How to choose a plane when buying one

Tomas Peralta

2 min read ·

Selecting an airplane is like choosing your home in the sky. Therefore, it is essential that you buy the one that is right for you. It is important to look for the proper functioning of the plane that is suitable for your skills and requirements. Keep the following things in mind when buying a plane.

Define your mission

The first and most important step in buying a plane is defining what you will be needing the plane for. Will you be using the aircraft for mostly short or long trips? How short or how long? How many people will you typically be carrying? How much cargo will you typically be carrying? How fast do you need to get around? Your answer to these question will determine the aircraft you should get. A very different plane is required for a weekend getaway at the cabin by the lake or a sales trip to the opposite side of the country.

Figure out your costs

Before you start looking for a plane, make sure you perform a deep analysis on how much the aircraft is going to cost you to own. To do this, you need to first calculate the hourly direct operating costs such as fuel, oil, 50- and 100-hour inspections. You’ll also have to figure the hourly indirect operating costs such as reserves for engine overhaul, based on the anticipated cost of overhaul and the published engine TBO. In addition, you’ll have to come up with estimates for all the fixed yearly costs associated with aircraft ownership: annual inspection, insurance, taxes, hangar rent,reserves for prop overhaul, paint and interior, and recurrent training. You’ll discover that fixed costs are a dominant part of the cost of owning an aircraft. Additional costs should be estimated in order for you to know the average expense of your plane once you buy it. Make sure you want to make this investment.

Research the aircrafts

Make sure to research the particular planes that interest you. Some aircrafts have a reputation for being problematic, while others are known for being a pleasure to own. Other airplanes are more difficult to pilot. If you’re a first-time buyer, you’d be well advised to focus on a relatively simple aircraft and stick with models and model-years that have a well established reputation by all accounts. Wait until you have a few years of airplane experience before you look at more complex machines. Be careful when buying old airplanes. They may be inexpensive at first purchase, but could eventually turn into a money pit with all the refurbishment that has to be done to it. Most importantly, make sure you feel comfortable with the airplane you choose. Enjoy your flight!