How do you fund your flying "hobby"?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Matthew K, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    I'm currently in flight training. Since I one day hope to own a twin piston aircraft EX: Cessna 310, I've started to wonder how I could help pay for that or for other types of planes that can cost considerable amounts in running costs.

    My question is, what have you had to do to afford flying? Have you had to make sacrifices when it comes to other toys or housing? Have you started a side business to fund your flying? What career path are you in that's enabled you to have your own personal plane? Etc.

    Edit: Please mention the type of plane you own. I'd also be especially interested about how if anyone on here has personal planes that cost them 80k+.

    Disclaimer: I know about partial ownership options, but for the sake of this post, please only talk about how you've afforded to completely own your own plane.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
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  2. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    I waited until the kids were out of the house, most everything was paid for, and I've saved a few pennies with my woodworking business to put a sizable down payment on an older Cherokee.

    I'm retired from the Air Force, I work for the Department of Defense and I drive a ten year old truck.
     
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  3. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now offering reverse discounts.
    Yes to sacrifice, being frugal, debt avoidant, and a good job.

    I run the family business and the desire to fly and one day sole own an aircraft is a bid driver to be successful.
     
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  4. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Work for DOD. Drive a 1998 Honda Civic. Warriors are relatively cheap to operate. Not very fast but usually beats the Honda and the veiw is much better. Basically, I could have purchesed a new car but went the plane route instead. The Honda has 256K miles so I will have to get something new to drive in the next sometime. If you can aford a new car, you can afford a nice basic airplane. Do not believe those that say breakeven is 100 hrs. Also, find a mechanic or knowledgable individual to guide you when purchasing a plane.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  5. linuxjim

    linuxjim Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When people hear a plane they often think I must be loaded and live in a huge house and drive fancy new cars. ... Probably could if I didn't own a plane. :)

    Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
     
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  6. texasag93

    texasag93 Line Up and Wait

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    Marry a pilot, that way the only fight is over who is PIC, not being able to buy an airplane.

    I was not able to do this.

    I gave up all hobbies until my wife was out of training. We lived on nothing. When you finish your training, live on less than you make. Save as much as you can. Marry someone who does the same.

    Pay off your house. That money staying in your account makes the account big and more money for an airplane.

    We now live very well and I am looking for an airplane.

    That being said, I will have a partner in my next airplane (not 15 like my current situation). I can afford to own it by myself, but I realize that I will not fly it enough as a sole owner.

    If you find someone who you get along with, all the expenses getting cut in half goes a long way to making the sting of ownership less.
     
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  7. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    :yeahthat:
    To add: budgeting a certain amount each month that you plan to use for flying on top of your other expenses.
     
  8. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Drive for uber (just kidding).

    I budget for flying, but even in my leanest times I've allowed some amount of money to fly. I've also taken on part-time jobs to supplement my income, particularly aviation related jobs.

    Honestly, Uber wouldn't be a bad way to make extra flying cash if it weren't for the fact that after expenses are considered, drivers dont make much per hour.
     
  9. korben88

    korben88 Line Up and Wait

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    I drive an old truck, old motorcycle and live in a cheap apartment. I keep extra spending to a minimum.
     
  10. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    I love this topic.

    My shtick? I singularly undershoot housing costs in order to fund my airplane ownership. I realize in my demographic (mid 30s, with toddler aged child just starting to crank up the cost spigot) most spouses are outright combative about that "trade". I didn't "luck out" either; the process hasn't been free nor random luck. I got one divorce (childless THANK JESUS!) as a result of that hypergamy.

    It may not be romantic, but I went full-on pragmatist on the second marriage, hunting down the elusive unicorn: a frugal wife. That post-divorce dating period was brutal. The stuff I got called by women when I presented the new rules of engagement, it would shock ya. At any rate, after troughing for a couple years through the jungle of filth and hypergamy, I snagged a prized frugal gazelle. And this one is going through school to gainfully work in her own lucrative medical career. Twofer! :D

    To be fair, I don't consider undershooting housing a "sacrifice". I disavow the legitimacy of such characterization in the first place. As a prior home owner, I derived very little non-economic/cathartic value to owning and fiddle-****g with a set of walls perennially, let alone pay a premium for the "privilege". My vocational life and that of my wife is simply too nomadic to benefit from home ownership at this juncture, and we ain't spring chicken either mind you. I don't know where the hell homesteading in American life went, but I haven't seen that unicorn since I left college. Until I find it, hell naw I'm not throwing anchor on a stupid house.

