# OPERATING COSTS OF AIRPLANE

## Recommended Posts

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone could please help me? I am trying to get a basic calclator up for owning a plane. So once I have all my figures of the maintenance and fixed annual costs and variable costs and fuel per hour and everything on those lines. How do I get an hourly rate of owning and operating an airplane??

What variables would I need to include and what math would I have to do to get to that final hourly rate of owning and operating the plane based on number of hours flown per year.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

##### Share on other sites

depends on everything, who's your mechanic?

##### Share on other sites

depends on everything, who's your mechanic?

hey so Its not for my plane or anything but more of a general calculator. all I want to really know is how I find the hourly costs based on fixed anual costs of maintenance and the overall cost of the plane and variables like that?

what math would I do once I have the annual yearly costs of the plane to get?

##### Share on other sites

Hard to answer because there are a lot of variables starting with the type of plane you have (size, age, buy or build, VH or RAAus), who maintains it (you, LAME), cost of spare parts, cost of hangar or wherever you keep it, insurance, rego (more applicable to RAAus), fuel costs (avgas or mogas), how much you fly, etc. My plane is paid for and probably costs me roughly \$100/hr to run in round figures although I've never really worked it out and it will vary markedly depending on hours flown. That's cheap in aircraft terms.

##### Share on other sites

Hard to answer because there are a lot of variables starting with the type of plane you have (size, age, buy or build, VH or RAAus), who maintains it (you, LAME), cost of spare parts, cost of hangar or wherever you keep it, insurance, rego (more applicable to RAAus), fuel costs (avgas or mogas), how much you fly, etc. My plane probably costs me roughly \$100/hr in round figures although I've never really worked it out and it will vary depending markedly depending on hours flown. That's cheap in aircraft terms.

thanks, Well if you look in this video I know its american but I was just wondering what formula he uses to get his hourly rates from all his variables.

##### Share on other sites

Divide total cost by hours flown = cost per hour.

In reality, double the planned costs & halve the planned hours

• 2
• 1
##### Share on other sites

Divide total cost by hours flown = cost per hour.In reality, double the planned costs & halve the planned hours

would the total cost be the total fixed annual cost? how do I include the price of the airplane into the hours flown to get my rate at which it costs to own and fly?

##### Share on other sites

well in the case of the video, do you know what he does?

##### Share on other sites

would the total cost be the total fixed annual cost? how do I include the price of the airplane into the hours flown to get my rate at which it costs to own and fly?

Buy it for \$50k, keep it ten years, sell it for \$30k, fly an average 30 hrs per year and your cost to own it is about \$67/hr. Change the numbers and assumptions to suit your situation.

##### Share on other sites

Buy it for \$50k, keep it ten years, sell it for \$30k, fly an average 30 hrs per year and your cost to own it is about \$67/hr. Change the numbers and assumptions to suit your situation.

I'm not buying a plane.all I want to know is how to calculate the cost per hour of owning an aircraft based on the video above?

##### Share on other sites

I wasn't telling you to spend \$50k on a plane. I was giving you an example of how you might estimate the fixed cost of owning it if you paid cash for it. All the running costs and other ownership costs are obviously on top of that as per the video. I suggest you contact a flying club and find out what it costs to hire a Cessna 152. That will give you a rough but useful idea of what it will cost you to own a plane like the one in the video yourself, You may do it more cheaply, but if you don't fly much it may work out more expensive. The video is not very relevant to Australia except as an example of the kinds of things you may want to include in your own cost estimate.

##### Share on other sites

There is no formula.

I've done a lot of Cost of Life calculations for trucks, and an aircraft is very similar.

If you don't own an aircraft already, you have no way of knowing what the costs are for your make and model , its condition which impacts on unscheduled maintenance and resale value, and its cost centres. As someone has said, the quickest way to get a cost per hour is to see what operators are charging for hire. Yours should be roughly the same as that with the operator's profit margin being offset by your lower annual use and less efficient maintenance cost structure.

Once you own an aircraft, you can build a spreadsheet with fixed annual costs based on initial cost and depreciation, registration, hangarage, insurance - these are the costs that apply even if you don't start the engine. Then to the mix you operating costs, such as landing fees, after-flight cleaning, then fuel, oil, then scheduled maintenance (100 hourly etc), and from scheduled maintenance consumables such as oil filters, hoses, brake linings, brake drum/disk machining, hoses, airframe perishables - the parts that will need replacing over and over again, then unscheduled maintenance (with records on what broke and whether that happened on a regular basis). Then you populate the spreadsheet with all these costs (and I've probably forgotten a few others) year by year and hour by hour and you will be able to produce a complex chart with some costs steadily declining, some increasing, some, like brake linings a regular spike, some like machining drums/disks a regular spike but much further apart and so on.

