As with any major purchase, one must consider the cost of owning an aircraft beyond just the purchase price itself. As with a car or truck, there are normal, routine maintenance costs involved. However, unlike with a vehicle, an aircraft will have additional costs that may come as a surprise to those that haven’t done their due diligence.
Comparable to owning a car, the more you fly, the more it will cost to maintain your airplane. If you schedule accordingly and know how much you plan to fly each year, you can budget aircraft maintenance costs more accurately. A 2016 article on Honeywell’s Aerospace website, points out aircraft maintenance costs alone range from nearly $6,000 per year for a Cessna 172 Skyhawk flown for 100 hours to nearly $18,000 for the same aircraft flown for 300 hours in a year.
Along with fuel and oil, landing fees are typically considered an aircraft maintenance expense. The fee varies by airport and is usually dependent on the size and weight of your aircraft. You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 on average. The fees are often designated for runway maintenance and airport facility maintenance.
Another expense involves engine overhauls. The cost of an engine overhaul will again vary based on the aircraft involved. A 2011 article on Sapling.com cited the average cost of a Cessna 150/152 to be in the $20,000 range. This is with about 1,800 hours between overhauls. Depending on how often you fly, you can plan this maintenance activity accordingly!
Buying an airplane can be liberating and exciting. For those that have the freedom to take to the skies whenever they feel the need, nothing will match owning your own aircraft! Planning for these additional aircraft maintenance related costs will help you enjoy your new purchase for years to come!