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Air travel is more accessible than ever before, but if you want to fly on your own terms, there’s no better way to do it than to buy a small plane.
Whether you like hobby flying or simply want to skip airport security, getting your own small plane is a game-changer for traveling from point A to point B. However, the aviation industry is expansive and dynamic, which is why you want to make sure that you pick a small plane that is going to suit your inflight needs, as well as your budget.
The best small planes you can buy are the Cessna 172 ($150,000 - $400,000), Icon A5 ($300,000 - $375,000), Beechcraft G36 Bonanza ($750,000 - $1 Million), Eclipse 550 ($3 Million), Embraer Phenom 100 ($4.5 Million), Learjet 70 ($3 Million), and the Gulfstream 650 ($39 Million - $65 Million).
For so many people out there, buying a private plane is a lifelong dream. With aviation becoming more and more common, a lot of people are choosing to buy their own planes instead of relying on airlines. Having the ability to hop in your own aircraft comes with so many perks - whether it is for work, travel, or simply the joy of flying. Before you begin weighing out your options, you should first try to decide what kind of in-flight capabilities you want your aircraft to have. Not all planes are made equal and you will find that each option that you look at will be better suited for a certain kind of air travel. To help you with your decision-making, we are going to take a closer look at the best small planes that you can buy.
After extensively researching small planes, I have been able to gather enough information to create a complete list of the best options that are currently on the market. My research has shown me that you should pick a small plane based on the specs that you want it to have, as well as your budget.
Best Small Planes
If you are tired of going through security and eating unsatisfactory airline food, there is really no better way to travel than in your own aircraft. We have been seeing more people buy small planes to make travel by air truly enjoyable. With a plane at your disposal, you can approach international travel in the same way that most people go on their casual road trips. If money is no option, you would be amazed by the options that are out there for small private planes.
However, not everyone wants to buy a plane to be chauffeured around. At the end of the day, what’s the fun of having a plane if you are not the one that gets to fly it? If you are itching to get inside the cockpit of your very own aircraft to indulge in the freedom of piloting a plane, there are some amazing options on the market right now to make that dream a reality.
Regardless of what your aircraft ambitions are, you should reflect on exactly how you want to use your plane before you begin making any serious decisions. Each plane that you look at is going to vary in its in-flight capabilities - with some being much better suited for certain flying styles. Buying a plane is never cheap, but costs can vary dramatically - which tends to be the biggest obstacle for a lot of aspiring private plane owners. If you have an idea of how much you are willing to spend, you can narrow down your options to make your search a lot easier. Let’s dive into the best small planes that you can buy.
Cessna 172 ($150,000 - $400,000)
The Cessna 172 is a classic in the world of aviation and it has been soaring through the sky since the early 50s - with new models still being designed and manufactured to this day.
So many pilots and aircraft enthusiasts have admiration for the Cessna 172 given that it is the starter plane for so many people. Flight schools prefer to train pilots using the Cessna 172 over any other aircraft given how dependable and user-friendly it is. More people have their first flight with this Cessna plane than virtually any other aircraft out there, which is why it is one of the most popular small planes that money can buy.
If you want to get in the air without overthinking too many technical features or capabilities, the Cessna 172 is the plane for you. People who own this aircraft give it nothing but praise, as it is the ultimate hobby plane for casual pilots. You should not expect the most dynamic flight performance with the Cessna 172 but you will enjoy having 800 miles of air time with a full tank of gas - enabling you to easily travel across states. In addition, the Cessna 172 has got 4 seats, which makes this a great plane for anyone looking to go on family trips or entertain friends.
This aircraft has been around for a long time, which is why you may see different variations in the market that will vary in costs. A brand new model is pricey and can easily cost upwards of $400,000. However, going for a pre-owned Cessna 172 can save you a ton of money on your purchase - with many going for $150,000 (or even less for older models).
