Is "dry hiring" an aircraft a safe and sensible thing to do?

What are the advantages of dry hiring an aircraft? How do you dry hire an aircraft? Is aircraft dry hire sensible? Is it safe to dry hire an aircraft? Should I dry hire a plane? What is the best way to hire a plane? Is it more cost effective to dry hire an aircraft? Is aircraft dry hire much cheaper?

Hiring an aircraft can be a costly business but one way to keep the costs down, and arguably provide you with more flexibility, is to dry hire the aircraft.

The term dry hiring strictly means that the plane will be provided without any crew or fuel and the customer has to arrange all costs associated with operating the aircraft themselves during the hire period.

This means that the person hiring the aircraft has full operational control, unlike a “wet” hire where this control stays with the owner. This may not seem to be either relevant or important but it basically means that the hirer can exercise total authority over initiating, conducting or terminating a flight.

The owner of the aircraft does however ensure that the crew used are properly qualified and have sufficient flying time under their belt to operate the aircraft and therefore have the right to refuse any crew that does not meet the correct standard.

Is it safe?

This might seem a slightly risky way to hire an aircraft but this is not really the case.

Even with a dry hire the owner is still required to provide an air worthy aircraft that has been properly maintained and adequately insured.

Why is it cheaper?

Hiring an aircraft in this way means that the owner does not have to hold an Air Operators Certificate. This is approval granted by the Civil Aviation Authority to allow an operator to use its aircraft for commercial purposes. It requires that the operator has personnel, assets and the necessary systems in place to ensure the safety of its employees and the public.

Without this requirement, the costs of hiring an aircraft are significantly less.

However, don’t think that this means a dry hire aircraft is any less well maintained. Maintenance and safety are typically of the highest standard in the UK.

On top of this dry hiring also encourages the person who is hiring and thus his pilot to manage their use of fuel more judiciously. This can include managing the mixture of the fuel (or leaning) which increases the revolutions per minute and as a result more mileage is gained.

This can also extend to using smaller regional airports to refuel where the cost may actually be lower. In contrast to this, the pilot of a wet hire aircraft will often make the refuelling decision based on the convenience of location rather than cost.

So if you are looking for cost effective executive air travel, perhaps you should take a look at dry hiring an aircraft.

 To understand more about the terms of this arrangement, have a look at this specimen agreement.

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Will Graham

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I graduated from the University of Warwick with a BSc Hons in Mathematics & Statistics. Since leaving university I have become Founder and Director of

While studying I played an active role in the family nursing home business, The Graham Care Group, and have continued as a Graduate Trainee alongside my work with FlexiFly, being involved with all areas of the business.

For some years I have been actively involved in international motorsport and achieved numerous awards as co-driver to a European Rally Champion (my dad!). It was these experiences of weekends in Europe that partly inspired us about how we could make air travel more flexible and convenient. The calibre of competitors we met on events have given us insight into the potential our alternative to traditional aircraft charter has.


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