Is fuel price really a valid reason to pick a stopover?

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by IK04, Jul 17, 2019.

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Is fuel price really a valid reason to pick a stopover?

  1. Yep.

    65 vote(s)
    83.3%
  2. Nope.

    13 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. IK04

    IK04 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Some airports have cheap gas and nothing else. Some have expensive gas and awesome amenities.

    What are your experiences with the price of fuel versus the "niceness" of a particular airport?
     
  2. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Fuel price, fuel price, and...fuel price. I'm not paying $3 more per gallon because they have leather couches and wear dressy clothes inside the FBO. If I over paid $230 bucks for a leather couch I may not even sit on every time I topped off, I would be flying a whole lot less. All I want in an FBO is a place to ****, and a place to fuel, and I really only need a bush for the former.
     
  3. IK04

    IK04 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I remember flying into Horseshoe Bay in My C-150 STOL and telling the fuel guy to "fill 'er up!" They would drive you to the country club in a stretch limo for a free brunch if you filled up your airplane on Sunday. Best $3.87 I ever spent!
     
  4. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Fuel price. Availability of MOGAS or Swift UL94 is a big one too, though those are really very few and far between.
     
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  5. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    Like most things. It depends.
    If I’m with family-wife specifically. And there is a fuel stop cheaper but with a super crappy nonexistent FBO crappy bathrooms. My wife won’t like that and she barely tolerates being in plane.
    If it’s just me or a buddy who doesn’t mind watering weeds-cheaper fuel.
     
  6. IK04

    IK04 Cleared for Takeoff

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    One thing I learned recently is that large FBO's seldom run out of gas. Small airports have no way to alert pilots they have no fuel.
     
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  7. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    It’s just another component in the mix. I can’t really think of any 1 thing that’s paramount, even location. It all depends.
     
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  8. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Cleared for Takeoff

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    Solo, absolutely. My needs, in order, are:

    1. A restroom, porta-john, tree, or rock

    2. A few gallons of juiced dinosaur

    3. The ability to be on my way in the next 10 minutes and not looped into conversation with the benchload of codgers who judged my landing and hold 4th class medicals.

    Sometimes, a vending machine or restaurant comes in handy. It's getting really hard to get accurate data on who has a restaurant on-field anymore.


    I'd say ~95% of my long XC flying is solo.
     
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  9. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    1. Gas price
    2. Suitable runway
    3. Airspace Hassle
     
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  10. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    I have used stops that had very cheap fuel and courtesy cars. There are also expensive stops without maint. available but have the flash lobby.

    If on an XC, I like a descent facility, with maint and courtesy transportation first then the best fuel price. When you find you butt stranded some place, you will figure it out.
     
  11. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Depends on where I'm going, what I'm doing, outside conditions and who my passenger is. If it's Mrs. Steingar, her comfort is paramount. If its a long stop I want something to do, and I'll pay a premium to do it. If I'm just by myself, yeah cheap fuel and little else. Just gotta make certainI can get into and out of the runway safely. Came close to getting nailed once by that last caveat.
     
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  12. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yes they do, NOTAMS. I’ve also seen them announce it via the automated ASOS.

    Personally I plan my fuel stops so that I can make it to another airport if my first one doesn’t work out. I’ve had people crash in front of me and shutdown the airport, etc. If I can’t plan for multiple
    options (rare) a phone call is an easy way to check.
     
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  13. CJones

    CJones En-Route

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    Fuel price is top of my list of priorities.
    Next on the list, as others have stated, depends on if I have the wife/kids with me for which 'creature comforts' I'm looking for.
     
  14. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Never even consider fuel prices. The most variance i see might be $1.50 a gallon.

    Of course my total fuel is 24 gallons and a fill up is usually half that.

    So cost delta is not huge and airport decision is made based on easy access and closest routing.
     
  15. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I just picked a random class C, first one I picked was KIND.

