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Thread: Operating costs for C170

  1. #1

    Default Operating costs for C170

    Hello everyone,

    I've been lurking in this forum for some time and am considering starting flying lessons this fall. I think I'll really enjoy it based on the limited amount of time I've flown with others, but I want to better understand the cost of ownership before I go much further. I think I'll train in a 170/172 and Probably buy one eventually. I'll upgrade once I've built some time and know what I really want next. Before I go much further, I was hoping to get some insight on the cost to operate a plane in AK. I know it's expensive, but i want to go in with reasonable expectations. Anybody willing to share their estimate of operating costs for a 172 or similar aircraft?


    Thanks guys,

  2. #2

    Default Anybody care to take a stab at this?

    Anybody care to take a stab at this? Just looking for a ballpark on annual operating costs to fly. Not looking for precision here, but just a figure to keep in mind before deciding whether or not I can afford to take the plunge for a C170 or similar aircraft. Thanks guys,

  3. #3

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    It all depends on the plane. If the plane hasnt had the best maintenance in the past , used hard and put away wet, than it will catch up to you sooner or later. Even if the plane has been well taken care of you might lose the generator, mags, landing gear boxes, and cylinder compressions in the first 10 hours. That would be VERY expensive.

    As a general rule on a decently maintained plane I take the cost of fuel per hour (8x$6=$48) and times that by 2 ($96). That will give you a rough idea how much to set aside per hour of flight for reserves and general maintenance. Tie down will cost you $55-80 per month in Anchorage. Annual depends but figure $2000.

    Honestly the least expensive part of owning a plane is buying it. In my mind if you have to finance the plane than you might want to think about renting one a little longer.

    But what do I know.

  4. #4
    Member High Country's Avatar
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    And just when you think your plane is tip top and the annual will be cheap, you get kicked in the nuts with an $8500 annual. Plane ownership is not cheap, but it can be manageable on a mid level income. The cheapest planes I see are Champs. Cheap to buy and relatively cheap to maintain. Especially when compared to Cessna's.

  5. #5
    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Years ago I wanted to own a plane. Probably won't happen until my dad will's me his pa-12. Figured it would be around $8-10 grand per year, unless you get kicked in the nuts like HC said.

    8gph x 80 hours/year x $6/gallon=$4000 gas
    Tie down 55x12= 660
    Annual=$2000
    Insurance=? $1000-2000/year
    Maintanence=$1000
    Plus a plane payment=no ownership for me.

    I'd still have all of the above costs even if my dad GAVE me his pa-12 today and that's skimping on maintenance.

    Tim

  6. #6
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    Insurance won't cover things like engines that come apart in flight. Do that away from home and you're looking at about $30K and several weeks to get the plane back to town. That's on top of all the normal expenses. Yep, airplanes are expensive.

    If the plane is a really excellent example and doesn't need a bunch of work? Plan for $100 per flight hour for consumables and maintenance reserves and hope the big expensive surprises don't come. Hull insurance will run you closer to $5K/yr if you're a low time pilot in a tail dragger. A 172 will have lower premiums.

    Airplanes used to be easier to rationalize because they appreciated in value. That's not the case these days. Buy wisely. You may be looking at a loss to sell it later.

  7. #7

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    Thanks guys, I really appreciate the help. Sounds like $10k per year or so, IF you don't have any major repairs. I'll keep that number in mind, sure makes a flying club or renting look attractive at this stage of the game. Thank you,

  8. #8
    Member mit's Avatar
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    I have had 2 different 170's over the last 30 years and have never wanted to know what I paid per hour. But if I had to guess it was now where near 10 grand a year.
    Tim

  9. #9
    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Hull insurance will run you closer to $5K/yr if you're a low time pilot in a tail dragger. A 172 will have lower premiums.
    I'm hoping that's for COMMERCIAL insurance? Any guestimate what hull insurance is for something like a '56 Pacer? That's what I'd realistically buy. $5k would hurt badly!

