What are the flight expenses per hour for a PA28 Piper Archer? General aviation flight expense can be divided into two categories variable and fixed.
Variable costs are those that increase with the number of hours flown; such as, fuel, oil and engine maintenance. Fixed expenses are costs incurred whether you fly or not; such as, hangar, insurance, and subscription expenses.
My flight cost calculations are based on feedback from other pilots and personal experience with flying a PA28-181 Piper Archer II for eight years.
My direct out-of-pocket expense for fuel and oil ran $57.00 per hour. Total variable expense was about $76.00 per flight hour. Fixed costs, such as, hangar, insurance, annual, and subscriptions were about $5,450 per year.
The Piper Archer PA28-181 is a fun, easy, and relatively economical plane to fly. I enjoyed 8 years of ownership that included flying all across the United States.
The following Table A lists variable flight expense per hour flown:
|PA28-181 Archer||Per Hr. Rate|
|Avg. Fuel Exp. Per Hr.||$53.55|
|Fuel exp. per gallon avg.||$5.10|
|Avg. GPH fuel flow||10.50|
|Average Oil Exp. Per Hr.||$0.78|
|Oil exp. per quart||$7.00|
|Oil consumption per hr.||0.11|
|Oil Change Exp. Per Hr.||$2.60|
|Oil Change every 50 hrs.||$130.00|
|Direct Exp. Per Hour||$56.93|
|Add: Engine Reserve||12.00|
|Add: Prop Reserve||0.38|
|Add: Operating Exp. Fund||7.00|
|Total Hobbs per hr. Rate||$76.30|
Fuel expense: The above cost of $5.10 for fuel is an average price. We try to buy fuel on the weekends at discounted prices in the mid $4.50 range. On cross country flights we sometimes experience higher prices in the $6.00 range depending on the airport. Fuel flow is an average estimate for taxi, climb, cruise and decent.
Oil expense: Some discount retailers, such as, Sam’s sell aviation oil. Our cost is based on purchasing the product by the case. Divide one quart by the number of hours between adding a quart to your engine. Oil change expense includes labor cost for an aircraft mechanic. You might also want to include the cost for oil analysis by an independent third party.
Reserve Funds: You have three planning options for deferred maintenance also called a reserve fund: budget nothing, budget something, budget everything. This example budgets most of the costs for an engine reserve fund but assumes some expense will be paid out-of-pocket when the time arrives. The reserve fund rate also assumes any cylinder or piston work, if required, before TBO, is paid out-of-pocket as part of regular engine maintenance.
The reserve fund budget assumes reaching engine flight times of at least 2,000 hours. Most PA28 owners use engine tach time. Flight time is usually less than hobbs time. Hobbs meters can run 12%-20% higher than actual flight time because of preflight & taxi time.
If a Lycoming 0-360 engine is operated and maintained correctly it can run with good compressions well past 2,000 hours. My Lycoming 0-360 operated ten percent over TBO with the compression readings still good. I chose a complete Lycoming 0-360 engine exchange installation, and ran the new engine for about five years and 500 hours before selling the aircraft. These costs are based on Part 91 owner flying and not Part 135 operations.
|Engine Reserve Fund||Capital||TBO HRS.||Hobbs Hr.|
|Hobbs verses Flight time variance||12%|
Here is an example of what total fixed and variable costs would be for a pilot flying a PA28 Piper Archer for 80 hours during a twelve month period.
|Estimated Direct Expense||Per YR||Year||Month|
|Pilot Hours Flying||80||4,554||380|
|Subscriptions, i.e. XM WX||630||53|
|Add: Engine Maint. Reserves||1,550||129|
|Total Fixed & Variable Exp.||$11,904||$992|
My cost experience with “aircraft annuals” was in the range of $1,000 – $1,900 during eight years of flying the Archer. When the aircraft flew more than 100 hours in a 12 month period a 100 hour inspection was performed. And, with each 50 hour oil change the mechanic checked over the engine. In 2013, I sold my Piper Archer.
This PA28 Piper Archer flight expense calculator should provide you a starting point to estimate your flying and maintenance expense. You can download an Excel copy by clicking here: FlightExpCalculator_Archer
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