Cost of maintenance of a C-162

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gordonf-nyc
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Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby gordonf-nyc » Thu May 07, 2020 6:59 pm

Hi everyone,
First time posting on here. Been in love with flying since I was 12. I spent my youth on Microsoft FSIM during those days. Then came a career, wife, kids, etc. Needless to say, flying has stayed with me largely as a dream. Now, as a 39 year-old, my life has finally offered me an opportunity to pursue flying, as time and money makes this dream achievable. I began pursuing my PPL last December. I am now in my solo XC phase. Loving every minute of it. As I get closer to my checkride, I'm weighing the various means of building time after I get my license. My school's C-172 rents for $155/hr wet. A local flying club is similarly priced. Truth be told, I'm beginning to realize that flying a 4-seater with a 8.5gph fuel burn rate isn't economically feasible. With my family and business obligations, and the unpredictable nature of weather in the NYC area, I'm assuming I'll be putting in 10 hours/month (if I'm lucky).

LSAs never really caught my eye until I realized what a value they are to fly. Sure, they can't take a family of four out for a weekend trip, but with my limited hours and experience, I wouldn't want to anytime soon.

The C-162 has caught my eye not because it's a great LSA. It offers limited useful load, and as an orphaned aircraft, parts (and hull value) will always be a problem. However, those weakpoints are offset (to some extent) by a relatively cheap entry price. A 2011 model year C-162 sold for $140k new, and you can find a few of them used with less than 1,000 hours for $35-$40k nowadays. Truth be told, I'm not looking to spend more than that, so aside from the purchase price, the cost of ownership is the other main factor.

I wanted to ask those of you who have owned C-162s for a few years, what has your annual maintenance cost been? If I plan to own the aircraft for 5-8 years, what large ticket items am I looking at? I'm budgeting $5k/year for maintenance, which includes oil, annual, etc. Some tell me it's excessive. Frankly, I've never owned an aircraft so I'm not sure what I'm in for. I can forecast other fixed costs like fuel and parking, but I'd love some financial insight from current (or past) C-162 owners.

Of course, I'm still on a lookout for other alternative LSAs. I'm just not a big fan of home-built/kit aircraft. My wife just doesn't trust them (don't ask why). I love the new Texas Colt, but it'll be a while before a used one is available for $40k.

Thanks for all your thoughts guys. Glad to be part of this great community of flyers.

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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby drseti » Thu May 07, 2020 8:19 pm

In addition to maintenance and inspections, fuel, and hangar costs, don't overlook the cost of insurance. In an LSA, it is often significantly higher than a legacy aircraft, and some underwriters won't insure them at all.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby AviatorCrafty » Thu May 07, 2020 11:48 pm

I did my flight training in the 162 and can attest that I think it's an awesome plane, sporty and light on the controls. The G300 is an awesome avionics package as well. Sadly the one I trained in got sold three days after my checkride so I never got to really play with it as a licensed pilot, but I still watch it fly in its new home in Georgia on FlightAware every now and then. At 19 years old I'm in no position to own a plane but find myself drawn to the 162 and would love to own one even though it has it quirks and is of course abandoned by Cessna, and even after flying other LSAs like the Tecnam P92 and P2002. Theres a few members here who currently or have owned a 162 on this forum and they'll chime in.
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby MrMorden » Fri May 08, 2020 9:56 am

There are a lot of reasons that the 162 is that inexpensive, and none of them are good. It's a great airplane, but Cessna really screwed the owners on it. I think the ongoing maintenance headaches could lead to a very frustrating ownership experience, especially as a first time airplane owner.

There are a lot of other options in your price range, especially if you are getting your Private Pilot certificate. Honestly, if the difference between 6gph and 8.5gph is a barrier, then all the little expenses of airplane ownership might eat your finances alive. The best bang for the buck in your price range is probably an older Cessna 172 or Piper Cherokee. If you want more economy you can look at a Cub, Luscomb, Champ, Ercoupe...

If you can get your wife past the "OMG it says experimental" thing, there are a lot of nice two seat options in that world. I know from experience that the Sonex family are built like tanks and very easy to fly. The Rans airplanes like the Coyote II are great and can be had in your price range. What is more safe, a 5-10 year old experimental or a 30+ year old certified airplane? Both are probably safer than riding motorcycles.

