Buying vs Renting

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wibblewobble
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Buying vs Renting

Post by wibblewobble »

I'm going through training and thinking my mission is probably 95% flying solo or occasionally with a +1 to grab lunch. I'd imagine probably something like ~50 hrs a year. Since something like a c150 would fit the mission, would it make sense to buy vs just renting? If buying makes sense, it'd probably make more sense to buy now rather than later since I'll have a lot more hours in the first year during training. I've seen some figures for the US but nothing really for Canada.

What's would you do in my shoes?
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Pilotdaddy
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by Pilotdaddy »

Buying will always have a lower per hour cost, provided the engine does not blow up on you. In the end, it's really up to your risk tolerance. Would you rather have a higher hourly operating cost for the benefit of being able to walk away? Or are you feeling lucky that there will be no major problems and pocket the difference going forward?

I've done some rough math and the magic number seems to be 100 hours/year. This is dependent on how thorough you are on optional maintenance/SBs, upgrades, hangared vs tie down, location, etc... If you're flying 100+ hours, then the buy side starts to make sense. If you're flying fewer, then maybe rent and not take on the ticking time bomb that is the engine. Of course, you can also join a plane share so you can share the cost/benefit of owning a plane.
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Big Pistons Forever
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by Big Pistons Forever »

At 50 hours a year owning an airplane will almost always be more expensive per hour. For a C 150 flying 50 hrs a year

Annual Inspection Minimum $ 2000
Insurance $ 1400
Tie down $1000
Fuel and oil ($ 45/hr) $2250
misc (Nav Canada fee's etc) $ 100

total $ 6750

Cost per hour $ 135

Note this does not include any maintenance. It is 135 dollars per hour if nothing breaks in a whole year and does not include an engine overhaul reserve. I have own a Grumman AA1B which is basically a low wing C 150 for 20 years. Over those 20 years the annual budget to fix things has averaged out to about $ 2000 a year. ( High $ 8500 Low about $ 200)

So if you add $2000 to the total cost your cost per hour is now $ 175 and you still face the prospect of having to do unexpected major work. An overhaul for the C 150 engine is about 25,000 dollars......

Personally I would be very leery of taking advice from someone who has never owned an airplane as in my experience they don't have a clue.

That being said there are many advantages to owning over renting. Being able to just jump in and go, no having to get the airplane back in time for the next renter, no daily minimums, knowing the airplane well etc etc, just don't expect it to cost less.
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lhalliday
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by lhalliday »

Buying is financially nonsensical for the vast majority of pilots. If I was to do it again I'd look at a share of a plane.

There is, however, nothing like being able to go to the airport and fly any time you like.

...laura
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Pilotdaddy
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by Pilotdaddy »

lhalliday wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:15 am Buying is financially nonsensical for the vast majority of pilots. If I was to do it again I'd look at a share of a plane.

There is, however, nothing like being able to go to the airport and fly any time you like.

...laura

That's exactly what I did. Although my partners don't fly as much as I do, I'm sure that given some rules around booking, owning (sharing) a plane definitely has its scheduling/flexibility advantages over renting, assuming cohesiveness amongst the group. With 5+ partners, the partnership itself is more of a factor than the actual plane, in my opinion.
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Pilotdaddy
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by Pilotdaddy »

Big Pistons Forever wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:55 am At 50 hours a year owning an airplane will almost always be more expensive per hour. For a C 150 flying 50 hrs a year

Annual Inspection Minimum $ 2000
Insurance $ 1400
Tie down $1000
Fuel and oil ($ 45/hr) $2250
misc (Nav Canada fee's etc) $ 100

total $ 6750

Cost per hour $ 135

Note this does not include any maintenance. It is 135 dollars per hour if nothing breaks in a whole year and does not include an engine overhaul reserve. I have own a Grumman AA1B which is basically a low wing C 150 for 20 years. Over those 20 years the annual budget to fix things has averaged out to about $ 2000 a year. ( High $ 8500 Low about $ 200)

So if you add $2000 to the total cost your cost per hour is now $ 175 and you still face the prospect of having to do unexpected major work. An overhaul for the C 150 engine is about 25,000 dollars......

Personally I would be very leery of taking advice from someone who has never owned an airplane as in my experience they don't have a clue.

That being said there are many advantages to owning over renting. Being able to just jump in and go, no having to get the airplane back in time for the next renter, no daily minimums, knowing the airplane well etc etc, just don't expect it to cost less.

I should've been a bit more clear on my previous post. What I meant was that owning will always have a lower variable cost per hour. The fixed costs is really the deciding factor, and its unpredictable nature (overhauls, not-in-budget repairs, etc.) can really turn the math on you at any time.

For me, having joined a partnership, I've cut my cost at least in half when compared to renting. Now, is it possible that the engine blows tomorrow and we're out $30k? Possibly... and that changes the math altogether.

There's a magic number out there where the buy/rent becomes a bit more clear. If you're flying 10 hours a year, it's pretty clear what the answer is. So is the answer if you're flying 500+ hours a year. It's the in-between use that is going to be a personal call whether it's mathematically worth the risk owning (or sharing) a plane or not.
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fish4life
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by fish4life »

Do you plan on lots of busy airports or more grass strips and slow places ? If you don’t mind avoiding busy controlled airports an airplane like a champ or a cub is great for the job especially the ones with no electrical system. They sip fuel, have very very low maint costs because you don’t have avionics, radios, batteries, starters etc to maintain and the best part is they are fun.
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JasonE
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by JasonE »

for less than 50 hrs / year, my suggestion would be to find a local flying club to become a member of. They will have less restrictions that a flight school. i.e. Overnight, going for a burger and letting it sit for a few hours, currency etc.

