Costs of Aircraft Ownership vs Renting

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Palamedes, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Palamedes

    Palamedes Pre-Flight

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    So, at what point does it make economical sense to own versus rent?

    What statistics should I keep in mind?

    There's a local place here that will rent a modern 172 with full glass cockpit for $175 an hour. So assuming you can get that thing to hum around 125knots ( dunno if it will do that or not but this is just theoretical ) and you're going 500nm.. You're looking at $700 for the plane rental and another $200 or so for fuel.

    If you're making that trip more than once a month would it make sense to buy a plane versus rent? What else do I need to consider?
     
  2. Palamedes

    Palamedes Pre-Flight

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    Bartmc had mentioned his "all in" cost was about $15,000 a year.. What are the elements of the "all in" cost if I might ask?
     
  3. FORANE

    FORANE En-Route

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    175/hr is a dry rate on a 172? wow.
     
  4. Abram

    Abram Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Never!

    I had a colleague early in my career that owned airplanes. We used to fly together a lot and I will never forget what he used to say: You can never financially justify owning an airplane. You do it because you can afford it and you want it!

    Abram
    N301D
     
  5. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Likely never truly makes financial sence to buy a plane unless it makes you money.


    Can't imagine not owning one though.

    How much to store a plane in your area?
    How much would insuracne cost you?
    Maintenance will vary based on usage, the particular plane, you and your mechanic but expect a couple grand a year give or take.

    It isn't hard to have spent $4,000 before you ever start the plane
     
  6. jonnyjetprop

    jonnyjetprop Cleared for Takeoff

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    Many threads on this and it really depends on the local costs in your area.

    I'll sum it up in a nutshell. Dollar for dollar, renting makes sense until around the 100 hr. per year mark. This assumes that you can rent the same or similar type of plane as you want to buy.

    There are many reasons outside of all in cost, to own. The biggest reason to rent vs. ownership is the unexpected huge expense. It's great to say this is what I spend, but what if the engine needs an overhaul? If you can swing that type of expense, then owning is for you.

    I've owned one plane and was a partner in another. I currently rent.
     
  7. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    You hope.

    And then one day you wake up and make the mistake of calculating the total dollars you've spent for all the airplanes you've owned, and you divide that by the number of hours you have.

    And you vow to never, ever do that again or tell your spouse what that number is.
     
  8. Abram

    Abram Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I sometimes lie awake at night and think about how much money I would have in the bank if I didn't like airplanes!

    Abram
    N301D
     
  9. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Not I, every time I start to think about it I realize one thing


    I is SO worth it:yes:
     
  10. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    When you rent, don't forget to add $525 ($175x3 minimal overnight charge) + tiedown fee for each day you remain at your destination.
     
  11. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    At most of the places where I have rented, this is a negotiable charge and if you rent often and have a good relationship with them, they waive it entirely. Of course, it depends on the outfit, how busy it is, and whether you're intending to take their most popular airplane or their least popular.
     
  12. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The first couple of times you go to rent and the airplane isn't available,or unavailable for that perfect weekend trip. To me that's when you buy,if you like to fly different aircraft ,rent when the urge strikes,but keep your airplane also.
     
  13. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Indeed. I don't derive non-economic value out of the activity of accruing money itself, only from the expenditure of it. As such, it really is ultimately irrelevant what I exchange that medium for, it only matter that I exchange it for something. The only thing I won't exchange it for is human acceptance and emotional vesting in relationships, since I find "relationship mortgaging" morally repulsive.

    Conveyances, goods and services that enable me to attain or grant me access to the experiences I wish to enjoy and partake in life, in the timeline in which they make sense and are relevant for my life (meaning NOT in some diluted notion of retirement and certainly not in ******n old age and infirmity). That's the point of gathering these squirrel nuts.

    Work hard, play hard. Share that passion and experiences with those who love and understand you, and by God leave a zero balance when you go. :yes:
     
  14. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Probably around 200-300 hours per year. For 90% of private aircraft owners, there is no financial benefit in owning, but they consider the nonfinancial benefits to be worth the extra cost.
     
