How can you afford a Cirrus?

Buying an aircraft would be a dream for me. I just can not see how sole owner can afford a cirrus, unless you are rich. I just would like some information on buying a cirrus or a new aircraft. Thanks.

Well, yes, I think you have it right. There are no means that I’m aware of for an average working guy to afford an airplane that costs anywhere from $250,000 to $400,000.

A Cirrus, like any airplane, costs alot of money to buy and fly. To some people, (everything is relative) having the amount of money it takes to afford one would qualify you as rich.

But I for one would like to have a King Air C90, which I can’t, nor will I probably ever, be able to afford (3.5 mil or so). To me, the people who own them are “really rich”

So, like I said, it’s all relative.

Yep, you hit the nail on the head. Ya gotta be rich. You won’t see too many street people flying around in Cirri. But you’ve also gotta be rich to afford a lot of other things. Boats, racehorses, etc.

Anyway, if you have the dream, you’re half way to finding a way to live it. If you don’t have the dream, you’ll never get there.

But if you’re saying that you can’t imagine ever having half a million bucks or so to spend on a non-essential item, then you need to expand your imagination. Plenty of people can and do.

While the phrase “rich” is relative, the term, “pre-owned” is not. You can own a CIrrus. There are several people of us in ACOA (Antique Cirrus Owners Assn) who own Cirrus aircraft valued at under $200K.
BTW, Antique with this aircraft means anything over 1 year old.
Flys the same. Same gas usage. Same speed. OH, it probably has gauges on the left. That should save you about $50-$150K

You can form a partnership or consider fractional ownership with Aisshares Elite or others who have a bunch of Cirri in their fleet.
I have been flying for 30 years and only recently could justify the cost of a Cirrus. Been savings for many years to own my own plane.
But, realistically, with the high fixed costs of tiedown (hanger), insurance, annual and other costs needed even before the plane leaves the ground, I do not think ownership is reasonable unless you fly at least 150 hours a year.
Otherwise, you can rent for less.

Flying is, and will be for the foreseeable future, a very expensive hobby. I agree with others that sole ownership does not make economic “sense” (if anything about owning a personal airplane is sensible) compared to renting/fractional ownership unless one flies at least 150 hr/year.

Even renting or fractional ownership of an SR20 or SR22 will net out in the $150-$220 per hour range. However, the renter or fractional owner is spared the large capital investment and is shielded from unexpected maintenance disasters.

If one can justify a business use–lease to an FBO for rental or charter will work I believe–for a new aircraft purchase, the tax write-off incentives are very substantial. This can reduce your net cost of purchase by 50% or more. Of course, that’s still $160-$190K for a new SR22 with all the goodies. Alternatively late model used Cirri with only a few hundred hours can be had at substantial discounts relative to a new plane.

If one is determined and even moderately creative, a way can usually be found to make one’s dream happen, even if it’s not in the exact form one imagined to start with. Most of us who own aircraft made sacrifices in other parts of our lives to do so because it was something we really wanted.

Good luck!

My rational is that I’m not necessarily “spending” money, just “parking” it for a while.

In 1992 I bought a 1976 Grumman Tiger for $32,000, which was a fair price at the time. In order to buy my SR22, I recently sold it for $67,000. That “parked” money more than doubled in value in 11+ years. That doesn’t count the money that went into maintenance, hangar, fuel, etc., but those are just the inevitable costs of flying. It also doesn’t include the lost opportunity cost of the money or inflation, but it still worked out a lot better than investing in Enron or WorldCom for example.

New Cirri will likely depreciate a bit for the first 5 years or so, if past depreciation curves are used. Periodic “hits” are inevitable as new Cirri are introduced and owners look to upgrade. Long-term, however, aircraft have been a great place to “park” money for the long term.

In my particular case, I bought a home in Broward County in 1986. I then re-financed for 15 years at a lower rate. I further put a lot of extra dollars into principal payments. Long story short, the house was paid off a couple years ago, and it, too has nearly doubled in value.

