The Aerostar Aircraft has had mixed reviews from pilots, which is why you should be aware of this plane’s cost and specs if you are considering buying one.
The Aerostar Aircraft was in production from 1967 through 1984 and it held the world speed record for the fastest twin-engine plane of its class during its manufacturing era. The cost of an Aerostar can vary depending on the condition of the plane but most models range from $99,000 to $370,000.
After extensively researching Aerostar Aircraft models, I have gathered enough information to write a detailed overview and determine their dollar value. My research has indicated that you should thoroughly inspect and test any Aerostar Aircraft before you buy one given how dated these planes are within the aviation industry.
Aerostar Aircraft Overview
The original Aerostar Aircraft had its first flight back in 1966 and it was released the next year by the Ted Smith Aircraft Company. This light transport aircraft features two propelled twin engines and is highly regarded by the aviation community for holding the fastest speed record of any plane from its class during its years of production.
After its initial launch, the Aerostar Aircraft continued to be a popular plane throughout its 17 years of manufacturing - from 1967 to 1984. With a reputation for having one of the fastest speed records of any aircraft during its time, it’s easy to understand why this plane had so much hype around it.
The early models of the Aerostar were released by the Ted Smith Aircraft Company, but over the next 17 years, the rights to the airplane would undergo a series of acquisitions - with the most notable being the Piper Aviation Corporation takeover in 1978. Despite Aerostar models seeing many upgrades and updates over the years, the primary concept behind the plane stayed true to its original design.
This aircraft is officially intended for light transport, which is why it is quite popular for air taxiing. However, the interior design of the Aerostar is much more luxurious than other twin-engine planes of its class - making it an attractive asset for business executives and corporate figures. When you combine the Aerostar’s comfort and speed, you get a top-level plane that is built for luxury and efficiency.
With that said, Aerostar Aircraft models have received mixed reviews from many professional pilots. This is a high-performance machine, but it is considered to be a complex and challenging airplane to operate. While this may not be such a big problem for pilots that have specifically trained with Aerostar Aircraft, the lack of intuitive and user-friendly controls make this a problematic and potentially dangerous plane for many aviators.
This is by no means an intro-level aircraft and pilots should have extensive training in Aerostar Aircraft before getting too comfortable in the cockpit. Although some accidents have been linked to mechanical issues, one of the most common reasons for Aerostar crashes was simply failing to understand the intricate controls of the plane.
The bottom line is that this is an unforgiving Aircraft, but if you invest in learning how to properly fly an Aerostar, you will understand why this plane is so highly-regarded by members of the aviation community. While the complexity of the Aerostar is one of its drawbacks, it is also a key reason that it’s such a high-performance machine.
Aerostar Aircraft Specifications
Virtually all Aerostar Aircraft have top-of-the-line specs and performance capabilities, which is why they have earned so much recognition from the aviation industry. As a luxury transit aircraft with a world record for speed, the Aerostar truly delivers what so many pilots want out of a plane.
Now, keep in mind that there have been various Aerostar models released over the years - with some having larger engines, upgraded interiors, and re-designed frame materials. That is why the specifications for the Aerostar can vary depending on the model that is being assessed. With that said, let’s take a closer look at the general specifications for the Aerostar Aircraft:
- Engine - Lycoming IO-360 (2x)
- Cabin - Unpressurized
- Passenger Capacity - 5 (+1 crew)
- Length - 34ft 9.75in
- Wingspan - 36ft 8in
- Height - 12ft 1in
- Empty Weight - 4,275lb
- Gross Weight - 6,315lb
- Cruise Speed - 242mph (210kt)
- Max Speed - 306mph (266kt)
- Service Ceiling - 25,000ft
- Rate of Climb - 1,840ft/per min
- Range - 1,024 miles (890nmi)
For its time, the Aerostar was a true standout within the industry and its solid specs are one of the key reasons that you can still find various models on the market today.
Aerostar Aircraft Models
Since its first release, Aerostar planes have undergone upgrades and updates. The first Aerostar Aircraft was the Model 360, which was equipped with two 180hp Lycoming IO-360 engines.
After the success of the early models, the Ted Smith Aircraft Company started pumping out more advanced variations of their prototype with solid success. Other companies caught onto Aerostar, which is when the company underwent a series of acquisitions from the late ‘60s through the late ‘70s - with Ted Smith buying back the company in 1972 and Piper acquiring it in 1978.
Throughout its years of production, there were 15 different models of the Aerostar. The twin-engine aircraft was able to hold its status as the world’s fastest aircraft of its class due to constant engine upgrades, which boosted speed and performance. These are the key Aerostar models that were released from 1967 through 1984:
- Model 360
- Model 400
- 700 Superstar
- Speedstar 850
Each model displayed improvements from its predecessor but depending on the performance capabilities that you desire out of an airplane, you may find that the specs of one Aerostar suits your in-flight needs better than another.
Aerostar Aircraft Cost
Aerostar Aircraft have been around for a long time and you can find a number of models on the used market today. With that said, the price of buying an Aerostar can greatly vary depending on the model of the aircraft and, most importantly, its condition.
Finding Aerostar planes that are fully preserved will be very challenging, given that this aircraft had its final year of production in 1984. However, tracking down models that are in great condition is quite realistic, as there are plenty of pilots that have taken good care of their planes over the years.
High-end Aerostar Aircraft can be found in various model variations. The key distinction that will make these planes more expensive is that they have likely been flown less and have received better maintenance and upkeep.
These models can cost anywhere from $250,00 to $370,000+. A characteristic that heavily influences the price of a high-end Aerostar is its last TBO. Aircraft that have been recently serviced will be priced considerably higher, as this is one of the most costly maintenance expenses.
The bulk of the Aerostar Aircraft that you find on the market will have fairly reasonable price tags. This plane has been around for decades and the value of the aircraft depreciates annually.
That said, the cost of Aerostar planes in this category can fluctuate quite a lot. You can find models on the market for as little as $99,000 or even less in some cases. However, you should expect to pay anywhere from $99,000 to $250,000 for a decent option.
When I assess aircraft at this price range, I try to be as thorough as possible with my inspection. A plane with this many years of service can have any number of underlying issues, which is why you want to identify possible problems before you make any serious commitments.
You may be able to find Aerostar models that are on the low-end spectrum as far as costs, but you need to consider when this aircraft had its last TBO, as well as whether there are other mechanical issues under the hood.
The variable operation and maintenance costs are often the easiest to overlook and underestimate when buying an aircraft. Aviation is not an affordable hobby and it requires frequent re-investment to ensure that a plane holds a solid resale value and, most importantly, that it’s safe to fly.
With each Aerostar Aircraft having two powerful engines that need to be overhauled every 2,000 to 2,800 miles, you can expect the operational costs to add up over the years. The price of fuel will also influence your operational costs significantly, but this can often be hard to estimate over a long period given how much gas costs can fluctuate.
All in all, expect variable costs that are around $192,000, which breaks down to $578 per hour. This is considerably more expensive than some other twin-engine aircraft of this size and one of the main reasons for this is that the Aerostar has such powerful engines.
Turbocharged engines require more frequent repairs, which is why the power and performance that you get from an Aerostar does come at a price. With that said, neglecting an Aerostar’s routine repairs is a sure way to increase your long-term maintenance costs and decrease the plane’s safety.
As a seasoned aviation enthusiast, I can say that having quality insurance for your plane is a must. Buying an aircraft is a major investment and if you want to prevent unnecessary repair costs and avoid legal complications, opting for a quality insurance provider is highly recommended.
Aviation insurance is available in two primary categories - liability and hull. Much like auto insurance, aviation insurance will be priced differently depending on how much experience you have in the cockpit.
If you have been flying for a while and have a decent amount of experience under your belt, most insurance companies will qualify you for a better rate. On the other hand, if you are new to flying, expect to pay a premium on your insurance package.
While there are optional insurance options out there, liability coverage is not one of them. The bare minimum protection that every pilot is required to have is liability coverage, as this is what will protect you in case of an accident.
