10:37 PM

The price of private air travel

There are only two types of pilots…those who own an airplane, and those who don’t. And trust me when I tell you, it’s a bitch being on the losing end of that one.

Long-time readers of World of Flying know I owned Skyhawk 2948U for a couple of years recently, and now that I have serious airplane fever again, I’m regretting the day I sold Peggy’s keys back to Walt, my partner in that deal.

And flying the Cirrus SR22 GTS last Sunday didn’t help my case of airplane fever one bit. Truth be told, it was like pouring AvGas on a campfire...it ignited my inner passion for another set of airplane keys like the white hot explosion of ten thousand suns.
So in debating (yet again) how I can justify buying another plane, I went searching the web for help, as I always do. Nothing you can’t find on the web, both good and bad, so it seems.

There are numerous calculators out there to help you dial in the estimated operation costs of owning a plane by yourself, or with a partner or three. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. If you are an AOPA member, their Interactive Operating Cost Calculator found here in their “members Only” section is wonderful. And if you are not an AOPA member, reach back there and spank yourself.

2. Planequest.com has a comprehensive list of airplane operating costs found here. Missing however were two I wanted data on, the SR22 and the AA5B Tiger. You can find data on the Cirrus at cirrusdesign.com, both online and downloadable as an .xls file.

3. Two great calculators are available to estimate how much it will cost you to learn to fly. Try this one at aeroatlanta.com or this one at firstflight.com.

4. If a partnership seems like a good thing (and it can be a great way to soften the financial blow of airplane ownership), visit aircraftpartnership.com for their partnership calculator.

Money…the root of all evil, some people say. But it is also the one thing that fuels ALL airplanes, turbojet and prop-driven alike. And I promise you…these numbers do not lie. Ask anyone who has owned anything that flies and they will tell you tomorrow will never be cheaper then today. The one thing that is never debatable however...is bang for your buck.

And when those bucks are paying for an airplane of your very own, now THAT is some serious bang.

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