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.

Citabria N8643V

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

Reader Comments
# Chris said:

Speaking of.. I think it's time for another Burger soon! What'ya say?

on May 29, 2008 09:33 PM
# Nor Cajun said:

I really don't know about that... It could just become the emphasis that changes:

Let's go out for a couple of hundred dollar hamburgers. -> 2 or more people going for $100 burgers

Let's go out for a couple of hundred dollar burgers. -> Someone (or a group) going out for $200+ burgers.

on May 29, 2008 11:57 PM
# Joe Zawodny said:

Well wait a year and it will be the $1000 Hamburger.

Seriously though, increases in fossil fuel costs are going to change the way we do (or just don't do) things. Just remember, change is good and creates opportunities.

on May 30, 2008 03:52 AM
# Josh Hallett said:

Do you get fries with that?

(Sorry I couldn't resist)

on May 30, 2008 04:43 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

As I recall, the fries were really quite good. :-)

on May 30, 2008 07:22 AM
# Joe said:

If you start paying $200 for a $100 burger, then it better be Kobe!

on May 30, 2008 08:30 AM
# Clinton Bowen said:

Well how much would cost to get a tow plane, a glider, and some good wind? Or would that still cost $200? :-

on June 1, 2008 03:56 PM
# Greg said:

I read your blog often. Never thought I'd see a mention of my home town of Merced!

Safe skies!

on June 2, 2008 07:57 AM
# Mitchell said:

This made me laugh, and that means this is really unique.

on June 3, 2008 05:55 AM
# Devon Young said:

Really it all depends on how many miles per gallon your burger gets. ;-)

on June 4, 2008 10:39 AM
# Rick Walter said:

Funny you should think of that on my birthday (5/29).

on June 5, 2008 04:44 AM
# Darryl Ramm said:

I would expect your accountant to tell you the burger really cost you *way* more than $100 or $200. Amortize depreciation, insurance, tie-down/hangar costs, property taxes, insurance, fuel costs, maintenance, pilot training (the total amortized cost to get your license, all endorsements, etc. - what is that instrument rating costing :-) ), cost of travel to the airport, ...

But the more burgers you go get, you are actually helping lower the per-burger costs... so just do it.


on June 5, 2008 10:00 AM
# Free SMS said:

wow... one expensive burger.. but exciting..!

on June 5, 2008 11:58 PM
# Ankur said:

The burger looks awesome!! isnt it :)

on June 10, 2008 11:19 AM
# Javaun Moradi said:

This is ironic, here's a pseudo news story on Burger King serving an actual $200 hamburger at a London chain.


Don't ask me what I was doing on Foxnews.com. It was a fluke I saw this.

on June 19, 2008 11:06 AM
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