GH3

Ownership costs

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I am trying to decide whether to purchase a vintage Mooney, F,J or K probably, vs continuing to rent.  The rental rates for a Cirrus, which is what I usually fly, are exorbitant.  But ownership is expensive also with maintenance, insurance, tiedowns, engine reserves, etc.  So, my question is what should I budget for reasonably (excluding gas of course) for annual operating costs, say for a $75k Mooney?  Any ideas?

 

Thanks,

 

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You need to do some research:

  • Local hangar cost and wait time, with tie down fees and a cover until then
  • GPS updates for whatever is in the panel (~$300-700 annually depending on what's there)
  • Your local Annual Inspection cost
  • Data subscriptions (paper or electronic) for sectionals, plates, etc. 
  • Do you have a tabket for an EFB?
  • there are many threads on insurance costs, which vary with your own ratings, experience and hull value

Happy hunting! Just please, when you add up all of those numbers, don't write it down and DO NOT post it here!!!!

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I am trying to decide whether to purchase a vintage Mooney, F,J or K probably, vs continuing to rent.  The rental rates for a Cirrus, which is what I usually fly, are exorbitant.  But ownership is expensive also with maintenance, insurance, tiedowns, engine reserves, etc.  So, my question is what should I budget for reasonably (excluding gas of course) for annual operating costs, say for a $75k Mooney?  Any ideas?
 
Thanks,
 


As Hank points out, the costs will vary based on your location. Fuel for me is around $5/gallon, others may be paying around $3.50.

For me, all in - which includes reserves for engine and avionics, I am running between $23k and $28k depending on how much flying and what issues come up.


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Then after you figure out all of that, divide it by the number of hours you expect to fly on an annual basis and compare that to the cost of renting.  It's not perfect, but will give you a ballpark figure to try and compare it against. 

Factor in the convenience of just going to the airport on a whim and finding your pride and joy sitting there waiting for you....and only you. Priceless.... :D

I got tired of trash in the rental planes and the questionable maintenance.  Also got tired of getting blasted via mass emails when something happened to cause a tire to be replaced or the brakes being ridden to hard, etc, etc, etc...  That was a long time ago and I won't rent again unless it's totally unavoidable.

Brian

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My boys were renting substandard equipment for $127/hr back in 2016. I sold the idea of aircraft ownership to my wife based on idea that I could operate a nicer/mechanically sound aircraft for less than $127/hr.

I purchased a 1964 M20C (35K) and my boys flew it 200hrs in 13 months. I kept every receipt related to the aircraft....

  • Insurance
  • Monthly tie down
  • Pre Purchase Inspection / Air fare to inspect aircraft
  • Annual / carburetor O/H
  • Fuel / Oil changes
  • FBO Ramp/custom fees
  • Taxes

Total expenses were $18,500 working out to $93/hr.  Please note this does not include engine or maintenance reserves....20-25/hr?

In my experience it was totally worth the time and effort I spent owning the plane..just hope I have the same experience with our newer J model!!

Hope this helps.

Hank

 

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30k per year all in. Could be more.

But... There are things you can do in your own plane that you just cannot do in a rental. Take it on a 4 week trip across the country. Fly one hour to your vacation house, let it sit a week, and fly it home. Fly to Disneyland and let it sit 3 days.

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Please don’t ask me to think about how much it costs!

Besides, I’m not very good with numbers.

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My first airplane was a 1/3 share of a Cessna P-172.  I sold my share for what I paid for it after 2 years.  My family of four could fly it to the Midwest once a year to visit families, including all the fixed costs, for the price of four airline tickets to the vicinity.  Any other flying I did was the price of auto gas, (STC for that), and a modest sum we chipped in per hour.

These days, unfortunately, the price is somewhat higher than that.  For my 1/2 share of my 201, this year was about $4000 plus gas for around 125 hours of flying.

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I separate CapEx and OpEx. 

CapEx is the price of the plane and any upgrades I make or money I spend on improvements.

OpEx are the recurring costs such as fuel, hangar rent, annual maintenance, other maintenance, nav subscriptions, etc.

I flew approximately 250 hours last year. I have no idea how much I spent in either of the two categories last year. But all the bills got paid, so I guess we're ok for another year of this.

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I'm in an expensive area, but I pay about $20k per year fixed expenses which includes a hanger, taxes, insurance, subscriptions, $2800 for the annual, some incidentals, and also includes a $7k per year allowance for scheduled and unscheduled work on the plane.  (The first year this has been about $5500 so not too bad).  Then engine, prop and avionics reserve which I have at $25 per hour combined.  I figure around $240 per hour wet for 150 hours per year, $170 per hour wet for 300 hours per year.  And, yes, I am bringing in two non-equity partners because soon enough my wife will find out what this machine is truly costing.....  

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I would ballpark it like this:

Shelter:  Hangar fees would average $450 per month.  You could get it as low as $250 or as high as $600.  Tie down would be less than $100 per month.  But your own hangar is priceless.  Its like the treehouse you always wanted as a kid and the clubhouse you always wanted as an adolescent.  It is an escape.  I say that you could rent a hangar and not even have a plane and it would be worth it.

Maintenance:  Will depend on the plane but $7500 per year is a reasonable average.

Insurance:  Will depend if you go liability only or include hull value.  I hate insurance in general of all types.  Remember their MOA is to collect premiums and deny claims.  But you probably get liability insurance.  If you have a loan payment likely you will be required to have hull insurance.  $4000 est.

As mentioned in previous posts having your own plane is lovely.  It is freedom and fun.  Life is short.  Buy the plane.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our mathematician has lost his numbers...

Our accountant hasn’t chimed in at all...

One thing for sure...

If you are going to fly... renting costs more... and you get some pretty used / dirty stuff...

If you like speed, efficiency, and safety... Mooney is that plane...

 

Mentioning anything about slower planes that cost a lot, then add the word renting at the end...

Its not where we have been that counts... it’s where we are going... Look forward to the future...

Go Mooney...

now let’s shop!

Leave some dough for...

  • PPI
  • Training
  • Delivery
  • first annual

The usual stuff for 40year old machines... not Mooney specific.

Best regards,

-a-

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We have a J in the Seattle area.  Four of us share the airplane which makes it much more affordable.  And we keep it in an open hangar.  Not as secure as an actual hangar but it keeps the plane out of the sun and rain.  With that in mind we spend about:

$1500 on insurance

$3000 on the hangar

$2500 on the annual

$300 on GPS database

$200 on registration etc.

That's $7500/year just to own the plane whether we fly it or not and assuming nothing breaks.  In reality, we charge ourselves $250/month each which covers our fixed expenses and repairs and allows us to build up a fund for improvement.  That's $12,000/year (but only $3000 for me).

We charge ourselves $30/hour dry to cover future engine overhaul, oil changes, prop overhaul, magneto service, etc.  At cruise I burn 9.5 GPH to cruise at about 157 KTAS.  Fuel around here costs about $5/gallon so operating costs come out to roughly $75 - $80/hour.

You should consider costs one of two ways: cost/hour or cost/mile.  If you are just building time (doubt it) then look at cost/hour.  If you are going places, consider cost/mile.

I fly about 60 hours/year although last year I flew about 85.  At 60 hours my cost is ($3000/60) + $80 or about $130/hour.  At 157 KTAS that's about $0.83/mile.  But if I flew 100 hours/year my cost would only be $110/hour and $0.70/mile.  If I owned the plane by myself it would be a lot more.

But it isn't all about money.  There are intangibles too.  Comfort, scheduling, pride, ego, reliability, bragging rights, brand arguments, etc.

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Thank you everyone --all very helpful posts.  Now all I have to do is convince the wife who has already been through the boat ownership thing with me!  :D

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My experience with two vintage Mooney airplanes suggests that Marauder’s careful figures (he has collected data for over two decades) are sound.

I figure at least $25K per year for ~100 hours of flight, with some owner-assisted maintenance and modest upgrades is about average.   

In a few of those years a single invoice will be that much, however.  Be wary: Black Swans can bite.  

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. I have no idea how much I spent in either of the two categories last year. But all the bills got paid, so I guess we're ok for another year of this.


Now that's a logic that makes sense to me!

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First, Paul's approach is mine as well.

But for our OPer, @GH3, my fixed costs - hangar, in a relatively low cost region, insurance (for $95k hull, high time instrument pilot), Garmin subscriptions for GTN etc., property tax, annual (owner assist), static sys check (half of a 24 month requirement) total $6000. Half of that is the hangar.

Fuel runs me about $50/hour, about $4000 per year for my 75-80 hours.

Maintenance has become a pretty minor though unpredictable annual expense now. That's after 7 years of fixing anything that needs fixing as soon as it is found.

At "only" $10,000 per year for all the above, guys like me with "forever" planes can explore the big boy toy stores.

