Hangar vs. Tie-Down: Where to park your Aircraft

Although overlooked at times, where you store your aircraft is a very important part of being a responsible owner. Whether you decide to hangar it or tie it down, where and how you store your plane can change its re-sale value, extend its longevity, or conversely, cost you a lot of unnecessary expenses. It all depends on how you look at it. So let’s look at the pros and cons of storing your aircraft in a hangar versus keeping it tied down outside.

Obviously hangars can cost a lot of money. Money no object who wouldn’t want the private suite?  While prices differ, hangaring your aircraft can cost you up to $500-$600 per month, which is hundreds more than keeping it tied down outside. Tie-down fees can run anywhere from $50-$100 per month. There are reasons for this.. A hangar offers far better protection from natural elements, therefore reducing potential damage and devaluation of your plane. Tying your aircraft down outside, while costing far less money, will leave it exposed. This may be a wise financial decision if you are in an area where inclement weather is rarely an issue, not so much if you’re basking in the Florida sun or braving a New York winter. Always remember to check prices with FBOs before you land, as prices tend to change based on location.

There are two main types of hangars to consider should you choose that option. The most common single-plane hangar setup is known as a “t-hangar” for its shapeA t-hanger is designed to fit the shape of the body of your plane. It’s narrow in the back for the tail and wide enough for the wings in the front. The other is called a “shared hangar”. Shared hangars are more affordable, though with many planes sharing the same space you run a greater risk of “hangar rash”. Poorly maintained hangars or bad planning can increase your risks of hangar rash.

Tying down your aircraft, if done properly, can be a cost-efficient, and perfectly reasonable way to park at an airport. The best way to do this is known as the 3-point tie-down. The 3-point tie-down involves securely fastening your aircraft by both wings and the tail. If done right this will keep your plane from tipping due to jet/prop efflux or strong winds. Keeping your aircraft tied down rather than hangared can save you thousands of dollars per year, but again, it could cost you more in the long run due to repairs and maintenance in tough climates.

Whether you choose to hangar your aircraft or tie it downthe most important factor is that you feel comfortable where you keep your plane. Peace of mind goes a long way in aviation, and keeping your aircraft in good condition is essential becoming a confident pilot or owner. Always remember to check prices with your destination’s FBOs, and go with what makes you feel the most secure about your aircraft. With proper planning and wise decision-making, you’ll feel more confident about your craft, and how you fly.

Contact us for more information or recommendations to industry experts who can guide you in selecting your best options and help you plan your flights.