I've owned a Cherokee 140 and was flying it close to 100 hrs per year. Now I just use our local club airplanes as my flying is down to about 50 hrs / year.
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whipline
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by whipline »

I’ve never figured out why everyone always breaks down the cost of ownership of an airplane and never a car? If people broke down the price of their cars like they do aircraft Uber would be a lot more popular.

I’d go for a two person partnership. Split the fixed costs and pretty much fly it when you want. But it comes down to do you want your own airplane or not? If your worried about 20-30 hour price difference I’d probably rent.

As for engines. Don’t get me started on why a crappy 1930’s technology lycoming is over 30,000 to rebuild. They couldn’t be more simple.
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digits_
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by digits_ »

Another factor to consider is that an engine rebuild -usually- would also increase the value of the plane.

You buy a plane at 1000 hours SMOH for 40k, engine blows, you pay 30k for a new engine, but your plane is probably worth over 50k now.
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digits_
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by digits_ »

whipline wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:27 am I’ve never figured out why everyone always breaks down the cost of ownership of an airplane and never a car? If people broke down the price of their cars like they do aircraft Uber would be a lot more popular.

I’d go for a two person partnership. Split the fixed costs and pretty much fly it when you want. But it comes down to do you want your own airplane or not? If your worried about 20-30 hour price difference I’d probably rent.

As for engines. Don’t get me started on why a crappy 1930’s technology lycoming is over 30,000 to rebuild. They couldn’t be more simple.
Yup, and add the cost of driving to the rental plane vs your own hangar as well. Your own hangar could be at a small airport nearby, the rental plane could be further away.
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Big Pistons Forever
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by Big Pistons Forever »

I agree the sweet spot for ownership is a 2 person partnership. I was in a 2 person partnership for 15 years. Over that time I could count the number of times we both wanted the airplane at the same time on the fingers of one hand, but all the fixed costs were cut in half. The challenge is to find a compatible partner.
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Bede
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by Bede »

Renting is far cheaper.

We purchased a well maintained, late model C150. Between the 3 partners, we flew 160 hrs Air time last year. Fixed costs (maintenance, insurance, parking) were $65/hr. Add in fuel/oil ($50/hr) and engine reserve ($15/hr).
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rookiepilot
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by rookiepilot »

For higher speed planes the numbers per hour just go up. Not hard to break 200 / hr even flying a lot
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challenger_nami
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by challenger_nami »

Buying vs Renting?
Ask that question from The infamous “Barefoot Bandit” and see what he would do, if he had to do it again.

Let’s see if he is a changed person.
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NotDirty!
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by NotDirty! »

A wise man once told me that “if it floats, flies, or fu<ks, it is always cheaper to rent than to buy”.
I don’t think he was wrong.
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digits_
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by digits_ »

rookiepilot wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:46 pm For higher speed planes the numbers per hour just go up. Not hard to break 200 / hr even flying a lot
Sure, but at that point it would be better to compare price per mile flown. The majority of people buying fast airplanes have the intention to travel. The fast plane might still be more expensive, but not as much as you'd think looking at the hourly rate.
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pelmet
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by pelmet »

It really depends on your situation which varies from person to person. My situation is definitely different than yours but interesting nonetheless.

I was considering buying a nice aircraft. When it came time to decide, I was flying with the airlines to various interesting locations with good layovers. At the same time, I was still occasionally flying small aircraft and had about 3000 hours in light airplanes. So why not buy an airplane. Of course one can get a cheap aircraft which can be enjoyable but what if you want something that is more capable.

The prices start to skyrocket. Check out the prices on used Cirrus aircraft. They are in the range of many hundreds of thousands of dollars(US dollars that is) just to buy one. Then there is the insurance, the hangar cost, the maintenance, the fuel, along with the effort put into organizing all this extraneous stuff.

So I decided to try something different and start renting on all my layovers. It is not cheap but it is a fantastic experience. I have done my best to avoid the typical Cessna's and Piper's as they are the majority everywhere and try to rent as many different new types as possible. Over the last 7 years or so, I have flown perhaps 20 types(some just once, others many times) in all kinds of interesting places. Now I can say that I am comfortable flying in the LA basin and 8 other US cities and in several locations in Europe as well. And I have flown things from Bonanza's and Cirrus's to a BT-13 and several LSA aircraft. I even went overboard once in LA and flew four different types in a layover(just to do it).

This compared to buying an aircraft and flying in the same areas that I have already been to many times near my home base. Of course, I don't have that Cirrus that I could have bought to sell now to recover some of my up front cost, but I suspect that prices are going down anyways. And I have loads of great memories and learning experiences from how various flight operations operate to aircraft types to flying in all these cities/airports with their various procedures, different weather issues for various locations, varying topography and airspace issues.

Overall, quite fascinating.
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Last edited by pelmet on Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Heliian
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by Heliian »

Buy a plane! You can tell everyone you own a plane!

The only time buying a plane is economical is if you've got a free hangar and strip nearby and own a gas station and fly everywhere. I much prefer renting if I wanted to fly myself and a charter once and a while isn't that expensive if you need to actually fly somewhere.

But, a ton of people do start out buying a small trainer.

Either way, stop thinking about it and get flying!
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Re: Buying vs Renting

Post by Bede »

pelmet wrote: Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:28 am So I decided to try something different and start renting on all my layovers.
Sounds cool. What did you have to do for check out's at these places? Not sure if it would be worth the hassle. Can you list places/types that you've rented?
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