AOPA testing new ways to open doors to aviation with ‘reimagined aircraft’

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) says it 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.”

AOPA officials said they believe that older airplanes that have been updated from tip to tail may be one way to 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, officials noted.

reimagined 152Familiar 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, AOPA officials said.

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 schoo, and owned and operated for around $65 per hour, including fuel.

“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.”

reimaginedcockpitAOPA 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 been working with banks and insurance underwriters to confirm that the Reimagined Aircraft can be financed and insured.

The first “152Reimagined” is on display in AOPA’s exhibit at AirVenture.

reimaginedAlthough these are the first “Reimagined” Aircraft, 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.”

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, officials said.


  1. says

    Great idea on the refurbishment of older fun to fly aircraft aircraft! I have to agree with Max on the benefits of learning to fly with steam. When your electrical systems die it’s going to be steam that saves the day. So is a cursory look at their operation in your PPL course enough for a pilot to use them confidently when the inevitable happens? I use glass cockpit and it has many great features, for example the new G3X from Garmin is exceptionally good. However I believe anyone who labels a pilot anything less than better for their skill in using steam, accurate PRE-flight planning (which the electronic systems tempt you not to do) and awareness of how to find your position at all times without the need for a GPS (a skill quickly lost when you have one available all the time) is certifiable. One burst of solar radiation and it’s sweaty palm time!

  2. says

    Restoring 150s and 152s is not a bad way to go. The airplane is durable, easy to fly, is a known quantity, has no particular bad habits, and you can get parts and service anywhere. Having done essentially this on my own 150, I think the price might be a tad high but not hugely so. There is a LOT of work here, new engine and all accessories, new windows, all new cables (they’re expensive and it is a labor-intensive job), paint, and remove whatever corrosion is found (and there will be some), a lot of absurdly priced OEM Cessna parts, and overhaul all the instruments, plus the new avionics. Also, a full set of all the plastic bits, inside and out, isn’t exactly cheap. Don’t forget tires, brakes, probably a wheel rim or two, all the wheel bearings, upholstery, battery box, gascolator, all this stuff adds up in a hurry. The list is LONG, and even longer when you are writing lots of checks (please don’t ask me how I know this).

    There’s no real need for the 150 HP conversion unless you are operating out of a hot and high airport and have big, healthy students and instructors. The 150/150 with the standard tanks has pretty short legs, and the 150/150 with the long range tanks is at MTOW long before it is full of fuel. Remember, this is a TRAINER, not a long distance, hard IFR transport class speedster. It doesn’t go very fast, won’t go very far, and won’t carry much – and that’s just fine to train in. Sure, you can get a faster airplane with more range that will carry more “stuff”, but it will cost a LOT more to buy, maintain and fuel.

    The fact that AOPA can get these airplanes financed (“You want to finance a 1972 Cessna 150 for $90 grand??”) and insured (same incredulous question) makes it a do-able deal.

    I still think the asking prices are a bit high, but that’s the price of a turn-key airplane. I’m glad somebody’s doing it instead of just complaining about it.

  3. Max F Gray says

    I see you found it impossible to “reimagine ” that aircraft without including the “world famous, you can’t fly without one “, glass panel. And you forgot to mention the cost of this item in purchase, updates, inability to see it with polarized corrective lenses, and the replacement cost when the screen craps out. I’d also like to know the name of the entity that decided “steam instruments ” are totally useless, obsolete, harmful to your health, and if you are going to fly for enjoyment, you MUST have a glass panel.

    • Greg W says

      Steam instruments are useless unless you have a Travel Air with the Besler steam engine :) The glass panels are nice too,usually one in front and on each side. I fly an aircraft that only has a single glass panel in front and it gets windy if I lean out too far. In short I agree fly basic and learn to fly first, not run the avionics systems. The concept is good, the price too much, unless it can be shown to have great benefit over the “average” used C-150. This is the model that has been used with corporate aircraft for decades.

    • Phil says

      It’s a little tough to do a moving map on a steam gauge. Same for synthetic vision. For some things, like airspeed for example, a steam gauge with colored markings for various speed ranges makes sense. But for other things, a glass panel makes more sense.

      • Max F Gray says

        Phil, I guess you are younger than I am. That number on my e-mail addy is my birth year. My first airplane ride ever was in a J-3 Cub with Tom Reese near Muncie, Indiana. I was still in grade school. I received my license after many years of doing without an occasional meal, or an entertainment, just as a lot of folks had to do to be able to fly. Nothing special about me for doing that. I do however strongly take offense everytime the aircraft industry comes out with some new, and basicly worthless gadget costing thousands of dollars to purchase, additional thousands of dollars to maintain/update, and the FAA God stepping in and saying it is mandatory or you can sit on the ground. Then applying this to every type of aircraft. If Charter companies, big airlines, and all those folks with neverending incomes want to install all the bells and whistles in their aircraft, go for it. I couldn’t care less. But don’t tell me that I am a menace to the world because I don’t have a moving map inside my cabin. I’ve flown as PIC of some aircraft outfitted with these toys. ( that is how I know you cant read the information with polarized corrective lenses) . I didn’t find it fascinating to sit and try to watch a moving map, nor did I find it nessacery to insure a safe flight. I did however discover that if I wanted to see a moving map, I could put the left side of my head against the side window, and look down. I”m not trying to show any disrespect, I do believe there is a place for all of this high dollar technology. But I do not believe it is in the cockpit of a 2 or 4 passenger, single engine aircraft that is not equipped for instrument flight. And I highly resent the aviation industry, and aviation entities, ( AOPA, FAA, and the like continually stating “you gotta have this or you’re an unsafe, unworthy pilot).

    • Tom says

      Hang in there Max. This newbees don’t understand the steam gauge concept. Too interested in technical toys that add very little to basic flying enjoyment. Thanks for your input.

  4. Gordon Cragg says

    I have total refurbished three Cessna 150’s for my rental program. All my ships have a Lycoming O-320-E2D 150HP and long range fuel tanks. I complied with the recent Cessna 100 Series SID program, new paint, new metal instrument panel, Garmin avionics and a super sound-proof interior.
    Bottom line is I have about half the money this article is quoting in each of these 150’s. I am afraid that, at a $100K price point there will be a value problem!!

  5. Tom says

    Good idea except you need to put a 150 horse engine in it to make it a real useable airplane. Of course the problem with that is it would drive the cost up too much to make it feasible because you could get an RV-12 cheaper.

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