Beyond the Purchase Price of an Aircraft – Considering and Calculating the Real Cost of Aircraft Ownership and Operation

Determining how much it costs to buy, own, and operate an aircraft isn’t just about the initial purchase price. There is much more to consider, including things like maintenance, hangar costs, insurance costs, any loan costs you may have, or anything that breaks and needs to be fixed on the aircraft. This doesn’t even take into consideration general wear and tear on items, reserves for components that will need to be replaced over time, or the cost of fuel to fly. These other costs are things that many buyers forget, and it costs them later. In addition to actual dollars cost, it can also lead to less flying or even an unsustainable aviation future.

It is easy to get excited when we find an aircraft our budget will allow us to purchase, but before you take the leap and write a check, transfer the funds, or get a loan, you should take the time to carefully consider what the real operating expenses of the aircraft will be and if they are justifiable and logical. Continue reading

Finding the Correct Aircraft Code for IACRA Applications – A Search Link

Ever have a hard time determining the correct aircraft model, make, or code to enter into IACRA for an applicant’s practical test? I know I have! Some aircraft are much harder to find than others, so here is a little help that may make it easier.

First, if you don’t know what I am talking about just yet, when you are entering an IACRA application for a pilot certificate, under the “Certificate Sought” tab there will be an option to “Click here to Enter the Completion of Required Test Information“. Clicking this will bring you to a page where you will need to enter the information about the aircraft that will be used on the rest.

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Calculating Descents from Higher Altitudes

One of the major benefits of flying higher, is that you get to descend for a longer distance, using less fuel, and typically at a faster speed across the ground. But taking advantage of these longer descents takes a little planning.

If we consider an aircraft that would descent at 200 knots from FL250 down to an approach altitude of 3000’ MSL, we have a long ways to descend and if we complete this at a comfortable 500’ per minute descent, it would take a 153 miles over 44 minutes to complete the descent. This descent is longer than many cross-country flights that pilots in smaller light general aviation aircraft fly!

To put this in perspective, I have include here a chart that show descent rates of 500’ per minute and 1000’ per minute from various flight altitudes to demonstrate the mileage and time it would take to complete these descents. Continue reading

Generic LSA Aircraft Codes for IACRA When Aircraft Not Found

In a recent practical test, I ran into the IACRA challenge that the aircraft to be used for the test, in this case, a Flight Design CT, was not available in the list of aircraft for the applicant in IACRA.

With a little help from the IACRA Help Desk, I was informed that there are “Generic” codes that can be used for the applicant when an aircraft is not in the list of aircraft that IACRA utilizes.

To help, if you run into this, here is the list of codes that you can use.

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