Airplanes aren't as expensive as many people think. Sure, a private jet might cost a few million dollars, but second-hand prop planes can be had for the price of a typical car. Maintenance might be a different story, so choose wisely. Here are 5 bargains for weekend aviators:
This one is a true icon. Countless pilots have received their primary training in one of these. Tricycle landing gear make it ideal for easy landings and taxiing. A high wing provides good ground visibility, and dual side-by-side yokes make it easy for the instructor to take over at any time. Prices range from about $19,000 to $35,000+. The only drawback is that many 150's will have significant wear and tear after being through so many rough landings by students.
Another great little airplane. The low wing will theoretically make the aircraft float landings a little more because of the increased impact of ground effect. Some people like this, others don't. Another advantage of the low wing is that you won't have to tilt it up to check for traffic before making a turn. Some Tomahawks go for incredibly cheap. Prices can start as low as $15,000. This might be (in part) due to the high number of accidents involving spins in this aircraft. The Tomahawk does have an un-conventional spin recovery procedure, but as long as you are trained to use the proper technique you shouldn't have to worry.
Homebuilt / Ultralight
There is a huge selection of homebuilt and ultralight aircraft. Homebuilts often require 51% of the construction to be done by the owner. If you've got the work-ethic (and garage space), the price is definitely right. You can get started for as little as $10,000. Some people are uncomfortable flying in such a tiny aircraft; not to mention that the baggage space can be less than ideal. Still, for others this is raw flying at its best!
This was Piper's answer to the Cessna 150. The Colt is basically a trimmed-down version of the Piper Tri-Pacer. The Colt lacks things like a rear seat, rear window, and flaps. The idea was to increase simplicity and reduce cost. Built from 1950 to 1964, this airplane definitely has a classic look. That might sound old, but as far as airplanes go isn't too bad. Many airliners from the 70's are still in service. You can find one of these anywhere from $19,000 to $30,000 and up.
Last but not least, and my personal favorite, the Cessna 140. Manufactured from 1946 to 1950, this is a true classic and brings back the golden age of aviation. Not that fast, not that powerful, but the looks are to die for. This is the Frank Sinatra of airplanes. Timeless style, simplicity, and class. Price: $20,000 to $40,000.