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rec.aviation FAQ
Section - airplane ownership costs

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Q14:  I'm considering buying an airplane.  How much will it cost?

A:   The general consensus is that if you fly from 200 to 300 hours per
     year, the hourly costs for owning an airplane will be about equal to the
     hourly costs of renting an equivalent airplane from a local FBO.  In a
     partnership, evaluate the total flying hours for the aircraft.  This
     number of hours is required because there are substantial fixed costs
     associated with ownership:  tiedown, insurance, annual inspections,
     taxes, and so on, which must be amortized over flight hours.

|    Other "rules of thumb" include:
|    o  Operating costs exclusive of capital costs will be 3 to 4 times
|	the cost of fuel.
|    o  Allocate 2 times the cost of fuel plus an additional 25% for each
|	10 years since the aircraft was manufactured (this estimate is
|	from AvWeb,

     Many people who own aircraft do so not to reduce the cost of flying
     but to improve its quality, convenience, and safety.  With an
     owned aircraft, one can have the equipment one wants in the condition
     one wants, and the airplane will (well, mostly) be available when
     one wants.  There's nothing like deciding the day before a major
     holiday weekend "oh, let's go flying to XYZ!"


|Subject: airplane ownership costs

Q15: What are the expenses involved in owning an airplane?

|A:  Aircraft ownership expenses are highly variable. Two owners of essentially
|    identical airplanes may disagree widely on the cost of owning. Here's a
|    guide so you can put together your own cost model.

|    Fixed expenses - you'll incur these no matter how much or little you fly
|    o  Capital cost - the cost of the money you've tied up in the aircraft.
|	Some pilots say "don't count this - the airplane is an investment and
|	will appreciate". Others say "even if you buy it outright, you've got
|	to look at what that money would earn you on the open market".
|    o  Taxes - varies by state and county.
|    o  Insurance - get several quotes before you buy. Can vary from a few
|	hundred dollars a year to over $10K per year for a piston single.
|	Factors influencing cost include coverage chosen (liability limits,
|	hull limits), pilot qualifications (ratings, total time, time in type,
|	violations/accidents), type of use (personal, commercial), etc.
|    o  Hangaring or tiedown costs - vary from about $20/month to over
|        $1000/month for a single-engine aircraft.
|    o  Annual inspections - labor cost of the required annual inspection;
|	repairs are additional.
|    o  Paint and interior reserve (does vary somewhat with hourly operation,
|	but typically more tied to age than flight time unless you fly a lot).

|    Variable expenses - these are typically proportional to hourly operation
|    o  Fuel
|    o  Oil changes every 25 or 50 hours of operation
|    o  Engine / propeller overhaul reserve
|    o  Maintenance reserve
|    o  Avionics reserve

|    Notes:
|    o  Maintenance labor rates can vary from about $30/hour in some rural
|       areas to $120/hour and up per mechanic in major metro areas at
|       specialty shops. If you elect to perform owner maintenance, you can
|       save a lot, but isn't your time worth something in the calculations?
|    o  When buying an aircraft, the first few years of operation are likely
|       to be much more expensive. For example, if you have an engine with
|       1400 hours on it and a 2000-hour time before overhaul (TBO), you can
|       expect to fly it *at most* 600 hours before you need a new one.
|       If the engine overhaul cost is $25,000, you ned to set aside at least
|	$41.66 for every hour you fly (25000/600). And the engine probably won't
|       make it all the way to TBO. After you've done the overhaul, the engine
|	reserve number goes down to $12.50/hour. Beware that this calculation
|	applies to other major components (paint, avionics, etc.) too!

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM