Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Friendliest aviation Ccmmunity on the web
  • Modern site for PC's, Phones, Tablets - no 3rd party apps required
  • Ask questions, help others, promote aviation
  • Share the passion for aviation
  • Invite everyone to Flightinfo.com and let's have fun

Buying a Jet

Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Modern secure site, no 3rd party apps required
  • Invite your friends
  • Share the passion of aviation
  • Friendliest aviation community on the web


Well-known member
Mar 5, 2002
Say I bought a 500,000 dollar jet how much would the monthly payment be? Maintence costs? fuel? etc... the plane would be a sabre 60? is it possible on regular guys salary? possible on an airline pilots salary? :D
Im not sure what the costs would be, but as i understand it that aircraft will not be legal in the US somtime in like 2004. This is because of noise restrictions. The sabre 60 you buy for $500,000 has PURE jet engines on it. A Sabre 65, with FAN jet engines on it costs almost $2 million, and other than engines, its the same plane as far as i know. Not i dont claim to be an expert, this is just my $.02 from my knowledge.
What about hush kits?? or some type of modification to make it comply... like they do with the older airliners?(727??)

Run as fast as you can from the person trying to sell you that plane. Can an average salary afford it, no. Can an airline pilot afford it, no. The fuel bill alone would probably run in the range of $350.00 to $400.00 per hour. On top of that, add maintenance, hanger space and crew costs. A wise old man once said "If it flies, floats or (rhymes with ducks), it's cheaper to rent than to own.
Stage 3

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that Stage 3 is dependant on your gross wieght, mostly on near heavy and heavy aircraft.

Hence, 20 series Lears and other turbojet aircraft will be legal.

I forget the specific wieght.

With all costs involved you are probably looking at $1,500 per hour to operate this type of equipment. The less you fly it , the more it will cost you on a yearly basis. As for hush kits, most straight pipe jets are looking for new engines to stay alive i.e. Sierra Systems Williams Fan converted Citation 501 and the Lear 20 series with the same conversion. There is a reason that a mid-size business jet is selling for $500,000, the owners can't sell it and they can't afford to operate them either. You can purchase a C-501SP for $1-2 million and put the Williams fans on for about $1.2 million. If you can afford to go through with the certification process and you know you can get enough business, you could apply for a basic air carrier certificate and work the airplane.
Can I just ask a question? Your asking all these questions about training in other posts. What do you plan on doing with this jet? Is it for your personnel use, for you to fly?
Just a question here. What is the reference to the 500 or 501 citations? They have JT15D-1 or -1A's which are medium bypass turbofans, which I thought had no problem with stage II compliance.

As for the original question, I have previously owned 2 jets and they cost ALOT of cash. Remember, the purchase price of an airplane is just the tip of the iceberg. Maintenance and fuel are the major items here. For example, a phase V on any 500 series citation is anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 bucks depending on what's wrong and where you do the work. Fuel costs can be figured at 1400 lbs the 1st hour, 1300 and 1200 lbs the 2nd and 3rd hour. What does this equate to? Let's do a trip from MA to FL, figuring 3 hours of flight time on a no-wind day. We burn 3900 lbs of fuel at 6.7 lbs per gal: 3900/6.7 = 582 gallons at 2.20 per gallon with prist. This equals $1280.40 just for gas, one-way. The citations average 1.9 maintenance hours per hour of flight. So using our scenario above, 3 flight hours x 1.9 maintenance hours = 5.7 maintenance hours at $65 per hour = $370.50. Now account for parts prices at roughly $94.15 per flight hour and that equals $282.45. Also add in engine reserve (cost to overhaul JT15D-4 engines) at $184.10 per hour.

Here's the breakdown:
Fuel $1280.40
Maint $ 370.50
Parts $ 282.45
Engine Res $ 552.30

So to make this trip, you pay $2485.65.

Now these are just the direct operating costs, let's add in other fixed costs.

Insurance (which may be impossible to get for an older sabreliner)
$24000 per year = $2000 per month, so let's say we fly 240 hours per year, that's 20 hours per month, so we figure $100 per flight hour for insurance. Let's throw in the hangar for say, 600 per month, so that equals $30 per flight hour. How about recurrent training? Let's say you already have a type rating (16k for an initial citation rating @ FSI, maybe more for the sabreliner). Quickturn charges $5000 for recurrent. Let's take our 240 hours per year and that equates to $20.83 per flight hour. With all of this, we can go flying. Let's look at the breakdown for our trip:

Insurance $100 per hour x 3 hours = $300.
Hangar $ 30 per hour x 3 hours = $90.
Training $ 20.83 per hr x 3 hours =$62.49

These costs equal $452.49 for our 3 hour trip.

