What’s the Real Flying Cost for a Cirrus Airplane?

Many pilots only consider expenses that immediately come out of their pockets as direct costs to flying. But the real operating cost for an airplane includes more than fuel and oil.

Your magnetos are limited to 400 hours before IRAN. Spark plug life is about 350 hours. Your starter has a finite number of cranks before failure. You cannot fly without wearing down brakes and tires. In accounting terms, we categorized these expenses as variable direct costs.

We have reviewed many of the variable direct costs for flying Cirrus airplanes in past weblog posts.

The Real Hourly Operating Cost For Cirrus SR22

Here’s a summary that estimates the hourly operating cost for Cirrus SR22 airplanes. Your cost experience may vary.

Hourly Cost Comparison SR22NA Normally Aspirated & Cirrus SR22TN Turbo

Description SR22 SR22T Turbo
Fuel 76.80 81.60
Oil 6.37 6.37
Variable Direct Cost 42.00 42.00
Variable Indirect: Pre-TBO 4.00 8.00
Variable Indirect Cost: TBO 28.35 35.35
Total Variable Cost Per Hour 157.72 173.32

In a shared ownership, you’ll want to match variable expense with each member’s hourly usage, but fixed expenses should be shared equally between members regardless of hours flown.

If your hourly rate is correct, then members should not receive a bill after the Annual or during the year for maintenance related to variable cost items. Your hourly fees should be enough to cover all those costs.

During future posts we’ll look at variable indirect and fixed costs for operating Cirrus airplanes.

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2 thoughts on “What’s the Real Flying Cost for a Cirrus Airplane?

  1. I’m interested in purchasing a used Cirrus SR22T. What you listed as variable expenses is extremely helpful. Just curious though what else I would need to figure to account for Total monthly or hourly cost (including financing, insurance, etc)?

    1. Landon, thanks very much for reading and for your question. Ownership fixed costs includes items such as, airplane annual base fee, subscriptions, hangar, insurance, and loan payments.

      The base fee for a Cirrus annual inspection is about $2,400.

      We have a complete Jeppesen chart and SafeTaxi subscription for the United States; which runs about $1,574 per year (Perspective by Garmin avionics). If you are a COPA member you’ll receive a Jeppesen discount. That savings alone will cover your COPA membership and the organization has many more benefits. We also have Sirius XM radio and weather subscription with an annual cost of $796.

      You’ll want to keep your Cirrus in a hangar and the cost varies quite a bit based on location. Our metro rates are about $5,000 per year. Check your local airport for details.

      We selected an insurance broker prior to our purchase. Our rate is about $3,000 per year. An insurance broker will collect your pilot profile and airplane information to give you an estimate.

      We don’t have an airplane loan. That’s a benefit we found in shared airplane ownership. Individual acquisition costs are reduced 50%-75%; which allowed us to avoid the interest cost of a loan.

      Aircraft Life Limited Components are another category of fixed expense and those costs have been reviewed in this weblog series “Cost of Ownership.”

      Hope this helps you in estimating a budget.

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