Obtaining a pilot’s license costs thousands of dollars in training and hours of flight time. Once you're an experienced pilot, why not develop a business based on your skill? You can be your own boss, hang out at airfields surrounded by airplanes, and remain involved in the industry. Finding the best business idea starts with determining who and why people in your area need a pilot.


Look for people who want to buy or lease their own plane, and offer consulting and appraisal services. Your services can include explaining what to look for in finding a plane and the costs involved in maintenance, fees and fuel costs. Make recommendations on the best plane or jet to buy. Expand your services by finding a suitable plane or jet for your client once you know his interests and concerns. Team up with a reputable mechanic who can look over any planes you find to make sure they’re mechanically sound. Offer to perform test flights to ensure maintenance is up to date.

Flight School

Set up a school for people who want to learn to fly. Offer test flights for people who’ve never flown before and want to learn as a way to entice them into your program. Besides offering a class on instruments and navigation, you can rent planes to students who need to get in their flight time to obtain their licenses. Schedule yourself or another pilot to fly with students just starting their flight training; charge for these services by the hour plus the cost of fuel. Before opening a flight school, look at the Federal Aviation Administration’s website to find out the requirements.

Charter and Sightseeing

According to the National Business Aviation Association, airplanes can fly to and from more than 5,000 public use airports in the United States, a far greater number than airports available to airlines. That makes offering charter flights a lucrative business once you find people or corporations willing to pay for the convenience of a flight tailored to their itinerary needs. You can also form a base of operation and offer sightseeing tours if you live near a geographically interesting region. Partner with local hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments to help your clients with their lodging needs.

Fixed Base

Providing a range of aviation services for transient pilots at a location where few amenities exist gives you a way to stay close to the airfield while making money. The first step requires leasing or buying a runway and buildings near a tourist destination or outside an urban area. The services you offer can include opening a restaurant, booking car rentals or offering shuttle service to a nearby town or attraction. Develop an exclusive menu and hire a chef, and your restaurant can become a destination for pilots who fly there just to enjoy a meal. You can also provide fuel, a coffee lounge, Internet access and mechanical services.