Buying an aircraft is not only exciting, it’s expensive. Even a 10-year-old Cessna can cost more than the average home. When buying a used aircraft, there are many things to consider, from the model to the maintenance log and more.
Thinking of all the items you need to look at on the aircraft itself, the future inspections, and what to budget for repairs and maintenance can be intimidating, but putting together a list of what to check can keep you from forgetting things. In addition, having an experienced buyer on your side is invaluable, not only for inspecting the aircraft, but in negotiations for the purchase.
What to Consider When Buying Used Aircraft
Expert Advice: Buying an aircraft is a huge investment and having an acquisition expert on your side to evaluate the plane, look at all the logs, and go over all the complexities that are a natural part of aircraft sales will save you a lot of headaches.
Look at All the Costs: There is a wide variance in price, dependent on the aircraft age, type, and amenities. Also, ask yourself, will you be flying enough to justify the expense? It’s suggested that 150 to 200 flight hours a year will make the expense of purchasing worth it.
Follow the 90 Percent Rule: Buy the size aircraft that will meet your needs 90 percent of the time, and for those times when you need a larger one, rent it. Overall, following that rule will save you from over-purchasing and that translates into dollars saved.
Test Fly: Just as you wouldn’t buy a car without driving it, don’t buy an aircraft without flying it, or having someone pilot it for you and you go along as a passenger. Make sure you fit in it well—that your legs have enough room, that your head does, too, and that you like the way the cabin is laid out.
Join Groups, Get Tips: Joining owners groups gives you access to a lot of people who can offer advice on everything from maintenance to advantages and disadvantages of different aircraft manufacturers and models.
Budget, Keep Calm: Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Keep in mind the costs you will have for maintenance, repair and inspections. Don’t get emotionally attached to a particular aircraft. Instead, look only at those within your budget and make your choice from that group.
Define Your Mission: There are many different aircraft to choose from and all have little differences that can make a big difference depending on the mission. Even though the aircraft may be in the same price range or aircraft class they may have much different useful load (carrying capacity), speeds, ranges or operating expenses. Having an experienced broker with a wide range of aircraft knowledge will help make the right choice.
“For over 30 years, I’ve been assisting local customers find the right aircraft,” says Scott Fank, Vice President, Sales, at J.A. Aero. “From single engine piston aircraft to small jets the value of having an experienced and qualified staff is important…..we become your partner in the process. We encourage curiosity, and pride ourselves on answering questions our clients may not know to ask.”
J.A. Aero recommends asking the following questions before buying an aircraft:
-Who performed the last annual inspection?
-Who performed the overhaul, and are they reputable?
-Are all A.D.’s complied with?
-Is it right time to buy an aircraft?
-What are all available aircraft options?
-Is there a damage history on the aircraft?
-Is the price appropriate?
-Are there any liens against the aircraft?
-What financing is available?
Choosing us as your acquisition consultant means you can relax, knowing we will get you all the answers you need in order to decide on the best aircraft for your purposes. This will, ultimately, get you the best value as well.