The iconic Aeronca Champ is a widely admired single-engine, piston-powered airplane.
As an aspiring owner myself, I was eager to discover the costs associated with owning and operating this aircraft. In this article, I will share my findings on the expenses for both new and pre-owned Champs.
What does the Aeronca Champ Cost? A second-hand Aeronca Champ (manufactured between 1946 and 1979) typically costs between $26,000 and $90,000. The total cost of ownership (excluding depreciation), which covers insurance, maintenance, and hangar expenses, is approximately $7,875 per year. The variable cost of flying is roughly $25 per hour, based on 100 hours of flight time annually.
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Why the Aeronca Champ is a Great Plane
The Aeronca Champ is a popular choice among newly certified private pilots due to its relatively low price, fuel efficiency, and easy handling. The Aeronca Champ is a versatile aircraft, capable of carrying up to two passengers, including the pilot.
Cost of Purchasing an Aeronca Champ
For those on a budget, a used Aeronca Champ in good condition can be found in the $26,000 to $90,000 price range, with models dating from 1946 to 1979. This option offers a more affordable entry point into Aeronca Champ ownership while still providing a reliable and enjoyable flying experience.
The Aeronca Champ is a popular and easily accessible aircraft since its first launch in 1945. With numerous models on the market, you have the flexibility to pay more or less depending on factors such as condition, age, and location of the aircraft.
A decent condition Aeronca Champ can typically be found for about $26,000, but be prepared for swift competition, as they tend to sell quickly once available. Read our small plane buying guide to make the right choice.
Ownership Costs of an Aeronca Champ
After purchasing your Aeronca Champ, be ready to face additional expenses, including fixed and variable running costs. On average, the total annual cost of ownership is $7,875. Fixed costs amount to roughly $3,075, while variable costs, based on 100 annual flying hours, stand at around $4,800.
However, keep in mind that depreciation costs can vary significantly due to numerous factors, making it challenging to provide an accurate estimate for your specific circumstances.
At PilotPassion, our mission is to provide you with engaging and relevant aviation content. As aviation enthusiasts and student private pilots, we strive to put ourselves in your shoes when creating this material. Our goal is to save you time and energy while delivering accurate information on the costs associated with owning and operating an Aeronca Champ.
Owning an airplane, such as an Aeronca Champ, comes with various fixed and variable costs that beginners might not be aware of. These costs apply to all aircraft, whether new or used.
If you decide to purchase your Aeronca Champ using cash, you won’t need to worry about financing costs. However, if you choose to take out a loan, you’ll need to factor in interest repayment costs.
What Are the Fixed Costs for Aeronca Champ Ownership?
Fixed costs of aircraft ownership refer to the expenses you’ll incur regardless of whether the plane is used for flying.
For example, if you buy a Champ and never fly it, you’ll still be responsible for fixed costs such as the one-time purchase price, hangar fees at the aerodrome, insurance premiums, and the annual inspection fees. On average, these fixed costs amount to approximately $3,075.
Another important factor to consider is the depreciation of your aircraft’s value as an asset. Numerous variables, including the plane’s age, initial cost, resale value, and current market conditions, influence depreciation. Due to these factors, we can’t provide a precise depreciation figure here.
Additionally, to ensure your aircraft passes its annual inspection, you may need to pay for maintenance work. While some people might categorize these fees as variable costs, it’s more appropriate to classify them as fixed costs since you’ll likely need to pay for them whether you fly the aircraft or not.
You might have regular subscriptions for services like weather updates, ForeFlight, or other aviation-related resources, which should also be factored into your fixed costs.
Hangar Costs for an Aeronca Champ
Hangar costs for an Aeronca Champ can vary significantly based on factors such as location and the type of storage facility you choose to rent space from.
In the United States, hangar spaces can be found for as low as $70 per month, although it’s advisable to invest in a higher-priced option for improved facilities and security. Alternatively, you may also consider building or purchasing your own hangar.
