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How Much Does A Small Aircraft Cost?

Although these planes cost moreLike the ultra-rich, you’ve probably fantasized about flying to the skies on your own plane for years. Whether or not you’re a pilot, owning small aircraft is a feasible dream today with adequate research and planning. 


In this article, we will discuss the direct and indirect expenses associated with buying your own small aircraft.

Sizes and Prices

Depending on your size and type, the cost can vary significantly from a few thousand to millions. In addition, aircraft have significant operation & maintenance expenses, which may quickly pile up.


Let’s examine the various small aircraft categories and their costs.

Ultralight Planes

Ultralight planes are the most affordable and most miniature option. Moreover, you can fly these single-seater planes without a license. 


Since ultralight planes cost between $8,000 and $15,000, they are ideal for leisure travel.

Single-Engine Planes

These are the planes you visualize when you think of small aircraft. Single-engine planes come in different types; thus, their prices can vary from $15,000 to $100,000.


Despite the higher prices, multiple people can board a single-engine aircraft, making it more economical than ultralight planes. 

Multi-Engine Planes 

Typically costing between $75,000 and $30,000, multi-engine planes are the most expensive type of small aircraft. These planes can vary significantly in features, which explains the high price variation. 


, they have better performance, speed, and safety. If any one of the engines dies down during the flight, the other can still pilot to land the plane in an appropriate location. 

Used Planes: Low-Budget Alternatives 

If the prices of buying new planes are above your budget, pre-owned planes can be a great alternative. However, be sure to inspect used planes thoroughly before making the decision. 


Used planes may require costly repairing of undetected defects that can exceed the money saved from buying a second-hand aircraft. Consequently, it may also reduce the plane’s resale value. 


Here are some factors you should consider before purchasing a pre-owned plane.


  • Flying hours: The longer you fly a plane, the more wear and tear it will have. As a result, repair and maintenance expenses will also increase.


  • Year of manufacture: The older a plane is, the less it is likely to cost. However, its maintenance expenses will be high. 


  • Plane model: Older models of planes can be cheaper than newer ones, but finding the old planes’ parts can be difficult. So older planes are more difficult to maintain. 


  • Parts and equipment: Newer models will likely come with the latest hardware, making them more expensive than the older ones. 


  • Past records: Planes without a history of damages and incidents are likely to be more fit than the newer ones. 


  • Condition and maintenance: If a plane is adequately maintained, it will likely be in good condition. So a well-maintained plane will be more expensive. 


Small planes can be used for both personal and business purposes. 



Owning small private planes can help owners save time and travel stress-free. 

Besides, it can provide flexibility and privacy for the owners as they do not have to wait or share the aircraft with unknown passengers. 


For businesses, owning small planes can mean work efficiency with time saving and quiet space. Moreover, they can make last-minute trips and travel to smaller airports for business trips where commercial planes do not land. 

Maintenance Fees

The expenses associated with owning a plane do not end with the purchase price. It is important to maintain your aircraft regularly, so it is safe for operation. As a result, you must consider the maintenance fees before purchasing an aircraft. 


While maintenance costs are an essential part of owning a small plane, these are often overlooked by plane owners. When buying a small plane, the cost of maintaining the aircraft should be considered even if they are not part of the purchase price. 


Maintenance costs of planes vary according to their types, models, and class, and they often account for 10% to 45% of the operating expenses of small planes in a year. So many small plane owners create escrow funds to pay maintenance costs regularly. 


Small aircraft need to be inspected every year, and thus, owners must also consider inspection expenses. 


The cost of a legal aviation inspection can range from $600 to $2,000, depending on the size and type of small aircraft. However, the cost can be higher for specialized planes. 

Parking & Storage

Like other privately owned vehicles, you must arrange a parking or storage spot for your small plane. If not a jet hangar or privately owned land or airstrip, you can rent a space at your nearby airport. 


Typically, the average rent of an airplane hangar can range from $275 to $350, with an additional $100 for tie-down gear. 


Fuel costs are a high variable cost that takes up 70% of the operating costs of a small plane. Aviation fuels are understandably more expensive than regular fuels that run road vehicles and can average up to $5 per gallon. 


Flying mileage depends on the type of small plane you buy. Thus, the longer you fly, the higher the fuel costs you are likely to incur. 


Moreover, you need 4 to 10 gallons of fuel every hour you fly. In addition, small planes usually require oil changes after 50 hours of flight or four months. Therefore, you will always need oil and gasoline.  


Aviation insurance covers both the damage your aircraft experiences and its causes. Insurance firms estimate airplane insurance rates primarily based on the year of manufacture, total flying hours, and whether the plane will be parked in a hangar or tied down.  


Small planes typically incur insurance expenses between $1,200 and $2,000. You can reduce your aviation insurance by acquiring extra certificates or frequent training. Furthermore, while title insurance is not a legal requirement, it provides valuable security against unforeseen damage claims on your plane’s title.

Miscellaneous Costs

Apart from maintenance costs, there can be other one-time or recurring costs. 


Considering your financial circumstances, you may opt to take a loan to finance your small aircraft. So you might have to pay interest, which you’ll need to factor into your future expenses.


The interest rate charged is determined by an individual’s credit rating, area, and the plane’s type and frequency of use. 

Taxes And Registration Fees  

The Federal Aviation Administration mandates all aircraft owners to register their aircraft and re-register it every three years (for a $5 re-registration charge). 


Moreover, some states have small plane registration requirements. As a result, sales tax and registration fees may drive up the purchase price of your small plane. 

Pilot And Crew

Many small plane owners (usually without flying licenses) employ personal pilots and crew. Hiring a pilot or crew can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands each month, depending on the nature of your requirements.

Final Thought

To conclude, small planes are costly, but the highest cost isn’t necessarily the purchase price of the plane itself but rather its maintenance and operating bills over the years. 


After reading this article, you should clearly understand the costs of buying a small aircraft. Now that you know how much a small plane costs, you can decide whether or not the thrill of managing such a small airplane is worth your time, money, and effort.

Have Any Question?

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