What does it cost to own a PA46/P46T? This questions is easily in the “top 5 questions” I get asked on a routine basis from prospective buyers. My usual response is, “it depends on a bunch of factors”. While this is true, there are some familiar expenses that can be planned.
I created the PDF below to help prospective PA46 owners forecast costs. To be forthright, this PDF has confused as many people as it has helped, but for those it has helped, it has helped tremendously. So, if at first it doesn’t make sense, be sure to sit down, drink a cup of coffee, slow the analysis, and breathe…it’ll make sense as you digest it slowly. It is a busy PDF, but there’s lots of value in the numbers.
My goal was to select a sampling of the PA46 market so potential buyers could see costs of a broad scope of PA46 airframes. Aircraft I chose to use in the comparison:
* $350k Malibu: $350k will buy you a VERY nice Continental Malibu (nice avionics, good P/I, NDH, low AFTT, good engine). Can you buy one for cheaper? Sure. If you buy a cheaper one, plan to spend a little more on maintenance and then add/decrease some of the other costs.
* 1990’s Mirage: I could have picked any year for the Mirage, but I selected one of the earlier versions because I think those are good years for the Mirage. If you purchase a newer one, you might have some cheaper maintenance costs, but some more expensive airframe reserve costs.
* 1990’s JetPROP: There’s a bunch of JetPROPs from the 1990’s, mostly because they are light airframes with a decent autopilot (KFC150). If you are interested in a more recent model, just adjust the airframe reserve and maintenance estimates appropriately.
* 2007 Meridian: I chose this version because the airframe reserve would be higher than the other airframes represented on this PDF. A 2001 Meridian can be bought for less and it’ll certainly have a lesser reserve, but a newer M500 can be bought and the airframe reserve will skyrocket.
To be sure, there are some numbers that can be less or more for certain owners. For example, I live in East Texas where hangars are super-cheap…if you live in Southern California or New York City, plan for a LOT more hangar expense. Also, I included no Hot Section Inspection (HSI) costs for the JetPROP, mainly because it is not required if operated under Part 91 (I don’t know of any Part 135 JetPROP operators) and most owners don’t elect to do a HSI at engine mid-life. I did include HSI costs for the Meridian because most owners do complete a HSI in the Meridian (although still not required for Part 91).
Another area of ambiguity is the cost of overhaul for the various engines. I included Factory REMAN costs for the piston versions, and VRef values for the turbine versions. Field overhauls can cost less, but usually decrease the value of the airplane.
And…as I know I’ll get a bunch of push-back from some who feel I’m not being compete…yes, my analysis does not include the “value of money”. Clearly, money that is invested nets a return, and one could count this as a cost of ownership (since money spent buying an airplane is NOT invested, so hence you did not receive the potential profit of that potential investment). But, if you are reading this article, you understand this completely and are still willing to put your money into something that goes in the hangar (you cannot fly a profit, but you can fly an airplane!!). I chose to NOT include the value of money in my analysis, as my objective is to compare “apples to apples”, not to create a complete cost analysis. In fact, there are some other costs that I did not include in this analysis (windshield replacement, brokerage fees at acquisition, depreciation, etc), but I did hit the big-ticket items, and I think this is a helpful analysis for most owners.
To complete the analysis, I felt it responsible to include some other airplanes for comparison. The numbers below represent airplanes that are either direct competitors to the PA46, or are airplanes that prospective PA46 owners may currently operate. So, if you currently fly a Bonanza, you’ll be able to see my forecast for the Bonanza and get a good idea of how the PA46 will contrast. Or, if you currently operate a Malibu, you can see what I think the Meridian will cost in comparison.
I hope this helps you make a good decision about your aircraft purchase! Do contact me if I can help decipher the numbers.