Icon A5 ($300,000 - $375,000)
The Icon A5 is one of the coolest small planes out right now and it is perfect for any pilot that wants to have a sporty aircraft. This is a truly unique small plane that stands out compared to virtually every other option that we mention. The reason for this is that the Icon A5 is not a traditional aircraft used solely for getting from point A to point B.
The Icon A5 is a sporty plane that is just begging for adventure. One of our favorite features is that the plane can land on water, as well as land - making it an incredibly dynamic aircraft that you can enjoy in a wide variety of different settings. It is designed a lot like a boat on the outside enabling it to land and cruise on the water, but the Icon A5 also has a retractable landing system. With only 2 built-in seats, this is a great plane for someone looking to enjoy adventures with a buddy.
Pilots who got their hands on an Icon A5 have had nothing but praise for this aircraft. The in-flight performance is fantastic and it has advanced safety features such as a full-plane parachute in case of emergencies. With that being said, the Icon A5 is not going to be ideal for every pilot out there. If you want to travel long distances with your plane, you may want to consider a different option. The Icon A5 has a range of roughly 320 miles with a full tank. Although you can certainly use it as a travel plane, this flight range does not get most people where they need to go for cross-country aviation.
This plane is essentially a toy for adults. If you are looking solely to enjoy flying and want to have the versatility to land on water, the Icon A5 is the adventure aircraft of your dreams. The manufacturer has announced an upgraded version of the A5 to come out in November 2022 - with even more advanced features than the previous model. Given that this is still a relatively new plane, you are going to have a harder time finding used models that are sold at a cheaper price. You can expect to pay anywhere from $300,000 to $375,000 for a brand new Icon A5.
Beechcraft G36 Bonanza ($750,000 - $1 Million)
The Beechcraft G36 Bonanza is a crowd favorite among so many pilots. This is an aircraft that is reliable and easy to fly, which is why so many people do not bother shooting for anything more advanced, as the Beechcraft G36 Bonanza is all that they need to travel and enjoy flying.
This plane from Beechcraft is not a new concept and has seen a lot of upgrades since its initial development. When you look at the Beechcraft G36 Bonanza, it has a similar aesthetic to a WW2 plane. That is because it was originally designed in 1947 just after the war. However, the technology and capabilities of this small plane have seen a lot of improvements since then - with new a design and better flight performance than previous generations.
What is great about the Beechcraft G36 Bonanza is that you can take your air travel further with this small plane. This Beechcraft airplane has a range of just under 700 miles, which means that you can certainly use it for cross-country travel if desired. It is also capable of seating six - perfect for bringing friends along for the ride.
The great thing about the Beechcraft G36 is that it has been around for a while and it is still being produced to this day - reassuring you of dependability and quality manufacturing. However, this also means that you have got more options for finding one that meets your budget. For newer models, you can expect to pay anywhere from $750k to $1 million on a Beechcraft G36 Bonanza. Whereas for older/used models, you can probably find options on the market that are quite a bit cheaper - making this a more accessible small plane for pilots on a budget.
It is worth noting that this small plane may be more challenging to operate for a pilot who has not had as much experience flying older planes. The design and controls of this aircraft resemble an analog-style aircraft, which is not something that you find with a lot of newer planes. If you are experienced with older planes or are willing to learn, this is an amazing small plane to consider.
Eclipse 550 ($3 Million)
If you want to take your aviation to the next level, few small planes can compete with the Eclipse 550. This is essentially a miniature jet that combines the convenience of a small aircraft - while at the same time, giving your the performance capabilities of a full-size jet.
What is great about the Eclipse 550 is that it is the bridge between having an aircraft that you fly yourself and owning a jet that you pay a pilot to fly you around. If you are an experienced enough pilot to handle an Eclipse 550, you will enjoy the freedom of being able to take your miniature jet with you wherever you want to go.
On the other hand, the Eclipse 550 is also an amazing option for someone looking to have the convenience of a private plane that you can travel with efficiently. A lot of people that want a private plane choose the Eclipse 550 over any other private jet given how much easier it is to take care of. Storage can be an issue with a lot of jets but not with the Eclipse 550. The manufacturer specifically designed this plane to be compact so that it be easily stored and handled.
