Aircraft purchase help.


New Bus driver
Nov 26, 2001
Total Time
I would like to find some help into what it takes to own an airplane. I have been very interested lately in an inexpensive way to ownership. I have looked at a little Pacer that is out at the local field and i have been drooling over it. It is perfect for what i want and intend to use it for.

What does it take to own something like that? I am sure there is more info than what i have that i would need to get a really good answer, but being a first time buyer i am limited.


restraint order pending
Dec 23, 2001
Total Time
do a good prebuy and logbook search. Be prepared to walk away. Also, btw if you fly 100 hours per year the cost of a 150-172 size airplane is at least 40-50$ per hour. here are some costs of ownership:
insurance: 700$ /YEAR
tie down - 400-500$ year
hangar- 1000-2000 year
gas 2.50 a gallon and 6-10 gph
annual -500-1500
routine maintenance - 500+ a year
oil change - 75$ every 50 hours
tires+ brakes - a set every two years

i ferried over 200 airplanes and most of the planes i flew i wouldnt own, hell a dfew i flew i wish i didnt!
good luck


New member
Jan 19, 2002
Total Time
Aircraft ownership

I own a 1978 C152 that I use personally .. no flight instruction. I do let a select group of people fly it, but that doesn't have anything to do with affordability.

The airplane is based in Spring, TX at DWH. Here are some realistic operating costs:

Tiedown (covered T): $138/mo.
Insurance : $ 71/mo.
Monthly mx : $100/mo.
Fuel (6 gph) : $ 2/gal.

O.K., I could go down the list some more .. but here's what it boils down to. My actual hourly operating costs are about $15. I have about $250/mo in fixed costs (tiedown, insurance, administrative), and I run about $100/mo in "other" costs. Eventually it'll need new tires ($400), a new transponder ($600 with a core trade for a rebuilt one), or what have you.

Don't be discouraged. Owning an airplane is fantastic, even with all the costs associated. You meet tons of new people, and learn all sorts of things about GA that you never knew (I grew up GA, but this is a different end).


As the previous poster noted, you need a pre-buy by a reputable shop. You need a title search. You really should talk to someone who is an expert on the model you are looking at. Sometimes these things have a bunch of ADs that are costly, as in the C172RG and it's landing gear actuator rods (I think I said that correctly.) Without the AD, the airplane has virtually no value.

Don't be dismayed. You can cut these costs in half with one partner. AOPA has a very good partnership agreement that you can download, and setting up a corporation to co-own the airplane is not very difficult.

Probably too much here, but you got me started,


Well-known member
Nov 25, 2001
Total Time
Free site with helpful info

Hey there, I have a free website at

The site also has a lot of free infomation for people looking to buy General Aviation aircraft.

Hope it helps!



just a member, not senior
Nov 26, 2001
Total Time
Rule number 1: the easiest thing you will ever do is buy a plane, the hardest thing you will ever do is sell a plane.

With that said the other posters have relayed some good very basic info. About two years ago I started doing all the digging for the same question myself. Every plane, pilot and mission is different so each person will have his or her own reasoning for wanting a specific type. Most important thing here is to realize you need to fly around 10-15 hours a month for a single engine purchase to make the $ worth it. I would guess a 152 or Pacer could have lower use times to the break even point vs renting. But, it would be wise to compile the figures for the plane you are looking at and see how much you need to fly versus the cost of renting. Of, course this shouldn;t be your go no go descision on buying, it just helps show what ownership will cost.

I decided with the lack of time I truely have to fly for fun that it would be much cheaper and much less of a headache to rent for now. Hopefully this year more of my time can be devoted to flying to make a purchase a smarter choice.

Just my .02.

Good Luck.


Well-known member
Nov 29, 2001
Total Time
I've heard great things about Tri-papers. Almost bought one once. As part of my research I contacted the "Short Wing Piper Association". They are online somewhere and have good info on Pacers and TriPacers. I currently own a very old Bonanza. Ownership is a big pain in the a$$ - when I'm not flying. I seem to forget all of the effort I have to put into this thing when I leave the ground in it.

Monthly tiedown: 56.00 $/month
Full hull insurance: 142.00 $/month
Fuel: 10 gph (auto fuel)
Maint.: To much to list; it's always something.

Having a fixed gear and fixed prop is probably going to save you lots of bucks. Also, find an airplane model with lots of spare parts available if your not already tied to the TriPacer.

I usually don't take my airplane to a big shop with lots of overhead. My experience has been that these places are like training schools for new A&P's. The best service I have recieved is from individual mechanics - one guy working out of his van.

Be willing to work on your airplane yourself. It can save you money and is a great way to learn new things. It also gives you more control over the QC issues. All aircraft owners pay one way or the other - either with their time or their money.

Best of luck.


By the way; what ya gona do with it once you get it?


Well-known member
Nov 27, 2001
Total Time
Aircraft ownership can be wonderful or horrible depending on the aircraft and how much research you do before the purchase.
You said a Pacer is this a tailwheel or a Tripacer. If tailwheel do you have tailwheel time if not the insurance will be around $2000 the first year and you will need to fly around 100 hr that year to lower the premiums the next year.
Prepurchase, Get an inspection by an A&P with tube and fabric experience, Preferably not the mechanic that normally maintains the aircraft. Check for bad fabric, and rusted tubing especially near the tail. Remember it's cheaper to buy a first class aircraft at premium price than it is to fix up a piece of junk.