With aviation fuel (avgas or 100LL as we like to call it) climbing over $5.50/gallon in many areas (see 100LL.com for current prices), it's clear that the famed $100 Hamburger is rapidly vanishing from aviation.
If you're not familiar with the concept, Wikipedia explains it well:
A $100 Hamburger is aviation slang for a private general aviation flight for the sole purpose of dining at a non-local airport. Most often used by pilots who are looking for any excuse to fly, a $100 hamburger trip usually involves flying a short distance (less than two hours), eating at an airport restaurant, and flying home. "$100" originally referred to the approximate cost of renting or operating a light general aviation aircraft, such as a Cessna 172, for the time it took to fly round-trip to a nearby airport. Increasing fuel prices have since caused an increase in hourly operating costs for most airplanes, whether rented or owned.
The last time we flew for a $100 hamburger was back in January when a group of group of us (two Citabrias, one Cub, and one Cessna 150) headed out to Merced for lunch.
I actually did have a burger that day. :-)
But when your airplane burns 6.5 gallons/hour (leaned) and fuel is $5.50/gallon, you can't fly much more than an hour each way and keep it to $100 (not including food, maintenance, or insurance!).
The only I hope I see is that many of the new Light Sport Airplanes are using engines that burn anywhere from 3.5 to 5.0 gallons of fuel per hour. That's an improvement.
In The $200 hamburger, Nate Ferguson at AOPA Pilot suggests that we need to increase that number. He's definitely right, but something about calling it a $200 Hamburger really spoils it for me.
Posted by jzawodn at May 29, 2008 05:59 PM