View Full Version : 337 operating costs

08-26-02, 10:19 PM
I received this as an email. Anyone want to take a crack at it? Seems like we did this question recently... -Kevin

Hi. My name is John Thiel. I am looking for a plane to purchase. Can someone tell me roughly how much a skymaster costs to fly per hour. All expenses included. Fuel, maintenance, etc.... Thanks. John. (jetws@comcast.net)

08-26-02, 11:30 PM

Your inqiry didn't specify which model type of Skymaster, but for the P337 series, a safe bet for fuel & oil would be close to $62.00 an hour (based on fuel @ $2.30 a gallon), plus another $17/hr for engine reserves... this based on 100 hours per year. Add in the hangar, the insurance (if you're financing the plane), the annual inspection and incidental repairs and add-ons and divide the cost by 100-hours, or whatever number of hours the user plans to fly.

If the inquirer is trying to 'justify the cost' of ownership/operation of the Skymaster, he'd better look at utilizing it for business, otherwise a Cessna 172 would be a better way to go.


Kevin McDole
08-27-02, 01:32 AM
Originally posted by SkyKing
plus another $17/hr for engine reserves...$17/hr * 1600 = $27,200 - you must mean $17/hr per engine, or $34/hr for both.

08-27-02, 04:37 PM

Yes and no. When I did the cost analysis for insertion into the Jeppesen FlightMap/FlightStar computer program, I used the cost of our TSIO-360-CB6B factory reman in the rear position, which at the time was $23,800... and I also based it on TCM's recommended TBO of 1400 hours. And yes, it would be 2X, or $34.

On the other hand if you don't go with remans and piece out the engine for overhaul and have a good mechanic friend who will in-kind some of the help, your costs could be dramatically lower.

Ah, but there's also another school of thought, based on what GMAs has talked about referencing the non-VAR cranks. You'll only be able to use it for a mail-box post when the cases are split, so if everything internally checks out, one should really consider a top overhaul with new cylinders and other components on an 'as required' basis.

But in reality, how many 337 owners, or any pilot for that matter, do you know who sets aside in a piggy-bank somewhere even half that amount each time they fly the plane? To have some reference point is good if you're quoting an hourly rate for a 135 operation, or if you're co-owners, but for the average pilot it's really an exercise in frustration and futility. Unless you're using the plane in business, let's face it, flying is for FUN and it's pretty hard to 'justify' even one engine, let alone two!!! And I include in the 'FUN', basic transportation too, to get from point "A" to "B"... it sure beats driving, and anymore I can't stand being on the road with all the road maggots.


Ernie Martin
08-27-02, 05:51 PM
The subject was discussed extensively in Peter's website and a summary was posted there, in a section intended for folks considering buying a Skymaster. You can find it by going to www.skymaster.org.uk/purchase.asp.


Kevin McDole
08-28-02, 02:53 AM
Originally posted by SkyKing But in reality, how many 337 owners, or any pilot for that matter, do you know who sets aside in a piggy-bank somewhere even half that amount each time they fly the plane?Youíre absolutely correct. I donít want to know how much this really costs because it would ruin the fun. Besides, I donít kid myself that itís some kind of investment or economical advantage vs. a car. Before I buy a plane, I do a very rough estimate of costs in my head (no hardcopy to later embarrass me) and I NEVER revisit that number. Ignorance is bliss and I want to remain blissful. And you know, I donít calculate the operating expenses for my car either!

Alan Williams
08-28-02, 03:38 AM
Yup, it surely does cost about what Kevin says.
the question is , does it pay for itself.
I suggest that if a business can afford to actually own and operate one of our aircraft, the benefits, of which some are quite intangible, can and do outwiegh the costs. Therfore they can be and are a profit generating business tool.
We use ours to transport key maintenance and management staff over distances which equate to 4 to 7 hour vehicle rides and we do this on a daily commuting basis with our aircraft. It is cheaper to commute them that pay travel and lodging time and we always minimize down time for equipment. The personal love being home with family at night.
So, why not a less expensive or a larger more expensive aircraft?
Again the machine should fit the mission profile and budget. Our IFR P337 with anti ice gives us the best bang for the buck , ie pressurized and 2 motors, one motor being unacceptable for real IFR over the rocky westest coast, of anything I could find to own.
Two new young pilots asked me today why a centrline thrust over a conventional twin and I simply said I like to minimze the risk. I think we all know a conparable conventional loaded twin with an engine failure on takeoff needs all the help it can possibly get just to stay upright. I like the idea of building the help into the aircraft.
So, in summary our aircraft are excellent value if you have ajob for them and a lot of fun if you just use it to get around. I hate driving also.

Bob Cook
08-28-02, 07:10 AM
I concentrate on fuel prices. <G>

From 2.85 to $1.94 last weekend made me forget about the hourly cost. Just think of the money I saved putting in 100 gallons.......

The reality check is the Annual and the insurance "lumps" that kinda give you a feeling for the cost (and no props have turned yet).....

It is the cost of staying away from the airlines. Doing in 2 hours by aircraft vrs TWO DAYS by airlines makes it all worthwhile (last weekend).


Jerry De Santis
08-29-02, 08:01 PM
First I'll start off by saying hourly cost doesn't mean anything, it's a myth. Total cost is the important factor and that is a moving target. Lets look at why I say that.

The last time I checked on the hourly cost fuel was about $1.80 per gallon. Based on that cost and a 200 hour year flight time, my cost ran between $125 and $140 per hour. Sounds pretty dood dosen't it? I based my fuel cost on an average of 27 gallon per hour. You can make the adjustment to agree with current fuel cost in you area. Also, some other factors are:

fuel @ $1.80 $9,720 per year
Hangar fee........$1,980 per year
Insurance..........$4,500 per year
Engine reserve..$3,000 per year
Ann and Maint...$6,800 per year

In spite of the fuel prices that went up to an average of $2.55 a gallon in my area and the fact I flew 366 hours last year, my hourly cost went down to about $115.00. Does this mean that because it looks inexpensive compared to other aircraft that it is good. Well---Yes, if you don't mind spending $41,479.00 per year.

Now, if I only flew say 100 hours in the year, even with fuel cost at $2.55 per gallon, my hourly cost will be over $231.00 per hour,
but the yearly cost will be $23,100.00. So with the examples shown, would you rather pay the $115.00 per hour or the $231.00 per hour. What I can tell you about my Skymaster, it seems the more I fly it the less problems I have with it. so my maint. cost did not really increase a whole lot because I flew almost twice the planned hours.
:confused: :confused:

09-01-02, 06:04 PM
I created the attached spreadsheet. This is a generic template that captures what I consider the major costs of owning an aircraft, tailored to a P337 (particulary the upgrades sheet). Doubters scoff, plug in your own numbers, and revel in insecurity!

The bottom line, A/Cís cost money, lots of it (though it depends on how well you treat them). One can justify a P337 net operating costs of $0/hour (using a crafty tax accountant and attorney) or $250/hr in a vacuum and funding everything out of pocket.

Real aircraft operating costs depend on too many variables to serve up a one-size-fits-all answer. And the post that writes about intangible benefits of having a business machine which facilitates families being together at night should not be underestimated.

Having a capable business asset that delivers extraordinary value beyond what the competition can deliver, and being unconstrained to cost effectively conduct business any time, any place, is what itís all about.

With the current commercial aviation climate, anyone having the flexibility of General Aviation should easily be able to justify a personal GA aircraft.