Owning your own airplane may be closer to reality than you think
Have you always dreamed of owning your own airplane, but figured it would always be just that — a dream? You may want to give it another thought.
If you want to soar above the clouds and you’re not exactly in the economic strata of the Rockefellers, there may still be a way. According to Investopedia, a new, single-engine airplane can be bought for less than you would pay for a new car. A model with no bells and whistles can be found for as little as $15,000. It probably won’t be the most comfortable or roomy aircraft you’ll ever fly, but it will get the job done.
Of course, you can easily spend hundreds of thousands on a private plane or millions on a jet, but if you have the wherewithal to shop for that class of aircraft you’re in rarified air indeed.
There is no one-size-fits-all-budgets model when buying aircraft
Regardless of the aircraft you wish to buy, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association notes there are associated costs of which you should be aware that include, but are not limited to:
- Flight instruction if you plan to pilot your aircraft
- Regular maintenance and unscheduled repairs
- Airport fees
- Aviation fuel, which is typically more than twice the cost of regular gasoline
- Miscellaneous upgrades (e.g. painting, add-ons, etc.)
Can your budget sustain the cost of an airplane? Thebalance.com says “yes” with some qualifiers:
There’s a rule of thought that says that if you can afford a car, you can afford an airplane. This may be true, but everyone’s financial situation is a little bit different. The general rule is that if you can afford a car/boat/vacation home, chances are you can afford an airplane.
If you’re looking to start shopping, Plane & Pilot has a handy guide on the 10 cheapest planes in the sky and other buyers’ resources you may wish to reference.
A word about used airplanes
There is also a robust market for used aircraft, but that comes with a big caveat emptor. Although aircraft owners are required to maintain maintenance records to assure safety, there can still be issues that are unknown and the last thing in the world you want is to discover a problem with a plane when you’re airborne.
Purchasing a used aircraft can definitely save money, but is best reserved for skilled pilots who know how to handle an emergency. It is also advisable for the buyer of a used airplane to possess expert knowledge of the inner workings of an airplane and be able to identify and properly address any problems with the engine, the airframe or the electronics.
Whether it’s a new or used airplane you’re considering, here’s hoping your dreams can take wing in the near future!