    Aircraft ownership on the other hand, is a very balancing activity for me. I have had the opportunity to share it with my family and it has at times become part of my work commute, and it will again. It is indeed a lifestyle and as such, I make allowances in order for it to remain part of my life. To each their own.
     
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  11. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I sell cocain to 777 captains and meth to 777 co pilots. I was running a few houses of ill repute in Texas but they were shut down recently.
    Seriously, I cannot afford to fly right now. I am a teacher at a college with a stay at home wife and four kids. I occupy my time by building a plane and am starting a small business doing weld inspection and consulting, another small family business making bbq sauces and seasonings. Trying to get everything off the ground(pun intended). We own all our vehicles, have a small mortgage and don't spend money on crap we don't need.
     
  12. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Old dog w/o new tricks
    I fund my flying hobby the same way my friend who has an RV, two motorcycles, an ATV, a boat and a few other toys funds his hobbies. I use part of my paychecks. I know of no other way. That is until I win Powerball or rob a bank or get a huge inheritance or....
     
  13. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Sell my body.
     
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  14. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Single, no kids, cheap house, one TV, no cable, minimal toys. My boyish good looks allows me to jump from one shugah mama to another, and as long as I continue to offer them my superior 'man services' they just insist on throwing money my way. Oh, that and a job and stuff.
     
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  15. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Any takers? 6PC doesn't count. :D
     
  16. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    heck, that would limit me to the little balsa wood models. :(
     
  17. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Work a job, fly for others, flight instruct, airline, now retired and thinking of buying a plane or join a club. Of course that plan will be irrelevant when they announce the winner of the C-172! Oh yeah, that's right. ;)
     
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  18. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    I produce porno movies and early education videos.

    Accidentally mixed up the casting once and *POOF* I have a new plane!
     
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  19. kmead

    kmead Line Up and Wait

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    I work on them to make money to own them and fly them. It always takes a lot of money.
     
  20. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Went to Iraq for a year, saved money and bought a plane (AA5). Went to Afghanistan for a year, saved money and bought a second plane (VELO). Both paid for in cash. Yes, both together well over 80K. Don't even want to go into the ridiculous amounts of cash spent operating them. Needless to say, I make sacrifices in other areas to pay for my hobby.
     
  21. Unit74

    Unit74 En-Route

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    So you work for a major carrier then?
     
  22. Unit74

    Unit74 En-Route

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    How ironic.....one leads to the other!
     
  23. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Hey Unit74, I noticed you have a 79 Turbo Lance. Any chance you could elaborate on how you pay for it? Thanks.

    Also, noticed your from Brunswick. You ever land at Jekyll Island? I want to sometime in the future.
     
  24. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Not to familiar with the AA5, but the way you get in looks pretty cool. Is it safe to assume your in the Air Force or? Thanks for serving btw.
     
  25. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Army.
     
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  26. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    I run a string of hookers, and knock off the occasional liquor store.
     
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  27. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    You really should write an autobiography! You have most definitely lived an interesting life.
     
  28. KSCessnaDriver

    KSCessnaDriver Pattern Altitude

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    I don't, I show up to work, an airplane magically appears and they pay me to fly it.
     
  29. N3368K

    N3368K Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sold my soul to Uncle Sam for a college degree and a five year stint which turned into a career which returned a retirement check every month. While active duty, I flew with a warbird museum, but started by washing planes and sweeping floors and turning wrenches. Managed to get to keep my dad's Cub for a couple of years when I was in Oklahoma as a Major. During that time, I bought a Tripacer project. My dad and I (mostly him) converted it to a V6STOL homebuilt. Owned it for a couple of years for a relatively low investment of $12,000 all in, including Ford 3.8L engine and reduction unit. During this time, I also restored and sold former Army jeeps.

    After retirement, I went to work at a full time job which paid slightly less than I was making as an Army Lt Colonel and traveling a bunch. It left little time for flying, but paid off after a few years. My wife, an Army brat, is a school teacher who has taught school in Oklahoma (twice), Germany, Texas and Tennessee. Fortunately, both kids received great to good college scholarships. I've owned houses at several assignments and managed to make money on all of them. I'm about to pay for #1 daughter's wedding, but started saving for college and wedding when she was born, so it is already paid for. Daughter #2 school and wedding is already banked.

    About a year ago, I took a less job with same corporation with slight pay cut to have no travel and more free time...of course, both my kids are adults and out of the house know and I missed much of their growing up which regretfully, was just how it worked out. Fortunately, I have a great relationship with both and a great wife.

