There are a number of different options to consider when entering into private aviation. From chartering to full ownership, there’s something for everyone (Ready to find out what’s right for you? Take this quick quiz.).

In this blog, we’re going to compare dry lease with membership. These options might be for you, if you are not quite ready to take steps towards aircraft ownership.

Dry Lease

Dry leasing a plane essentially means you are renting a plane from someone. In contrast to a wet lease (in which the aircraft owner provides a crew), a dry lease transfers possession of an aircraft without transferring ownership. When dry leasing an aircraft, you are expected to pay for all of the expenses associated with your flight, including hiring pilots, fuel, and landing fees. 

There are strict regulations surrounding dry leasing an aircraft, so be sure to do your research! In any dry lease situation, a written agreement should be drafted and signed by all parties involved. This agreement should include the following: an identification of both parties, a defined duration of the lease, whether the lease is exclusive, delivery, storage, and return of the aircraft, operation control, expenses associated with the flight, maintenance, modifications, payment types, home base of the aircraft, taxes and fees, logbooks, insurance, warranties, and more. 

We recommend having an aviation attorney draw up this agreement as it is heavily regulated by the federal government. The FAA has a truth-in-leasing requirement, and the lessee must send a copy of the lease agreement to the FAA’s Aircraft Registry, and they must notify their flight standards district office before use. 

Membership

Membership can be another great option for individuals wanting to enter into private aviation without purchasing an aircraft. It doesn’t require a large upfront investment or a long-term commitment. There are no relocation fees or hidden charges. Typically, members purchase a membership and pay annual dues, generally for a minimum of one year. 

In a membership situation, you only pay for the hours you use on a company’s fleet. This can open up a wide range of aircrafts to choose from, while maintaining consistency with trained crews. 

This option is relatively simple and easy, allowing you to book an aircraft with just a few clicks on a membership app. However, it can lead to higher costs per hour of use. 


Flying privately offers comfort, luxury, and convenience. Even if you are not ready to enter into aircraft ownership, both dry leasing and jet membership are great options to fly privately without large upfront costs or commitments. If you are ready to take the next step in exploring private aviation, check out this aircraft options matchmaking tool developed by our team to help determine if dry lease, membership, or another form of aircraft ownership is right for you!