Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby drseti » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:43 pm

A little bit of thread drift, but:

If anyone is looking for hangar space in Northern CA (south end of Silicon Valley), I have a large hangar now vacant on the Frazier Lake Airpark, 1C9, Hollister CA. Email me at Fly@AvSport.org, if intetested.
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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Nomore767 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:51 pm

foresterpoole wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:
Warmi wrote:If there is money to be made on renting hangars ,as there obviously is given long waiting lists you describe, then the normal market driven solution would be to raise the price which in turn would result in more hangars being build and available and no waiting lists ...

So why nobody is building new hangars and making boatloads of money ?


I manage a small airport. Building new hangars is not quite as simple as one would think, especially if the airport is federally funded.


I'll take a stab at why I think the market has not adjusted: fuel. The only places to get 100LL around here are AEX or 2L0. ESF has a fuel truck, but you'll pay through the nose for it and you have to call in advance. Of those three only ESF and AEX have instrument approaches, so if you want IFR your pretty limited. Those two are controlled by the Parish which is broke, 2L0 is a small city government. The two larger airports still utilize community hangers built by the military which are low cost to rent, but hell to get into. Pineville (2L0) is out of real estate for hangers and most Tennant's have had hangers for years since they were built (pretty basic T-hangers and corregated tin) their leases are locked in at low rates. So your other choices really can't command a high price because you have to fill up elsewhere which is a real pain, and rents there are low because of it. All those airports are Federally funded or supported, so I'm sure that makes a difference as well, 3D can probably elaborate. So to summarize: fuel is limited, hangers are full at low rates, and no one in government wants to spend money.


One aspect of current Light Sport, which goes to the points you made, is how some LSAs have either folding or removable wings such as Remos and Aerotek (folding) and RV-12 (removeable). This allows you to purchase or build a trailer capable of carrying the plane to a rented tie-down and flying from there. It also means you can potentially store your airplane at home. This goes a long way to addressing your concerns and in a couple years you break even versus higher fuel prices and hangar rent and you can still look for a hangar.
Utilizing auto gas means you can self fuel at a cost much less than 100LL.
I found the Aerotek intriguing in that on their website they show a large enclosed trailer capable of housing the plane which serves as a mobile hangar as such.
I believe that this is one of the real advantages of light sport aircraft and this kind of flying.

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Merlinspop » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:52 am

Nomore767 wrote:One aspect of current Light Sport, which goes to the points you made, is how some LSAs have either folding or removable wings such as Remos and Aerotek (folding) and RV-12 (removeable). This allows you to purchase or build a trailer capable of carrying the plane to a rented tie-down and flying from there. It also means you can potentially store your airplane at home. This goes a long way to addressing your concerns and in a couple years you break even versus higher fuel prices and hangar rent and you can still look for a hangar.
Utilizing auto gas means you can self fuel at a cost much less than 100LL.
I found the Aerotek intriguing in that on their website they show a large enclosed trailer capable of housing the plane which serves as a mobile hangar as such.
I believe that this is one of the real advantages of light sport aircraft and this kind of flying.

Purely speculation on my part, but I suspect that the time and effort involved in folding (or removing wings), loading and security everything into a trailer, getting the trailer parked at home (and for me, fighting the HOA that with a dumb 'no visible trailers' rule) will end up becoming enough of a time-suck and hassle to deter frequent flying.
- Bruce

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Nomore767 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:06 am

Merlinspop wrote:
Nomore767 wrote:One aspect of current Light Sport, which goes to the points you made, is how some LSAs have either folding or removable wings such as Remos and Aerotek (folding) and RV-12 (removeable). This allows you to purchase or build a trailer capable of carrying the plane to a rented tie-down and flying from there. It also means you can potentially store your airplane at home. This goes a long way to addressing your concerns and in a couple years you break even versus higher fuel prices and hangar rent and you can still look for a hangar.
Utilizing auto gas means you can self fuel at a cost much less than 100LL.
I found the Aerotek intriguing in that on their website they show a large enclosed trailer capable of housing the plane which serves as a mobile hangar as such.
I believe that this is one of the real advantages of light sport aircraft and this kind of flying.

Purely speculation on my part, but I suspect that the time and effort involved in folding (or removing wings), loading and security everything into a trailer, getting the trailer parked at home (and for me, fighting the HOA that with a dumb 'no visible trailers' rule) will end up becoming enough of a time-suck and hassle to deter frequent flying.