With appropriate apologies to @Ameliaet al for couching this from my masculine point of view, vintage Mooneys are beautiful women with great bones just begging to be bedecked with jewels. Last year for me that included extended fuel bladders, SabreCowl, and new paint. The cost of the bangles (Paul's CapEx) dwarf the necessary items. 

 

 

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This is my sixth plane.  Two Cessna's, two Piper's, and two Mooney's (two J's). 

In reading the replies, there are two types of owners, one will keep meticulous records and the other just keeps paying (and affords) the bills.

I like to work on my planes so that helps keep maintenance costs down.  That will be my only comment on actual costs.

I stopped keeping records 25+ years ago, so my wife wouldn't see.  Now, as people find, the plane and expenses become part of the of the family, good memories, and budget. 

 

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The economics are hell. But we lay about 8k a year to own it and another 85$ an hour for fuel and dry rate costs.  

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“If you have to ask, darling, you can’t afford it.”

And wrt Bob Belville’s analogy, thing one: I like it! And thing two, Exciting women are expensive. And thing three, we are so worth it.

That goes double for beautiful airplanes.

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I purposely don’t keep track. Quite the contrary its one of those things I try to have amnesia about.

Edited by Bravoman
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30 minutes ago, jetdriven said:

The economics are hell. But we lay about 8k a year to own it and another 85$ an hour for fuel and dry rate costs.  

For what it's worth, that exactly matches the numbers for our 1976 M20F, just one year off your 1977 M20J.  Because the airplane is in a partnership, costs are tracked very closely.

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Thank you everyone --all very helpful posts.  Now all I have to do is convince the wife who has already been through the boat ownership thing with me!  

 

Sorry to hear that your wife went through the boat ownership thing with you. That is like telling a woman you are going on a first date with that your serial rapist days are over. Hopefully you can convince her that airplane ownership is different. Instead of throwing money in the water, you’re throwing it in the air.

 

As others point out, pride of ownership, the ability to have access when you want and knowing the condition all of the time are great benefits. The downside is that you own the costs when you own and you just can’t throw the keys at the FBO anymore and say “it’s broke”.

 

I am sure that I am paying more than renting, but I also eat lunch with a Pilot friend and hear the whining about the availability of the rentals at our airport.

 

As for the financials, you have heard some clearly say they ignore certain costs. If your financial situation can allow that, great. If it can’t, it can become a pain point with the family when you are deciding whether Johnny is going to get braces or you are going to fix your plane. I look at ownership cost as all in. I count everything because if I didn’t own a plane, I wouldn’t have those expenses. Also, I do reserves because the money is clearly earmarked for an intended usage. If you need to rebuild an engine, it is nice to have saved up the money and know it’s covered. As long time owner, I flew a number of years with an avionics reserve that kept building up. In 2012 it allowed me to do this:

 

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Be realistic with your finances. I can’t tell you the number of times we have had people post here about buying a plane and then a few months later are dealing with huge financial hits. And on other side of this, you only live once. And unless you plan on being buried in a gold (or gold lined) coffin, enjoy the ability to own and participate in something that most people never get to do.

 

How many people can say they are able to fly a plane and capture a picture like this?

 

7aaeb1dc5a1d7a40be1cee08f904e127.jpg

 

 

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12 hours ago, jazztheglass said:

I would ballpark it like this:

Shelter:  Hangar fees would average $450 per month.  You could get it as low as $250 or as high as $600.  Tie down would be less than $100 per month.  But your own hangar is priceless.  Its like the treehouse you always wanted as a kid and the clubhouse you always wanted as an adolescent.  It is an escape.  I say that you could rent a hangar and not even have a plane and it would be worth it.

Maintenance:  Will depend on the plane but $7500 per year is a reasonable average.

Insurance:  Will depend if you go liability only or include hull value.  I hate insurance in general of all types.  Remember their MOA is to collect premiums and deny claims.  But you probably get liability insurance.  If you have a loan payment likely you will be required to have hull insurance.  $4000 est.

As mentioned in previous posts having your own plane is lovely.  It is freedom and fun.  Life is short.  Buy the plane.  

Thank God my C only costs a fraction of that! Here in the Sunny South, my hangar costs are double that in WV, nkw paying $200/month. But fuel is $1.50-2.00/gallon cheaper, so it balances out. I'm about to start Annual #13, and have only paid over $1000 twice:  one annual included new gear pucks all around, the other included a new muffler. It's all on what breaks or wears out . . . .

Once I finished IR, my insurance fell below $1000 and despite almost 10% increase this gear, it's still below it.

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