SFO area rentals?


Well-Known Member
Im going up with the parents next Sunday/Monday/Tues, and I'd love to rent a 172 and an instructor for an hour or two for a little refresher / tour flight.

Can anyone recommend somewhere to go? Last time I payed $60/hr for the worst CFI I've ever flown with. (Im used to paying $35/hr)

I'm staying in the central SFO/maybe Berkely area so I dont mind driving out of the city to rent.

You have Hayward, Palo Alto, Livermore, Reid Hillview, and San Carlos to choose from.

I don't know about livermore, but I know Palo Alto, San Carlos, and Hayward will be expensive. Reid Hillview has a few options but is kind of far for you.
You WON'T find a CFI around here for less than $55/hour on the Peninsula. Period.

SQL has several aeroclubs plus two schools, Diamond Aviation and BelAir. The prices are about the same, $150-160/hour for a 172 for a non member at Diamond and BelAir. However, the aeroclubs may be cheaper. I fly out of Diamond, all the planes are brand new and you can't beat the quality of the maintenance. Belair is slightly cheaper as far as CFIs go(some charge as low as $50), but your wallet is still going to get raped for rental rates. The planes at Belair are much older than Diamond's but well maintained. Be advised that the sinks there are in stalls and due to the odd shape and low mounting can very easily be mistaken for toilets. Don't repeat my mistake. Also SQL can get very busy in good weather, I once spent 25 minutes holding short as number 1, and the controllers are very keen on quick readbacks.

PAO has several schools, two of which are plagued with accidents and are actually under investigation by the FAA at the moment. Why the schools in PAO lose so many planes yet the ones in SQL don't lose any is beyond me. Maybe the rich folks in PAO like to push their luck. Advantage Aviation is the cheapest rental in PAO that I've seen, but be advised last year they lost 3 student pilots in one month. That may say something about the quality of training. You will pay just as much at PAO as you will at SQL, but there is a wider variety of rentals to choose from. If you fly at PAO, watch for birds, I've never been to any airport with as big a bird problem as PAO.

HAF is a beautiful airport, but likely due to the fact it is fogged in probably 65% of the time, I don't think there are any rentals at the airport. If you get a chance to fly in there however, take it. Great scenery.

HWD, LVK, and OAK have cheaper rental rates than anything in the West Bay as people generally have lower incomes in the East Bay. There are several schools at these airports, but I am not familiar with any. I have a friend who flies out of OAK and gets a PA-38 for $130/hour wet and says thats a pretty good deal. It is a lot of fun to fly around OAK. The GA side is always full of non-stop bizjet traffic and FedEx Feeder C208s.

If you have any more questions feel free to PM me.