What Are the Costs of Owning Your Own Small Plane?

Small red airplane

There are quite a number of factors that will determine the cost of owning your own small plane. To many, the sheer convenience of owning your own plane versus flying commercial is well worth the cost and added responsibility. Others may be interested in owning their own aircraft for recreation. Again, the unique experience of being able to flying your own plane to any destination at any given time may squelch the concern of the costs attached to such a hobby. Despite your position, it is important to know what to expect when taking the leap into ownership.



First things first, it is important to determine how much you want to spend for the actual plane. When determining this major factor, it is necessary to decide whether a single engine plane or multi-engine plane will suit your needs. A single engine plane will also be a single-seater, usually used for recreation, whereas a multi-engine plane will be larger and allow for passengers.



The cost for plane storage depends greatly on location. It is possible to rent or purchase a hangar or simply rent space at an airport. Storing the plane outside versus covered storage will also affect cost, for obvious reasons. Another variable is whether you live in an urban area, which may have a number of options to choose from, versus a rural area, where you may not have more than one choice.



Regular maintenance, annual inspections, and repairs are an inevitable part of plane ownership. A simple way to prepare for any unexpected expenses is to create an escrow fund – in which case, you would need to factor in monthly payments. If you plan to finance the plane, this is also a monthly expense that can be calculated into the cost. When doing so, it is always important to shop for the best interest rates and loan terms.



Another non-negotiable when considering owning your own plane is insurance. This will

cover possible damage to the plane and the liability for anything you may damage. Of course, insurance rates and terms will vary, so it is crucial to speak with a licensed agent who specializes in aviation insurance.



The amount of fuel used will obviously depend on the amount of travel. However, the burn rate of fuel will vary from plane to plane. This is an important factor to take into account when estimating fuel costs. Generally, an oil change should be done every 4 months, or 50 hours, whichever comes first. On average, this would be approximately 3 times a year.



There are a few ways to lessen the overall cost of plane ownership. Depending on the expected usage of the plane, it may make financial sense to co-own the aircraft, rent it out to others, or use for flight instruction. After all the costs are determined, you may consider renting versus owning.


Determining whether or not to purchase a small plane is clearly a very intricate and deeply personal decision. You can depend on a few fixed costs such as loan amount (if applicable), insurance, and storage to help determine your expense. The variables, such as fuel, oil, and maintenance can be estimated. Combining the fixed and variable costs should give you a good idea of what you can expect to spend when purchasing a small plane of your own. Many of the costs can be justified by time saved and flexibility, but in the end, it simply boils down to what is right for you.