How to Rent an Aircraft

To fly aircraft on your own, you may want or need to rent an aircraft, as it can be less expensive than buying one. Aircraft rental rates are often charged by the hour, offering you temporary use of a plane if you want more experience flying one by yourself. During the rental process, you should be able to prove you are knowledgeable, qualified, and fit enough to fly an aircraft. Follow these steps to rent an aircraft.


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    Pass a medical evaluation. This should include a physical exam and ensure that you are healthy enough to fly. In the United States, find an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct your evaluation.
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    Get your medical certificate. Make sure it is current and valid. You should have your certificate with you when trying to rent an aircraft and/or whenever you fly.
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    Sign up for flying lessons if necessary. The cost of renting an aircraft may be included in your flight school's lesson expenses. You may need to spend several hours flying with a flight instructor and flying solo.
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    Get your pilot's license. Pass all necessary written and flight tests to become licensed.
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    Find an aircraft rental company in your area. Try searching online or find out if your flight school also rents aircraft.
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    Read and sign a rental agreement. Go over any questions you have about the agreement before signing it.
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    Fill out any other required paperwork. A questionnaire demonstrating knowledge of piloting, a checklist for new pilots, and a form to authorize credit card charges are a few examples of other documents you may need to complete.
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    Provide proof of identification and/or renter's insurance if necessary. You may need to show your passport, driver's license or other accepted photo identification.
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    Pay the necessary rental fee(s). The rental rate may be charged by the hour. Rental prices can vary depending on the rental company's fuel, maintenance and aircraft costs.


  • A pilot's medical certificate should be issued by the FAA in the United States. FAA certificates come in different classes based on their length of validity and what type of pilot they are for. Private, recreational, flight instructor, or student pilots should obtain a Class 3 FAA medical certificate.
  • The medical examination of a pilot may be known as a flight physical.
  • Bring a list of any medications you currently take, related health or medical documents indicating treatment of injuries, diseases, etc., as well as hearing aids, glasses, or other similar items to your medical exam.


  • You may also need to ride with a flight instructor for a certain period of time to gain familiarity with the rented aircraft before you are allowed to fly it alone. The flight with the instructor may be referred to as a "check flight."

Things You'll Need

  • Medical evaluation
  • Medical certificate
  • Flight school
  • Flying lessons
  • Pilot's license
  • Aircraft rental company
  • Signed rental agreement
  • Other required paperwork
  • Government-issued photo identification documents
  • Proof of renter's insurance
  • Payment of rental fee(s)
  • Check flight

Article Info

Categories: Aviation