When can you afford an airplane?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by shinysideup, Nov 13, 2017 at 5:43 PM.

  1. mondtster

    mondtster Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,478
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    mondtster
    Aviation is the only industry where I've seen people try to rationalize purchases and account for every dime they spent. I have yet to run into a boat owner or classic car restorer/hot rodder that ever really thinks about the cost. They just buy what they want. Ironically, many boat and car guys don't seem to be nearly as well off as the average airplane guy, yet they manage to figure out how to make their finances work.
     
  2. wilkersk

    wilkersk Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Messages:
    799
    Location:
    Puget Sound
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    KennyW
    The answer to all your questions is: when your wife says: "no, I don't want that old airplane with the fabric wings. I want that pretty new one with the emergency parachute!"
     
    Zeldman likes this.
  3. skiermike

    skiermike Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skiermike
    It was a Grumman Tiger before they were cool again. Haha!
     
  4. brian]

    brian] Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,396
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    brian]
    Might as well ask: What is the meaning of life....

    Imagine yourself dead - did you do everything you imagined.
    Imagine yourself old - do you have enough money to eat.
    Land somewhere in-between...
     
  5. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    3,150
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian Flynn
    Here's my numbers for a M20J at 80k - some estimates in here, but I _think_ they're reasonable.

    Finance 72k on a 15 year loan at 6% = $481.13/month
    Insurance $267
    Tie down $45/month (KHRJ, actual cost).

    12 GPH * $3.99 = 47.88/hr for gas
    $10 oil every 15 hours
    $22/hour for an engine kitty
    $15/hour for future maintenance kitty

    Total is 1306-1391 per month or about 16k per year.

    Note, you could lower this - bigger down payment, newer engine, newer airplane, etc. A 40k down payment and 0 time engine drops it to 1025/month or about 12k/year. That's about a 10 year payback on the down payment
     
    zaitcev likes this.
  6. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,247
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DesertNomad
    When you can buy the airplane for X, and still be able to spend X/2 (hangar, insurance, maintenance, upgrades, fuel, etc) over the next three years... all in cash.
     
  7. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,708
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Sundog
    We can fly - tens of thousands of years gone by, millions of people, like us, gone to dust, and kings, emperors, and Da Vincis, too; what would they have thought affordable?

    You can get a long-legged, high-speed, continent-crosser like a LongEZ, for less than the price of a SUV - or a low end Cessna, Piper, or Grumman trainer, priced cheaper than a compact car.

    Or buy into a plastic partnership for some amount in between. If you fall anywhere within one or two standard deviations from the median American income, you can buy and fly something. . .
     
  8. skiermike

    skiermike Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skiermike
    This guy gets it.

    I would happily own a $15k champ if that is all I could afford. Maybe it wouldn’t haul the whole family and maybe it wouldn’t be the fastest plane in the world, but it’d be mine, and I’d be flying. So many more people can afford to own than they realize, and if they’d rather not own than own something basic, so be it.
     
  9. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    14,464
    Location:
    west Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dave Taylor
    OK you asked for it. How do you upload an excel file to POA? If so, you can enter your own numbers, add/remove/change costs to suit yourself.
    Attached pdf
     

    Attached Files:

  10. steviedeviant

    steviedeviant Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2015
    Messages:
    96
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steviedeviant

    Thanks you for posting this. I too found this very helpful.
     
  11. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2,449
    Location:
    NorthEast Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Doc
    Has to do with priorities and responsibilities.

    Responsibilities are most important. If you have a family, or anyone who is depending on you, you should see to their needs first. If you do have a family and the wife and kids, Mother or Father or whoever you are responsible for are taken care of and you have additional and sufficient funds on hand, THEN the priorities come into the decision. You must prioritize what you want to do with the disposable income. If you have enough saved up to buy an airplane with enough remaining cash on hand for an emergency repair such as the event of the engine going belly up AND you have enough room in cash flow for the periodical expenses of hangar, fuel, insurance and so forth, THEN you are in a position to own an airplane.

    When my kids were growing up, as bad as I wanted an airplane I was not in a position to buy one due to my responsibilities. Once they were out of college and once I was debt free, then I felt comfortable dipping into savings for such an endeavor.

    IMHO if one has a family, they come first.
     
    GRG55 likes this.
  12. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    6,609
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Check_my_Six
    when your diet consists of Ramen noodles.....ice tea unsweetened....you drive a +12 year old car.....and you have a few bucks left over at the end of the month.....you should be good to go to own.
     
    denverpilot, GRG55 and shinysideup like this.
  13. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    8,403
    Location:
    Southeast Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    This page intentionally left blank
    We've owned the 201 for ten years now, and hangar, insurance, annual, and repairs has consistently run ~$12k/yr. This is before the prop turns, and does not include original purchase cost or loan payments. To that $12k, add your loan payments if you're not paying cash, and your gas/oil for flying. Fly 100hrs/yr @ 10gph? Add $5k for gas, add some oil, and a reasonable budget is $20k/yr ABOVE any acquisition cost.

