Recurrent training is one of those things you simply don't want to put off (though I suspect it's one of the first things some pilots stop doing when money is tight). The good news is that there are some great ways to cut training costs while still getting the same (or better) benefit. One is using an advanced aviation training device (AATD). These low-cost training devices are not only cheaper than renting an airplane and an instructor, but they also can be used to fly your required IFR procedures to keep your instrument proficiency up to standards. Moreover, simulators are a very efficient way of getting training done. Instead of droning in an airplane until you get to the initial approach fix, in a computerized trainer you can just fly the approaches, getting more done in less time. And it's fun, to boot.
6. Ditch the Hangar**
Pilots with hangars, especially those who live outside the Snow Belt, should ask themselves how much they really need a little house for their airplane. At a typical rate of $250 a month — it can be much more in some areas of the country — you're talking $3,000 a year. For a few hundred dollars you can get a very nice cover that will protect your airplane's cabin from the sun and the rain, and for a couple of hundred more you can get wing covers. The overall savings will be a couple of thousand dollars a year. Granted, it's hard to leave the hangar life once you've experienced it, but if your airplane's paint wasn't that good to begin with, it's a great way to save a couple of thousand dollars a year.
7. Hunt for Cheap Gas**
You don't have to be a hedge fund manager to figure out that fuel is a big part of the cost equation in flying. If you fly, for example, 75 hours a year at a typical single-engine fuel flow of 15 gallons per hour at a fuel cost of $5 per gallon, you end up spending $5,625 a year on fuel. If you can cut the cost of your fuel by a dollar a gallon, you can save more than a thousand dollars, even figuring in the extra time it might take to stop for fuel somewhere short of your home airport. Pilots of twins or turbines, it goes without saying, can save a lot more. The key is in hunting for that cheap fuel, and there are a number of good ways to do that these days, including on websites, portable navigators and flight planning programs. The difference in prices can be substantial, and given current pricing, the $1 a gallon discount goal is easily attainable.