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So from what ive heard and been told, that it would be cheaper for me to buy my own airplane to train in to become a full on CFII/MEII instructor. Not sure if this is true, i dont know all the costs that go into becoming an Aircraft owner so i cant do the math myself.

Ive decided to either go after the classic and awesome trainer Cessna 172, or my favorite bush plane - The Cessna 180.

I am based out of U42, south of salt lake city Utah. I really need some help weighing the cost and options here. Keep in mind that i am 17 years old, living with my parents, and dont have any bills/loans right now. I also would like to rent out the Airplane to other Pilots. What would you all think about a Wet rate, and a dry rate at the same time? Or even possibly lease it out to the local FBO here for students to use. Ive also heard that FBOs pay for your maintenance if they use it, is this true?

Thanks for the help guys! You have all really helped me out in the past! Thanks again!

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2 Answers

  1. John D Collins on Mar 24, 2014


    I would advise you not to buy an airplane, but if you do, then not to lease it back or rent it. Usually operation of an airplane is not financially the best choice if you fly less than 100 hours annually. Expect it to cost a similar amount to renting, so if you can afford renting 100 hours per year, you can afford to pay the operating costs of airplane ownership.

    Most leasebacks are setup so the owner pays for all the operating expenses including maintenance, engine reserves, insurance, and in some cases the fuel. This is in addition to the loss of value suffered by a high time airplane that is used for training. This may make sense to an individual in a high tax bracket as they may be able to use a tax loss to subsidize their ownership expenses. In almost all cases I know of, the owner takes a loss and takes all of the risk. Insurance for a rental airplane is extremely expensive and can exceed all the other expenses.

    Owning a C172 or C180 won’t help with the MEL or MEI rating. You might consider going to one of the universities that provide aviation training such Univ of ND or Embry Riddle.

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  2. Earl Kessler on Apr 05, 2014

    Hi Chris,

    As a flight instructor and an aircraft broker, I have had this question answered a lot by clients purchasing a plane in partnership. You can never expect to make money on buying and flying an airplane when you eventually sell it, but you can certainly offset the cost of ownership by having a few people share in the upkeep and operation. The key benefit to having your own airplane vs. a rental is quality of the aircraft. Most rentals take a severe beating and they show it. The interiors, exteriors and mechanical conditions of rentals are generally rough and no pride of ownership is present. With a partnership airplane, especially if it is limited to just a few people, you can set up a fund to make sure all of the little items that need cosmetic or mechanical attention are addressed at once.

    The groups I have set up have turned into social clubs as well. The owners have hangar-flying barbecue meetings, joint flight adventures and even have fun cleaning and caring for their bird together. You can schedule extended trips without worrying about depriving the FBO of his income source and have much less conflict in scheduling.

    I would avoid the leaseback scenario with a school, since most of these situations result in the owner not pleased with the condition of his airplane and generally the plane is used hard and you lose value when you try to sell.

    There are plenty or low time airplanes available that would meet your needs that have not been used as trainers. Take a look on Barnstormers.com or Tradeaplane.com.

    Good luck and fly safely.

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