Cirrus SR22 Flight Expense Calculator

What are the flight costs per hour for a Cirrus SR22?  This article reviews the expenses associated with variable flight costs per hour for an SR22 and shares a downloadable Excel expense calculator.

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, subscription expenses and time limited parts, such as, the Cirrus BRS parachute.

My flight cost calculations are based on feedback from other Cirrus pilots and actual ownership experience with a Cirrus SR22TN Turbo flown for more than 100 hours over the past 7 months.

If you’re in an aircraft partnership, it’s important for members to understand and agree upon a reasonable variable flight cost per hour.  Each member in our Cirrus partnership receives a monthly invoice based on the hobbs hours they fly.

We set our initial hourly hobbs rate at $130 per hour.  It’s equal to about 74 cents per nautical mile (based on a True Air Speed (TAS) of 175 knots).  You can cover a lot of ground in a Cirrus at that rate.

Our direct out-of-pocket expense for fuel and oil ran $96.13 per hour.  Initial total variable expense was about $130 per flight hour.  The table below illustrates the detail of a Cirrus SR22 variable flight expense calculation:

Cirrus SR22TN Turbo Hourly Rate
Avg. Fuel Exp. Per Hr.  $89.25
Avg. Fuel exp. per gallon  $5.10
Avg. GPH fuel flow  17.50
Average Oil Exp. Per Hr.  $0.88
Oil exp. per quart  $7.00
Oil consumption per hr.  0.13
Oil Change Exp. Per Hr.  $6.00
Oil Change every 50 hrs.  $300.00
Direct Exp. Per Hour  $96.13
Add: Engine Reserve  18.04
Add: Turbo Reserve  2.67
Add: Prop Reserve  4.40
Add: Operating Exp. Fund  9.00
Total Hobbs per hr. Rate  $130

 

Fuel expense: The above cost of $5.10 for fuel is an average price.  We try to buy fuel on the weekend 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 that combines time for taxi, climb and cruise.

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 the cost for oil analysis by an independent 3rd party ($300 / 50 hrs = $6.00 per flight hour).

Reserve Funds:  You have three planning options for deferred maintenance also called a reserve fund: budget nothing, budget something, budget everything.  We chose to set aside an overhaul reserve for engine, prop and turbo.  In the above table, our reserve fund rate assumes any cylinder or piston work, if required, before TBO, is paid out-of-pocket as part of regular engine maintenance.

The hobbs reserve fund rate assumes reaching engine flight times of at least 2,000 hours.  Hobbs time can run more than 12% higher than actual flight time (Cirrus aircraft after serial number 1863 have both a flight meter and hobbs meter).  I’ll address reserve fund budgeting in a future article.

The following Cirrus SR22 flight expense calculator may help you set a budget for variable flight cost per hour.  You can download an Excel copy by clicking here Cirrus SR22 Flight Expense Calculator.

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