I used a home equity loan to purchase my SR22. I figured if I could come up with the $1,550 house payment every month, a $1,300 airplane payment should be doable. I also plan on paying down the principal whenever possible. Tax-deductible interest helps ease the pain a little.

About 30 years ago I was pumping gas at Opa Locka airport for $2/hr and delivering the Carol City/Opa Locka news in my Mazda wagon in the middle of the night. It’s been a long road to get where I am today, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.

King Air anecdote: I remember flying my daughter to summer camp (Camp Seafarer in NC) and landing at New Bern and thinking how cool I was. The plane that followed me in was King Air, also dropping off a camper. I asked the pilot if it was a company plane - it wasn’t, it was his personal plane.

In any case, where there’s a will there’s a way. Maybe find a partner and look at “starter” planes. Once you’re an owner, upgrading seems to become more doable.

When the SR20 came out anyone who could afford to jumped all over it. When the SR22 came out many people upgraded their contracts or sold their existing SR20 for an SR22. Now Cirrus makes the PFD displays standard.

What are the likely effects on pricing of early SR20s with gauges, given that a majority of the fleet going forward will be SR22s with PFDs?

Flying Fool:

My approach to flying is if you want to do it you do, if you want to just dream about it you will.

Anyone can leanr to fly and continue to fly on just £150/month. In the UK you may only get one lesson a month and take a few years to learn, and then fly one weekend a month, but thats okay.

You just budget so much a month and do what you can. Here in the UK we have probably the highest flying costs in the world, but GA is booming.

A group of us work together here in the UK to fly cirrus planes, and our average hourly costs are less than renting a Piper from the local club. It can be done…


It depends on if your time is worth money. If you make $10 an hour, you probably can’t rationalize the expense of a fast airplane. But hey, most guys rationalize many things that they can’t afford or shouldn’t spend money on.

I fly from East Texas through Dallas and on to Denver (and back) twice a month. It usually takes me 8 to 10 hours from door step to door step. If I had my Cirrus (order pending) I could make in in half that time. Those 16 hours almost pay for the Cirrus in time savings alone. But I will probably fly two times a week on business trips when I get the Cirrus. I wouldn’t even consider this without my own plane because I couldn’t afford the wasted time in airports!

But after the plane is justified with business savings, it can also be used for pleasure!

I think the word is wealthy to have a king air or a Cirrus. You are rich if you have the most important things in life. Your health and your loved ones and friends health. The other things are just a bonas. Reach for ring and grasp it. It is there waiting for you. Most of us have strugled from having nothing and are not Kids anymore. Me for one 30 years ago had a wheelbarrow and some small tools to do concrete but a tuff body and a dream. I have done much more than I had ever expected . By the way I still have the wheel barrows but someone else pushes it most of the time. Don

The bigger point is that you ‘will’ push it some of the time…We need to lead our staff’s by example…Last week, I went to one of my gas stations and the rest rooms were deplorable…an hour later the were presentable. 4 of us scoured them. I haven’t had to clean a restroom in 15 years…But did that day and no one will forget it or ever give me some %^&*ing BS excuse as to why they just couldn’t do it which abuses our customers.
While pumping gas for 3 bucks an hour on the Pa. Turnpike from 75-‘81…had to clean 24 rest area stalls daily ! Actually that wasn’t that bad part…you haven’t lived until you fill pig trucks with 300 gallons of diesel fuel in 98 degree heat while the pigs’ asses are 6 feet away…deeeelish.
Keep pushin’


While I was reading your post, a lightbulb came on. “Turn off that danged lamp!”, I yelled to my wife. No, really, I suddenly understood something that had puzzled me before.

I only started flying in 2000. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the experience (besides hurtling through the air at hundreds of miles per hour) is meeting and talking to fellow pilots. Pilots are the most interesting sizeable group of people I’ve ever encountered.

Eventually, I discovered Cirrus and met other Cirrus pilots. By and large, they turned out to be even more fascinating folks than pilots in general.

