Aviation Fuel is Sky High

JONESBORO (KAIT) - Say you want to load the family up in the Cessna and fly to Branson for the weekend.

Is the cost of aviation gas going to keep you on the road instead?

Lynn Padan "We get about ten miles to the gallon so it's not too bad. I've got a big pickup that gets about the same."

Lynn Padan flew from Park City, Utah to visit his family here. Figuring a fill up can put as many as 50 to 70 gallons of aviation gas in an airplane at anywhere from 5 to over 6 dollars a gallon it can get expensive fast.

Skyventure Aviation a local flight training center is still busy, although they have had to increase rates due to fuel increases the business is still going strong.

Mark Frankum, "Flight training is probably the last thing that is affected by high fuel costs because people are still going to learn how to fly. There still is a demand for pilots since we live in a country where people aren't going to start riding trains again. Aviation is here to stay and for that reason why we have seen a little downturn flight training is still pretty much business as usual."

John Boknecht and Brad Pierson are students at an aviation school in Minnesota, they were passing through on their way to New Orleans, building up hours for their commercial pilot tickets.

The school reimburses them for gas but fuel prices still fit in their flight planning.

Boknecht, "We know were heading down to New Orleans. We know where our general area for fuel stops is so we'll look and see where the cheapest fuel in that area for our fuel stops is."

Around Region 8 fuel varies in price from over six dollars in Jonesboro to under 5 in Walnut Ridge and Kennett, Missouri.

Not all flying businesses are booming.  I spoke to a charter pilot out of Kansas City, he told me that business for them is down nearly 300%, they have had to raise rates to allow for fuel prices and are considering selling one of their aircraft.

At Skyventure they are beginning to use smaller more fuel efficient aircraft for pilot training.

Frankum, "Cessna is going to produce a light sport aircraft. We have four of these on order we'll start taking delivery of them next year. Again the fuel burn is going to be almost half of what we see with the training aircraft we are currently using."

As expensive as it is for play or work like our cars we love our airplanes.

Padan, "Getting the airplane gave me a lot of freedom to come and go getting in and out places that don't have commercial air service. "

Pilots still have to be trained and passengers still have to be moved but right now the price of gas may stop people flying these just for fun.