Again, the initial costs depend on how you “own” your wings: rent, lease, partner, or buy. For most folks, the initial investment dictates ownership form. That is, if you really don’t have enough saved up for a down payment or initial lease payment, you’re stuck with renting. If you do have more in the piggy bank your options grow. In addition, if you have good credit your options increase because you can get a low-interest loan on your wings.
So let’s talk about the prices of sport planes. Depending on what you’re looking for you can find a dependable airplane priced from $15,000 to $150,000. That’s quite a range, so let me break it down:
- Used ultralights (these all qualify for sport pilots) can be purchased for $10,000 or even much less.
- Kit aircraft require you to invest from 200 hours to many hundreds of hours of building time. Costs for these start at about $25,000 and go up to about $75,000 depending on the engine you select.
- You can build a basic airplane from plans for under $25,000 and a lot of sweat equity.
- Used general-aviation aircraft that qualify for sport pilots (Aeronca, J-3 Cub, Luscombe, etc.) sell for $20,000 to $45,000 or more.
- Quick-build experimental LSA kits (you add the finishing touches) can be purchased for $40,000 to $80,000.
- Ready-to-fly planes built under the new LSA rules are priced from $80,000 to $150,000 — about half the price of many new FAA-certified aircraft.