Liability coverage costs can vary depending on the Aerostar model that you are flying, but experienced pilots usually pay between $750 and $1,120 per year. Intro-level pilots who do not qualify for a better rate will have to pay more - with $970 to $1,125 being the average per year.
Not every pilot has hull insurance for their plane, as this is optional protection that is not mandatory like liability. Hull insurance will protect your aircraft from damage up to a certain point and you would be surprised by how often it pays to have it.
Unnecessary repairs are costly and quickly add up, which is why having hull insurance is so important. If you want to secure your investment and avoid potential expenses over the years, having hull insurance is recommended for most aircraft - especially if they are on the high-end price spectrum.
Hull insurance for Aerostar planes is rather expensive - with qualified pilots paying around $5,500 to $8,200 per year to cover their planes. Unqualified pilots have to pay even more than this - with $9,850 to $14,000 per year being the norm.
Are Aerostar Aircraft Hard to Fly?
If you are relatively new to aviation, the Aerostar may not be for you. This is aircraft is considered to be a pilot’s plane and not a toy for novice aviators.
The specs and performance of Aerostar planes are on point and they are a lot of fun to fly once you get the hang of them. Operating an Aerostar takes some getting used to, which is why thorough training is required before you get into the cockpit on your own.
These planes are more complex than other twin-engine aircraft from the same class and pilots should not underestimate the challenges they might face while flying an Aerostar. Professional aviators recommend extensive training and annual re-training for Aerostar Aircraft, which is why I consider them to be harder to fly than most twin-engine planes.
Are Aerostar Aircraft Reliable?
The reliability of Aerostar Aircraft is often brought into question by industry professionals. I’ve found that this aircraft is often as reliable as the pilot that flies it. This is not an easy plane to operate compared to a lot of models on the market, which can make it less reliable for some pilots.
The Aerostar has complex controls that are harder to use and they require extensive practice to master and get used to. If you are not experienced with Aerostar planes, then crash probability increases exponentially.
You need to invest your time to learn the ropes of an Aerostar before you can comfortably jump in the cockpit on your own. That is why industry pros recommend thorough training and annual re-training to all Aerostar Aircraft owners.
After taking the time to learn this plane, you will find that it is quite reliable and has top-notch performance. The Aerostar has a crash rate of 4.4 per 100,000 flight hours - with the majority of these incidents attributed to negligence.
Are Aerostar Aircraft Parts Hard to Find?
Routine maintenance will be a constant and necessary requirement for any Aerostar owner and you can expect a TBO every 2,000 to 2,8000 hours. Whenever I assess older aircraft such as the Aerostar, I always try to make sure that parts are easy to track down before committing to a purchase.
Dated planes that have not been manufactured in decades can be a bit of a toss-up for repairs, as there may be a lack of parts and only a handful of mechanics with the expertise to work on the aircraft. With that said, finding Aerostar parts should not be too hard - depending on the model variation that you own.
The Aerostar Aircraft Corporation has been quite active in responding to customer requests for parts - making repairs and maintenance pretty straightforward. However, older Aerostar models such as the 600 and 601 series are particularly difficult to find certain parts for.
Are Aerostar Aircraft Worth Buying?
Aerostar has built a very solid reputation within the aviation industry and with the specs and performance capabilities that these planes offer, it is easy to understand why they are still being used today.
If you are on the fence about buying an Aerostar, the biggest deal breaker will be whether you are committed to learning how to fly one of these planes. These aircraft are harder to fly than a lot of similar planes from this class, which implies that you will need to invest a considerable amount of time into training.
With that said, if you are new to flying, the Aerostar is probably not worth buying and you should consider an alternative aircraft that is easier to operate before moving up to a plane with this much complexity. On the other hand, experienced pilots who are willing to learn the controls and are comfortable with flying will enjoy having an Aerostar in the hangar.
About THE AUTHOR
After spending years watching every video I could find about flying, I finally scratched the itch and got my pilots license. Now I fly every chance I get, and share the information I learn, here.Read More About Joe Haygood