Aviation can be an extremely pricey and luxurious hobby, but it can also be relatively affordable if you have got 100k to spend on an aircraft.
The best 4 seater planes that are being sold for under 100k are the Piper Pacer PA-20, Cirrus SR20, Mooney M20J, Mooney M20F, and the Cessna 170/180/185. A used plane purchased for under 100k should always have a thorough and professional inspection before being flown.
If the idea of owning a plane and getting into aviation has always been a fantasy of yours but was something that you thought you could never afford, you should think again, as there are some incredible planes on the market that are going for 100k. In fact, there are planes that are even considerably cheaper than this, but if you have got the finances to buy a nice plane, we always recommend investing more into an aircraft if you can afford to do so. With that being said, you always want to buy an airplane that can give you quality performance and is in solid condition - regardless of the price, which is why we are going to take a closer look at our top picks for the best 4 seater planes for under 100k.
After years of working as a flight instructor and pilot, I have had an extensive amount of experience buying and selling planes over the years. My experience has taught me that if you want to buy a plane for under 100k, you have to ensure that it has been properly maintained by its previous owner.
4 Seater Planes Under 100k
When most people hear that they can buy a plane for 100k or less, they are usually in disbelief, as aviation is generally a hobby that is usually associated with people that are very rich. While there are plenty of planes that get well into the millions out there, that is by no means the case for all aircraft on the market. Planes have many different specs, capabilities, and levels of performance and while any plane you choose should be able to deliver on certain expectations, that does not mean that you need to break the bank to get your hands on a quality airplane.
If you have the ambition of buying yourself a top-of-the-line jetliner for 100k, you can forget about it, as these are the planes that cost a lot of money. If you have got 100k in your budget for purchasing an aircraft, you will find that you have loads of options for buying a quality plane. In fact, you can find planes that are even half that price - or even considerably less.
While the cheapest plane possible does sound nice, you should also consider the trade-off of getting an aircraft that is going to be a bit nicer. Air travel is still considered to be one of the safest modes of transport available to us, but if you are flying around in a rickety aircraft that hasn’t been serviced since the last World War, then these statistics may not be in your favor as much.
No matter what plane you end up going with, you want to ensure that it is reliable, has great performance, and will be able to get you in the air and back down again safely. A lot of this is going to come from how well you treat your aircraft, but also how well it was maintained by the previous owner. A safety inspection and well-observed test flight are going to be mandatory to ensure that the plane you are considering is right for you. You should be thorough when assessing your options so that you can guarantee that your aircraft is all up to code.
Piper Pacer PA–20
If there is one aircraft manufacturer that you know you can trust, it is Piper. They are no stranger to aviation and have been building great planes for over half a century - with so many of them still being used today. This sort of longevity within the industry has established Piper as being one of the best manufacturers of planes to this date, which is why we always favor them over less reputable manufacturers when considering our options.
If you want a top-of-the-line Piper that is brand new, you can expect the price tag to be in the millions, which is way outside of the budget of the average consumer. However, you can find some very reasonably priced Piper planes on the market for 100k or less. One of our favorites from this price range is the Piper Pacer PA–20. This aircraft series was first launched by Piper in 1949 and they continued to build these planes into the mid-60s.
While you may feel a bit wary about flying an aircraft that is this old, you should consider that there is a reason that these planes are still in the air to this day. The Piper Pacer PA–20 has an amazing design and the performance to back it up, as this is one great aircraft. And most importantly - you can get one for less than 100k.
After researching the Piper Pacer PA–20, we were able to get in touch with some sellers and find some great options - many of which were considerably less than $100,000. The best Piper Pacer PA–20 that we located at a reasonable price was being sold for $56,000, which is an incredible deal for an aircraft that is this good. The plane was in great condition and had been cared for properly by the previous owner.
Given that the aircraft is quite old, we were able to confirm that restorations had been done to this Piper Pacer PA–20, which included replacing outdated parts and mechanics with modern equipment. This is a quality that you want to find in just about any aircraft that you buy from this era, as you want to make sure that it is safe for the air.
With that being said, we were also able to find some Piper Pacer PA–20s that were even cheaper than this - with some going for just a mere $22,000. A price this low for a classic plane like this seems almost too good to be true - and in some cases - it may just be. If you see an incredible plane being sold this cheaply, you should always have your guard up and be sure to do a proper and thorough inspection of the aircraft. There is no guarantee that there is something wrong with it, but you do run a higher risk of that being the case with such a low price.
The Piper Pacer PA–20’s performance is phenomenal. This aircraft can get up to an altitude of 16,500 ft and it can reach speeds of over 140 miles per hour. In addition, it has an impressive range of 500 miles, which means that you can easily take the Piper Pacer PA–20 on long-distance trips and even across state lines. If you are looking for a very affordable plane for under 100k, the Piper Pacer PA–20 has got you covered.
If you want to buy a good plane and have the money to do so, then the Cirrus is not going to let you down. For over 20 years Cirrus has been considered a leader when it comes to creative innovation and pushing the boundary of what aviation is. They are pioneers in being the first to move with the times by adding sophisticated technology into their planes that is intuitive and user-friendly.
When Cirrus releases an aircraft, you can expect it to be nothing short of quality, as their track record speaks for itself. Now, an aircraft of this caliber from Cirrus pretty much never comes close to the 100k mark, which is why we rarely see their planes in the budget-friendly zone.
