Price is one major factor which has prevented many from fulfilling their dream to become a pilot. Whether it cost of pilot training or finding an affordable aircraft for time building, for some, this dream never get realized.
Here I have picked up 4 aircraft which cannot be used for work purpose, but they will definitely fulfill your desire to fly and to enjoy the view from above.
These 4 extremely affordable aircraft cost well below $50,000 and some even below $20,000, bringing the cost of owning an aircraft way down.
You may say that these aircraft must be used ones. But, on the contrary, these 4 extremely affordable aircraft are brand new and fully built. For greater personalization these aircraft are also available in kit versions.
It is not a comprehensive review and many other worthy options are also available. Buckle up and we takeoff to fly over these 4 extremely affordable aircraft options.
Best Bargain in General Aviation – Aerolite 103
This aircraft answer 3 big questions or misconception people have about aviation:
Is it possible to purchase a ready-to-fly aircraft well below $20,000?
Will such an aircraft be fully-equipped to provide features that make flying enjoyable?
Is it possible for an enterprise to make profit that is selling a ready-to-fly aircraft at such prices?
The answer is ‘yes’. It is possible to make an aircraft for $16,000 that includes a power plant. Such an aircraft is good enough to provide all the enjoyment to a recreational pilot.
The answer to the third question is also ‘yes’. U-fly-it, the maker of 2016 Aerolite 103, is indeed making money, but with careful management.
For some, this is just an ultralight. Well, yes, there is no second thought on that.
As of till now, nearly 400 Aerolite 103 are in operation and U-Fly-It is on its toes to meet out the growing demand.
The manufacturer rolls out nearly 50 aircraft in a year from its DeLand facility in Florida, which the company has preferred not to expand.
U-Fly-It was purchased by Dennis Carley in 2013 from its original designer Terry Raber and it has been growing and remained strong since.
The Aerolite 103 flying machine is considered as an “ultralight vehicle” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and not an ‘airplane’. This gives lot of freedom, such as:
No requirement to register the aircraft
No medical or pilot certificate are needed
As per FAR Part 103, Aerolite 103 can be sold in ready-to-fly form by U-Fly-It as long as it fulfills the requirements of such vehicles.
Aerolite 103 has flaps, electric start, yoke, instruments and rudder pedals, 5 gallons fuel tank to fly for nearly 2 hours, a forward cowling, nose-wheel steering with strong tricycle gear, basic instruments, four-point seat belts and brake. What else can you ask for?
Spend some more and the aircraft will have a whole air-frame emergency parachute.
U-Fly-It is also planning to come out with kit version in order to speed up delivery time and to enable some owners to have different engines and increase weight with other features.
The Pioneering CGS Hawk
CGS Hawk is one of the most famous brands in light aviation. As of now, almost 2,000 Hawk aircraft have been sold till now and much of them are taking to the sky, giving the much needed thrill to their owners.
Chuck Slusarcsyk, a former NASA tech, is the original developer of the Hawk. Slusarcsyk has experience certifying the Scheutzow helicopter. He had also developed hang gliders earlier and had required skill set to come out with a modestly-priced aircraft.
Chuck worked on the design for almost 30 years, however, it was taken over by another man as he neared his retirement few years back.
The business was recently purchased by Terry Short, an aviation entrepreneur from Lake Wales, Florida, who continue to extend support. He continue to manufacture some of the many kit models once created by Slusarczyk.
In 2008, one of the Hawk varieties from Slusarczyk was approved for Special Light-Sport Aircraft, which was offered for $39,995. While in the process of taking over, Short was not in a position to understand as to how to meet out the demand.
A renewed FAA approval is required when the ownership changes. The Hawk has a long and successful history and it will return as a fully built Special Light-Sport Aircraft. There are not many demands to qualify as a sub-87 knot LSA.
Low Cost SLSA from M-Squared
M-Squared Aircraft celebrated its 20th year in business in 2016. The aircraft manufacturer operates from St. Elmo, Alabama and has built more than 500 land and sea planes till now. Its founder Paul Mather has been in light aircraft industry for more than 40 years.
In 2008, the Breese 2 DS aircraft from M-Squared was approved as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft, the first such airplane to have approval from FAA.
The simple yet dependable airplane from M-Squared was put on the market for less than $40,000, where many other high-tech LSA used to cost well above $150,000.
Breese 2 DS is an affordable aircraft available for less than $50,000, ready to fly, even with the powerful Rotax 912 engine. It is the same engine that propels a number of LSA aircraft.
Apart from designing and making aircraft, Mather also serve as a Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR). It is a civilian position with special FAA training and gives authority to perform airworthiness inspections for Experimental LSA, amateur-built kit aircraft and Special LSA.
SLSA producers are not given production certificates straight away. It is people like Mather have been given authority by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to check every Special LSA before granting an airworthiness certificate.
M-Squared provides amateur-built kits, however, armed with a Special LSA certificate from FAA, the company can also provide Experimental LSA. ELSA are the exact copies of the SLSA, bolt by bolt that are assembled by the owner. Changes can be made once the assembling is complete.
Quicksilver – Still a Valuable Affordable Aircraft
Anyone who has searched for high affordable, field-proven and well-engineered aircraft must have noticed the Quicksilver brand. With more than 15,000 of these aircraft already flying around since the early 1980s, this iconic light aircraft has gone on become the most sold kit aircraft.
However, it was recently rumored that the California-based manufacturer, Quicksilver, was suffering from onerous costs and too-high overhead for operating out of the western state. The company had no option but to take assistance from others to continue production.
All those who might be worried about the future of Quicksilver will be pleased to know that the company is preparing for a renewed lease on life for the first time.
New contracts have been signed and the company will soon relocate on the other end of the country. Soon, we will get the confirmation of this transformation.
Affordable aviation is still here and kicking. Aircraft, brand new ones, can be purchase at prices well below the average cost of a new automobile. It is a promising way to encourage people to take up flying. It is a breather for people like me for whom money is the only deterrent in flying.