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Touring Motor Gliders Association (TMGA)

estimating Phoenix ownership costs


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Hi everyone,

 

I am a private pilot who is really interested in the Phoenix. I've been trying to work up some numbers to help decide if this is something that I could afford (ideally with 1 or 2 partners). Could you all please look over these and tell me (a) if I'm missing anything, and (b) if they are realistic? This analysis ignores the capital cost of the aircraft. 

 

Fixed costs

Hanger  $250/mo

Insurance  $2000 /yr

 

Operating expenses and reserves

Fuel (ethanol-free autogas): $4.00 / gal and 4 gph

Oil changes: $150 every 50 hours

Engine reserve:  $20k replacement at 2,000 hours

Prop reserve:  $1,500 at 1,000 hours

Avionics reserve: $5k every 5 years

Parachute service: $1200 every 10 years

Rotax rubber hose replacement: $4,000 every 5 years

Annuals: $1,500

 

Assuming 120 hours per year, and running the engine for 50% of the time:

$838 / mo or $83.75 per hour

 

Thanks-

Matt

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mikeschumann

You seem to have done your homework.  Depending on where you are based, your hangar cost might be a little low.  I would also bump up your insurance cost somewhat, depending on you and your partners experience, and how much hull coverage you will carry (my 1st year, I paid about $2,600).

On the other hand, I don't think you need to spend $5K every 5 years on avionics.  If you get a Dynon Skyview system with all the bells and whistles, you will probably be set until you do an engine replacement.

The biggest challenge will be to find a partner(s).  It's pretty tough to get someone to commit when the waiting list to get the aircraft is 2 years.  I finally gave up and just coughed up the down payment myself to get on the waiting list, with the idea that I would look for a partner after I got the plane.  Now, given my usage, I've decided that being a single owner is worth it.

The other challenge with partners is that this is a tail dragger.  It's a challenge to learn how to fly (more particularly land), if you don't have a significant amount of tail dragger experience.  I'd be somewhat picky about who I would trust as a partner with this kind of plane.

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Eric Greenwell

 Here some actual expenditures for my Phoenix, with the work done by Aircore Aviation at KAWO.

Condition inspection (annual): $475 (takes less than a day)

Oil and filter change: $150 (estimate - the invoices didn't separate the labor from the inspection, float replacement, etc that were done at the same time)

Avionics 3.5 years usage: no costs yet (problems all handled under warranty), and I don't expect any major costs.

Engine rubber replacement: Ed Walker said his (done by Aircore) cost about $3000.

My insurance costs $2110 for $165,000 stated value, through Costello. It's a named pilot policy; "open pilot" policies are $1000+ more dollars.

Hangar rent: $250/month (this varies considerably from place to place, and some have 3+ year waiting lists!)

I haven't considered a prop reserve, so I can't help there.

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I got an insurance quote from Avemco in the amount of $6,000 per year. I'm a PPL with 110 hours, no IFR. no glider, and only a couple of hours in tailwheel (J-3). 

 

That is going to put ownership out of reach if I can't find a much lower rate. 

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mikeschumann

You need to join the SSA and talk to Costello. They understand gliders.  I had similar quotes from other companies. Costello charged me about $2,600 the 1st year. 

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Eric Greenwell

I

33 minutes ago, shams42 said:

I got an insurance quote from Avemco in the amount of $6,000 per year. I'm a PPL with 110 hours, no IFR. no glider, and only a couple of hours in tailwheel (J-3).

Yikes! Costello Insurance Associates is the insurance broker for the SSA (Soaring Society of America), and organization you will want to join anyway, and a requirement for their insurance program. I suggest calling Costello (800-528-6483) for a quote. Of course, you'll need to get your glider license to fly the Phoenix, and get enough tail wheel time to be comfortable flying a "tail dragger". The Phoenix is easy to fly, but not easy to land, at least when you are new to it; specifically, from 10 seconds before the flare until after you've landed and the ground speed has dropped below 30 knots. Experienced tail wheel pilots adapt quickly; others, even myself with 1000's of glider hours and 30 hours of Citabria time, struggled to get it right. I know what to do now, and it's just fun, not a problem, to land it.

It's the side by side seating that throws off your perceptions (off-center seating), and the relatively nose-high attitude that blocks the pilot's view from about 12 o'clock to 2 o'clock. By comparison, you sit centered in a Cub and have equal vision out each side. There are simple techniques to adapt to the Phoenix, but if you (or your instructor) don't know them, the flare and touchdown can be very frustrating.

Here's an elaboration of the techniques:

 

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Try Regal Aviation Insurance. I have an open policy at same quote as Costello named policy for $170k declared hull value and 2 co-owners. You will need to get a glider rating to get the best insurance quote. The plane is very forgiving to fly with no bad habits. Bear in mind that if you are much over 6foot 2" tall your head will touch canopy. I use the plane for soaring and for extensive touring. The only tricky element is cross-wind landing...not insurmountable. Get the Dynon Skyview with the Dynon Radio if you can swing it...excellent system an controllable thru fore flight if you like. If you are member of glider club; that's a good place to fish for partners. I have  an arrangement with a co-owner in the deep south. He gets the plane mid-october to Mid-April. I get it the rest of the year up here in PA.  2 year wait is daunting.

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Eric Greenwell
14 hours ago, Dave said:

Try Regal Aviation Insurance. I have an open policy at same quote as Costello named policy for $170k declared hull value and 2 co-owners. You will need to get a glider rating to get the best insurance quote.

How much is your insurance cost from Regal?

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