How to lower the costs of owning your own plane

Being able to travel wherever they want is often the main attraction for budding pilots. Here's what to know when buying a small plane.

Compared to most people’s hobbies, flying your own plane can be very expensive. Contrary to what you might expect, though, the majority of budding pilots aren’t fuelled by their deep pockets, but by the thought of being able to travel wherever they want, whenever they want. This kind of motivation can be crucial when things aren’t going to plan. If all of this sounds appealing to you, here’s what you’ll need to know to get started.

Choosing the aircraft for your needs

As with purchasing any kind of vehicle, the key to making a good decision is choosing something that fits your needs. On the second hand market, you can find a flyable plane for around £10,000, less than what many people would spend on a car. If you don’t want to worry about reliability in the near future, though, you should really be looking to spend a little more. For around £15,000, you can get a used Cessna 150. This is a two-person aircraft, primarily designed for flight training and personal use. If you’d like to option of bringing people with you, a Cessna 172, which fits four people, will cost you upwards of £40,000.

Getting the best deal on supplies

While the aircraft itself will be your most significant up-front cost, you’ll also have to invest in a wide range of equipment to get you off the ground. All of this can be expensive, so finding out how to save money without sacrificing on quality is essential. From headsets to logbooks to electronic flight computers, FlightStore stocks over 5,000 items so whether you’re a student pilot just learning the ropes, or a flight veteran looking to stock up on the essentials, they’ll have what you’re looking for.

Dealing with the costs of ownership

In the long run, maintaining your plane between flights could be the most significant investment you make as a pilot. This is the area that many people looking to get into the hobby fail to realise, and it could turn owning the vehicle of your dreams into a nightmare. Learning how to perform simple tasks on your own, like changing the oil, will come in handy, but if you really want to save money you’re going to have to build a strong relationship with your local mechanic. Finally, before you commit to any purchase, you should also look into the cost of insurance. You should expect to pay around £1,000 a year just for the right to fly your vehicle.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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