Agree.....but...if the alternative for the prospective light sport pilot is no rentals, no hangars, expensive fuel if they can rent....it does offer a solution. Not for me either actually because I’d need an extra pair of strong hands to load/unload the trailer and likewise my HOA wouldn’t approve. But it might be an option for some, who’ve not considered it.
If I hadn’t found an available hangar at a reasonable rate I’d likely not have bought my LSA. Even then my hangar is about an hour’s drive each way from my home. Another option is a hangar at my mechanics place. A shared hangar over two hours drive each way for a little less per month, or I could buy a lot on his airpark and live next to my plane, a prospect not attractive to my wife.

This is why, when people ask me about buying and owning an LSA I focus a lot on a hangar to store it, qualified quality maintenance, and whether the model they’re interested in meets their personal “mission”. Rather than focusing just on the attributes of the plane.

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Merlinspop » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:24 am

Nomore767 wrote:Agree.....but...if the alternative for the prospective light sport pilot is no rentals, no hangars, expensive fuel if they can rent....it does offer a solution. Not for me either actually because I’d need an extra pair of strong hands to load/unload the trailer and likewise my HOA wouldn’t approve. But it might be an option for some, who’ve not considered it.
If I hadn’t found an available hangar at a reasonable rate I’d likely not have bought my LSA. Even then my hangar is about an hour’s drive each way from my home. Another option is a hangar at my mechanics place. A shared hangar over two hours drive each way for a little less per month, or I could buy a lot on his airpark and live next to my plane, a prospect not attractive to my wife.

This is why, when people ask me about buying and owning an LSA I focus a lot on a hangar to store it, qualified quality maintenance, and whether the model they’re interested in meets their personal “mission”. Rather than focusing just on the attributes of the plane.

Absolutely... I didn't mean to completely poo-poo the idea, but for anyone who was considering that route, I wanted to bring up the cons as well, just so they would have both parts to consider. It's been done for years by the glider community, so it's clearly "do-able" as long as people go into it with 'eyes wide open'.
- Bruce

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Nomore767 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:30 am

Merlinspop wrote:
Nomore767 wrote:Agree.....but...if the alternative for the prospective light sport pilot is no rentals, no hangars, expensive fuel if they can rent....it does offer a solution. Not for me either actually because I’d need an extra pair of strong hands to load/unload the trailer and likewise my HOA wouldn’t approve. But it might be an option for some, who’ve not considered it.
If I hadn’t found an available hangar at a reasonable rate I’d likely not have bought my LSA. Even then my hangar is about an hour’s drive each way from my home. Another option is a hangar at my mechanics place. A shared hangar over two hours drive each way for a little less per month, or I could buy a lot on his airpark and live next to my plane, a prospect not attractive to my wife.

This is why, when people ask me about buying and owning an LSA I focus a lot on a hangar to store it, qualified quality maintenance, and whether the model they’re interested in meets their personal “mission”. Rather than focusing just on the attributes of the plane.

Absolutely... I didn't mean to completely poo-poo the idea, but for anyone who was considering that route, I wanted to bring up the cons as well, just so they would have both parts to consider. It's been done for years by the glider community, so it's clearly "do-able" as long as people go into it with 'eyes wide open'.


Exactly. Well put and agree totally.

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Jim Hardin » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:05 pm

Trailering is viable but keep these in mind:

You will save about $3,500 per year for hanger
IF you have to use Avgas at the airport, using Mogas will save about $900 depending on fuel burned.
Owner Maintenance can be easier at home[/list]

On the other side, it does take two strong people to fold or remove the wings. (damage potential is much higher) Creative minds might come up with some handling device. (Patent it and sell it on eBay to defray ownership costs)

With the hassle of assembly and disassembly, your use is going to drop off real fast. Beautiful day, I'd like to grab a quick hour... But when 2 hours of assembly/disassembly are needed for 1 hour of fun...

Depends on your situation and needs.

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Nomore767 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:19 pm

Vans have a video showing two of their guys removing the wings from an RV-12 and reinstalling them all in a matter of minutes. Sure two guys, from Vans, can do this. I’ve never removed the wings on my plane and in fact would prefer a fixed wing option with wing fuel tanks, but that’s just me.
I don’t know how long it would take to connect and disconnect a trailer. That said you will refine the process but only you can decide whether it’s worth it to you and completes your mission. “You” being the generic you, not you :)


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