In a recent e-mail from one of my friends and supporters, this question was fielded...
It seems it would be less expensive to buy a whole new one considering how many man hours you're spending. There's no part of the plane you won't know intimately by the time your done.
The simple answer to that question is basically that it is cheaper to rebuild our airplane than buy a new one. For those of you who want the details, keep reading.
This Cessna is a model 206, it was built in 1980... a great year to be born as well. =) Back then, the airplane cost $75,000 new from the factory. Now a days you can pick up a 1980 Cessna 206 for $130,000 to $180,000 depending on condition, hours flown, etc. A brand new Cessna 206 costs about $570,000. If we were to sell our airplane, we would have to come up with an additional $400,000 of capital! Not only that, but we would need to modify the airplane for bush use. A list of some of the options would be, cargo belly pod $3000, crash-worthy seats with 4 point safety belts $2000, auxiliary fuel tanks $5000 and Short take-off and landing kit $8000, float plane reinforcement kits $2000. (Roughly $20,000 total, and that does not include labor!). Even if we purchased a used airplane, we would not come our ahead because of the cost of modifying it. So buying a new airplane, or a used one, and modifying it would not be the wisest use of the funds which God has given us at SAMAIR.
The complete budget for the rebuild project of our "old" airplane is $20,000. Since we are not paying for labor, all the mechanics and pilot/mechanics (like me) are supported by a whole host of churches and individuals, the only cost we have is for parts and shipping. Parts being $15,000 and shipping/import taxes making up the remaining $5000. Since aluminum structures (like airplanes) can continue to be built and repaired, there is no reason to believe that in another 30 years the same thing might take place again!
Oh Pete, your right, we really are getting to know the airplane very well!