    That said, be prepared to possibly spend more the 1st year or two as you and your mechanic rectify issues the DPO may have deferred. Old wise pilots say to reserve 10% of the original purchase cost for fixes during these first two years. I hope this doesn't look to harsh. If you look at this and say, "Eh, we'll be ok," then go for it! If this gives you that pit in the stomach feeling, you're not ready for something like a 201. As others have said, I could be perfectly happy flying a 152 or Champ if that's all the budget would allow.
     
  14. shinysideup

    shinysideup Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2017
    Messages:
    37
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    shinysideup
    Thank you for sharing that, very helpful.

    That's a very good point, I suppose it's all a matter of perspective and how much you are willing to spend.
     
  15. shinysideup

    shinysideup Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2017
    Messages:
    37
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    shinysideup
    That sounds in line with my estimates, thanks for sharing.
     
  16. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    3,429
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    jsstevens
    A fine use for them indeed. I finally ran out of wall space to hang them and I can't bring myself to part with any I've got. I guess I'm "stable" on guitar ownership.
     
    Fearless Tower likes this.
  17. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    3,174
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    I am firmly in the camp that votes for the fast airplane and cat food combo; KD for a treat on Sundays.
     
  18. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    23,475
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    steingar
    I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Once I assiduously totally everything I'd spent on flying and aviation for the year. I was very careful to include everything, and checked my figures twice. I then firmly decided that I would never again undertake such an exercise.
     
  19. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    3,174
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    That was my benchmark when people used to tell me I was extravagant or "rich" after I bought my first airplane, a 1961 Cherokee 160. I paid less than the price of good used Toyota sedan for it. It was mechanically sound but had gawd awful paint and a ratty faded orange cloth interior, none of which I could afford to fix, but it was mine. And I flew it thousands of miles and hundreds of hours and never had to "book it" around other people's training schedule. I was so proud of that thing that I eventually installed a used KT76A transponder, a new King digital radio and a PS Engineering audio panel so I could listen to my Walkman through the headset (yes, that long ago :( ).
     
    WannFly, Sundancer and edo2000 like this.
  20. skiermike

    skiermike Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skiermike
    This is really true. I wonder why us pilots analyze every penny where other enthusiasts could care less. I hate looking at per hour costs to fly - it makes every hour a little less enjoyable. I couldn’t tell you what I spend, down to the penny and on an hourly basis, in any other aspect of my life, so why do I care so much what this minute of flight time ran?
     
    Matthew K, Mtns2Skies and edo2000 like this.
  21. AWACSEng

    AWACSEng Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    974
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill
    This pretty much sums up the internal struggle for me. Renting zaps the fun for me since i'm doing mental calculations of how much a given flight period will cost. Once I get over that obstacle, I will be making the plunge into ownership and just enjoy the ups and downs as best I can (like enthusiasts of virtually every other hobby/sport in the world).
     
  22. jimhorner

    jimhorner Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    235
    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Horner
    Bingo!

    In my case, my wife even paid for the plane. She was let go from her job in late 2011 (just a few days before Christmas—her boss was a real jerk), but, because of her time in service, she was given a full year’s salary as severence. She had a job offer before New Years Day, so there was really just a slight blip in our income, and we had that pile of cash around... Hmmm, “Honey,” sez I, “you know that time we wanted to fly to Tahoe but couldn’t because someone else had the club’s 182 already reserved? If we had our own plane, that wouldn’t have been an issue. And since our boy plays hockey, we’re gonna have lots of trips to Phoenix, Southern California, and Vancouver coming up. Sure would be nice not to have to fight the airlines, right?” sez I.

    After looking at some beautiful-but-with-problems Cessna 185s, we bought a beautiful, 1989 Bellanca Super Viking in May of 2012 with the majority of the payment coming from my wife’s severance pay. And, yes, we have taken it to Tahoe, Vancouver a couple of times, Phoenix several times, and numerous trips down South to the LA area. Beat the airliners door-to-door on many of those trips. No TSA, no baggage claim headaches, and no long bus rides to the rental car pickup; the FBOs usually bring the rental car to the plane.

    And, when she wants to go to Monterey for the day, it’s a 20 minute flight versus an hour and a half slog through traffic. Taking her to Death Valley to see the super bloom is a 2 hour flight instead of an 8 to 9 hour road trip. I got a cool plane, and she gets a cool way to travel. Worth it.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 9:04 AM
  23. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    3,174
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    Wow. I don't know a single airplane owner that actually looks at what it costs unless someone asks them - and even then I am not sure most of them could answer that question accurately. I keep a separate bank account that I run all my aviation expenses through, but rarely total it to find out what it is costing me. The last time I did that was after 39 months of ownership of the Aztec and in response to another PoAer's request for some actual twin operating cost data.
     
