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FenderHead wrote:
Its not bike-exclusive at all. Have friends that snowmobile, and do a lot of that 3 & 4 wheel ATV stuff, and boats (fishing). I have heard horror stories about airplane related stuff...but them guys are all LOADED. In fact, they're all coming here soon, for their annual "$pend-off"
Not necessarily. A great number of them simply have a love of flying, so they prioritize expenditures in their lives in order to accommodate it. But yes, it's expensive.

You can get a decent small airplane for $30,000. Really! But that's not the expensive part.

Plan to spend around $5,000 to $7,000 a year for maintenance and inspections, whether you fly it or not. Flight time will run around $30-$40 an hour for fuel, oil, etc. Engines time out at around 1,500 to 2,000 flight hours (depending on the engine, and how you fly it) at which time they need to be overhauled or replaced - that's between $15,000 and $20,000, so most owners have an "engine fund" that they contribute to regularly. Oh, and insurance, another few thousand a year.

Alternatively, you can rent a plane from the local airport for upwards of $100/hour.

So yes, for many it's a rich man's hobby. But for quite a percentage of small plane owners, it's just a love, and they make allowances in other parts of their lives in order to afford it. My parents are not wealthy, but my father just sold his Cherokee 180C after having owned it for over 15 years - and he had a Piper Tri-Pacer for many years before that.

As for's what I wrote back in 1998: Oshkosh 1998: Pilgrimage to Aviation Mecca
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