Virgin Galactic has reopened ticket sales for a 90-minute trip to the edge of space—but it will set you back $450,000.
According to Virgin Galactic, the company already has hundreds of reservations for its previous $250,000 set of tickets. If you want to reserve your spot in line now, you’ll have to be ready to make a $100,000 deposit.
We here at FLYING like to stretch our dollars a bit further than for one 90-minute spaceflight. Here’s five things you can buy for around the same price as a Virgin Galactic trip.
An Icon A5
The amphibious Icon A5 may be one of the sleekest recreational aircraft out there. For just $389,000—more than $60,000 less than a trip to space—you can fly a fully loaded A5, with an integrated (and removable) Garmin GPS.
You may not get to see the curvature of the Earth, but the A5’s panoramic canopy and removable windows will be perfect for sightseeing, regardless of altitude. The A5 seats one pilot, a passenger, and up to 60 lbs of baggage. This aircraft will take you 427 nautical miles before you’ll need to refuel—which you’ll be doing often when you fall in love with this one-of-a-kind machine.
Seven Piper Cherokees
Are you wanting to start a small fleet of aircraft? For the cost of one 90-minute flight to the edge of space, you can buy seven used Piper Cherokees—with a little left over to help keep them somewhere safe.
Used Piper Cherokees span a wide range, but typically sell for an average of $60,000 and can seat one pilot and up to three passengers. The 150 hp air-cooled engine will take you over 600 nautical miles with a maximum speed of 123 knots. The original versions, the Cherokee 150 and 160, began production in 1961 and remain popular in today’s used market.
11 Cessna 152s
The Cessna 152 is the training aircraft for anyone looking to begin their flying career. If you want to start a flight school and need multiple aircraft, this may be your best bet. The 152 delivers 150 horsepower from its Lycoming O-235-L2C flat-4 engine, pushing out a maximum speed of 110 knots and a maximum range of 477 miles.
You can expect this aircraft to get the job done every time. Considering its a trainer, used models may show signs of wear and tear, but this plane is sure to hold its value for years to come.
18 ERCO Ercoupe 415Ds
You may be thinking, “this is kind of ridiculous.” While that is a valid concern, the only ridiculous thing is the value of 18 ERCO Ercoupe 415Ds. These stall-proof, spin-proof, and slip-proof airplanes are truly meant for anyone to fly.
The 415D has a great maximum range of 450 nautical miles with a top speed of 102 knots. It’s definitely a more peculiar aircraft, seeing that it doesn’t come equipped with rudder pedals—but don’t worry, it’s made by the same man, Fred Weick, who designed the aforementioned Piper Cherokee.
The 415D also holds the title for the first general aviation aircraft to have a fully-cowled engine.
50 Chotia Weedhoppers
Now, this may not be your ideal alternative to going to space, but an entire fleet of Chotia Weedhoppers could be a good investment.
The Weedhopper was created by John Chotia and introduced during the Ultralight craze of the 1970s. In what is essentially aluminum tubing and Dacron-enveloped wings, this extremely inexpensive aircraft proves as a great first-buy at just under $9,000.
While its maximum speed of 56 knots and room for one may seem measly, this aircraft can offer you a peaceful afternoon flight through gorgeous weather—and with 50, you can get one for all your friends and family. While each Weedhopper on the market may differ slightly, the plans for the aircraft are available for purchase—providing you with all the room for creativity during your build.
Did we miss any aircraft that belong on this list? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet us @FLYINGMagazine on Twitter.