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During the Skagit Fliers Flying Club meeting 11/17/2020…
…a few members were assigned to determine costs of ownership for 4 different styles of airplane: LSA, 2 seat experimental, 2 seat certified and 4 seat certified. Dan Holden submitted the following estimate.
Skagit Fliers Worksheet
Though I did not volunteer to run a cost scenario, I decided to do one anyway. I have owned 10 aircraft over 35 or so years, four of which were in partnerships or flying clubs. The scenario I use to generate the following numbers is probably borderline overly optimistic based on my experience.
Ten active members (out of perhaps 15-20 total) flying twice a month for an hour of tach time, which is what usually determines maintenance costs (Hobbs vs. tach is a worthy debate for billing).
One or (preferably) more members have the ability and the relationship with an A&P/IA to do all the maintenance and assist with the annual inspections.
One or (preferably) more members volunteer to tackle the administrative tasks associated with scheduling, billing, records filing, etc.
The aircraft is configured essentially as required/desired with avionics, safety, fit and finish, etc.
The aircraft “magically appears from a benevolent source” and there are no expenses in retiring debt, return on investment, leaseback fees, etc.
The hourly expenses below are largely independent of a specific aircraft but are typical for the type considered for our club, e.g. four-cylinder, two seat, trainer/puddle jumper.
Bare! Minimum hourly expenses:
Engine $12 Recently rebuilt Lycoming, did the removal/install myself with hoses etc. $24k/2000 hrs.
Prop $1 Based on $4000 prop every other overhaul, 4000 hours
Mags $2 Slick mags are inspected every 500 hours at about $400 each.
Fuel $25 Based on $4 A gallon and 6 gph.
Oil $2 Based on 1 qt in 8 hours and oil and filter change every 50 hrs. No labor costs
Tires/brakes $3 Based on $500 a set, 200-300 hours (pleasure flying vs. training). No labor costs.
Annual costs based upon 250 (100) hours a year:
Annual $4 ($10) Based on $1000. Inspection of course, highly variable!
Insurance $8 ($20) Somewhat dependent on aircraft value, use and coverage.
Misc $4 (10) Perhaps chart subscriptions, oil analysis, tear and tear items, minor upgrades.
Total $61 ($85) an hour, wet.
I assume that the magical benefactors above will be a subset of the active flyers; perhaps, go together on a plane and lease it to the club, probably the most realistic scenario. Presumably, they will want their airplane back in largely the same condition as when leased should the club be unable to maintain usage. Given the assumptions above, the aircraft type and example must be such that a) people want to and can fly it that much, and b) aircraft readiness. The choice of airplane will only come for a collective bit of soul searching. Though a sub $20k airplane might be a good idea while sitting next to your checkbook, it might not be that attractive when your spouse/significant other is sitting next to you over the water flying to Friday Harbor for a hamburger. On the other hand, an $80k airplane may be out of reach given the small size of the group.
So, how to proceed? I would suggest that each person take some time to think about, and then write down, how they would use a club plane and what plane would be their first (realistic) choice such that it would get them excited enough to motivate them to be actively involved in partial aircraft ownership as that is the only way this endeavor is likely to be successful. Since we are EAA folks, something fun, something interesting would seem appropriate. For me, I already have two “perfect” planes, so I most likely will not be a highly active flier in the club. But as I stated on the Zoom meeting, I am happy to partially fund it. I commit up to $10k for a plane that meets most interests of the membership. The more detailed, concrete, commitments we have the likelier we will be successful.
For past meeting minutes see the bottom of page.
Proposed Flying Club
The flying club committee had its initial meeting in Jan. We discussed a variety of issues
regarding forming a flying club at the Skagit Airport. We also reviewed information on the
AOPA website on how to form a Flying Club. In order to get the ball rolling we have provided
some information below on how a flying club might be organized and what it might cost. Since
the group is associated with our EAA Chapter at the Skagit Airport, we are leaning towards
forming a club that would have kit built aircraft for the members use.
Flying Club Requirements
1. We need enough member interest to make it feasible. It would probably take a
minimum of 10 members.
2. Each member would need to be willing to invest a sum of money in order to get the
club started. After the investment, the club would require a monthly dues.
3. If the club is going to use a kit built aircraft then it is very possible that we would need
to either build it or complete the construction of an aircraft.
4. As the club gets started it is going to require a certain amount of paperwork. AOPA
recommends that flying clubs be incorporated as non-profit corporations. Our EAA
Chapter is incorporated as a non-profit.
5. Where the aircraft would be housed will have to be determined at some point.
What would it cost to build an airplane. How about a Zenith 750 Cruzer. I estimated the cost of
the engine. All other costs are directly from the vendors web site. The avionics is for a Dynon
HDX system with a VHF and ADSB compliant transponder.
Rudder kit $750
Landing Light $950
Dual Control $850
Map Box $125
Tow bar $65
Adjustable Seats $220
Engine (O-200) $15,000
Firewall Forward $1,170
How would the funds be raised for the purchase of an airplane and club start up costs. Shares
could be sold to club members. I believe that this cost is a reasonable estimate for having decent
good performing aircraft. An additional benefit of having a homebuilt aircraft is that the club
can perform all of the maintenance on the aircraft.
For a video about building a Zenith CH750 Click here
2/18/2020 – Meeting discussion felt a minimum of 10 members would be required, If we built the $60,000 airplane plus $5000 for additional cost, divided by 10 is would be $6500 per member. At least $4000 and a commitment of time for building would be required for initial buy-in.
We’re not sure which Zenith, STOL or Cruiser.
We may be able to get a large hangar for the project and some were hoping to involve young students to be involved in the build. We felt if we start building – they will come.
Larry Becker will research the use of an LLC for club
3/10/2020 – A few members have made a tentative commitment to purchase and build. Now we have three possibilities; The Zenith in Colorado, a GlasStar in Spokane or a Tailwind here at Skagit. Dan will be flying down to check out the Zenith next week. We are hoping to be able to use the Ag hangar at BVS to build the plane.
Next meeting scheduled for Nov. 17th 7PM on Zoom. See the chapter calendar.