The Eclipse 550 also has an impressive range of roughly 1,200 miles. This opens up a lot of doors for dynamic air travel. You can fly across the country at 430 miles per hour - enabling you to travel quickly and conveniently. However, unlike the previous small planes that we mentioned, this jet will enable you to travel internationally. With 6 seats to take full advantage of, the Eclipse 550 is the perfect mini-jet for quick getaways.
The cost of an Eclipse 550 is usually just under $3 million. If you are shopping on a budget this is certainly not going to be the best plane to consider, but if you do end up going with the Eclipse 550, you will enjoy its impressive fuel efficiency. Given its small size and sophisticated design, this small plane goes through just 59 gallons of fuel per hour, which is going to save you a considerable amount of money in the long run compared to other jets on the market.
Embraer Phenom 100 ($4.5 Million)
The Embraer Phenom 100 is a powerful small jet that will greatly level up your aviation capabilities. This is a very popular plane for private air travel and it has got virtually every feature that you could ask for to enjoy a luxurious trip in the sky.
This is a small jet that was designed by a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, Embraer. It is equipped with two turbofans that enable the plane to reach speeds of just under 450 miles per hour. However, what is truly impressive is the 1,350-mile range that the Embraer Phenom 100 is capable of, which is often the selling point for a lot of buyers.
With the Embraer Phenom 100 at your disposal, you can enjoy air travel like never before - with long-distance capabilities that shatter just about every small plane on the market. While you are in the air, the interior design of the Embraer Phenom 100 will make you feel right at home, as comfort was a focus that Embraer prioritized when making this aircraft. BMW was contracted for the interior, which adds a level of luxury to air travel that can only be described as first-class.
This is a small jet that will guarantee a quality in-flight experience, as it has comfort and capabilities that are superior to most small planes on the market. With that being said, you can expect it to be higher in price than our other options. You can find the Embraer Phenom 100 being sold for usually around $4.5 million. However, given that this small plane has been manufactured since 2007, there are likely to be options on the market that are cheaper than this.
Learjet 70 ($12 Million)
If you have got an extra $12 million laying around and want to buy a world-class small plane, the Learjet 70 is going to be hard to beat. This is one of the best private jets that money can buy, as you will experience luxury and in-flight capabilities like never before.
The Learjet is capable of getting up to 45,000 ft and it can achieve an impressive range of over 2,200 miles with a full tank. International travel is wide open with this small plane in your hangar. The current Learjet 70 has seen some upgrades from its previous model and a key characteristic is that the aircraft is 200lbs lighter than its predecessor.
When flying in your Learjet 70 you can have up to 6 passengers on board, as well as 2 crew members to accommodate your needs while in-flight. This small plane is equipped with a full entertainment system including touch screen panels and even WiFi - making it a perfect aircraft for anyone looking to unwind while flying from point A to point B. However, the Learjet 70 is also a particularly popular option among businessmen, as well as companies and corporations.
Gulfstream 650 ($39 Million - $65 Million)
Last, but certainly not least, is the Gulfstream 650 - a small plane exclusive to the rich and famous. This is the best private plane that money can buy and it is considered to be a luxury that very few people can afford - but you will get what you pay for with this aircraft.
To start, the Gulfstream 650 has a very impressive range of 7,000 nautical miles to deliver to its passengers. This is the ultimate private aircraft to take you anywhere - anytime! If you are looking to fly around the world - there is literally no better way to travel in the sky. This is a business jet that is unrivaled when it comes to speed, performance, and luxury.
The interior of the Gulfstream 650 was designed for absolute comfort - with a 5-star in-flight entertainment system. This small plane can seat up to 18 passengers (not including crew), which is why it is particularly popular among the corporate elite. With these specs in mind, you can expect to pay top dollar for the Gulfstream 650. For a new model, the price is generally around $65 million. However, for a used model, you can find options that are as low as $39 million. With that being said, we will see some improvements in specs and an increase in price once the G7 is released this year in 2022.