Aeronca Champ Cost of Insurance
Contrary to popular belief, insurance costs for owning and flying an Aeronca Champ are relatively affordable. However, the exact cost of insurance will depend on various factors, including location, frequency of flights, aircraft value, and the type of coverage you select.
Insurance pricing for aircraft can significantly vary due to numerous factors. For the best deal, it’s advisable to shop around, as this may lead to lower rates. However, keep in mind that lower rates typically only provide liability-only coverage, which does not include damage or loss to the aircraft itself but covers damage or injury to third parties.
The primary factor in determining the cost of insuring an Aeronca Champ is the airplane’s valuation. For a used Aeronca Champ, the approximate annual insurance cost is $700.
How much is an annual inspection for an Aeronca Champ?
The FAA mandates an annual inspection for aircraft each year, which costs approximately $650 for an Aeronca Champ.
In addition to this inspection, ongoing maintenance is essential, such as ensuring that all parts are in working order and topping up oil and other fluids as needed. Therefore, the fixed maintenance costs (including the annual inspection) could amount to around $3,075 annually.
What Are the Variable Costs for Aeronca Champ Ownership?
Owning an Aeronca Champ involves several variable costs, including fuel, oil, unscheduled maintenance, and miscellaneous expenses such as landing fees, parking, and minor travel costs. On average, these costs amount to approximately $4,800 per year.
The variable cost per flight hour is typically around $48. These figures are only estimates, and individual expenses may vary based on usage and other factors. As the duration of ownership increases, annual variable costs often rise. As they say, your mileage (knotage!) may vary.
Unlike fixed costs, variable costs are only incurred when the aircraft is in use.
Aeronca Champ Fuel Costs
The Aeronca Champ operates on avgas, which typically costs around $25 per hour of flight time. The current avgas price is approximately $5 per gallon, with the aircraft consuming 4.5 gallons per hour.
To find the best deals on avgas, it’s worth exploring different airports, as prices can vary based on location and traffic volume.
Aeronca Champ Oil
For those with a technical background, managing oil changes for the Aeronca Champ can lead to savings on labor costs. Simply take charge of the maintenance process and perform the oil changes yourself.
To avoid paying for labor, oil, and filters out of your own pocket, it’s essential to be aware that the oil cost for an Aeronca Champ typically runs at about $3 per running hour.
Aeronca Champ Engine Maintenance Costs
Every 2,000 hours or so, the engine of an Aeronca Champ needs to be overhauled. The cost of overhauling an airplane engine can escalate quickly, depending on factors such as the engine’s condition, age, and hours of wear and tear.
As safety is of the utmost importance, this maintenance procedure is vital. During the overhaul, the engine is disassembled, and each component is meticulously inspected, including the pistons, bearings, cylinders, and other engine parts.
Repairs and replacements are conducted as needed. As an engine accumulates more flight hours, the frequency of complete overhauls increases. With fixed and variable costs considered, it’s time to discuss how to afford one!
Financing Options for Purchasing an Aeronca Champ
There are several financing alternatives available for purchasing an Aeronca Champ, as evidenced by friends who own this type of aircraft. One option is securing a loan from a bank or financial institution.
Another viable choice is leasing the aircraft, which allows you to utilize it for a set period before returning or potentially purchasing it at the end of the lease.
Consider pooling resources with a trusted group of individuals to buy a shared ownership stake in the aircraft. In this approach, the costs and benefits are distributed among the participants.
When considering the purchase of an Aeronca Champ, be sure to carefully read and understand all terms and conditions (T&Cs) before signing any agreements. It’s essential to be aware of the comprehensive terms and any associated costs for which you may be responsible.
Securing a Loan for an Aeronca Champ
One option for financing your Aeronca Champ is applying for a traditional loan from a bank or credit union. This may be a smart choice if you possess a strong credit score and a stable financial background. Another alternative is applying for a loan specifically designed for aircraft financing.
These loans tend to offer more lenient terms and are potentially more willing to work with applicants who have less-than-perfect credit scores.
Practical Advice: Prior to selecting a lender, it is always advisable to compare rates and terms from multiple lenders. Assess your financial circumstances thoroughly and ensure that you can comfortably manage the loan payments.
