Ferry Flying

Ferry (or positioning) flights refer to delivery flights for the purpose of returning an aircraft to base, delivering a new aircraft from its place of manufacture to its customer, moving an aircraft from one base of operations to another or moving an aircraft to or from a maintenance facility for repairs, overhaul or other work.

Basically, folks hire us to move an aircraft from one location to another when they are unable to make the flight themselves for various reasons. One primary reason is when an individual purchases a new (to them) aircraft from far enough away that they just don’t have the time, or experience to get it where it needs to go. By hiring Visions Flight Services to ferry your aircraft for you, you are able to continue your day to day activities confident that the plane will be delivered safely.

The biggest question we get is “How much?”

Well, that can be an easy or difficult question to answer, but here’s the basic breakdown. It’s $200/day plus expenses.

Now, expenses cover a lot, so let’s break it down further: The pilot needs to travel to the pick up location, and then travel back home from the drop off point. The airplane consumes fuel enroute, so unless the trip is short enough to only use the fuel in the tanks, the pilot will be required to purchase fuel along the way. The ferry pilot needs to eat, so there will be meals and possibly snacks (all reasonably priced). If the flight will take more than one day (from leaving their home to getting back again), the pilot needs to sleep somewhere. We’re not looking for a 4 star hotel, in fact, just a nice place to rest up for the next day of flying. Lastly, there are fees at some airports, whether it’s tie downs for the night, landing fees, or whatever the local municipalities choose to levy. If we’re crossing the border, there are customs fees, and possibly the duty on the plane itself if it was a purchase.

The ferry pilot pays all of these (well, not the import duty on the plane) on the client’s behalf and we include as many as we know about in the initial estimate to make it realistic.

One other cost that creeps up sometimes is mechanical issues with the airplane itself. We are pilots not mechanics. You must have a reasonable pre-buy inspection perfomed on the plane and then the pilot will always do a test flight before launching on the ferry flight itself. The pilot has the last word on the airplane’s safety, and if the airplane or weather preclude a safe flight, they always have the option to decline and come home. If there is work needed before or during the flight, we will always get permission from the client before having any repairs done.

Another question we get is “Why will it take ‘X’ days?”

Weather and mechanical issues aside, we will fly as much as possible each and every day, but a duty day is typically around 8-10 hours. There is simply no reason to push a pilot to fly past 10, 12, or more hours a day. A pilot’s ability to react properly to adverse situations declines dramatically after around the 8 hour mark. Also, if the aircraft is not able to fly at night or in IFR conditions, the sheer number of daylight hours (depending on the time of year) also can have a limiting factor.

Contact us today for an estimate!