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True Cost Of Ownership - Aircraft

Discussion in 'Aviation Chat' started by JM280z, Dec 26, 2021.

  1. A12pilot

    A12pilot Karting

    Aug 11, 2018
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    "What I’m more curious about is specific and exact tracked costs. I hear so, so many plane owners brag about how cheap they can fly their plane and it’s doing a disservice to the industry."

    If most plane owners are like myself and my associates, I can say NOBODY brags about how cheap it is to operate and aircraft and justify their purchase based on that. When asked why I own a 310 I say "Because I'm stupid, why do you ask?" That usually instigates a chuckle and the conversation is ended. There is no justification to own a plane should you not truly need it for work, a business, or a legitimate reason sans enjoyment. Much like a boat or Ferrari. You've already touched that in this thread.

    I don't think you'll find someone that is a private plane owner that may track every little cost involved in ownership to come up with an 100% accurate hourly rate. Most use the formula I listed so it gets you close, but not exact. As mentioned, flight schools may be the best source but they use their planes a heck of a lot more than they average owner.

    Whatever you may come up with, definitely error on the higher side and have a nice maintenance cushion in the bank to absorb any large issues that may arrives.

    Cheers
    Dave
     
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  3. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    Experienced owners and pilots have your mentality. New pilots and owners have the “owning is saving money” mentality.

    Pride of ownership offsets all costs for some people, if they can afford it!


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  4. donv

    donv Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Which model is that?

    It's also important to note that costs are different for everyone. I own a large hangar, so in a sense hangar doesn't cost me anything for my Citabria. On the other hand you could argue that I could rent the space out, but on the third hand do I really want other people in there wandering around with all my cars and stuff? Probably not.

    I'm an ATP and CFI, so my insurance costs are probably lower than some... but I also pay extra so that I can instruct in the airplane.

    I don't pay retail for fuel. I will probably never fly it enough in my lifetime to need an engine overhaul, so that's someone else's problem. etc.

    So when you take all that together, my costs are probably meaningless to anyone else.
     
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  5. Ak Jim

    Ak Jim F1 Veteran
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    Dec 23, 2007
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    Looks like you have the answer, why are you asking here? And I'd guess that probably less than 1% keep the kind of records you are asking about.
     
  6. GrigioGuy

    GrigioGuy Splenda Daddy
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    I guess to prove that he's smarter than the rest of us?

    I know full well that it makes no sense for me to want to own a plane. Yet I keep dumping cash into a separate account, and keep an eye out for a local TriPacer. And no, I am not calculating what I might make if I rent out space in my hangar instead of using it myself, nor am I working out the differential costs of not buying a house in a neighborhood I didn't want to be in.

    For the record, I don't keep "accurate" records of the costs of my cars either by these standards. Money is for experiences, not for superoptimization.
     
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  8. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    ROFLMAO Did your research tell you this or did you just make this up?
     
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  9. Island Time

    Island Time F1 Veteran
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    #32 Island Time, Dec 31, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2021
    A lot of things I’ve had in my life I could never have afforded there was no way of making it pay for itself.
     
  10. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    GrigioGuy “I guess to prove that he's smarter than the rest of us?”

    Common man, stay productive and not advertise your insecurities.

    I was clear that I’m asking IF anyone actually does. Many, not all, GA owners say their C172 costs $65/hr. Many, many owners I know and new pilots think buying a plane is cheaper than renting. Therefore, I’m asking if anyone actually tracks costs.

    What this thread taught me is:
    1) many insecure people don’t like having their decisions questioned - these same people can’t stay on topic and have to end the conversation
    2) many owners like to stay ignorant to actual costs because it’s a hobby (nothing wrong with that) - but I was looking for actual calculations/costs so prospective new buyers can be educated

    I’ve said 10 times in this thread that private ownership has benefits of convenience and pride of ownership. This thread isn’t about if buying a private piston GA plane is worth it or not. It’s about tracking costs properly to inform prospective buyers and share that knowledge.




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  11. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    My numbers are made up. Let’s hope one of the 1% can productively share costs.


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  13. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    No, it’s blatantly true and I see it with my own eyes daily along with my active involvement with the FSDO. Your 3rd class medical expired in January 2016. Have you flown PIC since then on a non-LSA plane? Judging from living at an airport community, talking about commuting with your plane, and active in this forum, I’ll assume you have.

    Common man, we all know the world of drive by annuals, buddy sign offs for maintenance they did themselves, using non approved hardware (even just a nut/bolt), etc.

