Top 10 Cheapest Planes To Buy

Ken Hyde

By Ken Hyde

Last updated:

The hefty aircraft cost has become prohibitive for the typical pilot, prompting the establishment of flying clubs where members can jointly own the plane model they fly. Even then, they’re not exactly inexpensive, though. However, if you’re ready to purchase something a little slower and older, you might score a deal on one of these really cheap airplanes.

Scroll down to learn more!

What Involved In The Plane Costs?

Purchase Price

An airplane’s type, model age, and current condition can all significantly impact its buying price. The cost of older, smaller planes is typically lower than that of bigger, more recent models.

For example, an advanced airliner can cost tens of millions when purchased from a reputable manufacturer. Meanwhile, a pre-owned piston aircraft with just one engine might cost a fraction of that amount. Thus, we recommend you gather information and a solid grasp of the market before purchasing.

Maintenance Fee

For airplane owners, the maintenance cost is another thing to wonder about, as it quickly adds up. Routine inspections, maintenance, and upgrades are required to maintain the aircraft’s condition and guarantee its safety. The kind of aircraft and the necessary quantity of work will determine the actual maintenance fee.

Fuel Expenses

A plane can’t operate without fuel. Therefore, the fuel expense is another regular cost for any owner. The kind of aircraft, the distance traveled, and the speed at which it is flown will all affect how much gasoline is consumed. Keep in mind that you should account for gasoline expenses when scheduling your flights.


As with any other vehicle you own, you need to get insurance for your aircraft. Aviation insurance offers liability as well as coverage for damage to aircraft. Policy-specific coverage differs, and there are two types of aircraft damage: exterior and in-flight.

The kind, worth, and frequency of plane use are factors that will affect the insurance price. Consult a reliable insurance company to find the finest coverage at the lowest cost. This requires comparison shopping and shopping around for insurance.

Parking And Storage

It is necessary to keep airplanes at airports or hangars. Generally speaking, outside storage is less expensive than hangars and covered areas. However, the hangar cost varies depending on the area and airport location. Airport fees in cities are higher than those in rural areas.

Top 10 Cheapest Planes To Buy

The cheapest airplane on this list is the Cessna 150 with a price of as little as $14,000. Another excellent choice for you and your bank account is the Luscombe 8A, coming at a budget of $16,000 to $24,000. Coming in the third position is the Piper PA-28 Cherokee, which is available at $20,000 to $22,000.

The details and further options can be found in the following sections!

10. Piper J-3 Cub – $42,000

Piper J-3 Cub

The Piper J-3 Cub, the complex airplane that made Piper famous, was manufactured more than 20,000 times during its brief nine-year production period (from 1938 to 1947). Additionally, Piper’s most important postwar aircraft was built on it.

Constructed with a basic fabric-covered steel-welded frame, the J-3 Cub’s relatively powerful piston engine allows it to achieve remarkable cruising speed and is lightweight. It serves as far more than just a GA (stands for general aviation) and training aircraft.

Such outstanding performance doesn’t come with a high price tag. You can get it at about $42,000, and its hourly operating cost is only approximately $160.

9. Stinson 108 – $39,000

Stinson 108

The Stinson 108 was a modification of the pre-World War II Stinson Voyager. This plane was intended to surpass its predecessor in speed and range while incorporating and enhancing several novel handling and aerodynamic features from WWII-era trainers.

Being in the list of pilot’s early favorites, the Stinson 108 has endured via private upgrades, including the installation of more modern and potent engines and small adjustments to the wing as well as other aerodynamic elements.

From 1946 to 1950, only more than 5,000 units were made. Now, you can get one for just $39,000, with an operating cost of $100/hour.

8. Piper PA-38 Tomahawk – $36,000

The engine of this Tomahawk may be removed with the propeller still connected if it is required to remove it for maintenance. By doing this, the job’s labor costs and time are reduced, making it one of the cheapest planes out there (about $36,000). And operating this plane only costs around $60 per hour.

What is special about this plane is that, with its large wrap-around windows, the Tomahawk’s cockpit provides almost 360 degrees of exterior vision. In addition, the low-wing shape facilitates visual identification of approaching aircraft by inexperienced pilots and students, potentially averting several mid-air collisions.

7. Cessna 182 Skylane – $34,000

Cessna 182 Skylane
Cessna 182 Skylane

Let’s keep it real: the Cessna 182 Skylane model is rather commonplace. It is not the greatest in terms of speed, climbing ability, handling, ease of landing, spaciousness, or comfort. Still, its operating cost ($240/hour) and overall value ($34,000) make it one of the most suitable choices for newbies.

Due to their ability to integrate so much skill in so many areas, they provide outstanding value on the secondhand markets and rank among the top deals in the business overall based on their combined score. 

That aligns with the design concept of almost every piston product made by the manufacturer. Despite being discontinued for three decades, many instructors still consider the ostensibly timeless 150 to be the greatest and most affordable trainer on the market.

6. Ercoupe 415-D – $29,900

Ercoupe 415-D

The Ercoupe is renowned for being among the safest and easiest single-engine aircraft to operate. The Ercoupe’s design was groundbreaking when it was initially introduced in the 1940s. 