  15. Palamedes

    Palamedes Pre-Flight

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    What about experimental aircraft versus certified? Are the costs vastly different or about the same?
     
  16. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Depends,

    How much of you own work will you do?
    If you will do most all you will save some
    Many parts are the same
    EABs have cheaper avionics
    The majority of the time you can buy certificated planes for less

    Pick your poison (or the plane you like best)
     
  17. FORANE

    FORANE En-Route

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    I have owned both certified and currently own experimental.
    Experimental MAY offer lower costs of:
    annual
    fuel economy
    parts
    maintenance
    Certified MAY offer lower costs of:
    insurance

    Some experimentals offer very good efficiency and thus mpg's.
    Avionics for experimentals need not be certified and as such tend to be much less expensive, but with so many gee wiz new avionics options for experimentals out these days you may ultimately spend more than just leaving a certified bird as you bought it.
     
  18. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Ownership will be slightly more expensive than renting. Like Bart I also pay roughly 15 grand a year for everything.

    Experimental vs certified? Pretty much going to be equal. You could get a nice Cozy III for the price of a M20C. You could get a nice Velocity SERG for the price of a M20J. I think overall experimentals edge them out with looks and performance. Just a personal preference.

    No economic sense in what we do to own aircraft. See the recent thread on general aviation dying and you'll see the challenges we face just to keep our hobby going.
     
  19. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Palamedes, one thing I haven't seen discussed with you is the value of cowoner and club arrangements. These both help spread the financial load across more folks without hurting availability that much. And often, it provides the opportunity for a single pilot to have access to better aircraft than they can afford on their own.

    In my case, I bought into www.metroflyingclub.com. $3000 buy in, $300 month dues, and I fly the Skylane for $110/hr wet on tach. Once I have enough time, I can fly the Bonzanza V35 for just $130/hr wet on tach.

    $300/mo "fixed" is a very affordable number for me when I compare to about a $600-750 per month fixed if I were to own a similar aircraft outright. The really big benefit is for the same $300, I've got access to 2 aircraft. The group is 16 members, 3 of which are dormant, and only 4 or 5 others besides me fly more than 5 hours a month. So availability is good.

    So search around your area for other shared ownership arrangements. You might find a good fit for your needs.
     
  20. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    I used to, but then I did a quick calculation about what we've spent on cigarettes and pizza ALONE over the past few years. And I don't even smoke. Throw in hair, manicures, pedicures and makeup (non of that my own expenditure) and I feel much, much better about what I've spent on flying.
     
  21. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    AggieMike is right about clubs and co-ownership, too, by the way. My club has a $2K buy-in, $45 a month dues, and the planes range from a 172 at $86/hr wet to the STOL and 430W equipped 182Q at $120/hr wet. It's not perfect, but it's not bad at all.
     
  22. Geico266

    Geico266 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If your goal is to save money .. find another hobby. ;)
     
  23. kenjr

    kenjr Line Up and Wait

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    This is the right answer. I bought into a 4 way partnership early in my PPL training. I can afford it, so I did it. Here's why:

    1) I'm a creature of habit. I wanted to learn in what I was going to fly my family in. I feel like I'm safer in something that I know like the back of my hand. The way the engine sounds, the avionics, where stuff is, etc... I did my first 5 hours in the school's Warriors - every one was different and it kinda drove me nuts.

    2) Pride of ownership - nothing to say here, but state the obvious. Nothing like owning an airplane. I've owned boats, jet ski's, fancy sports cars, horses, and a whole lot of other cool stuff. Plane beats them all and it's not even close. :)

    3) Convenience - We have a Google calendar that we use to schedule our plane. You take it when you want it. The group has never had someone 'hog' the plane and one of the guys flies so infrequently that whenever he does want to use it - we all gladly give it up...if there's even a conflict to begin with. There's nothing like being able to just show up at the airport, open the hangar doors, pre-flight your plane and go. No worries about calling ahead to schedule, worrying about the weather, unsure if the plane is going to be down for maintenance and you end up in something else, dealing with keeping the plane overnight or for any extended period of time, etc...