    Within 10 miles of Indy: $4.25 - $7.55. I'll give ya one guess who has the highest price.
    Eagle Creek only 7nm away, $5.05
    And 9nm away $4.25 at 2R2
     
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  16. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Perhaps you should have been less random. Here’s about 100 miles around where he is......

    Pretty darn close in price.

    DF2EF736-95A3-436D-934A-04C001F1642C.png
     
  17. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Hotels, internet availability, off-airport options are all important. Rental car costs, too. Sometimes cheap fuel, ain't.
     
  18. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    100 miles? That's not even a "real" XC where you're actually heading to a destination. :p
     
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  19. wayne

    wayne Cleared for Takeoff

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    A reason? Absolutely. The one and only reason? No.

    We may want to grab lunch along the way too, so somewhere nearby to eat could be another reason. Is it on field or nearby? Do they have crew cars or is Uber available?

    If the weather may not be great, good approaches, or even a tower, may be good reasons; it's _waaaay_ easier to depart IFR with a tower, although the new "call the center directly" may make calling in better than it was previously.

    Fees could be another reason. High fees may lead one to an airport with lower fees; landing fee, ramp fee, security fee, infrastructure fee, whatever.

    But yes, the fuel prices is a reason to pick a stopover point.
     
  20. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 Pattern Altitude

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    If actually stopping, a hotel & restaurant within walking distance, so I don’t have to rent a car.
    In addition, I usually require on site repair facility....just in case.


    Tom
     
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  21. wayne

    wayne Cleared for Takeoff

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    There's over $2/gal difference between Fulton County (KFTY) and Stockmar (20GA). They are only 18 nm apart.

    You are correct though that some people are penny-wise and pound-foolish. They are saving $4 on fuel and spending more than that in wear-n-tear or in their own time.

    While I may put more emphasis on fuel price on a stopover, it gets a lower emphasis at the destination. I'm not spending another 30 minutes driving after I land to save a few dollars. I'm flying to get there faster. It costs hundreds of dollars to get there and back home again. Saving $30 bucks is small potatoes and meaningless to me if it adds significantly to my travel time or takes away from my trip. When we flew to the Outback Bowl in Tampa we flew to Tampa International because it was the closest to the stadium. It was a long walk, so we got a ride from the FBO on the way over. Took a taxi back, but probably would have been faster to walk the 2 miles. Even with the fees it was a much better, and probably cheaper, to land there than much further out, renting a car and then paying high dollar even parking.
     
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  22. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nice and cheap fuel aren't mutually exclusive. Flew from Atlanta to New England at Christmas time last year. Picked ~ 3 hour legs and cheap fuel. KMTV had a nice restaurant and since I ate, they fueled the plane for me at the SS price. KMIV was a bit more for fuel, but reasonable for the New Jersey area. Another good restaurant and FBO. Wife and Daughter were both happy with trip. Didn't see leather couches in either place, but really wasn't looking for them either. Also, both stops were stop and go - so not worried about hotels being close by. It's not like chasing a couple pennies difference either, full fuel for me can be a $50 to $100 difference.
     
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  23. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I don’t even look at prices. If I’m doing a XC, I’ve already established that I’m going to spend $$$. Saving a few bucks here or there, isn’t even on my radar. With 1,000 mile range, I rarely need to stop but if I do, it’s an airport that based on location and facilities only.
     
  24. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    ^^^^NONE of the stuff above matters^^^^

    I’m only gonna say it once so pay attention.........


    B8A8DBEC-6CE8-42FB-92DD-A087DB9B852D.jpeg
     
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  25. IK04

    IK04 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Totally valid point and until two weeks ago, I had never had a bad FBO cookie. That ball of lard and sugar I had at an unnamed FBO was not something I could not even finish... :(
     
  26. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Specially if you're flying "DOC"
     
  27. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Hotel with a free shuttle or walking distance, and free breakfast. Mechanic on field, reasonable gas price.
     