In fact, you will have a hard time finding a Cirrus aircraft that is anything short of half a million dollars. However, the Cirrus SR20 is a fantastic plane and while they are normally in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, you will be delighted to know that there are some of these incredible machines available for under 100k.
We reached out to some pilots and sellers and were able to locate some incredible options for the Cirrus SR20 with the cheapest going for $95,000. While this is still a considerable amount of money, you do really get what you pay for with this aircraft as its performance and reliability are outstanding. At the end of the day, if you have 100k in your budget for an aircraft, you might as well get the best of what you can get - and there is really no better option out there than the Cirrus SR20 at this price.
Cirrus has marketed the SR20 as an aircraft that can reach speeds of 155 KTAS, which is just under 180 miles per hour. Once you are in the air you can reach a maximum altitude of 17,500 ft. However, what we really love about the Cirrus SR20 is its impressive range. This aircraft can reach distances of up to 721 miles away from its take-off point, which means that you cannot only use this plane for traveling across the cities and states but across the entire nation.
While we were able to locate a Cirrus SR20 for a mere 95k, you should know that finding this good of a deal on an aircraft of this caliber is rare. The reality is that if you want to get your hands on a Cirrus SR20, you may need to raise your budget slightly. We found a number of incredible options that were being sold on the market for 105k to as much as 130k+. While this may be higher than your initial budget, you should consider the amazing quality and performance of this aircraft, as it is well worth the extra money.
If you do happen to find a great deal on a Cirrus SR20, you would be wise to hop on it, as finding a cheap one is not easy. One of the reasons for this is that Cirrus manufactured less than 400 of these planes, which makes their availability relatively scarce. With that being said, this is one of the best planes that you can get for 100k or less.
Mooney M20J & M20F
If you have had some experience within aviation, you will know that you likely need to put a focus on whether you want to prioritize speed or long-distance performance. However, Mooney is an aircraft manufacturer that has aimed to test this notion by giving its customers the best of both worlds, which it has done quite successfully with its Mooney M20 series.
This aircraft has certainly been around the block, as it was launched in 1977 - with immediate success and praise from pilots and the aviation community. The original M20 series from Mooney was launched 20 years before this and they continued their legacy well into the 20th century. They stopped their production in the mid-2000s but their planes are still going strong to this day, which is why releases like the M20s can be seen flying quite commonly.
If you were to try to find yourself a Mooney M20, you would find a range of options. There are plenty of M20 series planes that are going for 200 to 300k right now, but there are some that are going for considerably cheaper. In fact, the cheapest Mooney M20 that we were able to track down was being sold for a mere $18,000, which is dirt cheap for an aircraft - especially a Mooney.
However, if you are working with a budget of 100k, there is no reason that you need to settle for less, which is why we advise making the most of your investment and getting an aircraft from Mooney that is going to be reliable, safe, and give you the best possible performance for your budget.
There are a handful of amazing options from the M20 series that are priced very reasonably between 50k and 100k - with our favorite being the Mooney M20J. This aircraft was launched in the mid-70s and is a phenomenal piece of machinery that has stood the test of time. We found a Mooney M20J that was going for just $70,000, which is an amazing price for this plane.
Its performance and handling are spectacular and what we love about it most is how versatile it is. You can take your Mooney M20J out on a casual flight to cruise around your own area, which it will do just fine - or alternatively, you can take this aircraft on long-distance trips. The Mooney M20J can reach an altitude of 18,800 ft and it can get up to 200 miles per hour. In addition, this aircraft can fly as far as 700 miles from your starting point. With that kind of range, you can use this plane to fly across the country without any issues.
Now, if 70k is a little more than you want to spend on aircraft, then you should not be disappointed, as there are some great options from Mooney that can accommodate your budget. During our search, we were able to find a Mooney M20F that was even cheaper than the M20J at an asking price of just $55,000. If you want a great plane at a great price, you really can’t beat 55k. The Mooney M20F has very similar specs to the M20J, so you can expect to get great performance that is just as versatile - with long-distance trips still being an option.
A manufacturer that has been no stranger to delivering amazing planes over the years is Cessna. This company continues to release awesome planes that deliver on performance and reliability time and time again.
Many pilots might argue that you would not be able to find a Cessna for less than 100k. While a lot of planes from Cessna will cost considerably more than this, you can find some solid options for planes from this manufacturer that are within this budget range.
Cessna launched some incredible planes such as the Cessna 170, 180, and 185, which are what you will most likely have available to you for 100k or less. These planes have specs that are pretty similar across the board but they can vary slightly in performance. You can expect the model number of each Cessna aircraft to represent the amount of horsepower that it has.
So, if you want to get some more bang for your buck, then we would advise opting for a Cessna that has got more power behind it.
The Cessna 185, in particular, is a very well-rounded plane that is comfortable to fly, which makes it perfect for cruising, but it is also great for long-distance trips. This model Cessna can reach distances of up to 720 miles - with just a single tank of gas. In addition, the speed of this aircraft is solid, as you can reach a top speed of just under 180 miles per hour.
Cessna’s other models such as the 170 and 180 will have a very similar look and feel to the Cessna 185. While you do have to sacrifice some engine power and speed when downgrading to a lower model, you can expect the performance to be in line with other Cessna’s from this series. The main difference is that you lose some of your speed with models the lower you go. However, one thing that is great with this Cessna series is that you can expect the range of the aircraft to be virtually identical.
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