    Idk why everyone is so insecure and butthurt about me asking about costs. I do not privately own a plane. I’d like to better understand true costs of ownership and educate prospective buyers so they don’t bite off more than they can chew. Which happens far too often with private ownership resulting in what you say “ROLMFAO” to.


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  14. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    Then maybe you should report me to the FSDO. Good luck with that.
     
  15. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    You seem to think I care. I merely point it out because your “ROFLMAO” implies I am wrong.

    You’ve contributed nothing to this thread. I agreed aircraft ownership has its benefits. However, some people may not be able to afford to be ignorantly blissful to actual costs. Therefore, I’m asking if anyone has throughly tracked costs. You came on here implying my question is irrelevant because owning is fun and convenient. I don’t disagree. Out there is someone who does track costs and may be able to share it with people so they don’t buy a plane thinking they’d save money.


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  16. donv

    donv Two Time F1 World Champ
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    So, again, what is your model that you referred to?
     
  17. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    Maybe the question should be raised in a boating forum. Not so different than GA.
     
  18. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    The question is: if any small piston airplane owners have thorough figures tracked?

    Not, if ownership is worth it or not. No need to get defensive or insecure about ownership.

    Why am I asking? Curiosity and informative to prospective owners. Some people may be on a budget and passionate about flying and having pride of ownership but don’t have an surplus budget to be ignorant of costs.

    It’s sad to see this response to what should be an informative productive conversation that can help people get into the hobby, or help people not buy something they can’t afford.


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  19. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    Why would they, most of these owners fly on expired flight reviews, expired medicals, illegally do maintenance, and use drive by annuals.
     
  20. EastMemphis

    EastMemphis Formula 3
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    I know a lot of pilots and owners of planes and haven't met ones like you describe. In general, private pilots are law abiding and trustworthy way beyond average.
     
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  21. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    #43 jcurry, Jan 1, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2022
    see post #21 (the OP made that statement) and #35
     
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  22. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    The comment is referring to people who buy a GA piston plane without fully understanding the immense cost. They then are forced to skate by without proper maintenance. We all know people offset repairing comms, transponder, installing ADSBs, etc because costs are so high (sure, there are Ops where it’s not required legally but, ?legal vs safe?). It’s no mystery that people buy non-aviation parts for their planes too, on top of being non-A&Ps.

    I recently aided the FAA in an investigation of an arrow that had engine failure because the guy had an autozone fuel pump, e-failure, then only runway was too much xw for him and he crashed. So many owners put Non-aviation nuts/bolts/screws on their planes to save costs.

    I see it regularly; guys maintaining their planes themselves and a buddy A&P doing the sign offs. A lot of GA pilots are flying out of flight reviews, IPCs, and expired medicals. Hell, when I operated out of a rural airport, easily 1/2 of people were flying without licenses because they started with ultralights, then 2 seat light sports, then C172s and such.

    This is common knowledge. The FSDO consults with me because of my unique extensive experience in the GA communities. They look to educate these people and not violate now-a-days so they use me to help identify GA communities and schools to target for FAAST involvement.

    Pilots are confident type A people. They don’t want to be criticized. People on this thread think I’m criticizing them for private ownership when I have been clear and repetitive that private ownership may be worth it for pride of ownership and convenience. However, the topic of discussion is true cost of ownership and not if it’s worth it or not. Insecure people like JCURRY are taking the question personally and are coming out like a brick wall to end the conversation or get it off topic. Ignorance is bliss.

    Ironically, JCURRY is saying it’s not true, while he says he’s owned 3 planes in the last 25 years, got his PPL in 2007, and has an expired medical since 2016. I doubt he is flying an LSA plane that goes 150 kts (according to his logistic flights time/distance), and if so he’s probably still flying at night and without the proper LSA endorsements for speed.

    When people ask me about getting a pilots license, I tell them to budget costs above just training so they have enough to spend ~$250/mo on renting to stay proficient. I don’t want people to get into something they can’t afford, hence this thread.

    We divulged way off topic because of people like JCURRY who wish to dismiss the question by saying ownership is worth it due to convenience and pride of ownership. I don’t disagree, but some people don’t have that kind of disposable income to just absorb the many unknown costs of aviation. Many people buy a plane thinking it will save them money and then, 1) they spend way more than renting and wives get pissed, 2) they start doing things themselves to save money, 3) the plane sits unused until they sell it

    I’m trying to make a 4th option which is, they did their homework and know what they’re getting in to.