    Tim

  10. #10
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    I'd guess a new guy in a Pacer will pay in the $5K range for hull. Maybe I'm wrong. Pilot time, aircraft model accident history, number of seats, it all counts toward the premium. My first insurance quote I ever got was over 20 years ago for a float-equipped 150hp PA-12. The quote was more than $6K. I'll never forget it. I didn't buy the PA-12.

  11. #11
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    I got a quote from AVEMCO for $4600 for a '53 180 i looked at last fall. Low time taildragger pilot, HHP, Ak . . all contribute t higher premiums.

    I ended up buying a '58 182 (sweet plane BTW), and pay ~$3K per year . . . $1M smooth.

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    Agreed with most everyone. I own a '53 C-170b with a 0-360 and cs prop. Its not cheap but I can squeek by without worrying to much.
    I did go through some big costs this spring during annual. 10k for the annual and a bunch more for a engine tear down. My insurance is around 3500 a year with avemco.
    Before I bought this 170 I too tried to do some figuring on operating cost. Now, after a couple years, I really dont know and refuse to do the math on terms my wife would probly make me sell it!
    If you do go with the 170, look around, dont buy a junker becouse its your buddys. Get a full blown annual for a prebuy by a very very good mechanic. That will save your butt. Trust me.

  13. #13

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    Thanks for the tips RoamAK. I can definitely buy the argument that you don't really want to figure the cost, because then you'll know what it is. Sounds like that's a common approach to flying.

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    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKJOB View Post
    Thanks for the tips RoamAK. I can definitely buy the argument that you don't really want to figure the cost, because then you'll know what it is. Sounds like that's a common approach to flying.
    I've found that if I calculate it, then I have to justify it . . . and I can't do that. However, I can rationalize the heck out of anything, and I rationalize by saying "I want to do it . . "

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    Hats off to you, Sierra Hotel. I like the way you tell it like it is .........................

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    Sierra Hotel nailed it. I justify/rationalize it when my wife and dogs are loaded up and I turn the key. She has asked how much we spend on the plane and I tell her not much more than we spend on the dogs. She is fine with that and the the grin on my face everytime we fly says it all.

  17. #17

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    Another "ditto" to Sierra Hotels' post! If you worry about all the costs involved beforehand, you'll never fly. Doesn't make sense on paper. But, once in the air... You'll figure out a way to cover the costs! It turns into a lifestyle/disease!

  18. #18
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    Rationalizing your own distribution of revenue is something we all do to some extent. The bottom line is that we still need to have the cash available to feed the beast. I can't spend money I don't have. I respect the original poster for his inquiry. I wish our government had the same ethics!

    When I bought my first airplane it replaced my riverboat. Aside from aquisition expense the plane was cheaper to operate and maintain during the summer and was useful all year round so the plane made better sense than the boat. Back then, as I stated before, airplanes increased in value while riverboats depreciated. It was a sound decision to own a plane. Now in this economy plane aquisition is a riskier investment but the other conditions are still correct. It can still work out but a guy needs to be more careful about what he buys. When friends ask how I can afford aviation I tell them it's easy. I don't have a big boat or motorhome.

    Flying allows me to enjoy my life like I want. That's valuable beyond counting beans.

  19. #19
    Member avidflyer's Avatar
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    I keep seeing the thought train that it is not so easy or maybe smart because the plane will not appreciate like they have in the past.. News flash, neither does my house, my boat, my sleds or any other toys I have. Some got spoiled by the fact that they bought a cub new in 78 that was 25,000 and now they can sell it for 85+... Not that the plane is worth that much more, it's because people were willing to pay for it.

    As others have said, plane ownership is not really justifiable on paper unless your working it and making money. Ownership is justified by grins per hour and perhaps thrills by the minute! While we piss and moan about the high cost of an anual every once in awhile, we seem to forget that cost the first time we are on our favorite fishing hole and no one else is around and we are slaying the kings or silvers.

    One way to get away from the higher cost of ownership is to go experimental. You can do your own work on it and alot of times put alot cheaper parts on it! ($12 nav lights off a boat comes to mind versus 250 each aircraft nav lights). For my money, I am loving the experimental world and have more fun with it that I ever did with the "certified" planes!

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