Tips for Buying an Airplane

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Features

It has been your dream to purchase your very own airplane and you’ve finally decided, after careful consideration, to take the plunge. Before you rush out to buy your plane, there are some important points to think about. The first of these is that it is highly advisable to consult a number of specialists and experienced individuals along the way; this may include other pilots, mechanics, lawyers and so forth. Such individuals will assist you in making a wise decision when it comes to choosing a plane and dealing with everything that goes along with a purchase.

Before deciding on which airplane to buy, you need to carefully consider the financial aspect of plane ownership. Costs could include a down payment and monthly installments (if borrowing from a bank), liability insurance (in case of an accident), hull insurance (for damage to the plane), storage (from tie downs to hangars), operations (fuel and airport fees), maintenance, taxes and other fees.

Once you have determined whether you can afford your own plane, you can start deliberating over which airplane is for you. There are a variety of factors that should influence your choice. What will you be using the airplane for? Is it for fun, acrobatics, long distance or short distance trips? Will you be taking passengers, and how many? Where will you be landing and what sort of airspace will you be flying in? Is the model relatively easy to maintain with access to replacement parts? What type of aircraft would suit your pilot skills? Do you want a new plane or a used aircraft? And so forth. It is a good idea to try out a variety of aircraft, either through flight schools or with other pilots. Do as much research as you can on the airplanes that interest you.

After picking the model that best suits your needs, you can go about sourcing planes for sale. When contacting a person or company selling a used airplane you may wish to ask what the flight time is for the engine and airframe, about the maintenance schedule, if it has any history of damage, what the condition of the exterior and interior is, and so forth. Be sure to view the airplane’s paperwork, including its state of airworthiness. Make a careful inspection of the airplane when going to view it. Ensure that everything is functioning as it should, look for damage and wear, and check the instrument panel, avionics and electrical system. It is a good idea to get a mechanic in to inspect the plane before the final purchase.

If this looks like it could be the airplane for you, take it for a test flight. During the flight you can listen to the engine, check the avionics, watch the gauges, get a feel for the aircraft and ensure all is in working order. If all works out well, you can negotiate on the price and start the purchasing process.

Please note that this is just a brief summary to aid potential aircraft buyers. We advise all those in the market for new or used aircraft to do plenty of research and seek the advice of professionals and those in the know, before purchasing an aircraft.

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