The iconic Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub stands as a widely sought-after single-engine, piston-powered airplane. As an aspiring owner, I was eager to explore the costs associated with owning and operating a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub. In this article, I’ll share my findings on pre-owned PA-18-150s.
What does a Piper PA 18 150 Super Cub Cost? A pre-owned Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub (manufactured between 1964 and 2018) has an estimated price range of $115,000 to $245,000. The total annual cost of ownership, excluding depreciation but encompassing expenses like insurance, maintenance, and hangar costs, is roughly $12,025. The variable cost per flying hour, assuming 100 hours of flight time, is approximately $50.
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Why the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub is a Great Plane
The Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub frequently attracts newly certified private pilots due to its relatively affordable price, fuel efficiency, and user-friendly handling.
The Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub is an exceptional aircraft that can accommodate up to two passengers, including the pilot. In this article, we will discuss the total cost of ownership for a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, as well as various financing options available for prospective buyers.
Cost of Purchasing a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub
For those working with a budget, a reliable and well-maintained used Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub can be found within the price range of $115,000 to $245,000, for models dating from 1964 to 2018. With proper research and guidance, buyers can find a high-quality, pre-owned Super Cub that fits their needs without breaking the bank.
The widely sought-after Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub is easily accessible thanks to its enduring popularity since its debut in 1949. With ongoing production, numerous options are available on the market, catering to various preferences based on condition, age, and location of the aircraft. A well-maintained Super Cub can be found for approximately $115,000, though they tend to sell quickly upon listing.
Ownership Costs of a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub
Purchasing a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub is just the beginning of the financial commitment. Owners must also account for fixed and variable running costs, which amount to an estimated annual total of $12,025. Fixed costs are likely to be around $4,225, while variable costs based on 100 annual flying hours could reach $7,800. Depreciation costs will vary according to individual circumstances, making them difficult to forecast.
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Owning an airplane, such as the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, comes with various fixed and variable costs that may not be apparent to first-time buyers. This is the case not only for PA-18s but for any aircraft. If you’re purchasing a new or pre-owned Piper with cash, you don’t have to worry about finance costs. If you need a loan to finance the acquisition, you should also account for the costs of interest repayment.
What Are the Fixed Costs for Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub Ownership?
Fixed costs of aircraft ownership are the expenses you’ll incur regardless of whether the aircraft is flown or not. For example, even if you buy a PA-18-150 and never fly it, you’ll still need to cover fixed costs such as the one-time purchase price, hangar fees at the aerodrome, insurance costs, and the annual inspection cost. The total fixed costs would amount to approximately $4,225.
You should also consider the depreciation of your aircraft’s value as an asset. However, due to numerous variables, such as age, cost, resale value, and market conditions, providing an accurate figure for depreciation is not feasible.
Moreover, to ensure your aircraft passes the annual inspection, you will likely need to pay for any required maintenance. While some people classify these expenses as variable costs, it’s more appropriate to consider them fixed costs since you’ll likely have to pay for them regardless of your aircraft’s usage.
In addition to these costs, you might also have regular subscriptions for services such as weather forecasting or ForeFlight. Keep all these factors in mind to better understand the financial commitments associated with owning a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub or any other aircraft.
Hangar Costs for a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub
Hangar costs for storing a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub can vary significantly based on factors such as location and storage facility type. In the US, you may find hangar space available for as low as $70 per month, though it’s worth considering higher-priced options that offer more amenities and security. Renting a hangar isn’t the only option; you might also have the opportunity to build or purchase your own hangar.
How much does insurance cost for a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub?
Insurance costs for owning and operating a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub may not be as expensive as you’d expect. Similar to hangar costs, insurance rates can vary widely depending on factors such as location, frequency of flights, aircraft value, and the type of coverage. Insurance pricing for aircraft can vary significantly due to numerous factors.
It is advisable to shop around, as you may find a more affordable rate. However, keep in mind that lower rates often only provide liability-only coverage, which does not cover damage or loss to the aircraft itself but does cover damage or injury to third parties.
The primary determinant of the cost to insure a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub is the airplane’s valuation. The annual insurance cost for a used Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub will be approximately $1,700.
How much is an annual inspection for a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates that aircraft undergo an annual inspection. This inspection costs around $550. Additionally, you will need to ensure that all parts are in proper working order and top up oil and other fluids as required. The fixed maintenance costs, including the annual inspection, amount to approximately $4,225 per year.
Understanding the Variable Costs of Owning a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub
The variable costs associated with owning a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, such as fuel, oil, unscheduled maintenance, and miscellaneous expenses (including landing fees, parking, and minor travel costs) are estimated to be approximately $7,800 per year.
This translates to a per-hour cost of around $78 for flying the aircraft. It is important to note that these figures are only approximate, as individual expenses may vary depending on usage and other factors. Over time, annual variable costs tend to increase as the aircraft ages. Unlike fixed costs, variable expenses are incurred only when the aircraft is in operation.
Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub Fuel Costs
The Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub relies on avgas for its operation, with an average fuel consumption rate of 9.0 gallons per hour. At the current avgas price of approximately $5 per gallon, the hourly fuel cost amounts to around $50. Keep in mind that avgas prices may vary across different airports, depending on factors such as location and traffic volume, so it’s worth comparing prices to find the best deal.
Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub Oil
For those with a technical inclination, you can reduce maintenance expenses by taking care of oil changes for the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub yourself. Doing so not only saves you money on labor costs but also helps you gain a better understanding of your aircraft’s maintenance requirements.
Without proper maintenance, you’ll be required to cover the expenses for labor, oil, and filters yourself. It has been estimated that the oil cost for a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub typically amounts to around $3 per running hour.
Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub Engine Maintenance Costs
Approximately every 2,000 hours, the engine of a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub demands an overhaul. The cost of overhauling an aircraft engine can escalate rapidly based on factors such as engine condition, age, and hours of wear and tear. Since safety is of utmost importance, it is essential to perform this maintenance.
During the overhaul process, the engine is disassembled, and each component is meticulously inspected. This examination encompasses the pistons, bearings, cylinders, and other engine parts, ensuring optimal performance and safety.
Engine maintenance is crucial, as the need for complete overhauls increases with the accumulation of flight hours. We’ve covered both fixed and variable costs, so now let’s explore ways to make ownership of a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub more affordable.
Financing Options for Purchasing a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub
There are several financing options available for purchasing a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, as I have learned from friends who own this type of aircraft. One option is securing a loan from a bank or financial institution.
Leasing the aircraft is another alternative that allows you to use it for a specified period before returning it, or potentially purchasing it at the end of the lease. Consider collaborating with a small, trusted group of individuals to acquire shared ownership in the aircraft.
This enables you to split costs and responsibilities, making the investment more manageable .If you are considering purchasing a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, it is crucial to carefully review all terms and conditions before signing any documents. Fully understanding the terms and potential costs you may be responsible for is essential.
Taking out a loan for a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub
One option to finance your Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub is by applying for a conventional loan from a bank or credit union. If you have a strong credit score and a stable financial history, this might be a smart decision. Alternatively, you can consider applying for an aviation-specific loan. These loans often provide more flexible terms and are more willing to accommodate applicants with less-than-perfect credit.
Practical advice: Prior to selecting a lender, it is highly recommended to shop around and compare rates and terms from different lending institutions. Assess your financial situation thoroughly, ensuring that you have the means to afford the loan payments.
For those not ready to commit to purchasing an aircraft outright, leasing a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub presents an accessible and budget-friendly financing solution. By leasing a plane, you agree to use it for a pre-established duration—typically spanning several years—in return for a fixed monthly payment.
Upon lease completion, you can either return the aircraft or purchase it at a predetermined price. Options include wet leases (comes with a pilot) and dry leases (aircraft only), with the latter being the more common choice.
Before signing a lease, conduct thorough research and compare offerings from multiple providers. Lease agreements often involve considerable paperwork, so ensure you understand the fine print. Just as with loans, carefully assess your ability to make payments throughout the entire lease period.
Buying a Share in a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub
Investing in a share of an aircraft allows you to co-own a portion of the plane and operate it jointly with other owners. For those requiring access to an aircraft, this option serves as a viable alternative to complete ownership or long-term leasing.
Shared Ownership and Fractional Ownership of Aircraft
Often known as ‘shared ownership’ or ‘fractional ownership,’ this model allows individuals and organizations to partially own an aircraft without bearing the full cost of purchase and maintenance. An initial investment is required to obtain a share, followed by ongoing maintenance and operational expenses. Local flying clubs frequently facilitate such arrangements, introducing many people to the concept of owning a share in aircraft, such as the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub.
Fractional ownership of airplanes is an attractive option for people or organizations who desire the benefits of aircraft ownership without the hefty upfront cost. This approach enables owners to split the initial purchase price, as well as the continuing maintenance and operational expenses. The proportion of the aircraft each owner has access to, and is responsible for maintaining, depends on the size of their respective shares.
Individuals who wish to fly for personal or professional reasons but lack the funding or necessity to own a plane outright may find fractional ownership appealing. Additionally, this model can be a viable alternative for companies that need regular access to an aircraft but prefer not to assume full ownership responsibility.
Manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Model: Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub First flight: 1949 (PA-18 Super Cub series) Production years: 1949-1983, 1988-1994 (PA-18 Super Cub series) Role: Light, single-engine piston aircraft Seating capacity: 2 passengers (including pilot) Engine: 1 x Lycoming O-320-A2B air-cooled, horizontally-opposed piston engine Horsepower: 150 hp (112 kW) Wingspan: 35 ft 2.5 in (10.73 m) Length: 22 ft 7 in (6.88 m) Height: 6 ft 8.5 in (2.04 m) Maximum speed: 130 mph (209 km/h) Cruise speed: 115 mph (185 km/h) Range: 460 miles (740 km) Service ceiling: 19,000 ft (5,791 m) Rate of climb: 960 ft/min (4.88 m/s) Wing loading: 10.6 lb/ft² (51.6 kg/m²) Power/mass: 0.10 hp/lb (0.16 kW/kg) Fixed tailwheel (conventional) landing gear configuration Known for: Excellent short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities, ruggedness, and ease of handling Popular uses: Recreational flying, bush flying, glider towing, and flight training Legacy: The Super Cub is an improved version of the Piper Cub, which is a classic and iconic aircraft in aviation history Optional equipment: Can be equipped with floats or skis for versatile operations in various environments
As evident, the total cost of ownership for a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, or any aircraft for that matter, can be quite substantial. However, it’s all about perspective. For those passionate about flying and financially capable, the investment is undoubtedly worthwhile. In comparison to other aircraft, the Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub has relatively reasonable expenses.
Calculations show that the operating cost for a PA-18 aircraft is approximately $120 per hour, including fixed and variable costs. The variable cost of flying amounts to around $78 per hour, covering fuel, oil, maintenance, and other related expenses.
For a more budget-friendly option, most newly-licensed private pilots opt to rent a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, which makes more financial sense for them. Find the best small planes for pilots in our in-depth article.
We hope you found this information valuable and wish you safe flying!