Aviation Essentials: A Pilot’s Guide to Buying an Airplane

There are over 150000 private pilots in the US alone. That’s more than a few flying aces dotting the skies of the United States, but before they can get up there, they all have one pernicious problem in common.

Deciding which airplane to actually buy.

If you’re one of these befuddled pilots, you’ve come to the right place. Stay put and read on for our comprehensive guide to buying an airplane. From takeoff to landing, from picking out your new wings to signing the paperwork, it’s all covered here.

Before Anything Else, Figure Out Your Finances

Let’s be truthful, you got into flying because you love it and because you love planes. That’s great, but it does mean your reach can exceed your grasp sometimes when it comes to picking out a new set of wings.

So before you start leafing through catalogs, ensure that you have a firm budget in mind and know exactly how you’re financing your new purchase.

Your budget shouldn’t be too hard to figure out: you know your finances better than anyone, after all. But securing financing can be a more fraught process. Make sure you shop around and compare terms, repayment plans, and down payments before you settle on a financing option.

Otherwise, you could end up paying much more in loan repayments than you do on your new plan.

Brand New or Second Hand?

If you’ve ever weighed up buying a new car vs second-hand, then much of the same caveats apply here.

Except, you know, your car was never designed to travel thousands of feet in the air. Unless you take a really wrong turn somewhere.

So weigh up the pros and cons. If you have very generous financing terms, or you’re buying an airplane entirely out of your own pocket, then it might be worth the peace of mind that comes with a new plane’s warranty.

On the other hand, financing services tend to offer better terms on brand new purchases. After all, there’s less chance of hidden spots of damage or other costly repairs on a purchase fresh from the factory. Whatever you buy, make sure to check a site like Vref.com to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

See What It’s Like in the Pilot’s Seat

Before you get to buying airplane paperwork, make sure you test your prospective new plane in-flight. Again, much like a car, there are always potential hidden problems that only reveal themselves in use.

So use it!

Buying an Airplane Should Be Fun, Not Difficult

And that concludes our handy-dandy guide to buying an airplane for pilots old and new. Whether you’ve already circled the globe more times than you count or you’ve just got your license, there are good ideas in here to make sure your next plane purchase is the best it can be.

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