N512AT      1975 Cessna 210L


What will it cost?


A lot.   At least by most standards.   Airplanes are not cheap and expense tends to rise exponentially with size and this airplane is a good bit larger than a C-172, C-182, Piper Cherokee, etc.  Unless you are looking for a great XC airplane that can carry a large load, there might be better choices for you. 


However, if you have the need for hauling 4 full sized adults + baggage or more, the 210 is a great choice.    It has more full-fuel payload than most 6 place twins and a roomy cabin. 


When you start thinking about airplane ownership and associated costs, you have to understand the difference between fixed costs and direct operating costs.   As an owner, your 1st hour of flying each year costs several thousand dollars, paying for all those fixed costs.   After that, the incremental direct operating cost for flying the next ___ hours is a lot more tolerable!  


Annual Fixed Costs for N512AT

Hangar                        $6500 ($549 monthly)

Annual Inspection                   ~$2000 (just inspection - not including squawks – next one is due on 10/31/2016)

Insurance                                ~$3900 (for 3 people flying, due in Jan)

Jepp/Garmin Database           $700 (paid in Feb)

XM Weather                           $900 (paid monthly)

Misc Maintenance                  ~$6000 avg (occurs sporadically, could be a lot more or a lot less)


Total Annual Costs     ~ $20,000

Each 1/3 share            ~ $6500-$7000


The N512AT group does not attempt to pro-rate or spread out payments on any of these fixed costs – the LLC pays them when the costs occur and bills the members at that time.   The treasurer typically bills members every quarter, which works since the LLC bank account is healthy.    There are no payment plans – members are expected to pay upon receiving a bill.    The LLC has been in operation since 1996 and these numbers are very good averages over a 3-4 year period, but as mentioned, any single year could see maintenance costs higher or lower. 


Direct Operating Costs (based on tach time)

General Maintenance $30 per hr

Engine/Prop reserve   $25 per hr

Fuel (at 14 gph, $5.00 per gal avg) $70 per hr

Total direct operating costs ~$125 per hr


The hourly cost is currently set at $55 per hour dry per tach hour.  This is divided into $25 engine/prop reserve and $30 for general maintenance.  More on maintenance below.


More on Fixed Costs



Our insurance runs about $3500-$4000 per year, ~$1200-$1400 per person.  That is a $1M liability policy with $150K hull coverage.  Insurance requires 500 PIC, 100 hrs RG and an IFR rating.  If a pilot does not meet these requirements, the cost can go up and the pilot who does not meet the standards is expected to pay for the additional premium costs, per the bylaws. 


Garmin/Jepp database - this runs about $700 per year, split evenly.   XM Weather is $900 per year, paid monthly.  Hangar is $549 per month at KEDC, including tow in/out service.


Annual - the plane requires an annual inspection whether it flies or not.  Also, it requires a transponder/pitot-static check every 2 yrs to remain IFR certified.  These costs are split evenly among members.  The inspection part of the annual has been running $1800-2100 per year.  The pitot-static check is ~$400 every two years, due again in Dec 2017. 



It's in the interests of all owners, regardless of how much they are flying - to keep the airplane in an airworthy state.   Basically, there are things that degrade over time that are mostly independent of the amount the plane is flying.  There are other maintenance costs that are more directly related to flying time.  We account for these by allocating them to either “operational” expenses or “fixed” expenses.   Operational expenses are paid from the general maintenance fund (the $30 per hour) and fixed expenses are split evenly by the membership.   If the operational expenses are not covered by the general maintenance fund, then we may raise the hourly maintenance charge or make a flat assessment to the members or both.


It's often a bit of a subjective argument about which way a given expense should be allocated.  We depend on judgment and the input from mechanics for this.  For example, in 2010 we replaced all hydraulic hoses for the landing gear.  The mechanic said the hoses were just degraded over time - they were 35 yrs old.   So it did not seem appropriate to pay for all of that out of the general maintenance fund, so we split those costs 50/50 between the two funds.  Batteries tend to have a finite calendar life, mostly independent of flight time, so they tend to be fixed expenses.  Tires, brakes, vacuum pumps.......are all more related to operating hours than calendar time, so those are operational expenses. 


Bottom line

A 1/3 share of the fixed costs for this airplane is about $6500-7000 per year.  Additionally, flight time will cost $120-$130 per tach hour, depending on fuel costs.  Your liability for maintenance expenses could vary quite a bit.  The more you fly, the more likely you'll get your money's worth. 


But always…….that next hour that you are thinking about going to fly……will only be about $125 – less than you pay to rent smaller planes that are not as gorgeous and comfortable and cruise at 165 knots.    Additionally, you will find that covering ground at 165 kts in the 210 costs about the same per mile as covering ground at 115 kts in a fixed gear 4 place airplane!   Do the math!