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AOPA's Reimagined 150 & 152: Practically New And Less Than $70 Per Hour

It takes a lot of work to sell a prospective pilot on a private pilot certificate with training costs approaching $12,000. And, renting a Cessna 172 at $120 per hour is too pricey for many even after they've earned that certificate.

Everyone's looking for a way to change that - from light sport aircraft which sip fuel, to using automotive gas instead of the standard - and expensive - 100LL.


flying AOPA

But, most of the time, the only real way to rent a sub-$70 per hour airplane is to go old. And nothing sells a prospective student like a sun-baked 70's paint job, torn vinyl interior and a cracked Bakelite panel...

This year at EAA AirVenture, AOPA debuted their solution, and it's pretty innovative. But - the best part is, it's entirely proven. In fact, it's one of the most proven airframes out there - the series is the fifth most produced civilian plane ever. What is it?

The Cessna 150 And 152 - Reimagined!

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AOPA's 152Reimagined caught a lot of attention at this year's EAA AirVenture.

If you take a quick poll of pilots, you'll find lots who have trained in, worked in, or played around in a Cessna 150 or 152. This venerable tricycle gear airplane was the workhorse of the training fleet until Cessna discontinued single-engine aircraft production in 1985.

Cessna tried to reinvent the line as the 162 SkyCatcher light-sport aircraft, but discontinued it shortly after introduction.

Enter the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), who was looking for a way to help flying clubs purchase practical VFR aircraft. They wanted something trustworthy and reliable - that had minimal operating costs and could actually fly the line as a training workhorse.

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Why the Cessna 150 And 152? There's Lots Of Them!

Cessna produced over 31,500 150 and 152s between 1958 and 1985 - and lots of them are still sitting on airfields across the US. But, most of them need serious work. New engines, new wiring, new cables... That's a lot of work for a flying club to pay for...

general Jens / Flickr

Enter Aviat - Returning Them To New

That's why AOPA partnered with Aviat - makers of the famous Husky. Aviat tears each 150 or 152 down to the bare metal components and brings it back to life as a practically new airplane.

Torn Down To The Frame And Built Back Up

Each piece that can be unbolted is unbolted, the fuselage is totally stripped, and the aircraft is inspected. If any part isn't like-new, Aviat replaces it with a new, rebuilt or overhauled part. The entire wiring harness is replaced - so all of the electrical wiring is brand new.

Aviat overhauls the engine so that your club can expect it to reach its time before overhaul (TBO). Small modifications like a lightweight starter improve performance and decrease weight. In fact, the reimagined aircraft actually has a larger useful load than the original design. Modern parts and avionics reduce the basic empty weight.


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The yellow paint job on AOPA's 152Reimagined makes it easy to pick out in a crowd.

A Better Than New Panel That You Can Afford - With GPS!

You may remember that awful trademark Bakelite plastic that adorned the panels of 1960's and 1970's Cessnas.  The hideous plastic has zero curb appeal - and, if you can find one that isn't cracked, you're lucky.

bakelite Jay-Jerry / Flickr

Aviat replaces those panels with new all-metal panels in each of the reimagined aircraft. They upgrade the panel with a Garmin Aera 550 GPS, GTR 225 radios, and a PS Engineering audio panel. The result - a day and night VFR certified airplane.

panel-2 AOPA
interior AOPA

The Reimagined series has a new panel and interior.

But, what about a full glass panel? Why not a Garmin G1000 flight deck??? AOPA's goal was to keep costs minimal - adding a full glass panel's a quick way to hike up the price. The plane still has a GPS; and if you want more, you can always carry along an iPad with ForeFlight!

The Cost? $63.88 Per Hour Includes Everything

AOPA worked out financing and insurance packages tailored for the aircraft. They estimate a club could rent a reimagined airplane flying 700 hours per year at $63.88 per hour. That price includes gas, oil changes, overhaul reserves, 100 hour and annual inspections, maintenance reserves, insurance, and loan payments.

A base 152Reimagined runs $99,900 and a base 150Reimagined runs $89,900 - which is a great price for a fully assembled, ready to fly, like-new aircraft.

Imagine a Private Pilot Certificate Under $6,000

So - how much would it cost to earn a private pilot certificate in one of these? The FARs require 40 hours of flight training including 20 hours of instruction, but few can earn it at the minimums.

Assume you fly 56 hours, 30 of which are with an instructor. And, assume the club instructor charges $40 per hour. That's $3,577 for the aircraft and $1,200 for the instructor. That totals $4,777 for training.

While you will pay more for the check ride (say $75 for the aircraft time and $200 for the examiner), it's reasonable to assume you could earn a private pilot certificate for under $6,000 when you add in pilot supplies, tests and materials. That's a pretty good price.

Plus - You Can Afford To Fly It Once You're Certified

Earning the license is great - but keeping current catches many of us once we're done with training. This is an aircraft you can afford to fly for fun - and since it looks new, your non-pilot friends might actually want to fly in it...

flying AOPA

Take A Closer Look

If you're a flying club or FBO looking to upgrade your equipment, this may be the perfect plane for you. Check out AOPA's summary here, and Aviat's sales site here.

Thinking of forming a club? AOPA's got you covered there, too. They can help with insurance plans and financing options to get you off the ground - which is where we all want to be, anyway...

Aleks Udris

Aleks is a Boldmethod co-founder and technical director. He's worked in safety and operations in the airline industry, and was a flight instructor and course manager for the University of North Dakota. You can reach him at aleks@boldmethod.com.

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