    IMHO, unless you just have the $$ to do it, it just doesn't make ANY sense at all to own a plane outright. The obvious exception would be if you flew it all the time or had to fly at the drop of a hat and couldn't deal with anyone else having the plane. Otherwise, you have a fly a stupid amount of hours a year to even remotely justify the cost there.

    One of the other really important considerations for me was to never be in a 'get there'itis' type situation. With my job as long as I have my laptop, an internet connection and a phone I can get stuff done. So, with my own plane I never have to worry about paying additional fees or putting someone else out if the weather turns and I can't get home. That was a huge deal to me.

    I'll probably never do the actual math to figure out what I spend a year on the plane/flying but it's not cheap. Probably $1k a month or so when you factor in gas. Fixed expenses are a little over $100 for hangar/insurance and then we split everything else four ways. We put $12/hr into the TBO/engine fund so no one is writing $5-6k checks when the engine overhaul comes along (and partners can change too - so not fair for someone a few months in to have to pay for the TBO out of pocket when someone else burned up all the hours).

    The obvious advantages to renting is that I could fly something I probably couldn't afford to buy or own - like a newish Cirrus for example or a G1000 something or other.

    But, I just like being at 9500 feet with a destination - all the bells and whistles are great if you got them but it's not why I fly. So, that's why I own and probably the same reasons why most people who can afford to own on a budget do it as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  24. rcpilot

    rcpilot Pre-Flight

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    Clubs are good if you want to save cost, a few people here seem to have already posted about that. Clubs may also be a good way to get a hold of planes that aren't commonly just rented out to the public. Near me is another club that has a Bonanza and a Saratoga. It still isn't "cheap" but good luck finding that kind of stuff for rent.

    I fly 172's for $65/hr wet with a club membership. Costs me $60/mo, though $20 of that pools up and applies to your "rental" before you get charged anything. I can't find anything comparable for less than $97, and these planes are well mantained and hangared.

    I paid $76/hr for a 152 during my PPL :/
     
  25. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    It makes sense the moment you decide that you want to own an aircraft and you can do it without having to starve your children or skip the mortgage payment.
     
  26. rich0

    rich0 Pre-Flight

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    I think the times you fly and how long you spend away from base are a big factor. I'm renting for flight instruction and if you want to fly on a Saturday sometimes it feel like you're at a negotiating table - everybody means well but there is one plane at the FBO and everybody wants it at 9AM. If you want to fly away for an entire weekend chances are the owner is going to be nervous about ticking off all his other customers, and is going to want you to pay quite a bit for all the time it is sitting idle.

    If you fly weekdays in an airport that doesn't have a part 141 school then chances are the rental plane is sitting idle almost all the time, and the owner isn't going to care about tying it up with non-operational time - you're the one he's going to want to keep happy.

    With rental you never know if the plane is going to be down, if the windscreen is going to be clean, if the fuel stick is going to be missing, etc.

    If you can find a few to share ownership with that makes a whole lot more sense. A flying club is basically the logical extension of that. The challenge is in finding an arrangement that works, especially if you're a new pilot.

    Disclaimer - I'm new to all of this as well...
     
  27. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    im excited. im splitting a 172 with my dad and his friend. he's talked about owning an airplane for a long time now he's finally going split it with me and a friend of his. we met with the flight school where i do my training about lease back programs and he gave some numbers and data to help us
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
  28. dukeblue219

    dukeblue219 Line Up and Wait

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    Be careful. A leaseback can make money, but there are an awful lot of owners out there who got suckered in with claims that it would pay for the plane and allow the owner to fly cheaply. If it was such a great deal the flight school would buy the planes themselves, or the owners would have bought the plane and leased it back to their company. Make sure you talk to other owners at the school who have leased back and get their numbers and feelings about it.

    Why are you buying? Is it for the availability? You may not have as much freedom if the plane is part of a leaseback at a busy school. Is it to save money? You'd probably be better off just buying an older plane and treating it well. If you buy a new 172 and lease it back it will get beat up by students, garbage will accumulate inside, it will probably be left out in the sun on the ramp, etc.

    I have never leased back a plane, but I've heard from enough other folks that have to know it's not a secret gold mine. Make sure you do your homework on this.
     
