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It is quite common for many people to associate aviation with being a very expensive hobby, however, you should know that you can get a plane for under 50k.
The best 4 seater planes that are being sold for under 50k are the Piper Comanche 180 Series (1960 Model), Lark Commander, Velocity Model 173 SE (Standard Edition), and the Piper Aztec (1960 Model). For used planes, always confirm the level of restoration of each aircraft.
There is really nothing that compares to the blissful thrill of getting into your own plane and taking off from the runway into the sky. Aviation has come a long way and although most people only consider flying as a way of getting from point A to point B via a commercial airliner, you can actually purchase a plane for yourself simply to experience the joy of flying. There are some amazing options for planes out there and a lot of them are quite pricey and not within the financial reach of the average consumer. However, you may be surprised to find out that planes can be quite cheap, so long as you are willing to fly one that is smaller and likely an older model. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at the best 4 seater planes for under 50k.
After decades of working as a flight instructor and airplane enthusiast, I have had years of experience buying and selling planes at various prices. My experience has taught me that there are some great planes for under 50k out there, but you have to be willing to buy models that are used.
4 Seater Planes Under 50k
If you have always dreamed of owning your own private plane but were always intimidated by the costs associated with owning an aircraft, you are not alone. It is very common for the average consumer to assume that aviation is only for the rich and that acquiring a plane and aviation license is something that is going to be extremely expensive. While you will need to invest some time, energy, and money to get involved in this hobby, you can actually make it quite affordable.
With that being said, if your budget is 50k, you should not expect to be able to get your hands on a brand new G6, but there are some very solid options within this price range that are quality planes. If you think about it, buying a plane for 50k is not necessarily cheap, but it is certainly not too expensive either. A lot of people buy brand new cars every 5 to 10 years that can be as much as 40 to 60k. In fact, the average American spends roughly $45,000 on a new car, which if you add it up, is just 5k short of what you can get a plane for (or even cheaper in some cases).
One thing that some interested buyers are wary of when considering a plane that is under 50k is how safe it is. Given the fact that some planes of this size can cost half a million dollars or more, it is easy to think that a cheap plane financially is a cheap plane mechanically. This is certainly not the case with a lot of planes that are modestly priced. You have to think about the fact that a lot of these planes have stood the test of time and have been in the air for decades - with no recalls or major functionality issues, which means that many of them are reliable.
However, you do always need to ensure that the plane has received routine maintenance and has been properly looked after by the previous owner. If the make and model of an aircraft has a good reputation and has received praise from the aviation community, then it is a good sign that it is a quality plane. What you will always want to do when inspecting a used plane is to confirm that it has been taken care of over the years, which is why buying from a flight school or reliable seller is always advisable. And if you do not have an eye for inspecting planes, you should highly consider bringing a professional with you to get a second opinion. Let’s dive right into 4 seater planes under 50k.
Piper Comanche 1960 Model (180 Series)
The Piper Comanche is a classic aircraft that is beloved by the aviation community. This version of the Piper Comanche 180 series first came out back in 1960 and a lot of these planes are still going strong to this day, which is pretty impressive considering that this aircraft is now over 60 years old.
While you will certainly have a hard time getting your hands on a brand new Piper Comanche, as it would be a priceless artifact for the aviation community and can likely only be seen in museums and in the hands of private collectors, you can certainly find this version of the 180 series at a very reasonable price.
After reaching out to various sellers that have got the Piper Comanche 180 series from 1960, we have found listings for this plane that are under the 50k mark. One seller has a great Piper Comanche 180 that is going for just 45k, which is a staggeringly low price for such a quality aircraft. However, we have seen some contenders on the market that are even cheaper than this, as we found one of these classic planes listed for as little as $36,000.
This 4 seater aircraft is a fantastic plane and so long as it has been looked after, it will not let you down. Its 180 horsepower should be more than enough to get you comfortably cruising in the sky. The Piper Comanche 180 series from 1960 has a Lycoming O-360 engine, which has been more than reliable, as it has stood the test of time.
In addition, the Piper Comanche 180 had a cruise speed of 140-kt. All in all, if you were really gunning it, you could potentially reach speeds with this aircraft of up to 160 miles per hour. While there is not much competition between the Piper Comanche 180 and a modern plane, you can certainly get up to speed with this thing when you want to.
To think that when this plane was first launched onto the market it was going for a mere $20,000 or less brand new. While inflation and intrinsic value have certainly increased the price of the Piper Comanche 180, getting your hands on one for as little as 36 to 45k is reasonable, to say the least.
The maximum fuel capacity for the Piper Comanche 180 from 1960 is 60 gallons. This should be more than enough to get you at least a few hours of quality time in the air before needing to head back to the runway. The estimated range that the aircraft can travel is just under 900 miles. This means that you can not only use this aircraft for leisure flights around your home airport, but also for traveling. With up to 849 miles of distance to cover per refuel, you should not have any issues crossing state lines and making casual trips around the nation.
If you are considering the Piper Comanche 180 series from 1960 as a contender for your next plane, then you should make sure that it has been maintained properly over the years. There are some great versions of this plane available on the market for under 50k that have seen restorations that have left the quality of the aircraft in pristine condition, which is something you should really prioritize if you want to keep your costs low. Alternatively, you can always buy an even cheaper one that is unrestored but that may imply that you will need to invest in the plane to make it safe for the air.
If you want a quality aircraft that is going for under 50k, then you really can’t go wrong with the Lark Commander. The original design for this plane first came around with the manufacturer releasing several different models that followed this one.
The Lark Commander was originally launched by Volaircraft and they released a series of planes that came out under the design for the Aero Commander. The various designs that followed the Aero Commander were all highly regarded within the industry and by aircraft enthusiasts as being quality planes.