Then at the end of the current time period you will have a set of total costs both fixed and and you can calculate an ongoing cost per hour.

The longer you maintain this chart the more accurate it becomes, with the exception of unscheduled maintenance, such as an engine blow up, which you can't predict, and which will knock your finances to pieces.

• 2
##### Share on other sites

I'm not buying a plane.all I want to know is how to calculate the cost per hour of owning an aircraft based on the video above?

The useful things in that spreadsheet in the video are the labels for the things that need to be considered. It's a good spreadsheet, but you need to get the numbers correct for it to be useful to you. An engine overhaul will cost around \$30K for a small Lycoming. Oil is about \$12/US Qt.

There's no date on the video, so you can't estimate the comparison between \$US and \$AU. Some of his costs are extremely low, e.g. tie-down fee or hangarage. In some places, the amount he's quoting per week are nearly equal to per part day rates in Australia.

The results of an operating cost analysis will show you that cost/hour is proportional to hours flown/year.

##### Share on other sites

hey so Its not for my plane or anything but more of a general calculator. all I want to really know is how I find the hourly costs based on fixed anual costs of maintenance and the overall cost of the plane and variables like that?what math would I do once I have the annual yearly costs of the plane to get?

What sort of plane do you own? how many hours do you fly? do you fly in winter?

##### Share on other sites

Take what you earn per year and an aircraft annual costs are just a little more.

• 3
• 1
##### Share on other sites

You have "Fixed " costs Hangarage, Aerodrome fees insurance depreciation and annuals AND cost/hour Fuel /servicing landing fees and the relevant part of insurance. When a plane like a C-182 can cost \$80K for repairs easily without being damaged you understand there's lot's of variability. Generally, the more hours you fly the plane the lower your hourly costs. The lowest cost will be for a basic U/L that can be built by the owner.. Twins and jets or helicopters, forget, if you aren't quite really rich. The hiring charges will reflect a cost that is realistic but based on high annual hours a profit margin /depreciation allowance but perhaps efficient ,maintenance, insurance due size efficiencies. If you don't fly a lot the plane will deteriorate and become unreliable unless you really know how to care for it. Hangarage is the first item to consider. Leaving a plane in the open is foolish. You wouldn't do it to a lawnmower and expect it to keep functioning.. A plane has to have a job to do or don't buy it . Buy in haste, regret for a long time. Nev

##### Share on other sites

A bit like asking how long is a piece of string? Hangarage on a country airfield about \$2,400 pa, Insurance on a 2seat homebuilt around \$2,000 pa, fuel cost for a 2200 Jabiru around 15litres/hr at somewhere around \$2.30/litre on your average council bowser rip off. Maintenance on an experimental homebuilt, do your own, so oil, filters and plugs annually. Unless you are going to fly a lot of hours probably cheaper to hire but nothing like owning your own. Just don’t try to justify it!!!

• 3
• 1
##### Share on other sites

It's all VARIABLE.

No two aircraft, even if identical, will have the same costs...

The best you can do is a spreadsheet with a list of POTENTIAL costs Vs hours flown.

Fill it out for individual circumstances and there is your cost...

##### Share on other sites

Here are some generic graph patterns I was talking about earlier.

The graph for scheduled maintenance is easy to forecast where the manufacture has specified it for you.

Breakages, early failures and component failure are logged as Unscheduled maintenance, and this graph will quickly show up repeated failures due to design.

Consumables are the items which need to be replaced at regular intervals; windscreen wipers, oil filters, hoses etc.

The last screen shows the full repair and maintenance items. loaded together, which helps you put money aside for the peaks.

An engine replacement will send that schedule sky high, but is critically important because they engine you choose may be the financial decider on how long you can keep flying. I'll stay away from aircraft engine discussions, but at one stage I was offering four cylinder trucks with an engine life over 500,000, and recommending they be sold at 400,000, giving subsequent owners like fruiterers two or three years cheap service. I was selling a lot of these trucks to the accountant of a large company and one day he told me had bought some other trucks because they were \$5000.00 per truck cheaper than mine and that have saved the directors \$30,000.00

The trucks he had bought had an engine life of 80,000 km on average, and engine replacement with labour was about \$20,000.00

I told him I would go away and do some cost of life figures, coming back a few days to make these points.

In year 1 the 5 trucks he had bought would save him the \$25,000 plus about \$5000.00 in maintenance

If he bought another 5 of this make the next year, his savings would be about \$40,000 for the year

In Year 3, savings a little more

Year 4 as the first of the engines failed, the savings reduced

Year 4 into a loss

Year 6 on, a loss of about \$500,000 per year on the fleet

Can't remember the exact curve, but it shocked the both of us and there were no more cheap trucks in that fleet.

• 1
##### Share on other sites

If you have to ask ...... you can’t afford it.

