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Old 07-08-2008, 09:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How much does owning a seaplane cost annually?

What are the costs of owning a seaplane? I can think of cost of plane, maintenance, cost of fuel, parking/storage, anything else?

And for each category, approx. how much annually will it cost?

I'm trying to see whether I can afford it yet.... Thanks a lot.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think you'd be better off finding a specific plane rather than such a vague question. Also depends what you mean by seaplane? Regular run of the mill floatplane something like a Cessna 172 with floats?
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ira NZ
I think you'd be better off finding a specific plane rather than such a vague question. Also depends what you mean by seaplane? Regular run of the mill floatplane something like a Cessna 172 with floats?
I'm only at the very beginning of my preliminary thinking so I don't have a plane in mind. If I can describe it this way:

Think about the "Toyota Tercel" equivalent in seaplanes -- the smallest, simplest plane that's safe to fly.

Supposed I buy a 10-year old such plane, how much might I spend on maintenance per year? docking cost how much per month? etc.
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Old 07-09-2008, 01:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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So, something like a C172 with floats would probably be about right then.

Running cost isn't going to be hugely different than a standard 172, to help you with finding info.
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Old 07-09-2008, 07:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The cost of maintenance on the floats can be significant, but can be minimized by (a) getting straight floats, not amphib, and (b) keeping them out of salt water. I see that you're on the west coast, though, so perhaps salt water was in your plan.

It's been quite a while since I did my float rating, but one thing to consider is that when you get a really small plane, you get a real lack of power. Way becak when there was a C170 on floats available locally for rent. I flew it once with my husband as a pax, and after the flight he commented on how much fun the day was and asked if I'd want to do it again. My reply was that no way was I getting into that death trap again! It was so grossly underpowered that even though it was based in a good size lake, you used every inch of it to take off and still only barely cleared the highway bridge at the far end. I had some friends who rented it to go to their cabin by a lake, and while they were there the wind died off completely and it took them several days longer to get out again - the plane couldn't handle the distance with no wind!

I did the rating itself on a C172, but when a C172 is on floats, it's now a two seater (and not too much fuel or big people at that). I also flew a friend's C185 on floats once - now that thing finally had a bit of power.

I don't know about the cost of regular maintenance, since the only numbers I heard were from my friend with the C185 on amphib floats - he said that the floats alone cost around $100,000, and that they cost more in maintenance than the whole rest of the airplane! He eventually went to straight floats as a result (he operates out of brackish water so no doubt that was a contributing factor). So keeping it basic sounds like a good idea, but carefully consider the whole operting out of salt water thing, since it will also increase the amount of corrosion that the entire airplane is subject too (although just being on that coast may similarly affect that - don't know).

I would also suspect that insurance on a float plane is much higher, since they have a higher risk factor...
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Old 07-09-2008, 03:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bluenose
I would also suspect that insurance on a float plane is much higher, since they have a higher risk factor...
I'm not an airplane owner, so I can't offer any numbers,
but yeah, insurance was the first thing that popped into my mind..

Brand new pilot and seaplane - rates will probably be high...
CLICK HERE for info on Seaplane Insurance.

CLICK HERE for some ideas on how much a floatplane itself might cost...
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Old 07-09-2008, 04:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, if you've ever heard that a boat is just a hole in the water that you throw money into, then combine that with the relatively high cost of owning even a C-172 on land,which seems to be a hole in the sky you throw money into, that would probably give you an idea of cost.
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