever dreamed of taking flight and just sailing off into the yonder you might have considered gliding away, flying in a plane or jumping on a helicopter, but most of these options aren’t really affordable and viable for the majority of us.
Well, it might just be cheaper to take that solo flight than you think. If you’ve always pondered about flying high we’ve put together some of the best options available that won’t break the bank.
Hang gliding, paragliding, and powered gliding are all relatively inexpensive ways to experience the freedom of personal flight. In the United States, you do not need a pilot license to operate any of these gliders which means you really just need to pay for training and the equipment itself. Training may consist of a few hours to a few days’ worth of instruction and may cost anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. If your budget for between $1000 and $1500 for training you should be in the right ballpark. At the end of the day, you can become a recreational hang glider for $2500, a paraglider for $5,000 and a powered paraglider for around $10,000.
A powered parachute (PPC) is a motorized parachute with wheels that can travel between 25 and 35 MPH at altitudes between 500 and 1,500 feet. Due to the fact that is is a low-altitude ride you won’t need an airport to take off or land which will save you money in your fees and flying costs. A single-seat PPC, including the paramotor and the parachute, ranges from about $7,000 to $9,000 or you can purchase one secondhand for cheaper – add onto this the cost for training and you could own one for around $10,000.
If you’re looking for something a little closer to the real experience, this ultralight trike is the option for you. Made to feel between an airplane and a hang glider, this flying machine is a low-cost aircraft essentially and will be the closest thing to flying a plane without having to fork out the money that goes with it. You can purchase a new ultralight trike for as little as $5,000 or you can DIY an ultralight trike for around $2000.
Hot air ballooning is not for everyone and it really is an acquired taste however if you are looking for the ultimate airborne experience a hot air balloon is the way to fly. Starting from around $20,000 and up, the cost of a hot air balloon is pretty steep if you are buying it new and you will need to include insurance, maintenance, fuel plus plenty more into your running costs.
For many, only a real plane will do, however, by looking at the five options above you can experience the joy of flight without having to spend tens of thousands to get you in the sky.