I’ve owned two aircraft and neither costs were anywhere near what my projected costs were.

The helicopter was just light years more and the fixed wing much closer but still more than I expected.

##### Share on other sites

Hello,I was wondering if anyone could please help me? I am trying to get a basic calclator up for owning a plane. So once I have all my figures of the maintenance and fixed annual costs and variable costs and fuel per hour and everything on those lines. How do I get an hourly rate of owning and operating an airplane??

What variables would I need to include and what math would I have to do to get to that final hourly rate of owning and operating the plane based on number of hours flown per year.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Riles,

Just for general info let’s say my Tecnam Sierra which is owned outright cost me about

\$28 per hour for fuel at current prices

\$15 per hour for engine replacement

\$2 per hour for oils & filters

\$2 per hour for tyres & ancillaries

\$2100 a year for insurance

\$1500 a year for hangarage

\$260 a year for RAA membership

\$165 a year for Registration

\$144 a year for a ASIC card

\$300 to \$500 for my 100 hourly’s.

So me averaging over 100 hours every year my rough cost total to about \$90+ per hour fixed costs but probably is closer to \$100 per hour as there are variables no doubt.

I use my aircraft for a minimum of 100 hours a year so it is a far cheaper option for me to own as to hire, yes I could recoup some costs hiring it out but the question remains I know how I treat it, bit like hiring your spouse out if you don’t give a damn about her or deciding you like her to much to be abused by someone else.

• 2
##### Share on other sites

Your best bet would be to speak to a Maintenance organisation in regards to maintenance costs. Every service is different based on what items are due (replacement/inspection/repair). For instance, magnetos generally need an overhaul at 500hrs (generic) vs timing every 100hrs etc.

A mechanic worth their salt will be able to give you a close figure for the Aircraft in question, if they have experience on type.

• 1
##### Share on other sites

Riles,Just for general info let’s say my Tecnam Sierra which is owned outright cost me about

\$28 per hour for fuel at current prices

\$15 per hour for engine replacement

\$2 per hour for oils & filters

\$2 per hour for tyres & ancillaries

\$2100 a year for insurance

\$1500 a year for hangarage

\$260 a year for RAA membership

\$165 a year for Registration

\$144 a year for a ASIC card

\$300 to \$500 for my 100 hourly’s.

So me averaging over 100 hours every year my rough cost total to about \$90+ per hour fixed costs but probably is closer to \$100 per hour as there are variables no doubt.

I use my aircraft for a minimum of 100 hours a year so it is a far cheaper option for me to own as to hire, yes I could recoup some costs hiring it out but the question remains I know how I treat it, bit like hiring your spouse out if you don’t give a damn about her or deciding you like her to much to be abused by someone else.

Similar to that, for my RV-9:\$57 per hour for fuel at current prices (\$2.30) if I run Avgas exclusively, \$45 (\$1.80) if I run Mogas.

\$15 per hour for engine replacement

\$4 per hour for oils & filters

\$1 per hour for tyres & ancillaries

\$2000 a year for insurance

\$3600 a year for hangarage

\$260 a year for RAA membership

\$165 a year for Registration

\$144 a year for a ASIC card

\$250 to \$300 for my 100 hourly’s (oil & filters included above & not much else to change. 8 x automotive plugs are inexpensive)

Summing that up, you get \$6500/year in fixed costs and \$75-ish in opreating costs. I probably fly 70 hours a year at present, so roughly \$170 / flying hour total. Still much cheaper than hiring a school plane, but if you did that, you aren't out the \$120K to build an RV, nor can you control the fit out and finish.

• 1
##### Share on other sites

Similar to that, for my RV-9:\$57 per hour for fuel at current prices (\$2.30) if I run Avgas exclusively, \$45 (\$1.80) if I run Mogas.

\$15 per hour for engine replacement

\$4 per hour for oils & filters

\$1 per hour for tyres & ancillaries

\$2000 a year for insurance

\$3600 a year for hangarage

\$260 a year for RAA membership

\$165 a year for Registration

\$144 a year for a ASIC card

\$250 to \$300 for my 100 hourly’s (oil & filters included above & not much else to change. 8 x automotive plugs are inexpensive)

Summing that up, you get \$6500/year in fixed costs and \$75-ish in opreating costs. I probably fly 70 hours a year at present, so roughly \$170 / flying hour total. Still much cheaper than hiring a school plane, but if you did that, you aren't out the \$120K to build an RV, nor can you control the fit out and finish.

KR

At the end of the day I don’t worry about the cost, I fly because I love doing it, being what you would call a not drinker persay couple of beers a month if I am lucky and not a gambler other than lotto I could waste that sort of money doing those things and get nowhere near the enjoyment I do out of flying.

Alf

• 1
• 2