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We tested the market and took all the costs into account to answer the question of how much a 4 seater plane costs. Find out in this expert discussion.
If you’re in the market and thinking about buying an airplane, one of the most versatile options that you have is a 4 seater plane. Small enough to fly around yourself or with a passenger, but large enough to carry a few passengers if you so choose. It’s right in the sweet spot between 2- and 6-seater airplanes. But the big question is: how much does a 4 seater airplane cost?
Buying a 4 seater airplane is no small purchase. The price tag varies widely depending on the model, year, and condition of the plane. You can spend anywhere from around $30,000 to $500,000 for a used 4 seater airplane. New models can cost into the millions without breaking a sweat.
A 4 seater plane can be a great investment for your company, but it is important to know how much you will spend on the plane in order to make a sound decision. In this article, we break down all of the costs that come with owning and operating a four-seater airplane. We discuss purchase price, storage costs, insurance, fuel, maintenance and more!
At SkyTough, we want to provide our readers with the best information that we can. As aviation enthusiasts ourselves, we understand where you’re coming from when you ask these sorts of questions, and I love being able to share my passion with others of the same ilk. To make this article, we talked to owners of 4 seater airplanes to see what major costs are involved and we also got real-world prices to show you exactly what to expect for common 4 seater airplanes.
How Much Do 4 Seater Planes Cost?
Before we get into a list of some of the most common 4 seater airplanes and how much they cost to purchase, it’s important that you understand that the purchase price of the plane is not the end all be all of what it truly costs to own and fly. Even if you purchase one of the cheapest planes to buy and fly, there are still other costs involved than simply the price tag of the airplane.
Without getting too far into the weeds on it, there are fixed and variable costs to airplane ownership. This means that some costs just are what they are, no matter what. Stuff like the purchase price, hangar space, insurance, etc. — things you have to pay for no matter what. Then there are also variable costs that change with how much you fly, such as fuel and oil changes.
For a full rundown of everything involved in owning a plane in general, check out our full article on fixed and variable costs. But for the sake of this article, we’re going to focus on some of the major costs of buying and flying a 4 seater airplane.
Storage Costs (Hangar Space)
Although hangars are not necessary for your plane, most pilots desire to keep their aircraft somewhere safe. Storage costs may be a minor factor in the overall cost of owning an airplane, but it can easily become very expensive if you have no other choice than paying full price each and every month.
Storage rates vary significantly among locations, so make sure you know your local prices before you purchase an airplane. The storage costs listed below are based on average rates, but can easily fluctuate depending on the location and size of your hangar. This is what you can expect to pay:
- $50 to $200 to rent from someone else (i.e. sublet)
- $250 to $400 to rent directly from the airport
Other than renting, you of course also have the option of buying your own hangar or building a brand new one from the ground up. While these are both far more expensive than just renting, it is an option to consider. For an in-depth cost analysis on buying, building, or renting an airplane hangar, check out our full article here.
4 Seater Airplane Insurance
One of the largest expenses for owning a small airplane is insurance. Depending on the type of policy you purchase, rates will vary. However, expect to pay at least $500 per year for coverage on a four-seater plane. For this amount, you should be able to have liability coverage with at least $1,000,000 in coverage.
For full coverage on your 4 seater airplane — i.e. to cover the price of the plane itself — you’ll have to pony up a bit more cash. For most insurers, expect to pay around $1,000 to $2,000 per year for full coverage, depending on which plane you own and how much it’s worth. In general, the more expensive the plane, the more you’ll have to pay for insurance.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) typically requires that you have your airplane inspected every year to ensure safety, compliance, and airworthiness. While the costs typically aren’t too bad, Annual inspections for a four seater airplane cost between $300 and $500, depending on the type of plane you have.
Regular Maintenance & Repairs
The biggest key to getting the most life as you can out of your 4 seater airplane is to make sure that you keep up with the necessary maintenance and repairs. Some things, like oil changes, need to be done every year no matter what, and even more so the more you get out there and fly your plane.
Other repairs, like tire replacements, are needed less often. Occasionally, you might have a super expensive repair like an engine overhaul or replacement, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. On average, expect to spend around $600 to $1,200 per year on maintenance and repairs for your 4 seater airplane.
One of the biggest costs of airplane ownership is the fuel that you burn to fly. Airplanes run on and use different types of fuel including AvGas, Jet-A, and more. The prices per gallon vary and the amount you use will greatly influence how much fuel you have to buy. The more you fly your plane, the more that you’ll have to spend on fuel. If your plane just sits around, you won't have to spend much (if any) on fuel. It’s different from person to person.
4 Seater Airplane Prices
While the costs above are nothing to scoff at and will undoubtedly add up overtime, they’re likely not what you really wanted to read about when you searched for 4 seater plane prices. So let’s get into the really good stuff and take a look at some of the most popular 4 seater planes on the market and what they cost to buy.
