Four airplanes that you could buy for less than $30,000
Some single-engine piston aircrafts, aged 20 to 40 years, can be still acceptably reliable, although, in my humble opinion, a bit risky. They can provide the emotion of flying without draining your banking account. Nevertheless, if you really need a plane to travel average distances, be it for business or for leasure, you’d better rely on private flights.
The common sense is that flying is very expensive. Although this true, a used airplane is not as expensive as you may think. Indeed you can buy an airplane for the same price as a Ford Focus, as long as you’re willing to fly on an aircraft that is more than 20 or even 40 years old. Let me show you some airplanes that you can easily find on the market for less than $30,000.
- The Cessna 150 is a real workhorse. It was produced from 1959 to 1979, there are still a lot of them flying so you can easily find spare parts for cheap. A few thousand of this two-seater is still flying today. You have many training schools that still train their new pilots with these aircraft, the main reason being that is 1 of the most forgiving airplanes that’s been ever built. Even if inexperienced pilots make mistakes, with a Cessna 150 they can easily recover, in most cases. Another reason for pilot schools to prefer the Cessna 150, is that it’s very affordable to fly and to maintain. You can easily find one for less than $15,000 to $20,000. It’s cruise speed is not very high, about 168 km/h, or 100 mph, with an average consumption of 5 gallons or 17 L per hour.
- Number 2 is the Cessna 172. It was built between 1959 and 1979, and costs about $27,000. This model is still being produced today, and is considered one of the forefathers of aviation. You get 2 more seats compared to a Cessna 150, a longer-range and more speed. A new one would cost about $400,000, but you can find a good used one for about $30,000. Maintenance cost are low, since there are thousands and thousands of these planes flying today, making it easy to find spare parts and the servicing. Its cruise speed is 190 km/h, its range 800 km and an average consumption of 8 gallons or 29 L per hour. You could also buy one of these and the lease it to a pilot school, and they’ll pay you for the usage.
- The next one is the Piper Cherockee, produced from 1965 to 1975, which can be found at $20,000 to $28,000 is very similar to the two above-mentioned Cessnas, inasmuch there are still many flying, maintenance cost are low and this plane is still much used by pilot schools. Its cruise speed is 182 km/h, its range 830 km with an average consumption of 8 gallons or 29 L per hour. There are several versions of this aircraft, according to the power of its engine: the 140, the 180, the 250, each named after the horse power it’s got.
- Last but not least, the Grumman AA1A, produced from 1969 to 1972. Although it is not used as a training airplane, has similar characteristics to the Cessna’s. It’s a 2 seater but it can carry a bigger load, about 550 kg, a cruise speed of 166 km/h, a fuel consumption of only 6 gallons or 22 L per hour. You can find a good one for around $18,000. It looks sportier than the Cessnas, but there are not many flying nowadays, especially in Europe, so it should be harder to find spare parts. It’s not as forgiving as a Cessna.