There are a few statistics available on the numbers of small plane
pilots that should give you a good feel for the market. I also found
what looks to be a very useful resource for identifying events like
I trust the information below fully answers your question.
However, please don't rate this answer until you feel you have
everything you need. If you would like any additional information,
just post a Request for Clarification to let me know how I can assist
you further, and I'm at your service.
All the best,
This article from 1999 gives a pretty good overview -- the numbers
have changed since then, but I think the overall picture of the
small-plane pilots is probably still accurate:
Small-plane pilots aren't an exclusive group Business people, workers,
adventurers among fliers
USA Today; July 19, 1999
WASHINGTON -- As a novice flier, John F. Kennedy Jr. was part of a
large and varied group of small-plane pilots that includes ultra-rich
adventurers and impoverished crop dusters eking out a living with aged
But it is not as exclusive a club as it might seem...
As of last year, the Federal Aviation Administration licensed 345,267
small-plane pilots. Their average age is 46.
...while piloting is still largely a man's endeavor, women were issued
25,385 private pilots licenses in 1998.
...General aviation aircraft annually log more than 27 million hours
-- nearly twice the number of hours flown by commercial airliners --
and carry 145 million passengers, according to industry manufacturers
[the free preview of the article ends here, but I beleive you can read
the full article if you register for the free trial at the Highbeam
...Small planes increasingly are becoming the business traveler's mode
of choice. They are as likely to carry the lowly salesman these days
as they are executives.
...Flying small planes also has become cheap enough for weekend
hobbyists to afford. A single-engine plane can be rented for as little
as $85 an hour.
''Look at the cost of skiing and snowmobiling and golfing,'' says
Shelly Snyder-Sime, spokeswoman for an industry pilot-training program
known as Be A Pilot. ''You can pay $100 just to go golfing.''
...Of the 618,298 pilots licensed in 1998 by the FAA, about half --
300,183 -- held licenses that included an instrument rating
[NOTE from pafalafa-ga -- With 618,298 pilots overall, this means that
more than half (345,267) are small plane pilots.
[By 2002 the number of small plane pilots was reported as over half a
million. However, it's not clear if this number is directly
comparable to the earlier figure given for 1998]
US to Develop Nationwide Aviation Watch System
Oct. 09, 2002
...In an effort to make flying safer, the government will enlist
550,000 small plane pilots nationwide to report suspicious activity at
airports, officials said on Wednesday.
...The Transportation Security Administration will partner with the
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, or AOPA, on the security
initiative planned for launch in December.
AOPA is actually an excellent resource for learning of events and
resources of interest to small-plane pilots. Their main site is here:
and a few links of particular note are:
AOPA EXPO 2005
If flying is your passion, AOPA Expo 2005 is your dream destination --
bringing together EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in the general aviation
November 3-5, 2005 Tampa, Florida
AOPA Fly-in June 4, 2005
The calendar page can be found here;
Aviation calendar of events
If you leave all the fields blank, and simply click on "Search
Calendar", you'll get a complete list of aviation events around the
nation. Of course, you can also search in a given state of region of
special interest to you.
There are about 50 fly-ins listed here in just the few months listed,
along with many other events.
Lastly, there's an interesting page of statistics here:
Although not neatly broken out into small vs large planes, you can see
data on the number of student pilots, total pilots, etc.
Again, if there's anything else I can do for you, just give me a holler.
search strategy -- Google searches on:
"300000..900000 small * pilots"