So, you’re wondering how much does a light sport airplane, also known as a light-sport aircraft (LSA) cost? A sport plane can cost a minimum of about $20,000 or more. You can spend up to $140,000 for the top of the line with all the bells and whistles. There is a large price range similar to automobiles.
If you’re going to spend that kind of money, you probably also wonder; “How long does an airplane LSA last?”
After four years of fairly active usage and exposure to UV light from the sun, the fabric of a fabric covered airplane may be in need of replacement. This of course varies with how you use it and how you care for your aircraft. It’s easy to test your fabric for strength and thus determine your need to replace the fabric long before it becomes unsafe. Engine maintenance is crucial to long life. The aircraft frame should last indefinitely with good care.
Good used light sport airplanes are often available for half as much though it will have a shorter lifespan. In addition, because the sport is evolving rapidly, newer sport planes can have significantly better performance and behavior than older ones. You will need expert help in determining the suitability of the used aircraft for your needs, and how airworthy it is. Good deals exist but you will need to be able to carefully evaluate what you are looking at. Equally important is how well the used aircraft was cared for. This LSA is going to take you high into the air so you will want to be sure of its condition before you buy it.
Unless you know what you are looking at, that you should have expert help in deciding before you buy.
Once you have your aircraft and have completed training your main cost is for gas and oil. These consumables are not very expensive. A few gallons of gas and some two or four cycle oil will not break your budget.
You will also need a few other small incidentals. These can add an additional $300 to $500 to your bill. For well under $20,000 you can become the owner and pilot of your own personal and portable aircraft. Most pilots who get into the sport also purchase a two-way radio for an additional $500.
An annual condition inspection by a qualified professional is also required to assure the aircraft is in good shape for flying. This is a good investment for your safety.
Well then, what do you need to know when purchasing your first airplane LSA? First, it is best if you know how to fly. No would-be pilot should purchase a wing before learning at least the basics of flying an airplane. A reputable dealer should make certain you are properly trained before he will let you take possession of any equipment. In many cases, the dealer who sells it to you can provide the training when you buy one.
In most cases the dealer is or has access to a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). Or he will refer you to a CFI who can properly train you. It is your instructor’s job to understand the aircraft systems to help you select your first airplane.
Different sport airplanes have different characteristics and require different skill levels; your instructor will help you match the airplane LSA to your particular interests, strengths, weaknesses, and skill level.
Develop a solid relationship with an instructor you trust before purchasing equipment. “Good deals” generally end up costing the naive new pilot a great deal of money later. Most instructors rely on referrals and repeat business, so they are very determined to help you make the right decisions. When purchasing equipment, a responsible dealer will always require some proof of certified pilot rating.
It may be necessary for you to purchase the aircraft that you will train with. There are some advantages to this. Training on the equipment that you will eventually fly eliminates the transition time that it will take to get used to flying different gear.
While most sport planes function in a similar way there are differences in technique required for different models. Different makes and models usually have both advantages and disadvantages over the other.