4 Tips to Help You Find Your PERFECT Aircraft
So, you’re considering purchasing an aircraft of your own! Many buyers find that once they make the decision to purchase a plane, they’re completely lost when it comes to choosing the perfect one for their needs. There are many factors involved in finding your ideal aircraft: Single-engine or multi-engine? Retractable or fixed gear? High-wing or low-wing? New avionics or traditional?
Aircraft ownership comes with a lot of decisions, but if you stay focused on your specific needs, choosing the right one will be easier, less stressful and even enjoyable!
1. Look at Your Logbook
The type of flying you do on a regular basis should be the main factor in determining what kind of aircraft you should buy. A pilot making long cross-country flights for business trips or vacations might enjoy the extra speed and capacity that comes with a tubo-charge single engine. Someone who just flies for fun in their local area would probably be better off with something simpler.
Still unsure? Examine your logbook for what kind of flying you’re most likely to be doing in your new plane. Then, think about what type of flying you’d like to do in the future. It’s never a bad idea to have more equipment than you need on board, as long as you can learn how to use it.
2. Safety First
Your ability and personal experience should be a huge factor in choosing your aircraft. If you have spent the majority of your training time or have logged countless hours in a high-wing airplane, sticking with a high-wing airplane will make the transition to flying your own plane significantly easier.
It may seem cool to own a multi-engine airplane, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. Twin engine aircraft are typically more challenging to fly & control, they’re also more costly to maintain and insure. Unless you’re very confident in your multi-engine flying skills and will commit to staying that way, private flyers should probably lean toward a single-engine aircraft.
If you want to change it up and get an airplane that is different from what you’ve spent most of your time flying.. make plans to spend some serious time flying it with a flight instructor first. So you can make sure it’s within your capabilities as a pilot, and most of all. And to make sure you even LIKE flying it.
The sticker price of your new aircraft isn’t the only cost associated with owning your own aircraft.
Both the operating costs and the sale price for single engine aircraft can vary hugely. An airplane might have a low purchase price, but a very high operating cost. An airplane with a low purchase price of $50,000 could have operating costs upwards of $40,000 per year. A $200,000 airplane might seem pricey to some but could only cost $20,000 per year to operate. Either one might be a good option for different reasons, but you’ll want to be prepared for reoccurring costs once your transaction is made.
Additionally, you may find a really good deal on an older aircraft model but will spend a considerable amount on necessary maintenance after purchasing it. Annual inspections tend to cost more for older aircraft than newer aircraft. If the airplane is very old or a rare model, the price of parts will be higher when you need to replace or repair them.
4. Resale Value
Aircraft resale value is something that many people forget about during the aircraft buying process, and accordingly, this is where people lose the most money.
Many people decide to sell their airplane within a few years of buying it for a variety of reasons. Because life is unpredictable, you may want to look for an aircraft that will be easier to sell in the future. You wouldn’t buy a house without considering the resale value – and a plane shouldn’t be any different.
Research the things that help and hurt the airplane’s resale value. For instance, an aircraft approaching its TBO time means it will be harder to sell. Certain aircraft models are known to be less safe than others so they can be more difficult to sell. If you purchase an airplane with incomplete or damaged logbooks, that will affect the ability to sell your aircraft in the future as well.
Additionally, new paint jobs, new interior and new avionics and a good safety record will all increase the resale value of your new aircraft.
Still unsure? Norfolk Aviation is here to help! Our full-time sales team is knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to helping you choose the perfect plane for your needs. We’re personally invested and involved every step of the way to make sure you find the perfect fit for the best price. Browse our unmatched selection of used aircraft and call us today to schedule a showing!