All prices below are from real-world examples of planes that you can buy, with prices accumulated from planes for sale on Trade-A-Plane, unless noted otherwise.
Cessna 172 Skyhawk
By far the most popular 4 seater airplane on the market is the incredible Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Not only is this the most popular 4 seater airplane, it’s the most popular airplane ever produced, period. If you’re in the market for a 4 seater, then the Cessna 172 should be at the very top of your list no matter what. You won’t be disappointed.
It was introduced in 1956 by Cessna Aircraft Company, and the Skyhawk’s engine produces 180 horsepower. This enables the aircraft to fly to an altitude of 13,000 feet above sea level. The Skyhawk's cruising speed is 160 knots, fuel range is 1150 miles, and it has a useful load of 3324 pounds.
Although it only has one engine this airplane still allows people to enjoy a high cruising speed because its cruising altitudes are low while having a good cruise, which uses less power. This also helps save on gas mileage which makes flying cheaper!
Piper Pacer PA-20
The Piper Pacer PA-20 is a four seater airplane that was produced between 1956 and 1973. It has an engine of 150 horsepower or 115 kilowatts, cruising speed at 140 miles per hour (225 kilometers per hour) with useful load weighing around 900 kilograms (2000 pounds). The maximum altitude it can reach is 11,000 feet above sea level.
Cessna 182 Skylane
The Cessna 182 Skylane was designed by the aeronautical engineer Robert L. Baker for Cessna Aircraft Company, who led the design team. The prototype first flew on July 31, 1956. The Cessna 182 was the first production airplane to have a turbocharged engine, and the first to use a fuel-injected engine.
The Cessna 182 Skylane is a four-seat, single engine light airplane produced by the Cessna Aircraft Company. It has a cruising speed of 140 mph, and a range of just over 1000 miles. The aircraft was introduced in 1956 and remains in production today.
Piper Archer PA-28
The Piper Cherokee Archer is also a four-seat, single engine light airplane. Introduced in 1976, it has a cruising speed of 122 mph and a range of almost 800 miles. It can reach an altitude of 14,000 feet and includes a significant useful load of more than 1,130 pounds. More than 8,000 Archers have been built to date.
The Maule M-series of airplanes is a line of rugged, high-performance STOL (short takeoff and landing) aircraft that are popular for personal use, bush flying, towing banners and gliders, pipeline patrol, and more. The M-series was originally designed by Al Mooney in the 1950s and has been continually updated over the years. The current version is the M-VII, which was introduced in 2007.
The M-VII is available with two engine options: a 180 horsepower Lycoming O-360 or a 200 horsepower Continental IO-390. Both engines feature fuel injection, dual electronic ignition systems, and automatic mixture control. The M-VII has a useful load of 950 pounds and a cruising speed of 120 knots. It can fly up to 15,000 feet and has a range of 460 miles.
Cirrus SR20 & SR22
The Cirrus aircrafts are single-engine four seat, fixed-wing general aviation airplanes built by the Minnesota based company Cirrus Design Corporation. The two most popular models of this airplane, the SR20 and the SR22, were produced from 1993 - 2005 and 2006 - present respectively.
These planes come with an average cruising speed around 220 knots (440 km/h) at 11,000 ft (3300 m). It is equipped with a Continental IO360 engine, which features fuel injection that uses both throttle position and manifold pressure as inputs to determine the optimal air/fuel ratio in each cylinder for maximum power and efficiency.
Mooney Ovation Ultra
The Mooney Ovation Ultra is a four-seat, single engine airplane produced by the Mooney Aircraft Corporation. It has a cruising speed of 235 mph and an engine that produces 310 horsepower. The useful load for this airplane is 650 pounds and it can fly up to 16,000 feet. It was first introduced in 2009.
Diamond DA 40
The Diamond DA40 was first introduced in 1997, and is still being produced today. It has a cruising speed of 120 knots, and can reach altitudes of up to 18,000 feet. The engine is a Thielert Centurion AE300 diesel engine which gives it a fuel range of approximately 620 miles and a useful load of 950 pounds.
The Vulcanair V.0 is a four seater airplane that was first produced in 2009. It has a cruising speed of 185 mph, and can fly up to an altitude of 18,000 feet. The engine is a Lycoming IO-360 which gives it a fuel range of 540 miles and it comes with a useful load of just 860 pounds, not quite as high as some of the other planes in this guide.
The Piper Matrix is a four-seat, single engine airplane with a cruising speed of 172 mph. It has an engine that produces 160 horsepower and a useful load of 900 pounds. This plane can fly up to 15,000 feet and was first introduced in 2007, making it one of the newer planes on this list, which contributes to how expensive it is!