Airplane of the Month • January  2006

1970 150K 00-TOW Photographed East of Shoreham, UK, G-BPAX's  base airfield.
The Dirty Dozens' 1976  Stealth 150
Year: 1976 Model: 150M Serial#: 15077401
342 of 1,446, 1976 150M's manufactured
19,400 of 21,404, 150's manufactured
 in the USA

This 1976 C150M is currently co-owned by a group of 11 pilots known as "The Dirty Dozen" (they're currently seeking a 12th member to make good their name). Members come from a wide range of occupations, from computer and mechanical engineers, to train drivers and commercial pilots, and currently includes one "Girl" (their choice of language, we'd say "Bird"). The airplane is based at Shoreham Airport, West Sussex, United Kingdom. Shoreham is on the South Coast of England, near the City of Brighton & Hove and the town of Worthing.

The Dirty Dozen was formed as a flying group in The Star public house at East Grinstead, West Sussex in December 1998 when twelve pilots agreed to buy G-BPAX from Barry Aviation flying school based at Shoreham Airport. They took possession of the plane in March 1999 and have been flying her ever since.  Only two of the original 12 members remain, Steve Isaacs who is still a student pilot, and  Mike Casely,  treasurer and responsible for maintenance and CAA certifications. Unlike some flying clubs, the Dirty Dozen own just this one airplane, making ownership uncommonly affordable compared to aircraft rentals in the UK.

(Note that all costs are quoted in US dollars at the conversion rate current on December 31, 2005)

The cost to buy a 1/12th share of ownership varies depending on demand, but is presently around $3,500. The members each pay monthly dues of $103 collected every 4 months, so the annual fixed cost of membership is about $1,236. In addition there is a hourly rate to use the airplane of $20, not including fuel or oil. The cost of fuel in the UK is considerably higher than in the US, a gallon of 100LL typically costs about $5 (US). In addition to fuel, there are landing charges to be paid, even at small general aviation airports. These landing fees vary from a low of about $12 to a high of $27.50. Dirty Dozen member Dave Ridley reports that a recent half hour flight cost him a total of $67.

The group estimates that the value of the airplane in the UK is about $34,500 US dollars. In a typical year they spend about $2,300 for parking, $2,000 for insurance, and $14,500 for maintenance. When miscellaneous costs are included the total annual cost of ownership can approach the value of the airplane. 2005 was a more expensive year than usual, the airplane was repainted, the engine overhauled, and a wing replaced (the wing struck another plane's prop while taxiing.) Fortunately the damaged wing was covered by insurance, but the engine overhaul cost sobering $27,117!

It all sounds like a lot of money, but keep in mind that it's split at least 11 ways and a typical hourly rental rate for a C150-152 in the UK is about $175 dry(and don't forget the expensive fuel and landing fees)

Historical Note: 25 years ago, in April 1981, British club member Len Davies reported that he was paying  $5.28 US per gallon of 100LL and the going C150 rental rate was $52.80 per hour. Even at today's high prices,  considering  the US$ rate of inflation, the cost of flying in the UK is about half of what it was 25 years ago. (by comparison, the inflation adjusted  fuel price in the US is currently about the same as it was 25 years ago, but rental prices and insurance are cheaper.)

We are currently attempting to entice Dirty Dozen members to join us in Iowa this summer by promising them free use of a Cessna 150 (including fuel....and NO LANDING FEES!) to use in the flying contests at the 2006 International Club Fly-in.  Will they come? Please encourage them to accept our offer via email at

For additional photos and details about the Dirty Dozen visit:

[Posted December 31, 2005]
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The Cessna 150-152 Club and Cessna 150-152 Fly-In Foundation are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations. Chicago, Illinois

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