You have options.
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby zodiac flyer » Fri May 08, 2020 11:10 am

I fly a LSA AMD Zodiac 601XLB that i switched over to ELSA, and I have a repairman certificate to do my own inspections.
I flew a C162 as a rental and found it a capable aircraft for my mission.
If you buy a C162 you really should switch it over to a ELSA as Cessna is not supporting the aircraft.
I don't see many C162 for the price range you are quoting, most I see are in the $50 K and above.
A factory built AMD Zodiac 601XLB can be acquired in the $30-40K range are most often very well equipped with glass panels and autopilots, some even have a ballistic chute.
The reason they are so inexpensive is that they never got over the fact that they were disintegrating in the air before the factory "fix" came out.
None of the "b" models, the one with the factory fix have had any problems.
To me it was a great buy taking advantage of its bad reputation. My plane has a Dynon glass panel and Garmin electronics, Continental 0-200
Paid $35K for mine and have owned it 5 1/2 years and love it. I almost have 800 on the hobbs.
What ever you buy, be aware that your fixed expenses of hangar, insurance and maintenance, plus fuel costs will be much more than renting a SLSA for $100 an hour.
Dave
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby Warmi » Fri May 08, 2020 11:17 am

MrMorden wrote:There are a lot of reasons that the 162 is that inexpensive, and none of them are good. It's a great airplane, but Cessna really screwed the owners on it. I think the ongoing maintenance headaches could lead to a very frustrating ownership experience, especially as a first time airplane owner.

There are a lot of other options in your price range, especially if you are getting your Private Pilot certificate. Honestly, if the difference between 6gph and 8.5gph is a barrier, then all the little expenses of airplane ownership might eat your finances alive. The best bang for the buck in your price range is probably an older Cessna 172 or Piper Cherokee. If you want more economy you can look at a Cub, Luscomb, Champ, Ercoupe...

If you can get your wife past the "OMG it says experimental" thing, there are a lot of nice two seat options in that world. I know from experience that the Sonex family are built like tanks and very easy to fly. The Rans airplanes like the Coyote II are great and can be had in your price range. What is more safe, a 5-10 year old experimental or a 30+ year old certified airplane? Both are probably safer than riding motorcycles.

You have options.


If his wife objects to a plane being home build ( as opposed to being just marked experimental ) then buying a Cessna 162 and then switching to ELSA would avoid most problems related to lack of support from Cessna and still enjoy a modern, factory build plane.
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby zodiac flyer » Fri May 08, 2020 11:18 am

by the way there is an outstanding buy on a Factory Built SLSA 601XLB on the want ads of this site.
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby MrMorden » Fri May 08, 2020 11:29 am

Warmi wrote:If his wife objects to a plane being home build ( as opposed to being just marked experimental ) then buying a Cessna 162 and then switching to ELSA would avoid most problems related to lack of support from Cessna and still enjoy a modern, factory build plane.


Only if he's willing to fabricate his own replacement parts. Cessna isn't making any more and they crushed all the spares. :evil:
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby gordonf-nyc » Fri May 08, 2020 12:07 pm

Thanks for all the replies thus far. I appreciate the input from those that have flown it. There doesn't seem to be any major complains from those that have flown the aircraft. I hope those of you who own (have owned) this airplane can chime-in with some ownership costs.

With regards to LSA -> ELSA conversion: Doing so would mean that I can use non-certified replacement parts, as opposed to keeping it LSA, which would require me to use only Cessna-certificated parts (which are hard to come by). Do I understand that right? Once I convert to ELSA, there is no going back, correct?

So far, I'm budgeting as follows:

Tie-down parking: $1000/yr
Financing: $4,000/yr
Insurance: $2500/yr
Maintenance: $5,000/yr
Fuel: $4000/yr (120hrs/yr)

I know these are round figures, and while most of them are predictable, Maintenance is the only ticket item I am probably under or overbudgeting for.

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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby FastEddieB » Fri May 08, 2020 12:31 pm

gordonf-nyc wrote:With regards to LSA -> ELSA conversion: Doing so would mean that I can use non-certified replacement parts, as opposed to keeping it LSA, which would require me to use only Cessna-certificated parts (which are hard to come by). Do I understand that right? Once I convert to ELSA, there is no going back, correct?


Once you’re EXPERIMENTAL, you are free to experiment pretty much any way you want, so long as said modification or parts substitution does not violate Light Sport limitations - I.e. no third seat, flight controllable prop, etc. Major modifications will necessitate a testing protocol as outlined in your new Operating Limitations. And there is no practical way of “going back”. I’ve made maybe a dozen minor modifications to my Sky Arrow, and I’m responsible for determining that each modification still maintains the aircraft in a “condition for safe flight”. And, so far so good!
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby drseti » Fri May 08, 2020 1:19 pm

gordonf-nyc wrote:With regards to LSA -> ELSA conversion:


Just to be clear, what we're talking about here is SLSA to ELSA conversion. Under the regulations, both are LSAs.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby MrMorden » Mon May 11, 2020 8:58 am

gordonf-nyc wrote:With regards to LSA -> ELSA conversion: Doing so would mean that I can use non-certified replacement parts, as opposed to keeping it LSA, which would require me to use only Cessna-certificated parts (which are hard to come by). Do I understand that right? Once I convert to ELSA, there is no going back, correct?


For an SLSA, the manufacturer determines what parts are acceptable. Those parts can be made by Cessna, or other parts they designate as "acceptable". For an experimental aircraft (whether ELSA, E-AB, or any other) the only requirement is that you can reasonably show that any replacement parts are suitable for continued safe operation of the aircraft.

