Airplane Leaseback Calculator – Spreadsheet

Can you make money on a flight school leaseback? This airplane leaseback calculator/spreadsheet projects what it takes for you to make money, break even or defray the cost of airplane ownership by putting your airplane to work. If you are not familiar with GA airplane leasebacks I recommend watching the video at the bottom of the page.

Best viewed on a tablet or larger.


1. Upgrades and Other fields let you model the impact of planned upgrades and other costs, for example, depreciation. Remember that these fields are annual costs.
2. Base Hours, which I refer to in the video has been renamed Target Rental Hours.
3. Owner Net/Mo has been renamed BE (Breakeven) Gap; a more accurate name for that figure.

To use the spreadsheet below

Enter your costs of aircraft ownership in the top section and your rental parameters in green below. (Best viewed on a tablet or larger.)

I go into much more detail in the video but here’s a knee board version the basics.

Flight Days/Mo: The number of flyable rental days as a factor of weather, maintenance, and any other reasons the airplane is not available. This figure changes the Flt Hours/Day to give you an idea of the daily hours associated with X flyable (rentable) days. The editable Hours/Mo column drives the financial numbers on the spreadsheet.

Target Rental Hours: The online consensus seems to be that a typical training plane needs to fly 50 hours per month to break even. I called this “Base Hours” in the video and earlier version of the XLS.

BE Gap (Called Owner Net/mo in the video): Your dollar distance from breakeven. For example, if it’s -$1,000 then you are not losing that amount per month; you are $1,000 from breaking even.

Tach/Hobbs: The ratio of engine time to clock time. Engine overhauls are based on tachometer hours, which are a factor of engine RPM. Billable flight hours are usually pegged to the Hobbs meter, which is just a clock. Because of idling, taxiing, etc., a tach hour typically is less than 60 minutes.

Scenario: The breakeven rental rate when you opened this page was $148.79 using the percentage leaseback model. If your airplane rented out for $160/hr and flew 50 hours you made $449. But you want a panel upgrade that will cost $25,000. Your CPA says you can write that off over 5 years (I am making that up, verify with your CPA). You enter $5000 in the Upgrades field and see the BE rental rate moves up to $159.20 and you still make a small profit on the leaseback without increasing the rental rate.


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