For those not ready to commit to purchasing an aircraft outright, leasing an Aeronca Champ can be an accessible and cost-effective financing option. When you lease a plane, you agree to use it for a predetermined period—usually several years—in exchange for a fixed monthly payment.
At the end of the lease, you have two choices: return the aircraft to the owner or purchase it for a predetermined amount.
There are two types of leases available: wet leases, which include a pilot, and dry leases, which provide only the aircraft. The dry lease option is typically more suitable for most individuals. It is essential to carefully research and compare lease offerings from different providers.
Leasing agreements can involve extensive paperwork, so be sure to read the fine print. As with loans, consider your ability to make payments for the entire lease duration.
Buying a Share in an Aeronca Champ
Purchasing a share in an aircraft allows you to co-own a portion of the plane and operate it jointly with other owners. This option can be a practical alternative to an outright purchase or long-term leasing if you require access to an aircraft.
Sharing ownership can provide cost savings and flexibility compared to other financing methods.Shared Ownership and Fractional Ownership in Aviation
Often referred to as ‘shared ownership’ or ‘fractional ownership,’ this unique approach offers individuals or organizations the opportunity to own a portion of an aircraft without bearing the full cost of ownership. The initial investment, along with ongoing maintenance and operational expenses, is typically required when purchasing a share in an aircraft.
Local flying clubs often arrange or facilitate these co-ownership opportunities. Many people first learn about this practice through participation in flying clubs, where they may encounter shared ownership of airplanes such as an Aeronca Champ.
Fractional ownership provides several advantages, including cost-effective access to aircraft ownership for people or organizations who may not have the funds or necessity to own a plane outright. This arrangement enables co-owners to share the aircraft’s initial purchase price and ongoing expenses, making it more financially manageable.
The extent of access to the aircraft and the responsibility for maintenance for each owner is determined by the size of their respective shares. Fractional ownership can be an attractive option for those who wish to fly for personal or professional reasons but do not have the resources for full aircraft ownership.
Additionally, it serves as a viable alternative for companies requiring regular access to an aircraft without taking on the full responsibility of ownership.
By leveraging shared ownership or fractional ownership, more people and organizations can enjoy the benefits of aircraft ownership at a reasonable cost, making aviation accessible to a wider audience.
The Aeronca Champ Specifications
Manufacturer: Aeronca Aircraft Corporation Model: 7AC Champion (commonly known as "Champ") First flight: 1944 Production years: 1945-1951 (original production), 2001-2018 (newer models by American Champion Aircraft) Role: Light-sport aircraft, primary trainer Seating capacity: 2 (tandem seating arrangement) Engine: 1 x Continental A-65-8 air-cooled horizontally-opposed piston engine Horsepower: 65 hp (48 kW) Wingspan: 35 ft (10.67 m) Length: 21 ft 6 in (6.55 m) Height: 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) Maximum speed: 100 mph (161 km/h) Cruise speed: 85 mph (137 km/h) Range: 460 miles (740 km) Service ceiling: 12,400 ft (3,780 m) Rate of climb: 370 ft/min (1.88 m/s) Wing loading: 8.15 lb/ft² (39.8 kg/m²) Power/mass: 0.10 hp/lb (0.17 kW/kg) Tailwheel landing gear configuration Known for: Easy handling, stable flight characteristics, and affordability
The total cost of owning an Aeronca Champ or any aircraft can be quite significant. But, it’s all about perspective.
For those with a passion for aviation and the financial means, the investment is truly worthwhile. In comparison to other aircraft, the Aeronca Champ is relatively affordable.
After calculating expenses, the average operating cost for a Champ amounts to approximately $78 per hour, including both fixed and variable expenses. The variable costs alone, which cover fuel, oil, and maintenance, come in at around $48 per hour.
For a majority of newly-certified private pilots, renting an Aeronca Champ is the preferred option, as it offers better financial flexibility. With that said, we’ve covered the essential information on Aeronca Champ ownership and rental.
Here’s to safe and enjoyable flying!