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Real cost of owning an airplane?

Discussion in 'General Topics' started by TheFlyingTurkey, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. TheFlyingTurkey

    TheFlyingTurkey Fetus Worshiper

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    Someone had a thread similar to this a while back, but I thought I would bring it up again.

    I really really want my own airplane and I was resigned to the thought that it was just too expensive. What sparked my interest again was an article in http://www.planeandpilotmag.com/ about 10 easy to own airplanes. The article goes into the initial cost of an airplane, like a 1968 PA28-140 for $25,000 but it doesn't get into any detail about MX and other cost's.

    What does an annual cost on this type of airplane? What would an overhaul cost? How much does it cost to keep your GPS database current? Tie down? Insurance? This is a pretty simple airplane, and I would think these cost's would be manageable.

    Ideally I would have an A&P inspect the plane first. An airplane with a fresh annual, and low time engine would be great. But what are the real cost's involved, not a per hour cost, but real out of pocket money?

    I've been doing research on AOPA's website also. Just thought I would get some opinions here too.
  2. shooter13

    shooter13 New Member

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    I bought my 150 about 6 months ago. My costs have been very manageable. I bought new tires adn tubes for a couple hundred. Just change the oil. Nothin has broken so far so I guess I have been lucky. My airplane has an aitofuel STC so flight time is really cheap for me. I figure my next annual will be around $1000 becuase of some work I want done. otherwise it would have been about $600 - 700. An overhaul is a ton. Buy an airplane not in need of an overhaul or make sure you get a heck of a pirce. An overhaul of my O-200 engine will run around $8000 - $16000 depending on what I have done. My airplane is VFR so I don't worry about GPS updates.

    What numbers won't tell you. Owning is a lot of fun if the airplane fits you. I can get up on a Sunday and my wife and I can decide ona a whim to fly to our favorite bar in another city if we want. When I want to go flying, I just check the weather not the bank account. It is a total joy. Now, my airplane was very cheap and I am amazed the 150 didn't make their list. I bought my airplane for around $16,000. I spend about 18 an hour for fuel. It is a blast!
  3. JayAre

    JayAre Well-Known Member

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    Real Costs

    Well the actual costs depends on the previous condition of the plane. A well plane flown often tends to have less problems(don't get a hanger queen). I'm 1/3 in a 172 with a 180HP conversion. Operating costs are $60hr and fixed are $150 a month that includes hanger and insurance. The initial investment was $25,000 for the 33%ownership. We haven't had any major problems at all in fact I haven't flown it for nearly 5 months now want to buy me out? The other plane is a T210 with a 1/2 ownership fixed cost run about $200-300per month. What had been helpful is the other owner is a A&P so pretty much maintence is keep down low. Pretty much depends on what is your mission. Something to go and fart around in or something to get there fast, big payload or little payload. Planes are just like boats, a big hole in the water that sucks money.
  4. n57flyguy

    n57flyguy Well-Known Member

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    Turk, I dont know hardly anything about cost of ownership, but check out www.aso.com Its a great website to look at used aircraft online, I do it when Im bored.

    Whats an airplanes owners happest days owning an airplane?:)
  5. fly22

    fly22 Well-Known Member

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    My aircraft runs me about 800-1000 a year in MX that is including the annual. It is a 152 with an O-235 and runs a litter hotter than most. The last 18 months have been an exception on MX. I rebuilt two cylinders and a month ago I put two new mags in. In the last 18 months I have dropped 3000 buck in MX. The number I first gave is a good avg since I've owned it.
  6. Tiger815

    Tiger815 Well-Known Member

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    Your real live "feel it in the wallet" expenses are:

    Tiedown
    Person Property Tax if your state/county has that
    Annual
    MX
    Insurance
    Fuel
    Monthly payment if you finance

    An annual can cost anything from $500-horror story. Mine are usually between $1500 and $1800 including fixing stuff.

    I'd call and insurance agent to confirm but I suspect for a $25-35k plane flown by a say 250 hour PP with no instrument rating your talking around $800-1000 annually.

    MX cost depends a lot on the plane. Some years I've spent $0 between annuals and others years I've spent $2 grand. With an old plane you never know when something is going to break.

    Tie down/hangar is the most predictable cost you'll have and easy to get accurate info on. Around here its just south of $100/month for tie down and I think most places in the country are considerably less.

    Fuel depends on how much you fly but in the current situation I expect we are going to see a lot of planes hit the market as marginal aircraft owners are pushed out by rising fuel costs. I already see impacts such as a low warbird turn out at SnF and even my type club seems to be doing less fly-in activity. In my area the average cost of 100LL is over $4/gal and its over $6/gal at the big airports. If oil prices continue to climb you could be looking at over $6/gal on average. Look for it to be a buyers market for airplanes in the very near future with pistion twins nearly being given away.

    If you do buy, try to get a mid time engine on a plane that is flown often and plan an exit strategy to get out before reaching TBO. Good Luck.
  7. TheFlyingTurkey

    TheFlyingTurkey Fetus Worshiper

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    Thanks, good advice.
  8. racemey

    racemey Well-Known Member

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    Real cost of owning an airplane

    Here are my costs in 2005 for our '93 Maule MX7-180A (Taildragger with Lycoming O360 burning about 10 gph)

    Insurance: $1,000 (liability only)
    Annual: $1,120
    Repairs & other mx: $2400
    Fuel: $2,629

    We keep it at our own strip so no tiedown cost. Averaging about 100 hours a year puts the cost around $60-$70/hr for operating costs.

    Get a good mechanic you trust to do a thorough pre-buy and negotiate those items needing attention in the final price. I could have easily saved a few thousand when we bought the Maule because I did not do enough research or a thorough enough pre-buy. I just sold my father-in-law's 2000 182 and even in a relatively new, well maintained airplane, the buyer's mechanic found a list of items that needed attention (mostly minor).

    Look at Aircraft Spruce or Chief Aircraft online and go through their catalogs to get an idea of prices for things that WILL break. I find it helpful to be prepared when my mechanic says I need a new mag and I know it will be roughly $600 for the part plus labor.

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