It was the first general aviation aircraft with a nosewheel that was “non-spinnable and non-stallable.” With a fuel consumption of only 6 gallons per hour, the Ercoupe is equally as fuel-efficient to run as the Champ.

We have to state that this D model of Ercoupe was quite comfortable and simple to fly, and it was substantially quicker than its competitors. One pleasant feature was the ability to open the cockpit canopy while in flight, which gave the impression of being in a convertible with a top-down.

5. Beechcraft Skipper – $28,000

Beechcraft Skipper

The Skipper, which was manufactured during a four-year period from 1979 to 1983, was in many respects the most advanced aircraft in terms of technology. Its brand-new NASA-designed aerofoil and torque tubes for the ailerons and flaps replaced cables.

Besides the economical aspect, the Beechcraft Skipper is an excellent aircraft to fly, possessing excellent control harmony and effortless landing techniques. For many, the cockpit is the true selling point, as it is spacious, well-furnished, and oddly opulent for a trainer. At the time, it was assumed that Beech had no other idea how to create them, which turned out to be luck.

The starting price of this model is only $28,000, with an hourly operating cost of $65 to $75.

4. Aeronca Champ 7AC – $25,000

Aeronca Champ 7AC

The Aeronca Champ 7AC is the original model of Aeronca Champ. At only $25,000, this one is a classic, low-cost tandem frequently used as a trainer aircraft. Though they don’t fly themselves, the Champs 7AC is designed to be simple to fly. Similar to all tailwheel aircraft, they need skillful footwork on the pedals and are directionally unstable while stationary.

This model is ideal for enjoying leisurely, calm, low flights. Your fuel savings will be substantial as its consumption is only about 4 to 5 gallons of fuel burned per hour, making its hourly operating cost as low as $50. Regarding the cost of purchase and maintenance, the Champ is a fantastic illustration of a personal aircraft that is within budget.

3. Piper PA-28 Cherokee – $20,000 to $22,000

Piper PA-28 Cherokee

This Piper Cherokee model was brought into service in 1960 to replace the former model, PA-24 Comanche. Design-wise, The PA-28 family of aircraft consists of single-engine, unpressurized aircraft with tricycle landing gear and low-mounted wings. To enter, one must walk on the wing located on the right side of them.

Out of all airplanes constructed in history, the PA-28 is among the most popular in the pilot world. This model has continued to be produced ever since, despite the entry and exit of upgraded variations. One of the reasons might be its affordable price tag at about $20,000 and hourly operating cost of $75.

2. Luscombe 8A – $16,000 to $24,000

Luscombe 8A

If you are looking for a pilot’s recommendation, the two-seater Luscombe 8A aircraft is the name to remember. Aside from being rather straightforward to maintain, it is also among the least expensive planes to purchase (from $16,000 to $24,000). With a cruise speed of 120 mph, the 8A can go up to 500 miles. Despite this impressive performance, its operating cost is just $50/hour. 

Initially known for its dependability, the Luscombe 8A swiftly rose to prominence as the most popular model in the whole Luscombe 8 series. It was straightforward and easy to operate, even by GA trainer and aircraft standards. Thus, this model becomes one of the top choices for flight training.

1. Cessna 150 – $14,000 to $25,000

Cessna 150
Cessna 150

At only about $14,000 to $25,000, the Cessna 150 is still the premier training aircraft today. Its large stall warning, aerodynamic stability, and outstanding handling abilities are all present. For novice pilots who wish to continue flying a familiar and easy-to-maneuver aircraft, the 150 is a great option.

The two-seater Cessna 150 is an ideal affordable airplane for newbies who just started their flying journey, with an hourly operating cost of $50. It is among the least expensive aircraft to purchase and operate because of its low fuel consumption. The cruise speed of the Cessna 150 is around 94 mph, and its range is up to 480 miles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Cheap Planes Safe?

Yes, they are safe. Notice that just because they come at a more reasonable price doesn’t mean you have to compromise your safety. Like their more-costly counterparts, they go through extensive safety inspections and follow aviation rules. Despite certain inadequacies in facilities, their safety requirements are nevertheless quite high, guaranteeing the safety of passengers during flights.

Is Flying A Small Plane Cheaper Than Taking Commercial Flight?

Most passengers have always chosen commercial flights for their perceived affordability. Nevertheless, the cost of private jet travel is changing. Contrary to common assumptions, private aircraft may often be more affordable than commercial aircraft, particularly in certain travel situations.

Is It Better To Rent Or Buy A Plane?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. For individuals who fly seldom or would rather avoid the obligations of aircraft ownership, renting is a viable choice; however, owning a light aircraft is a better fit for regular flyers who desire the personalization and freedom that come with ownership.

See more:

The Bottom Line

Now you have our list of the 10 cheap aircraft options out there. Owning and operating an aircraft can be a terrific way to experience the freedom of flight. Still, ensure you weigh the advantages and disadvantages thoroughly before investing!

Share on:
Ken W Hyde

Ken W Hyde

Ken W Hyde is the founder of The Wright Experience™. He is passionate about antique airplanes and has restored many of the Wright brothers' planes, including the 1918 Curtiss Jenny and the 1903 Wright Flyer. He is also a pilot and mechanic who has worked for Capital Airlines, Bendix Corporation, and American Airlines.

Leave a Comment