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  23. EastMemphis

    EastMemphis Formula 3
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    @JM280z - Don't take this wrong, but it sounds like you have an axe to grind against GA pilots. Your comments are insulting and inaccurate. While what you say is undoubtedly true for some pilots, the vast majority understand and respect the risks of flying, are honest, law abiding and FAR following. To say otherwise just shows your anger.
     
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  24. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    Not true at all.

    I have an axe to grind against people who imply I am wrong when much of my career has been helping GA communities operate legally and safely. Never do I get angry when people are doing something wrong due to ignorance. I get angry when people are hesitant to learn and improve.

    This thread is exactly proof of my statement; people trying to shut down a conversation because they want to stay ignorantly blissful. I’ve said time and time again I condone private ownership for convenience and pride of ownership. But, not justifying it by saying it costs $65/hr to fly a C172, because that’s not true.

    I’ve studied/investigated many crashes stemming from exactly what jcurry said “ROFLMAO” to. Ignoring it is doing a disservice.

    We have divulged way off topic. People are just viewing me as their party pooper.



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  25. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    Really hope the FAA isn't relying on your research since so much of it is inaccurate.
     
  26. Innovativethinker

    Innovativethinker F1 Veteran
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    Wouldn’t you get a larger data set from an airplane based website?

    When it was suggested that you contact a rental company you brushed off the advice, yet that is exactly who would have complete records.

    While there are some members here that own planes, they are probably not the ones that care to track their expenses.

    If the FAA brings you in as a consultant, I would have expected you to already have the data you seek. By your posts you seem to indicate that you do, so I am not clear as to what you are typing to achieve.

    Absent a 5 year spreadsheet of all costs associated with plane ownership, along with receipts verifying they used the correct parts and certified mechanics, any data gathered here is just anecdotal.

    Good luck on your quest - whatever it may be.
     
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  27. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    Jake
    A memorable crash I saw happen, one of many, was a 40 year veteran pilot. He only had about 300 hours flight time though. Wore Air Force flight suit. Had a checker flag RV. He was volunteering for Young Eagles giving free flights. All the parents thought he knew his stuff because he talked the talk and walked the walk. He lost control on landing due to just a 15kt xw. Went off the runway and collapsed a gear and had prop strike. His buddy pulled him out of the ditch and to his hangar with a pickup truck. Of course they didn’t report it to the FAA nor did a full engine tear down. Don’t get me started on how many guys I’ve seen drinking and flying or attempting aerobatics with no training. There is a whole world of GA flying that most people stay ignorant to, intentionally. Most GA pilots have never read the FAR/AIM front to back or stay frequent on AC’s. Hence why I say most don’t even know the legs of the traffic pattern.

    My point is, everyone thinks every pilot is some professional; that’s the allure of a pilot. The truth is, the majority of GA private pilots are in violations of many regs whether intentional or not. Much of my career had been dedicated to fixing this with education and not punishment. To say otherwise is ignorant. Most GA private pilots don’t even know the legs of the traffic pattern, read advisory circulars, participate in FAAST meetings, get real flight reviews and IPCs. Yes, the majority. I am not wrong.

    With that said, I break the law every day I get in my car… 15 over is a misdemeanor where I live and traffic goes 85 in a 55, for example. There are some regs that the FAA doesn’t push hard until there is an incident.

    Yes, I am frustrated with GA guys like JCURRY (who hasn’t had a medical/basic-med in 8 years yet brags about flying and a/c ownership) acting like they’re some authority on the conversation and saying I’m wrong.

    I bit the bait and went off topic. I love GA. Much of my career, time, and stress is in direct effort to support GA and improve safety and legality. I get offers of employment by my FSDO near annually, but it just pays too little. This thread is a perfect example that anyone who reigns on their parade is treated like the enemy. When in fact, I’m genuinely curious as 1) if any pilots track true costs of ownership & 2) what those costs may be. I’m not debating if ownership is worth it or not. I brought up regulatory non-compliance because based on my extensive experience, much of it comes from avoidance of costs whether hiring real flight instructors and A&Ps or buying quality legal hardware.


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  28. JM280z

    JM280z Formula Junior

    Aug 22, 2020
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    Ad hominem, jcurry. My success speaks for itself. Ironically you haven’t had a medical or basic med in 8 years and yet you brag about ownership for 25 years and commuting with your plane. I’d bet my net worth that I could review your logbook, aircraft logs, flight history, etc and find at least one intentional act of non-compliance.

    You’re a disservice to the GA community by shutting down conversation that could inform potential new GA members.

    Sorry that I’m the party pooper asking what cost of ownership is. Not everyone has the disposable income to just absorb all the unknowns.


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