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  28. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    Taxi way broken too? Harrison ford said its noooooo promblem man!
     
  29. genna

    genna Cleared for Takeoff

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    Rent wet. Absolutely don't care what the fuel costs :).
     
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  30. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    For a fuel and pit stop yes absolutely. That's pretty much the primary deciding factor after location and runway suitability. I just need gas and a bathroom, who cares about amenities?

    If I'm staying overnight though, that's going to totally change the equation. Then convenience of transportation/availability of services starts to matter. I'm not saying I don't appreciate the places that give out the free refreshments and have big plush couches and such but I don't normally go places for their airport and whatever gets the mission accomplished best for the least cash expended tends to win.
     
  31. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    I rent wet too. But I do have to pay the difference between home airport price and the price at the other airport though.
     
  32. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That they aren't necessarily correlated in any way.

    Sure they do - NOTAMs. And that's the same tool the large airports have.

    I'm really surprised at the number of people who said this. First of all, every field has a mechanic. If you limit it to the ones where there's a big hangar with a sign out front, several employees, and a copy of TotalFBO, your options will be much more limited... But every time I've had any sort on anomaly I needed checked out, no matter what podunk little place I was, a mechanic always appeared as if by magic once the first person knew of my predicament. Little airports are awesome.

    Second... What kind of poorly maintained planes are y'all flying that you need a mechanic at every field you land at? :eek:
     
  33. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    In a perfect world, that would be true. Seems to me that small airports tend to have more imperfection than large ones with regards to this one aspect. :eek:
     
  34. IK04

    IK04 Cleared for Takeoff

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    In the case where I was notified of "No fuel," it was a paper sign on the pump. The airport services are run by the city and there is no person assigned the specific duty of reporting NOTAMS on the FAA web page. The good folks at the flight school would do it, time permitting.

    I recently went to an airport where the only permanent structure was the self-serve fuel tank and pump. Good luck with that...
     
  35. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Although I rent at a wet rate, I used to be part owner of a rental plane, so I have sympathy for the difficulty owners have in breaking even, let alone making any profit. Consequently, if a good fuel price is available along my planned route, I will take advantage of it if it is reasonable to do so, and I actively avoid airports with super-expensive fuel.
     
  36. genna

    genna Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don’t. My rental place covers any fuel price. I try not to abuse that too much. Most really high cost cost fuel FBOs also have other fees that I try to avoid, so it works out
     
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  37. Shawn

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    I just make sure I am not landing at an $8/gal full serve FBO, but other than that not going to divert to save $1/gallon.
     
  38. ja_user

    ja_user Pattern Altitude

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    Old flying club used to burn up a lot of starters trying to get the Bo Started Hot-Start, but the gas was $1.50 cheaper... It's different if you are bumming around.

    I made the same trip in that Bo, and an Archer. Archer I didn't stop for cheap fuel, BO I did. Time in the logbook matched to the tenth, archer was overall cheaper.

    Pick a stopover, sure. Add a stopover? rarely.
    The answer is, "it depends". If i need to make a stop, or if the price is stupid expensive I'll pay attention to fuel and ramp prices for sure.
     
  39. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    When I go to Vegas, I land at KLAS

    Yes, the fuel prices are obnoxious, but if you’re going anywhere on the strip, the convenience and free transportation is worth it.
     
  40. N1120A

    N1120A Line Up and Wait

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    Fuel prices are a consideration, but not the only one. Same with landing fees. When I go to Oakland, I'm usually going to Downtown Oakland. As such, KHWD just isn't as good an option, when you consider both time and the total cost of flying (an Uber is, at least, twice as much). KCCR is even worse. Nope, I'll go to KOAK, where they handle light GA beautifully. Unlike Dans2992, however, I'll go to KHWD when I go to Vegas. Just not enough of a difference in time and cost savings outside fuel to justify paying $3-4 more per gallon. I don't care about pretty FBOs, but I don't like pumping my own gas either, cause I'm bad at it.