The problem you will run into is not standardized parts like sheep metal, rivets, clamps, etc. It's the hundreds of unique parts that make up a factory-built airframe. For example, let's say you have a hard landing, and the engine mount gets bent. You can't buy another engine mount; it's a part unique to the 162 and Cessna doesn't make the part anymore, *and* they destroyed all the spares.

So you have two options: repair the existing mount, or fabricate a new mount. Cessna doesn't publish the engineering drawings for the original mount, and all you have to go by is a bent mount. Depending on how badly it's deformed, inferring the original dimensions might be fairly easy or impossible. Either way, you need serious fabrication and welding skills for the repair, and potentially some engineering expertise for measuring and calculating loads and such. The process can run into dozens (or hundreds) of hours and thousands of dollars, especially if you have to farm out some or all of the skills of measuring, steel fabrication, welding, powder-coating, disassembly/assembly.

Compare that to an ELSA that still has manufacturer support: you spend $1500-2000 for a new engine mount, Put it on and check it (for my airplane shim to the correct thrust line, etc), and you're done. There's a reason a lot of unsupported airplanes get totaled or abandoned after relatively minor damage -- the cost to repair them quickly exceeds the value of the airplane.

I don't want to discourage you in your choice of airplane, I just want your eyes to be open to the fact that a 162 will be *very much* a DIY project. The closest equivalent is buying a one-off homebuilt for which all the design and engineering data burned up in a fire. It's probably wonderful for somebody who has strong mechanical, metal fabrication, and engineering experience. Otherwise it could really be a Trail of Tears.

In any event, good luck in whatever direction you go!
Andy Walker
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby HAPPYDAN » Mon May 11, 2020 11:14 am

I'm hoping TimTaylor jumps in here soon. He has put together some really nice spreadsheets outlining expected and unexpected costs of airplane ownership. He sent me a really nice one for the RV-12 (good plane, BTW) for a potential flying club. But, I think it may have scared off a couple of potential members. I think he also provided a pretty good hipshot for any type of LSA - I think it was around $1,000 per month you can afford to spend on your hobby. Please don't overlook the cost of insurance, now that many have substantially increased their premiums. That was a huge factor contributing to the demise of our (attempted) flying club.

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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby Scooper » Mon May 11, 2020 11:58 am

MrMorden wrote:For an SLSA, the manufacturer determines what parts are acceptable. Those parts can be made by Cessna, or other parts they designate as "acceptable". For an experimental aircraft (whether ELSA, E-AB, or any other) the only requirement is that you can reasonably show that any replacement parts are suitable for continued safe operation of the aircraft.

The problem you will run into is not standardized parts like sheep metal, rivets, clamps, etc. It's the hundreds of unique parts that make up a factory-built airframe. For example, let's say you have a hard landing, and the engine mount gets bent. You can't buy another engine mount; it's a part unique to the 162 and Cessna doesn't make the part anymore, *and* they destroyed all the spares.

So you have two options: repair the existing mount, or fabricate a new mount. Cessna doesn't publish the engineering drawings for the original mount, and all you have to go by is a bent mount. Depending on how badly it's deformed, inferring the original dimensions might be fairly easy or impossible. Either way, you need serious fabrication and welding skills for the repair, and potentially some engineering expertise for measuring and calculating loads and such. The process can run into dozens (or hundreds) of hours and thousands of dollars, especially if you have to farm out some or all of the skills of measuring, steel fabrication, welding, powder-coating, disassembly/assembly.

Excellent points, Andy.

For the AMD factory manufactured CH601XL and CH650LS Zodiacs, you can purchase the Zenith plans for the amateur built airplanes and use those plans to fabricate damaged parts. Once you recertificate an AMD built Zodiac SLSA as "experimental operating light sport", you can even buy the kit parts from Zenith.

As Dave mentions, there's a reasonably priced AMD 601XL-B (with the structural upgrades installed) advertised for sale in the want ads section here on sport pilot talk.
Stan Cooper (K4DRD)
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Re: Cost of maintenance of a C-162

Postby snaproll » Wed May 13, 2020 3:42 pm

My late father bought a new 162 and enjoyed its performance and ease of ingress and egress at his age (he was 91 when he purchased it). The 162 spent months undergoing warranty repair, I.e. leading edge skin replacement, intercom breakdown, broken hinges, warped doors, etc. His main complaint was the constant tin-canning due to the material thickness which he resolved by glueing foam stringers on the interior of the fuselage. Main issue with purchasing a 162 is the lack of parts and inability to purchase aftermarket replacement components while registered as an S-LSA. Yes, it performs and handles well, but there are far better choices to bore holes in the sky with the ability to maintain the airframe. I agree with Andy that the conversion to E-LSA would be the only option to maintain the 162 and keep it in the air long term. I admit I am old school and did enjoy flying with the O-200 Continental, but I owned and flew with a Rotax for six years and was quite impressed with the reliability and maintenance. Guess you could say I was a convert. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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