Calculate the cost of plane ownership

Over the years, calculating the cost of owning a plane is one of the most common questions I receive. There are many different cost factors involved in owning a plane. The purchase price is just one piece of the full cost of a plane ownership pie. Other parts include taxes, hangar or peg costs, fuel, oil, insurance, ramp charges, engine reserves, routine maintenance, inspection items, and subscriptions to name a few. The following article will help you determine the costs involved in owning a plane and how to plan your money accordingly. Note that the following article provides a general estimate of how to calculate ownership costs for most of the piston planes.

First, we will divide the total cost of ownership into two parts; the first section will be the indirect cost, and the second section will be the direct cost.

Indirect costs

Indirect costs are the costs that you will pay whether the plane flies or not. These expenses include the purchase price of the aircraft (or monthly payments), insurance, connection fees, or barn, subscription fees, taxes, and tax benefits.

Let's start with the first indirect cost you mentioned, the purchase price, or the cost of capital. This is one of the easiest expenses to calculate. If you funded the plane, get an offer from the bank regarding the required down payment and interest rate. Currently, prices are approximately 6% with a minimum of 15% and 20 years financing. For example, if you cut 20% on a new DA40XLS at $ 350,000, your monthly payment would be over $ 2,000 a month over 20 years.

To calculate the insurance fee, contact your insurance agent and get a quote for the aircraft you are considering purchasing with your level of expertise.

Barn fees and a drawdown are self explanatory. Call the airport or FBO where you want to support your plane and ask about available options. There are usually about four options: Connect (leave the plane outside in the elements), Covered (The plane is out in the elements but has a shade cover), Common fold (The plane is constantly moved in a large shared fold with several other planes), and finally an individual or hangar T. at many airports, the hangar space is sparse, so don't be surprised if you finish the queue. Airplane hangars prices vary depending on your location. Two T hangars in Concord, North Carolina cost around $ 300 per month, while the same hangar in Fort Lauderdale costs over $ 1,000 per month. If you keep your plane out, please make sure to cover it at least. It will protect the interior and avionics. Also, keep in mind that some insurance companies will lower your insurance premiums if you can suspend your flight ban instead of keeping them on bonds.

Subscription services may not apply to you. If you have a J-3 Cub, you can move on to the next paragraph. Nearly all aircraft manufactured after the early 1990s offer GPS. If you have a GPS IFR, you will need to subscribe to a monthly update to keep your database legal for navigation only via GPS and GPS shooting approach. If you have XM Weather, you will pay about $ 30 a month for a basic subscription or $ 50 a month for the full package. The advantage of floating winds on the full package is more than the additional cost of getting it. Additional XM Radio. If you own a glass-panel aircraft, you can choose Garmin's safe taxi plans and / or comparison board services. Visit for cost information. Jeppesen also offers glass cockpit converging panels. This service requires an initial initial installation cost and a higher monthly payment, compared to the Garmin Approach Panel services.

Unfortunately, taxes do not disappear with aircraft, except for tax-exempt companies (see your aviation tax advisor for more information to see if you qualify). Taxes vary from state to state. In Florida, it is 6% of the purchase price. In North Carolina it is a flat tax of $ 1500. North Carolina, however, has property tax fees that vary from county and city. Where I live in North Carolina, a plane ownership tax rate is around 63 cents per $ 100, and I have a city tax of 42 cents per $ 100. If you use the plane for business purposes, you may be able to reduce the use and cost of the aircraft that takes advantage of the estimated cost of ownership. Please consult a plane tax specialist to determine your individual situation.

Direct operating costs

Calculating direct operating costs is a little more difficult. There are different ways to calculate what it will cost you each hour to travel. My method is only one way, but it works. Here you need to limit the number of hours you plan to fly on an annual basis to establish an annual base budget.

Let's start with the basics. Most piston engines require an oil change every 50 hours. Depending on where you live, changing the standard oil will cost between $ 150 to $ 300. Call your local mechanic in the field and find out what's shipping. If you plan to travel 100 hours a year, the math is simple.

Fuel consumption varies depending on the different aircraft. You can usually visit the manufacturer's website or consult a POH to obtain a burned fuel cruise. If you are driving a plane with a lethal engine, consider burning fuel published is the best scenario (which does not happen often). Find out the costs of avgas at the local airport and do the math. Note that avgas prices vary

Engine and fan reserves are counted in the equation even if you have low time or a new aircraft that you plan to sell well before repair. You can usually get a quote from a local FAA engine repair station at the cost of repairing your engine or at the cost of installing a factory remanufactured engine. Take this price and divide it by the remaining hours until TBO and you will get an idea of ​​how much you need to put in each hour. If you are planning to buy twins, double the costs for fuel, engine and fan.

Scheduled maintenance is another cost that is worth planning. Every year your plane will be due to inspection. Again, the prices will vary depending on where you are inspecting. South Florida average store prices are $ 95 an hour, while in North Carolina it is about $ 70 an hour. Contact a service center familiar with your plane and see what they charge for the standard annual check-up. Keep in mind, however, that the price they quote does not include Scratch Items, Airworthiness Guidelines, Service Bulletins, or Regulatory Replacement Items. These are additional costs. If your plane is still under warranty, you should not expect any sudden repair bills when lifting the plane. The safe bet for extra budget expenses for the plane outside the guarantee is to double the annual inspection fee price; this budget will cover almost any unexpected surprises that may occur during the year. You might also consider reserve paint upgrades, interior and avionics, in which case you'll need to put in more additions.

Finally, you will need to determine the value your aircraft will achieve if it is time to sell it. Aircraft usually stop after 5 years. Like cars, their rates drop. Companies like Vref and Aircraft Bluebook offer retail pricing and swap pricing.