LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Aviation students shell out a lot of money to earn their wings. They pay for instructor time, use of the plane, and of course, fuel.
So as fuel prices climb, pilots see the costs of their dreams soar.
"It hurts," Paul Kroppen said as he eyed the price of avgas at Page Field Airport in Fort Myers.
Kroppen is a private pilot. He's working on earning his multi-engine rating so he can fly twin engine aircraft. It's a pricey endeavour.
"You're paying double," Kroppen said. "You have two engines, so you have double the fuel. Instead of having like 15 gallons an hour usage, you have 30 gallons an hour usage."
Currently at Page Field, AV gas is priced at $4.61 a gallon. That's the cost students pay, self-serve, to fill up the planes for their lessons.
"The gas prices were, in the beginning, around $3, now they're getting to $5 and at some airports, they're even at 6, 7 or 8 dollars," Kroppen said.
At Beaver Aviation, Chief Pilot Lubomir Gueorguiev, says he expected prices to take off as we head in to spring and summer, but he worries it will hurt business.
"The price of the fuel is a major factor of this business, and when the price of the fuel goes up, it kills the business," Gueorguiev said.
Kroppen says it's nearly killed his love of flying. "It's taken the fun out of it."
While fuel prices are high for pilots, they do say Page Field has some of the lowest prices in the area. In fact, according to www.avgas.com,the average price of avgas in the southeast region of the United States is currently at $5.87 a gallon. The hope is the cheaper prices at Page Field will bring business to the airport.
Like cars, different planes require different types of fuel. Jet fuel, which is used in commercial aircraft, is often cheaper on average than AV gas.