ost general aviation pilots dream at some point about owning an airplane. There are no substitutes for the ability to jump into your own airplane and take off wherever, whenever, without any scheduling, time restrictions and costly minimum daily requirements. Or are there? If you’re not flying at least 100 hours per year, full ownership is hard to justify financially. The fact is there are many alternatives to ownership that could make a lot more sense. While these options might not provide the full pride of ownership, they offer great flexibility and, generally, lower costs. An airplane you own outright will cost you a significant outlay of cash each month, even if you are able to find reasonably priced parking, insurance and maintenance. At some point, there will be big bills, such as engine overhauls, as well as paint, interior and panel upgrades. Why not leave those expenses to someone else or, at the very least, share them? Ownership also limits you to one airplane and its capabilities. We all know there is no such thing as one perfect airplane for all types of flying. Having access to a variety of airplanes can be immensely satisfying, whether you’re heading out for a local fun flight where economy is more important than speed, out for a backcountry camping trip where a taildragger makes most sense, or planning a long cross-country trip for which you need an airplane that gets you there more efficiently. While aircraft-rental facilities provide options, they often offer “used and abused” airplanes, and scheduling can be a major issue, particularly if you want to take an airplane for an extended trip. Whether you are looking for more flying for your dollar or greater flexibility, here are some options that could help you get more out of your pilot’s certificate.