The Cost of Owning a Plane

The Cost of Owning a Plane

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Many people dream of owning their own plane. The idea has an air about it, one of freedom, extravagance, and prestige, after all many of the world’s wealthiest people own their own planes. Of course, this begs the question, can the average person own a plane or is merely a luxury afforded only by the wealthy. Let’s explore the facts and discover the real cost of owning your own airplane.

Counting the Costs

Like everything, costs are involved in owning a plane. First of all, having your pilot’s license would help, as once you earned your license, there would be no need to have a pilot on your payroll. If you are considering a small plane, and you simply want to be a recreational pilot, your costs to achieve your pilot’s license would be between $4,500 and $6,500. The cost rises from there, should you choose to be a private pilot or a commercial pilot.  In either case, ground school and flight school make up the greatest expense.

Let’s assume you have your pilot’s license before you purchase your plane. The cost of purchasing a plane includes not only the initial purchase price, but also insurance, maintenance, operation costs, a place to store your plane (hanger or tie-down) as well as any upgrades you add on to your chosen plane. Here, let’s look at averages in each of these categories assuming a single-engine airplane which seats four individuals.

  • Initial Purchase Price – In most cases, unless you are independently wealthy, you will need to secure financing in order to purchase your plane. Just like with a car or truck, buying a used plane can also save you money. In fact, a single-engine plane with some hours clocked can save you up $30K or more, but if you want a shiny new plane, the cost is going to come in around $300K.
  • Insurance for Your Plane – Like most insurances, some insurance is required, while other portions are optional (for example hull and bodily injury/property damage). Also, like other insurance, a number of factors determine your premiums – aircraft age, aircraft hours, where the aircraft is stored, where you reside, the coverage you need, and more.  You can save money on insurance by co-owning the plane, garnering more certifications, regular training, and more.
  • Maintenance – Your plane will need ongoing maintenance at regularly scheduled intervals and annual inspections to ensure flight safety.
  • Operating Costs – In addition to regular maintenance, as a plane owner, operating costs factor into your overall costs. Travel time can help you make estimated calculations for operating costs which include fuel, oil, engine reserves, landing fees, and more. 
  • Storage of Your Plane – You’ll need a place to store your plane and you’ll have to make the choice which is better for you and your budget – hangar rental space or  tie-down space. The cost differential between the two is significant, but there are lots of considerations involved including weather conditions, costs if damaged in tie-down space, resale value, and more.
  • Upgrades to Your Plane – Upgrades can increase safety, value, comfort, and connectivity and can cost anywhere from $5,000 and up annually. 

The cost of owning an airplane isn’t out of reach for those willing to do the research and discover ways to save money while still enjoying the freedom of air travel at their leisure.

Ready to Get Your Pilot’s License?

If you dream of flying and owning your own plane, Airlink Flight School can help get you started. With two locations – Maine and Florida – you can start your pilot training today. Your Airlink Flight training will include ground and flight lessons, along with the needed training materials for your successful passage of the FAA knowledge exam and your final preparation for your check ride with an FAA designated examiner. Call today.