Given that these planes have been flying around the sky since the mid-1960s, it is a good sign that they have been manufactured well. With that being said, not only is the Lark Commander a phenomenal piece of machinery, it is also quite affordable for a pilot who is on a modest budget. The price for the Lark Commander can often vary depending on how well the plane has been looked after over the years, but you will be delighted to know that you do have some great options available to you for under 50k.
After reaching out to various sellers, we found some Lark Commanders on the market that were kept in good condition. We were able to track down one Lark Commander from the late 60s that was going for just $22,000, which is an absolute steal for a quality aircraft like this. If you are on a tight budget and want a dependable aircraft that has been around the block and proven itself, a mere 22k is a bargain.
Prices like this are what make a lot of aircraft enthusiasts not only buy planes for the joy of flying but also just for having them as collector’s items. The Lark Commander is a dependable aircraft that has been soaring through the sky for nearly half a century but with each passing year, planes like this become more of an artifact that needs to be preserved, which is why we are seeing a lot of collectors buy up these old cheap planes to keep them on the ground so that they can be preserved.
The Lark Commander is a single-engine aircraft and has Lycoming O-360-A2F installed. Unless the owner has made customizations or replaced their engine with a new one entirely, you should expect the original to still be performing its duties. The Lark Commander is not quite as fast as the Piper Comanche 180 but it can still get up to speeds of nearly 140 miles per hour.
The maximum distance that you can expect to reach with a full tank of gas is about 520 miles. While 520 miles is not as far of a range as what similar planes of this size can handle, it is still more than enough to get you into the air for a few hours. In fact, with this kind of distance at your disposal, you should not have any issues crossing over most state lines or visiting neighboring cities. Lastly, you will be able to reach a maximum altitude of up to 13,000 ft.
Velocity Model 173 SE (Standard Elite)
A plane that has received nothing but praise from the aviation community is the Velocity Model 173 SE (Standard Elite). This plane has a sleek design and is as appealing to look at as it is to fly. A very unique design feature of this plane that you rarely see on aircrafts these days is the position of the propeller.
While most planes have their propellors on the wings or on the nose of the aircraft, the Velocity Model 173 SE actually has its propellor on the tail end, which gives it a very unusual yet cool aesthetic.
If you are looking to go out for a joy ride and soar through the air, the Velocity Model 173 SE is going to be a perfect option for you, as this plane has got 220 horsepower to get you sky high in no time. With the ability to go 215 miles per hour, the Velocity Model 173 SE has more than enough speed to satisfy the needs of just about any pilot that is going for a flight on a small plane.
What the aviation community really praises this aircraft for is how its design makes it so aerodynamic. As you fly through the sky, you will be amazed by how smooth and comfortable your ride is, as its stability is impeccable. The smooth flight and well-designed interior of the plane make this hands down one of the most comfortable planes on the market from this era - at this price range.
Now, most of you are probably thinking that this plane sounds amazing, but could it possibly be for sale for less than 50k? It sure is! After reaching out to sellers, we were able to track down some used versions of the Velocity Model 173 SE for less than 50k and they have been left in great condition. So, you know that they have still got plenty of flight time ahead of them.
One of our top picks for the Velocity Model 173 SE was going for $40,000, which is a fantastic deal for an aircraft of this quality. By today’s standards, this plane is actually cheaper than what the modern American pays for a brand new car. What is even more baffling is that when the Velocity Model 173 SE was first released in 1988 it was on sale for just $18,000. The value of this aircraft has only increased over the years, as it has built a reputation within the aviation community as a quality plane that is reliable to this day.
What we also love about the Velocity Model 173 SE is that it is able to travel distances of up to 1,200 miles, which means that you can practically cover half of the continental United States with just a single tank of gas. In addition, you can reach altitudes of up to 20,000 ft in this thing, which is superior to just about any aircraft that you can hope to get your hands on for under 50k.
Piper Aztec 1960
If there is one name that is certainly no stranger to the world of aviation it is Piper. This manufacturer has built a reputation for itself as being one of the best names in the industry, which is why it has so many planes that have stood the test of time and are still flying to this day.
Piper solidifies this reputation with incredible planes like the Aztec. The Aztec had a few different releases that came out in the 60s that varied slightly in specs and performance, but the bottom line is that all planes from this series were considered to be fantastic by pilots and enthusiasts alike.
To our surprise, we were actually able to track down a few Aztecs that were launched in 1960 that were under 50k. This is great news for pilots and collectors that want to get their hands on one of these planes without breaking the bank. You will be happy to know that you can get a Piper Aztec for as little as $31,000 which is insanely cheap for a plane like this.
This classic aircraft has two Lycoming IO-540-C4B5s engines, which are fairly powerful and are perfect for casual flights. The 250 horsepower that is behind these engines should be plenty for most pilots that want to get into the air and enjoy cruising. With this type of engine and horsepower, you certainly have some speed at your fingertips, as you can get up to nearly 250 miles per hour in the Piper Aztec.
In addition, you can get up to 21,000 ft high in the air in this aircraft. When refueling the Piper Aztec, you can get as much as 144 gallons of gas inside. The flight altitude, combined with the fuel storage and speed of this aircraft implies that you should be able to have at least 5 hours in the air without needing to land and refuel.
The Piper Aztec has a vintage design and it looks phenomenal. The aircraft has two propellors, which are on each side of the plane’s wings. What you will want to prioritize when hunting down an affordable Piper Aztec is that this plane has been looked after properly by the previous owner (as always). Given that the Piper Aztec was first released in 1960, you want to make sure that it is still suitable for the air after 60 years of being operational.
You want to avoid buying any Piper Aztec that has too many original mechanical parts. Instead, put an emphasis on options that have been restored as much as possible. If you are having doubts about your options, it is always best to have a professional accompany you for your inspection.