Home Aerospace A Real Analysis of The Cost of Owning An Airplane

A Real Analysis of The Cost of Owning An Airplane

by Ahmad
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Is it possible to own a small aircraft? Independence is represented by a plane. A sense of freedom comes from being able to go anywhere at any time. But your options don’t end there. We have to be honest here. It’s also a status symbol to own an airplane, like a Cessna. Only affluent and elite individuals can afford a personal aircraft. Please join them. The game is up to you.

So, in addition to providing you with convenience and recreation options. The responsibility of owning a small plane is great. That is financial responsibility. Fuel costs, storage fees, and insurance are all included in repairs.

I have never considered buying an airplane. Before writing this, I had no idea how much ownership would cost or how arduous the maintenance would be. Every 3,000 miles, I am lucky to remember to change the oil.

Can only the richest people of the world afford such a luxury? During my research, I focused on five primary factors that affect an airplane’s overall cost of ownership at an initial purchase price. These include

  • Hangar rental costs
  • Insurance
  • Tie-down versus hangar rental
  • Upgrades

To write about the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, I selected that model. The Cessna 172 was succeeded by this aircraft. A single-engine airplane that is popular among general aviation pilots for cross-country flying and training. Taking all things into account, here is what it costs to own an airplane.

Purchase Price

After completing all the necessary training for becoming a pilot, taking a seat in the cockpit is finally up to you. An aircraft lender has agreed to finance your purchase. The deal is now closed, and you are ready to sign. So how do you get that magical number that makes you an official owner? If you buy a used one with a few hours on it. It would cost $274,900 to get the new, never-used feel.

So, the Cessna 172R model, the weaker of the two Skyhawk models discussed in the Flying magazine article from 2012. There is seating for four people in this aircraft and a useful load capacity of 918 lbs. Cruise speed is 124 knots true airspeed. So, a 640 nautical mile or 736-mile flight can be accomplished at 142 mph. You can also add Automatic Dependent Surveillance to it. Upgrade your traffic so that you can fly in 2020.

Operating And Maintenance Costs

For planes to fly at their best, they need regular maintenance like every other form of transportation. Fuel, oil, engine reserves, overhaul, landing fees, and engine repair are total maintenance costs that every owner must consider. 

For example, hypothesized operating costs show that a pilot flying 100  vs. 300 hours per year can significantly impact. So, it is important to consider specific factors such as travel schedules and the condition of the aircraft. 

So, using 100-hours vs. 300-hours of work, the following chart compares basic maintenance and operation costs. However, there may always be unexpected expenses, annual inspections, etc. Owners can make allowances for these expenses when approaching ownership.


Just like any other kind of insurance, pilots can choose among a wide range of options and are required to obtain a few. You cannot get all three with every health insurance plan. It is important to note that some aircraft insurance policies exclude hull, liability, and property damage coverage.

In addition, insurance companies consider many factors, including aircraft hours, when calculating premiums. You should indicate the state in which your aircraft will be parked. Finally, there are numerous factors to consider, including the age of the aircraft and the amount of coverage needed.

The options include regular training, co-owning the aircraft, and many others. For example, the 1975 Cessna Skyhawks owners were quoting $1,200/year in the same AOPA example. In the end, I found a few comparable quotes. So, the annual maintenance costs for the new Cessna 172 Skyhawk range from $5,000 to $10,000.

Tie Down vs. Garage Rental Space

Many of us can easily relate this part of our act of parking our car in the garage. Or outside in all kinds of weather. Most owners, however, find that there is usually a significant price difference between the two, and it ultimately comes down to personal taste. Deciding on this option requires pilots to take many things into account. In addition to these, the plane will experience the weather conditions. 

So, the proximity to a repair shop and the amount of money it will cost if damaged outside. Future resale of the aircraft is crucial. Most owners will find that they must spend between $8,000 and $12,000 on their aircraft.

Add-ons And Upgrades

Almost every component of your plane is replaced with upgrades in the Aerospace industry. Several upgrades contribute to a vehicle’s safety, comfort, or connectivity. So, they should be considered. This area of ownership does not have a recommended number. There is a suggestion given by many aviation forums to keep a $5,000 rainy day fund. In the year, you should prepare for any unexpected expenses or upgrades. It’s part of the fun of owning a home, too.

  • An upgrade/addition costs $5,000 annually.
  • A total of $12,570 is spent annually on used and light flying
  • Expenses for the adventure flying programs: $29,650

Now that there are numerous ways to make owning an aircraft affordable. Owning an aircraft does not seem so impossible. The dream of owning an airplane like the world’s richest people is far away. It is still possible for people like me to fly and travel whenever it is convenient for us.

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