    Now, I'm flying more and enjoying my planes. Just sold one. I've owned five total. Owned three at one time twice, which isn't smart, but found something I really wanted and had the means and bought another before I could sell something else. None of my planes are terribly expensive. All three combined were probably worth $100K.

    To do this, we keep and drive vehicles for several years...most of which have no monthly payments. My wife has had new cars, but me and the kids drive got used vehicles. Not extreme high mileage, but used and driven for years. We have had conservative houses mostly. Current house is fairly large and we built a pool because this is home...having now lived here 13 years. We do hope to downsize in 2-3 years and be mortgage free afterwards. I'll be 57 by then and retiring to a fun, part-time job...giving me time to fly more. The corporate grind which I got because of college degree and military experience is what will allow that, along with stock options (which I mostly held), investments and military retirement check and zero debt.

    The key to it all? spend less than you make. Save some. Invest some. Don't borrow too much. Don't expect everything early. If it is worth having, it is worth waiting and working for.


    Jim R
    Collierville, TN

    N7155H--1946 Piper J-3 Cub
    N3368K--1946 Globe GC-1B Swift
    N4WJ--1994 Van's RV-4
     
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  30. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Is your car a "hobby"?
    My car isn't, and neither is my plane.
     
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  31. midcap

    midcap Cleared for Takeoff

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    I just try and keep growing my business...
     
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  32. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude

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  33. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    By maxing out my credit cards.
     
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  34. midcap

    midcap Cleared for Takeoff

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    :D that's funny

    My job description should be the closest thing that adults have to Santa Claus.:D
     
  35. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I try to let the company pay for it.
     
  36. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    I've been able to save a lot...15 percent of my paycheck for 33 years has gone straight into the 401(k). Debt is the enemy...when you're able to pay off your credit cards routinely, the bank is giving you multiple one-month interest-free loans forever, plus a little cash back for purchases. I've always bought used cars (fun stuff like a 1st-gen RX-7, two 1st-gen Celicas, a BMW 1600, Miatas...NA & NC, a couple VW-Porsche 914s, a C6 Vette and and an MR2) and done repairs myself, house is paid off, I'm single with no kids, I genuinely like ramen noodles and TV dinners (try the Banquet Rib-Shaped Patty meal!), I do my own mowing/gardening/house painting & repairs and while I'm not exactly a day trader, I've had some good results with short-term realized gains on the stock market (Netflix and Chipotle, pre Tango Uniform debacle). While initial costs were high on the RV-9A (I went the Quick Build route, and what I paid for a new-in-box Lycoming IO-320 alone would buy a verrrry nice PA-28), I got the Repairman Certificate so I can do my own annuals and the lion's share of the maintenance. My big expenses now are my home's property tax, hangar rental and feeding a golf addiction.

    Spending two and a half years and 1300 hours in my garage (and ultimately hangar) pounding rivets, fiberglassing, wiring, plumbing, etc. kept me out of trouble and pretty much prevented me from spending too much money elsewhere!!
     
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  37. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    For me, both car and aircraft have serious hobby components. I enjoy working on them both, and have done track days/autocrosses with most cars I've owned.

    Heck, even typing away on POA is an aspect of the airplane hobby part! (Can't sleep, so I'm posting here at 1 a.m. :(:D)
     
  38. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude

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    Great thread, thanks for starting it!

    This reminds me of the financial book "The Millionaire Next Door". A number of posters on here can afford planes by having been smarter financially elsewhere (FRUGAL).

    That's where I'm headed. Did well at work, bonuses allowed early home payoff, invested savings (stock market and real estate), and stayed frugal (designer nothing, old truck, used vehicles, and spouse who puts up with similar ideas).

    No plane yet, but planning for 2018 - I would tell you which 2 I was thinking about, but it would derail this thread. I have done some side jobs and am now thinking of doing more to pay for aviation.
     
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  39. korben88

    korben88 Line Up and Wait

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    I'm currently considering investing in a small bumper pull trailer and living in that for a few years......
     
  40. Unit74

    Unit74 En-Route

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    I usually write a check to US Aircaft Finance around the 4th of the month. Hangar rent is $185. Fly with whatever is left in my slush fund. I'm usually at around $1k month in flying. My plane is in AR right now so I've been relying on hangar flying Foreflight.

    I've landed at Jeckle once. Went around for a gator on the numbers then went long.