The horror stories relating to private aircraft ownership such as „spontaneous“ expenses in the thousands for broken engines or dead avionics, maintenance companies keeping planes hostage for months and airfields that unilaterally kick people out of hangars or significantly rise prices led me to create this reality check.
I know flying is an expensive hobby and the average single engine piston is not owned by people on social benefits.
I created this anonymous survey to check if I’m unrealistic and buying a plane, on my part, would be insanity or if I’m somehow financially in line with those that own a private plane.
Please take 10 seconds and answer the survey if you feel like it.
This one is simpler.
Own an aircraft? Yes! What’s your monthly income? Done!
Snoopy my rule of thumb is 5% of income, the 90HP puddlejumper is nicely under budget.
Thanks, that’s a good way to stay within limits.
you can do an awful lot of flying on not too great an income, if you live simply, avoid high maintenance “partners” and keep your trousers zipped up
That’s like no (airline) pilot ever :) :) :)
It is the same as with cars, you can afford but you need to buy a cheaper one. Operating something with 100 hp is usually not very expensive. You can’t bring 5 of your closest friend on the same flight but you can get airborne at least.
As a sole owner (the best way by far if you can afford it) in general you are looking at spending some 15-20k a year on doing a lot of flying in something like a TB20. The takehome pay you need to support that obviously depends on your lifestyle. You will need to be on 60-100k gross.
The other way to do a lot of flying (albeit perhaps boring flying, mostly in old heaps) is to become an FI and work “for free” in some club.
For most owners, flying works well and the hassles are mostly on the ground, with airport politics etc. So a key part of getting satisfaction is to organise the ground aspect favourably. This is much easier to do in poor parts of the country. In the south east of the UK you are always over a barrel to some property owner who got in on the ground floor 30 years previously… I had a chance to buy a hangar 14 years ago and narrowly missed it (got conned by a crooked estate agent). That would have been amazing.
Cheapest i can imagine- I used to own a Falke TMG. I could keep it in the club hangar free of charge, I did all the maintenance myself with some A/P signing it off. The theoretical cost without fuel would have been ca 200EUR/month, actually it was closer to 500,as i always found new items to upgrade (8.33, mode-s)..
For my current P28A-140 1000EUR /month is more realistic- 1300 insurance,500 CAMO, 400 ARC, 5*300=1500 heated hangar for winter, 7*30=210 parking for other months, 400EUR 50h inspection and 1000 for 100h/annual- total mandatory expenses 5000EUR. (but last annual was 5000,with 8.33 installation and some calendar items replacement). 45 EUR/h for fuel with mogas STC.
Well, yes, lots of ways to bring down the expenditure, and applying your own time without accounting for it (generally known as owning a homebuilt aircraft) is one way. You just need to be aware of the tradeoff. If you buy an RV and take it to a company to change the oil and everything above, it will cost you almost as much as anything else.