I’ve often wondered why this is so. Don, your post filled in the last piece of the puzzle for me.

Pilots in general are interesting to me because learning to fly is a selective process. Out of the people who want to learn to fly, the process filters out those who are too lazy, or stupid, or unmotivated.

I’m not saying that everyone who doesn’t have a pilot’s license is dumb or a slacker. In fact, the majority of the nicest and most interesting people I’ve met are not pilots. But as a group, pilots are a concentrated essence of above-average people.

When I started hanging out with Cirrus folk, I was blown away by the concentration of brain power, skills, and accomplishments that they represent. The posts in this thread have finally shown me the reason.

The oldest Cirrus airplane is still a youngster by aviation standards, and commands a handsome price. To be able to afford one, you have to have some wealth.

In the United States, most of the wealth is in the hands of entrepeneurs. People who “left the cave, killed it, and dragged it back home”, as my hero, Dave Ramsey, says. Therefore, it follows that a large portion of Cirrus owners are pilots (and therefore already proven to be above average) who are very successful in business, whether working for someone else or starting their own enterprise.

What that means is that these folks have wisdom, and can tell great stories, which makes them fun to be around.

I’m honored to be a part of this group.


The early steam driven SR20’s may become collectors items!

In reply to:

you haven’t lived until you fill pig trucks with 300 gallons of diesel fuel in 98 degree heat while the pigs’ asses are 6 feet away


Love your attitude! Like most others that are rich (read happy with life) I’ve used the old “the harder you work, the luckier you get!” outlook on life.

I worked 7 days a week for many years (5 as an engineer, 2 days with my polka band. I saved the money from the band to put two boys through college).

Hope we meet some day. By the way, did you lose your taste for ham? Sorry, just had to asske[:)]


That is a great story! I’m sure many on this board could tell similar tales. More importantly, you just reminded me of what it takes to succeed: everyday you do what you love, and alot of stuff you hate. And I just happen to have a frighteningly similar situation at one of my facilities that I haven’t been able to permanently fix, and now I know how! I’ve gotten complacent (lazy?) and I’m just going to have to do some hard work and personally take care of the problem…Thank You!

My Two cents re: “rich”/“wealthy” vs not being “rich”/“wealth” (aka “poor”) - I have been in both modes, a few times, and I will offer that if you really want something there are ways to get it. But it takes time (or should) and sacrifice! Instant gratification may result in short term gain but usually ends in long term pain. My personal story is that I could easily obtain a '22 outright, but chose to go fractional as I could not see, due to my modest available flying time, buying a plane that would then set around for days at a time. It then took almost a year(!) to effect the deal. (My patience I suppose paid off in that the plane is now PFD equiped) But the lesson is that the correct amount of patience is so important in all things. e.g in business you may go broke without it, but in flying the impatient pilot gets killed. Off my soap box and my apologies for waxing philosphic.


Clif, Walt,
We all paid our dues…that’s why we are on a forum like this, owning aircraft and other joys life has to offer mostly because we have earned it.
Keep swinging cause we might have the Cirrus jet coming soon!


We should start a COPA band. I play the keyboards and violin. I am sure many others play as well. We could become rock stars! Think of the fleet of Cirri we could own!


I will join this topic too: Yes for years I did without a plane, well over 25 to be exact to build a business and raise a family. Business is still growing and IÂ’m not that involved with it on a day to day basis. Kids are grown up and IÂ’m on the last section of my life at 64. Family tree tells me I will be very lucky to get to 85. If I go, the plane will be part of my estate that my kids and wife can deal with. ItÂ’s a toy we must have because we love aviation and the challenge of flying and getting there fast. If my medical runs dry, I guess IÂ’ll just have to give it up and go into ultra lights. Now I started a new career by my posts in reference to BAAM and thatÂ’s just plain fun and all the money it earns will probably go to charity, plus I may be able to write off my expermintal test Plane N6839R.


Terrific, that means mine will go up in value! (I hope)