Direct Costs $2485.65
Fixed Costs (A) $ 452.49

Now what happens if we need to actually do something to with the paint and interior (maybe add a cd player, or change the mapco unit). Conklin uses about $27000 per year for aircraft modernization and refurbishing. My experience has been that this number is high, but lets use it for our example. $27000 / 240 hours per year = $112.50 per flight hour. Now we need to have high altitude and approach charts for the entire US (we have a jet now, remember). I'm going to include revision service for our new gps we just put in which runs about 600 per year, so let's say our charts cost $2200 per year and gps revision costs $600 for a total of $2800 per year. 2800 / 240 flight hours = $11.67 per flight hour. Now let's add the CESCOM price, at about $1800 per year. 1800 / 240 = $7.50 per flight hour. So let's get a summary here:

Fixed Costs (B)
Modernization and Refurbishment = 112.50 x 3 = $337.50
Charts and Revision Service = 11.67 x 3 = $35.01
Maintenance program = 7.50 x 3 = $22.50

Total of $395.01.

Direct Costs $2485.65
Fixed Costs (A) $ 452.49
Fixed Costs (B) $ 395.01

So we've basically accounted for just about everything here, but wait, we need to have a co-pilot right (unless you're single pilot qualified in the 500/550 SP)? OK, let's assume that we pay this person for his time (no PFT here). You can get a qualified SIC for about $200 per day, so let's add this to our equation. We'll assume we are just going to FL for lunch and there aren't any airline fees to get the SIC home, rental car charges, food expenses, hotel expenses, etc. Remember, this example is for you to fly PIC. If you need a PIC, be ready to shell our anywhere from $400 to $500 per day for a PIC with all of the same expenses incurred. For our example, we'll just use the SIC.

SIC = $200 per day x 1 day = $200.00.

Let's also add $10 for a landing fee, so now we have a total of $210 for operational costs.

Direct Costs $2485.65
Fixed Costs (A) $ 452.49
Fixed Costs (B) $ 395.01
Op Costs $ 210.00

OK, now we can go on our trip with all expenses incurred. Our total to make the one-way trip is $3543.15. Let's assume that we actually are coming home on this trip and we double the costs. $3543.15 x 2 = $7086.30. We've flown for 6 hours, so our overall cost is about $7086.30 / 6 hours = $1181.05 per flight hour. By the way, these numbers come from the 1998 Conklin and deDecker reports and we are basing this on a CE550 or Citation II.

So it costs us $1181.05 per hour to fly (this number goes down if you fly more than 240 hours per year as in the example). Now we have to include the monthly nut to bank. We'll use the $500,000 purchase price you had mentioned before (you'll never find a CE550 for this price with engines on it, but we'll use this number anyways. Let's say you financed 500k at 7% for 20 years. This comes out to $3876.49 monthly. If we fly 20 hours per month, this comes out to $193.83 per flight hour. If we put this into our trip, it costs us $193.83 x 6 hours = $1162.98. Now we have a total cost of $7086.30 + $1162.98 = $8249.28 to get back and forth to FL with no overnight or parking fees associated. Our hourly cost just went up: $1181.05 + $193.83 = $1374.88 per flight hour.

I won't go into depreciation or other tax items, but as you can see, the costs run up pretty quickly. Also consider that this is for a fairly popular light jet, meaning that parts and qualified maintenance shops are readily available. If you have an airplane that isn't as popular or much older, chances are that parts are hard to get, which means more money and/or more downtime, and maintenance people tend to learn your airplane on your dime, which can drastically increase the maintenance portion of your cost structure. You also have to look at the engines, are they freshly overhauled? Do you need hot section inspections soon? Do you need overhauls soon? Also look at the type of engine. Is it a popular model? Can I even get it overhauled? How long is my downtime going to be? What are my cycle limits and AD status?

In conclusion, buying a jet/turboprop is a very intensive number crunching exercise that isn't for the faint of heart. You have to have every one of these questions answered before even thinking about writing the check. So, to answer your question about the $500k sabre, if your pockets are black hole deep and you have a need to fly a 35 year old airplane, go for it, otherwise run and hide.

Latest resources