We have covered the topic of aircraft buying a few times in the past (see Five questions to consider before deciding to buy an aircraft and Aircraft buying mistakes and questions to ask), but the PlaneGrazy.com blog has a great post with several important tips for buying an aircraft that was written by Alan Carr who works for aircraft classifieds site, globalair.com. Alan started out by writing that buying an aircraft is not like buying a car because chances are, you just aren’t familiar with the process and there are some unknowns associated with aircraft purchases.
Alan then went on to concisely summarize some key aircraft buying tips:
- Know what you need in an aircraft. Alan suggested the 80% rule where you find an aircraft that fulfills your flying needs 80% of the time rather than look for one that fulfills your needs 100% of the time. He also suggested looking at your needs in a three year block (in case you decide to upgrade) and buying something you are familiar with. Finally, he noted low hours and high performance tend to be a concern for insurers as you will need to find someone willing to ensure your purchase.
- Have a budget and stick to it. Alan wrote that you need to know what you can afford on a monthly basis and you should plan for an additional 25% increase in the event of an unexpected maintenance cost. Alan also made it clear that you need to know what you qualify for if you intend to finance something and to consider partnerships or co-ownerships, but those types of arrangements will require as much attention to detail (like selecting a suitable partner) as picking the aircraft.
- Its not just the sticker price. Alan wrote that you need to look beyond the sticker price as a bargain aircraft could come with staggering upkeep costs even if it’s the same model but a different year. For that reason, he suggested speaking with knowledgeable people (e.g. current owners and mechanics) about the maintenance costs associated with a particular aircraft model and added that you should not overlook the value of online forums as most pilots are happy to give advice or tips.
With the above tips in mind, would you have any further tips to add from any personal experiences buying an aircraft?