I think insurance costs are having the greatest impact on profitability of a lease back airplane. Insurance is based on liability and hull value. A Cessna 150H commercial policy is going to cost about $400-$500 per month, but a new Cessna 172 SP is going to cost as much as, or more than $1500-2000 per month.
A flight school policy is a commercial fleet policy. A certificate of insurance is issued by the insurance company to the owner for the specific aircraft and tail number.
Insurance costs have been substantially influenced by 9/11 and the kid who stole the Cessna 172R and flew it into the Bank of America building in Florida. It is not uncommon for an insurance agent to call an owner and say, "I am going to have to raise your premium, because, SEE, it can happen."
The flight school should also have a rental agreement on file for each pilot who rents planes from the flight school. If a student damages your airplane, they are usually responsible for the first $1000 of the deductible for the damage.
New aircraft commercial policies for planes such as the Cirrus SR22 can run as high as $24,000 per year or $2000 per month. An SR22 will rent for as much as $290/hour to help cover those costs, but the plane will also need to fly 50 hours a month, just to break even.
A quarter share ownership in an SR22 is as much as $4000 per month, so if there are 4 owners the plane will need to bring in at least $12,000 just to cover the owner's payment on the plane.
The flight school's history of accidents and the airplane's history of fatalities will substantially affect how much you are going to have to shell out each month.
Overall, every owner has to be able to cover the fixed costs of a leaseback aircraft if it is not renting due to maintenance, avionics, or any other issue. Insurance is one of the biggest fixed costs the owner is going to face.
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