Next to insurance, maintenance is the biggest killer to profitability for an aircraft on lease back. The trade off between owning a new plane as opposed to an older aircraft is the reduced maintenance costs for new planes that have warranties.
Before buying any aircraft, every buyer should check any recent Airworthiness Directives that could cost in the thousands of dollars to comply with.
Cessna 50037 has been very high with up front maintenance costs, however, as the bugs in the plane are worked out, and as the plane flies more, the net sheet is affected less and less by maintenance. Similar to buying a new car, a new plane has, less maintenance, but higher monthly payment and insurance.
Unlike non-commercial aircraft, a flight school airplane is required to have inspections every 100 hours. Some flight schools allow owner assisted annual, and others do not. Aviation Adventures in Manassas, Virginia does not, and CMH Aviation in Columbus, Ohio does.
A typical 100 hour inspection can cost up to a $1000 if there are several deficiencies found or new Airworthiness Directives have to be complied with. A 100 inspection is the same as an Annual inspection, so if a plane goes off a lease-back agreement, the plane is not required to have an annual for one year.
Assisting on an annual or 100 hour inspection can save the owner as much as $300. A 100 inspection on a C-150 takes 3 people 8 hours to complete.
Having a good relationship with your mechanic is extremely important. A mechanic who is also a pilot may even better. And, if your mechanic has an Inspection Authorization Certificate, he can sign off on work done without having to have an FAA field approval for routine repairs. However, some modifications to aircraft that don't have a Supplemental Type Certificate's (STC's), still have a field approvals by the FAA.
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