  29. dukeblue219

    dukeblue219 Line Up and Wait

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    Wow, $175/hr for a dry rental?? That's insane!

    I think the biggest issue you need to consider is not just simply dollars and cents for operating costs -- it's availability, flexibility, and pride of ownership. I love the fact that I own an airplane. Well, 25% of one, anyway. I love that I can go fly almost any time I want, and can take it for a two week trip if I want. If I'm going up for an hour just to draw circles in the air once a month (and yes, some months that's all I have time to do) of course it isn't cost effective. But there are things I can do with the plane that I simply cannot do with a rental, like take extended trips, change plans at the last minute, or customize the plane how I want to.

    Then, of course, there's the peace of mind that I know exactly what goes on in the plane, how it's maintained, and who flies it. I can't put a price on that.

    Figure out what you will realistically do with the plane over the next year. Can you do everything you want with a rental? If yes, then start running the numbers. If not, don't bother with a comparison. Don't ask "is owning cheaper than renting?" but instead ask "Can I afford to own and do the things I want to do?"
     
  30. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    True, but when we go, the money in the bank stays. You only get one turn :).
     
  31. Mike5250

    Mike5250 Line Up and Wait

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    The 150 I take care of and fly runs $3000 per year before you fill up the first tank! That is insurance, annual, tiedown.
     
  32. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    we know the flight school is a very busy, lots of students and the planes stay active. a lot of the planes are not owned by the school. we are buying it so i can finish up hours and build hours for future ratings. im hoping to be an airline pilot one day. so its prettymuch for me to build hours on. i dont plan on using itfor travelling. ive never had a problem with availability of planes because i usually book a few weeks in advanced. me and my dad got the numbers of owners and we are going to call them or set up a meeting. we want to buy a 172S but non g1000. we want a 430 in it because it will be cheaper than buying one with a g1000 and ive done all my training either with steam gauges or with a 430 in it and im used to it.
     
  33. Palamedes

    Palamedes Pre-Flight

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    I have been looking at a lot of sites and you can get really nice (if older) aircraft in the 50 to 70k range..

    I was under the mistaken impression that it would be closer to 300 or 400.. I'm far less concerned about buying now.. It's only a matter of time. =)
     
  34. Arrow115

    Arrow115 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I get to fly whenever I want. The avionics are exactly what I want. The maintenance is never deffered. But most importantly...............I don't have to share my toys with anyone else! Priceless.

    Seriously, it never makes financial sense. It's a hobby. I love every second of it.
     
  35. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    Now you're talkin'!
     
  36. Jim Logajan

    Jim Logajan En-Route

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    I rent and there are still fixed costs before I see any flight time. Renter's insurance is one. I believe that that cost is there whether you rent or own, so in a rent vs own cost comparison it should factor out.

    Amortized medical and BFR are minor expenses that exist whether you rent or own. Current AFD and maps (printed or yearly electronic subscription) also there regardless of rent or own.
     
  37. Computerjim

    Computerjim Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have never had a problem justifying the cost of aircraft ownership to anyone, even myself or my spouse. As I once told an accountant "I want it and I can afford it." If either of those qualifiers are missing you have the wrong hobby.

    As always, if it floats, flys or f-----, it is always cheaper to rent.
     
  38. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

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    There is no financial justification for "owning".
    Until you pass 100 hours a year renting is the winner.
    For more than 100 hours you can always fly a nicer aircraft for far less money through a club - or fractional ownership if it is more than 4 owners.

    Having said that NO I don't want a partner.
    I don't give a damn Scarlet, what it costs. I want MY airplane.
     
  39. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Renters insurance is a fraction of owners. Even paying no maintenance labor and no storage costs I'm $1500 into flying every year before I buy my first tank of fuel.
     
  40. Jim Logajan

    Jim Logajan En-Route

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    According AOPA's online Quick Estimate page I would pay about $879/year as an owner for the same coverage I'm currently paying $573/year as a renter. In my case, renter's insurance may indeed only be a fraction of owner's insurance, but it is sizable enough for me to take it into account when comparing rent vs own costs for the kinds of planes I'd fly.