The Realities of Time and the Use of Your Business Aircraft

As you have learned from earlier posts by me, that when your Annual Utilization of a Business Aircraft reaches 240 flight-hours per annum it is more cost-effective to own your own Aircraft in-place of Chartering, owning a Fractional Share, or utilizing a Jet Card. With this figure (240 flight-hours) in-mind, I would like to introduce the concept of what the Time/Utilization capabilities are when you do own your own Aircraft.


  • There are 365 days in a year (not withstanding a leap-year)
  • There are 8,760 hours in a year
  • The average Annual Utilization of a Business Jet Aircraft is 400 flight-hours per annum
  • There are only a handful of Business Jet Aircraft that are certified for Single-Pilot Operations; most require two Pilots. The Smart Money always operates with a Two-Man Flight-Crew (Captain and Co-Pilot) regardless of how the Aircraft is certified
  • The standard of Flight-Time Utilization versus Resulting Scheduled and Un-Scheduled Maintenance Required averages out to be 1.5 Required Maintenance Hours per Flight Hour
  • A Pilot’s Maximum Annual ‘On-the-Job’ Utilization (365 days less Training, Weekends, Public Holidays, Vacation, and Sick Leave) is normally 225 days
  • There is no legal Duty-Time imposed upon Part 91 Flight Operations as there is, by mandate from the FAA imposed upon Part 135 Flight Operations (cfr 14, FAR 135.265.) Again, the Smart Money recognizes the need for Duty-Time tracking, and therefore a Pilot can actually fly 1,200 flight-hours in any calendar year (120 hours any calendar month/34 hours in any 7 consecutive days/8 flight-hours during any consecutive 24 hours)


  • If a Pilot is limited to 1,200 flight-hours per annum, then effectively their daily availability can be calculated as such: 1,200 hours divided by 225 days equals 5.33 flight-hours per day
  • If we use an annual utilization of 5 flight-hours per day multiplied by 365 days we arrive at 1,825 hours. This is more than four times an average annual utilization of a Business Aircraft (According to Boeing, the Airlines usually average 11.8 flight-hours per day with the B737)
  • If we use the figure of 400 flight-hours, which is average utilization of a Business Jet Aircraft per annum, then each year, the subject aircraft will require 600 man-hours of downtime to stay in an airworthy condition. 600 hours of downtime equates to 10 days (600 divided by four technicians equals 150 hours, divided by 15 hour days (2 working shifts) equals 10 days)
  • If you fly during a normal working week, or like some you fly two-times a week (four-flights per week), i.e. Gone over the weekend – leave on Friday and return on Monday, and one trip during the week, then you will utilize your Aircraft 150 days per year (50 weeks multiplied by 3 days per week)
  • To fly 150 days to 225 days a year, you will be able to operate with just two pilots + a contract pilot to cover illness or unforeseen absences. If you operate 300 or more days a year, you will need a minimum of three pilots + a contract pilot. Follow my calculations: To fly 355 days a year you will need two pilots for 710 days (in total) divided by 225 duty-days equals 3.156 Pilots
  • If you flew all year – every day – ‘around the clock’, and your Aircraft had a progressive maintenance program that allowed you to work on the Aircraft every day between flights instead of putting your Aircraft down for a week or so at a time, then it would be possible to utilize your aircraft 5,840 per annum (8,760 hours multiplied by 1.5 maintenance to flight-hours, equals 13,140 which is not possible. 8,760 divided by 1.5 maintenance flight-hours equals 5,840)
  • You will need 9.734 pilots to fly your aircraft 5,840 flight-hours per annum


  • Your Business Jet Aircraft is capable of flying 5,840 flight hours a year. The airlines usually fly a Boeing 737 an average of 4,307 flight hours a year, each aircraft
  • You will likely fly only 400 hours a year
  • You will need at least 3 pilots to operate your Aircraft all through the year

The less flight-time that is accumulated on your Aircraft compared to the fleet average for the same make and model of Aircraft; the more money (value) your aircraft shall appraise for

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