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What are the extra costs of Aircraft Ownership?

Guest extralite

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Guest extralite

Hello to all, first post. Great to see such an active forum and i have learnt alot already.


I am looking to purchase my first private aircraft and going the sport option i think. I have a few thousand hours from some time in the RAAF but now have my own business and missing the flying a bit plus need (need/want...accountant/wife) it for work.


I think i can justify around $60 000- $70 000 as initial outlay. Looking for a 2 seater with the maximum speed to get places. Maybe a cheaper RV 4 (prefer side by side but Rv6 just that bit more ).


Can anyone help me with an estimate of the ongoing costs? Just approx is fine.


1. Insurance.


2. Hangar Space.


3. 100 hourly and associated maintenance.


4. Registration.


5. Assuming it burns 30 litres per hour...what are the expenses on top of this to consider in the miles per gallon.


I am not sure how many other have seen the following spreadhseet but gives a great comparison between the performance of various types in miles per gallon. Even compares aircraft to a Toyota LAndcrusier and many aircraft come out on top (sadly not the Rv4). The Diamond Katana tops the list for fuel efficiency although obviously not all models included.


Here is the website : http://www.arising.com.au/aviation/AircraftComparison.htm



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Guest Andys@coffs

HI ExtraLite


I had a look at the website you provided and its an interesting comparison. However I note that the ultralite figures appear to me, at least to be a bit old. For example the Jabiru Aircraft (2nd most efficient) is based on an older version. Jabiru have 2 main variants that sell into the Australian Ultralight market. The cheaper of the 2 is based on a 4cyl 2.2Lt motor as per the motor spec in the spreadsheet, however the max all up weight is now 1218lbs or 550kgs. Cruise speed is 100kts, not 90 and duration from memory is nearly twice what the Aussie bladder can cope with. As such a flight from Bundy(where they are manufactured) to Adelaide for example requires only one stop and as such range is many miles more than the spreadsheet shows.


The larger of the jabiru's available cruises at 120kts on a 6cyl 3.3lt motor that produces 120hp for a burn of around 25lts/hr with a fuel load of 135lts. If registered under GA rules has a Max all up of 700kg Empty is around the 330kg so in terms of useful load that is not a bad ratio of empty to load . If flown under RAA registration that is then down limited to either 600kg if factory built and registered under RAA LSA or 544kg if not constructed by the factory. Those limitations are regulatory and will probably be changed in future years probably up to the 700kg that the manufacturer limits the airframe to. www.jabiru.net.au for more details. If cost is a driver, and it is for most of us, RAA will leave GA in the dust for cost effectiveness, however today there are still a few benefits available to GA that RAA dont yet have such as the ability to enter into CTA, though if you look at this forum for info on NPRM 103 you will see that those benefits are shortly to dissapear.


In terms of some of the costs, a suitable hangar will probably have a cost of between $15k and $30 k depending on the features and how much sweat you put into it vs how much contractor sweat you pay for. Insurance will likely cost around the $5k pa mark for full comprehensive, though your hrs, if recent may make your costing more attractive. 3 100hrly, if you work with an RAA registration and an RAA license maintenance is your responsibility and you can either pay a specialist to do it (it being the manufacturers maintenance schedule which may correspond to 100hrs or not) , or do it yourself. I do all my own maintenance and as such the cost is time, both in doing and in preparing via education and tools alone. Aircraft Registration is around $120 pa from memory and the pilot certificate another $130-150 from memory, details at www.raa.asn.au


Where did you fly in the RAAF, Amberly? If so what Sqn, 1 or 6 I spent a number of yrs at 6 as a radtech.


As you can see from the info on the side I fly both the jabirus and own a 230 ( the larger of the 2) I find it a fantastic machine that copes well with long distance flight and, as the spreadsheet suggests, is more fuel efficient than a car for the same distance, howver its limited to VFR and as such for business purposes cant be essential unless you have more control over the weather than I do.







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Guest extralite

Thanks Andy and Disperse. To Andy - never at 1 or 6 sqn, just c130's and a lot of instructing time on PC9's. (The Millenium a/c would feel familiar by the looks).


The Jabiru is obviously a very good aircraft, and eventually would love a 4 seater (one wife, one baby).


Had a look at the Lightning thanks Disperse. Looks excellent. Not too many for sale obviously as they are quite new here. Building is not an option for me right now. But it would be on the short list if there was one available.


There is a Zenith Zodiac available now(VH registered) and it looks pretty good as well.


I guess this is getting into more general discussion but none of the aircraft I have looked at ballistic parachutes, and I think nothing would be more terrifying than an a/c break up. It always felt good even in the ct4 days to have some backup in case of structural failure. They seem quite inexpensive, so wondering why they are not more common.


Secondly. just reading the forums the Jabiru 3300 engine seems to have some issues. Is this pretty standard for this class of engine or are there others in favour at the moment, like the Rotax 4 strokes? The RV4 has a Lycoming O-320 and this seems like a very reliable powerplant.


Thanks if anyone has time to give their opinions.



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  • 2 weeks later...
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To get a true picture of the real cost of ownership, you must figure in as accurately as you can the number of hours you will fly in a year. I have a mate with a Super Cub and I reckon it costs him $1,050 an hour because he only flies 3 hours a year ! If hangarage costs him $1000 a year (he has his own hangar but must pay ground lease & rates), insurance $1000 and his annual inspection $1000, there's $ 3000 divided by the 3 hours. Then the fuel is another 50 bucks an hour. He only needs to find something expensive on his annual and that rate could blow out to $2000 an hour, so why he bothers I dunno....


On the other hand if he flew 100 hours a year his fixed cost divided by 100 would be 30 bucks an hour, plus the same $50 for fuel, so his hourly rate would be more like $80. But 100 times 80 is $8000 in total. As he really stresses about spending a dollar 30 on a newspaper which he can only read once and would never buy coffee in a coffee shop when he can get a tin of instant for about the same price, this guy should never have bought an aircraft in the first place !


My guess is the true cost of owning even the lightest of light aircraft left in a hangar somewhere and flying 100 hours a year is probably at least $8000 a year.


Flying only 50 hours a year may cost less total dollars in the year than flying 100, but the hourly rate would probably work out about the same as hiring at commercial rates. So there is a minimum annual utilisation below which ownership is more of an indulgence for the sheer satisfaction of having your own pride and joy than any practicality.



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The secret is to have a 50/50 partnership, or a 1/3 if you must. Fixed costs are shared, the plane gets a fair bit of use and so long as you get the right partner like I did, its all good.


My J430 costs me no more than $75/hr all up. we both do about 80 hours a year each, and its a pretty good deal on the hangar, but if you get the mix right its possible under $100/hr for a big Jab.


The RV-10.......I dream of it costing not much more......I dream of having it actually!





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