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What's it like to fly GA with user fees?

What's it like to fly GA with user fees?

Faced with an instrument approach below minimums, how would you react to the notion that a last-minute approach to a nearby airport with better weather would cost you $1,000? Such harried decision making and its negative effect on safety are a way of life for European general aviation pilots.

Fly along with AOPA Pilot Editor-at-Large Thomas A. Horne on an IFR flight across Europe in a Piper Twin Comanche as he deals with just such a situation. The user fees for his 350-nautical-mile flight totaled $233.97.

  • Weather briefing: $7.80
  • Filing a flight plan: $4.68
  • Airport and departure fees: $121.60
  • Missed instrument approach: $22.10
  • Second instrument approach: $22.10
  • Landing fee: $55.69

"European pilots pay more, receive less, and can face higher risks," Horne writes after the flight in "Euro-Fees Fears."

AOPA taped Horne's flight to let you in on the experience. Watch this disturbing eight-minute video to see how user fees increase costs and sacrifice safety.

March 27, 2007

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