  24. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    3,429
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    jsstevens
    I finished my flight review last week and the instructor asked if I wanted a receipt. I said, "Yes. I keep the receipts but I never total them." He laughed. But it's true. I haven't ever.
     
    denverpilot and GRG55 like this.
  25. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,914
    Location:
    Colorado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mtns2Skies
    Like others have said it's a matter of priorities.

    But... you can sleep in a plane but you can't fly a house ;)
     
  26. FlySince9

    FlySince9 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,840
    Location:
    Huntersville, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jerry
    GUILT, plain and simple... oh, and to have an answer for the question in this recurring thread...
     
  27. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,522
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    olasek
    Suze Orman would probably find 10 reasons why you can't afford one.
    But if you want it badly enough and it doesn't adversely impact lives of your dependents - you can afford it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 11:27 AM
  28. bradg33

    bradg33 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    969
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Esquire99
    Your boy must not be a goalie, because there's no way goalie gear fits in a Viking :)
     
  29. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    13,921
    Location:
    Behind you!
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    When you have enough money that you can afford it without making sacrifices you can't afford to make :dunno:

    Also depends on piston single

    Big difference between a 7AC champ and a 185.

    I'd say most folks who can afford to have a new snowmobile, ski boat, jet ski, ATV, could probably swing a 7AC or C120 or something.

    You start talking SR22, 185, PA18, DHC2, you're talking a little diffrent ball of wax.
     
  30. jimhorner

    jimhorner Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    235
    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Horner
    That’s true! He’s a forward. The Viking has a ski tube extending back from the baggage compartment which is perfect for holding hockey sticks. A couple of small suitcases, a couple of backpacks, and a hockey bag _just_ fit into the baggage compartment. It takes some pushing and shoving to get it all in, however.

    I miss those trips. When he first started playing, his out of the area games were primarily in LA, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and a couple of times in Vancouver, all reachable in the Viking. As he got better and older, most of his games started being back East (Boston, Minnesota, Chicago, New Jersey, etc.), and flying ourselves just wasn’t practical. And, for his games in LA, the coach insisted that the team travel together by bus from the Bay Area. At least for those, my wife and I could still fly down to LA to watch him. Definitely would beat the team down there every time.

    Now he’s doing a gap year playing Junior hockey in New England, and we don’t get to see him play at all except on the fairly poor streaming service. Not quite the same thing.

    It sure was fun while it lasted.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 1:06 PM
  31. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2014
    Messages:
    2,070
    Location:
    Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FloridaStudentPilot
    IMO

    Life isn't worth living if you can't do the things you really want to do. Come up with a budget including costs of ownership, (Most people don't). Give up things if necessary, Cable sucks anyway..lol
     
    Matthew K and jimhorner like this.
  32. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2014
    Messages:
    2,070
    Location:
    Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FloridaStudentPilot
    Suze Orman gives bad financial advice in my opinion. Not ALL debt is bad but can provide leverage for further investments only if you know what you are doing.
     
    Skyrys62 likes this.
  33. George Mohr

    George Mohr Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
    Messages:
    271
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gmohr
    My small example. My PA-28 costs me about 20k to own an operate for around 125 hours/year. Note that this is higher than most, because my hangar is $550/month. And also because this plane is new to me (2 years) and I've been having expensive annuals due to some back maintenance that was neglected by previous owners.
     
  34. teejayevans

    teejayevans Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Messages:
    1,443
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom
    My Mooney is about 17k, not including upgrades, 180-190 hours/year. My first year was expensive (old adage that you should have 10% or more in cash for 1st year maintenance was spot on), after that it stabilized.
     
  35. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    5,683
    Location:
    PA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PAFlyer
    The people who watch her are the same people who would be broke a year after hitting the Powerball.
     
    FloridaPilot likes this.
  36. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    1,717
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    WannaFly
    buy a plane.

    buy 100LL.

    fly

    Don't add up $$
    Repeat
     
  37. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    7,216
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    eman1200
    ^^^ Juan summed it up pretty good right thar
     
  38. brian]

    brian] Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,396
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    brian]
    What do you do with the previous plane(s)?

    ;)
     
  39. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    1,717
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    WannaFly
    Thats easy ... Scratch the first line...u are good to go

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  40. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    3,174
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    I don't own a television. Who needs "reality" TV when you own a plane. ;)
    Doing the logs is a documentary special.
    Sourcing airframe parts is like your own personal History Channel.
    Taking it to the mechanic with a snag is playing Let's Make a Deal.
    Upgrading anything, paint, interior, panel, is the aviation version of HGTV...without the capital gain potential.
    And the monthly credit card bill for gas for the Aztec is a recurring nightmare horror movie. :eek: