Summer is a great time to get away. If you’re a pilot, you might be able to fly away to farther-off locations. You might not have considered owning your own airplane, but that might actually be possible. There are planes that cost less than the average new car does. Owning your own airplane is one trick to escaping from the road and going wherever you want.
While twin-engine piston planes, turboprops, and jets might be too expensive and out of reach, a single-engine piston plane might be possible. These are more affordable both to purchase and to operate as well. Some can be very small, but they offer a nice flying range and decent speed. Here are three single-engine piston airplanes that come in under $25,000.
The affordable Aeronca Champ 7AC plane
The average price of the Aeronca Champ 7AC starts at $17,000, and it’s affordable to operate as well. This small plane can carry the pilot and one passenger in tandem seats with the pilot up front. It has a maximum range of 201 miles.
This relaxed plane has a cruising speed of 85 MPH. Depending on the model year, the plane has between a 65-hp and a 95-hp Continental engine, explains Plane & Pilot. The Aeronca Champ 7AC has good fuel efficiency, burning four to five gallons per hour. This classic airplane used to be a common one for learning to fly, says PilotMall.com.
The popular Cessna 150
The Cessna 150 has an average starting price of $17,500, just slightly above the average cost of the Aeronca Champ 7AC. There is space for one passenger along with the pilot in this airplane. The two seats are side by side. It has a maximum range of 349 miles, the longest of these three planes.
It’s the speediest of the three too, with a cruising speed of 124 MPH. The Cessna 150 has a 100-hp Continental O-200 engine. It burns about seven gallons of fuel per hour. The Cessna 150 offers great handling and is often used as a training plane. It provides “generous stall warning and aerodynamic stability,” says PilotMall.com, and it’s easier than other planes to fly and land.
It’s an easy transition for pilots who trained in this style of airplane to switch over to their own Cessna 150. There’s also nice visibility for taking in the view plus some space for bags. Buyers have some options in appearance. Earlier Cessna 150 planes had a straight tail with a fastback upper fuselage, explains Plane & Pilot. Later planes had a swept tail and a rear window.
The economical Ercoupe 415-D
The Ercoupe 415-D has an average starting price of $24,900 and is economical to operate. Like the Aeronca Champ 7AC and the Cessna 150, the Ercoupe 415-D can transport the pilot and one passenger. It has a maximum range of 300 miles.
This airplane has a cruising speed of 95 MPH. Engine power depends on the model, and later model years had up to 90 hp. It burns only six gallons of fuel per hour. The Ercoupe 415-D was the first civilian plane that had a nosewheel and was certified as “non-stallable and non-spinnable,” says PilotMall.com.
The Ercoupe 415-D has been manufactured by at least five companies, reports Plane & Pilot. Early models didn’t have rudder control, but later ones often do. An interesting feature on this plane is a canopy that can be opened during flight, providing what Plane & Pilot describes as a “flying convertible.”
If you’re thinking of buying your first airplane, the Aeronca Champ 7AC, Cessna 150, and Ercoupe 415-D are three good options to consider. These single engine piston planes all have average starting prices of less than $25,000, making them more affordable than you might have guessed.