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AOPA testing promising new ways to make flying an airplane more affordable

Older Cessna planes are sometimes relatively inexpensive to fly
Older Cessna planes are sometimes relatively inexpensive to fly

Flying an airplane is not cheap - even a really small one. Many people are interested in learning to fly - but can't afford it. Therefore, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) wants to open new doors to aviation by exploring the concept that aircraft ownership can be made more accessible and affordable through the development of “Reimagined Aircraft,” the Association announced Friday.

The pilot association believes that older airplanes that have been updated from tip to tail may be one way to truly bring down the cost of flying. When owned and operated in a community – like a flying club, partnership or flight school—Reimagined Aircraft have the potential to allow many more people to fly and become engaged in general aviation in ways that are not possible through singular aircraft ownership.

Well known to tens of thousands of current and aspiring pilots, the Cessna 150 and 152 were AOPA’s choice to test this concept because they are dependable, simple to maintain, inexpensive to operate, widely available, and above all fun to fly.

The AOPA has partnered with Aviat Aircraft to create these Reimagined Aircraft, and together will spend the remainder of the year testing the concept that an older Cessna 150 or Cessna 152 can be beautifully refurbished; placed into a flying club, partnership or flight school; and owned and operated for around $65 per hour including fuel. By today's standards, a bargain.

“Aviators know how much fun it is to fly, and we want more people to have that experience,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “In testing this concept, we hope to show that’s it’s possible to have access to fun, easy-to-fly airplanes with updated technology and components at a price many more people can afford. Finding a way to make flying, and even co-owning, an airplane more accessible is a perfect fit with our other efforts.”

The AOPA and Aviat will test this concept with around a dozen Cessna 150s and 152s. After they have been carefully refurbished, overhauled, and given new interiors and paint, these aircraft will be available at a base price of $89,900 and $99,900 respectively.

“Factors that may affect the viability of this concept include the price and availability of hulls, and the demand for Reimagined Aircraft, that’s why it’s important that we thoroughly test the idea over the remainder of this year,” Baker said.
AOPA has already been working with banks and insurance underwriters to confirm that the Reimagined Aircraft can be easily financed and insured.

Interestingly the first “152Reimagined” will be on display in AOPA’s exhibit at AirVenture. You can learn more about the test program from AOPA President Mark Baker and Aviat Aircraft President Stu Horn at EAA AirVenture on Tuesday, July 29 at 12 p.m. in the big yellow tent at AOPA Booth #463 across from the Brown Arch.

Basically, these are the first “Reimagined” Aircraft, although the idea of using existing aircraft to create affordable training and recreational airplanes within our industry is not new.

“It’s encouraging that other groups are looking for ways to make flying and owning an airplane both fun and practical,” said Baker. “Reimagined Aircraft are one of the ways that AOPA can lead a wide range of aviators to their aviation fix.”

AOPA points out: For more information on how to get a 150Reimagined or 152Reimagined for a flying club, flight school or ownership group, contact Aviat at 307-885-3151. AOPA will not sell or profit from the refurbishment of Reimagined Aircraft, but will ensure that these aircraft can be acquired with competitive financing and insurance options through the AOPA Aviation Finance program and AOPA Insurance Services.

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