2016 Reddit Aviation survey results

We were amazed by the almost 700 responses we received. Thank you for patiently waiting for the results. I’d also like to note that the vast majority of these statistics pertain to GA flyers, not commercial pilots and their routes.


The average age is 26. The oldest is 76 and the youngest is 11.

Where do you fly?

Link to the map:

In case you can’t load the map or you just prefer a picture, here is a picture of most of the data points:

About 80% of you fly in the US and Canada and are relatively spread out across the US. The remaining 20% are spread out with significant amounts in Western Europe and Australia. Interestingly enough, there are nearly no responses from Eastern Europe.

Let’s see how much you fly.

Note: This is just results from the people with a PPL or pursuing a PPL.

Nearly 20% of you have flown a dozen or less hours in the past year. The average however is about 85 hours within the last year.

Let’s look at those flights.

When you do fly, 91% of you fly under 2 hours on an average flight (including taxi and take-off).

What’s the average distance of those flights?

Average flight distance includes patterns (meaning that a traffic pattern at the same airport still has a distance).

Judging by the notes many people left, It seems that many if not most included a round trip as their average flight distance so I don’t know how much it is skewed but the raw average is about 83 NM. This question was also optional to avoid random guesses so we received ~150 less responses.

Let’s talk a bit about the planes that you fly!

You all overwhelmingly fly piston with turboprop and turbine tied for 2nd place with just 2.5% each.

How many of you own the planes that you fly?

Of the people who own planes, what do you fly?

If the bar graph made you vomit a bit too much, here is a table:

Interesting assortment of planes. My personal favorite is the Powered Parachute.

What are the biggest financial burdens of these plane owners?

It’s no surprise that with the exorbitant pricing of low-lead aviation gas and massive maintenance costs, that these are the two largest financial burdens.

We followed this up with their 2nd financial burden which paints a similar picture.

Couple of things about this one — Because it was so split (evenly) on their largest financial burden, the vast majority of people who selected Fuel OR maintenance as their largest burden selected the other as their 2nd largest burden. The second largest financial burden was also optional, so we only got 488 responses for it (one of which was “my wife”).

What are the two biggest downsides to owning a plane?

The big takeaway from this is that fuel and maintenance costs are the largest day-to-day drain on a plane owner’s wallet.

I don’t want to depress you guys though so we also asked:

What are the two biggest upsides to owning a plane?

Why haven’t current pilots bought a plane?

Again, maintenance costs and fuel costs were number #1 and #2, respectively. Clearly, this isn’t including purchasing the plane itself which would be a major financial expenditure. As most current owners know, the initial purchase is only the tip of the iceberg and it’s the upkeep that breaks the bank.

Why do you fly?

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