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Rental planes have a major drawback for use as transportation vehicles: The minimum flight time per day requirement. Fixed base operators in Hawaii will require that several hours of revenue be brought in for an airplane every day that it's away from home base. If you keep the plane and don't fly these hours, you pay for them anyway. There are usually exceptions to this rule, though, such as when bad weather delays the return of a plane.
      With a bit of creativity you can work around the minimum hours per day rule. One common technique is to use the plane exclusively as a touring vehicle. Depart in the morning, spend the day viewing the island or islands of your choice, and return that afternoon. The islands are reasonably close together and you can see much in one day. Rental planes are available not only at Honolulu International but also at airports on Maui and Hawaii. If your vacation plans include a stay on one of these neighbor islands, you can enjoy the luxury of basing your touring flight from an airport with relatively light traffic.
      When a light plane is to be used as round-trip transportation for a vacation trip to another island, the minimum flight time per day rule will likely determine the length of stay. You can sometimes stretch the length of stay through careful planning. Take a look at the FBO section in this web site or consult Appendix B in the back of FLYING HAWAII to find out which FBOs offer the most attractive minimum flight time requirements. You can occasionally negotiate an aircraft rental with less than the regular minimum time requirements if the proposed flight is a long one and business is slow at the FBO. In any event, the sooner you discuss your plans with the management of your chosen FBO, the sooner you'll be able to organize the rest of your vacation plans.
       Here is a third technique for blending a light plane flight into your vacation plans. Suppose that you and your friends plan to spend a week on Maui, and you feel that the expense of renting a plane would be justified only if the plane provided some of your needed transportation between Honolulu and Maui. In this case, consider using the plane for one-way transportation. Depart Honolulu, tour the islands of Molokai and Maui, and drop your passengers off on Maui before returning the plane. You then have to take an airliner from Honolulu to Maui, but one ticket costs a lot less than four. Chances are that you'll need to transport much of your party's luggage on the airliner, and you should be prepared to pay excess baggage charges.


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