Come Fly with Me: 5 Things You Need to Know When Buying an Airplane


Did you know that there are over 13000 private planes active in the USA? Thanks to the recent economic upturn more people than ever are now able to afford a private plane.

However, with so many models on the market, it can be very difficult to select the right one for your lifestyle. 

If you are thinking of buying an airplane, what should you look out for? Here are five things you need to know about buying an airplane before you take-off.

1. Calculate the Cost

Before you get drawn in by the romance of buying a plane, it is best to sit down and work out a few details. How will you use this plane? What is your maximum budget?

A key expense to calculate is pilot expenses. An experienced pilot or pilot agency is invaluable to you. You need a pilot who has many hours of flight experience and knows how to use both electronic interfaces and dead reckoning

Think back about your travel over the last 12 months. Think about how many national and international flights have you taken? Do you really need a plane with international capability for only 2-3 international flights per year? If you are flying an average of 4-5 hours, should you consider a plane that incorporates a toilet?

All important things to think of before falling in love with the plane of your dreams. 

2. Decide Between a New Or Used Plane

After you have considered your needs, next consider whether you should buy a new or second-hand plane. 

It may seem easy to say that a second-hand plane will be the cheaper option because of its age. However, in the mid to long term that may not be the whole story. New aircraft will often be more fuel-efficient and faster than older planes. 

Plus you would be sacrificing comfort and luxury if you were to buy an older plane when newly designed planes incorporate the latest in materials and technology. 

Think carefully before you make your decision. Considering only second-hand planes could result in a loss in the long term.

3. Unusual or Exotic Aircraft

Maybe you see the advertisement that offers a model of airplane that fits your personality perfectly. Or perhaps you are looking for something that is just a little different from everyone else’s plane. 

The bad news is that generally, the more exotic or unusual the plane, the harder it is to get spare parts. It may even make it hard to sell after you are finished with it. 

It may be better to get a middle-of-the-road plane that has the class and style that suits you rather than an aircraft that is exotic. 

4. Aircraft Records

When you to set eyes on the plane of your dreams, check the paperwork before you sign the deal. You should be able to confirm receipt of the following: 

  • Airworthiness certificate
  • Engine and airframe logbooks
  • Aircraft equipment list
  • Weight and balance data
  • FAA-approved aircraft flight manual or owner’s handbook

These might seem like small details, however not having these documents could cause you significant problems down the line. This could include you having difficulties when trying to resell the plane. 

5. Take a Test Flight

After ensuring that everything is legally sound with the plane, you should ensure that you take a test flight. However, don’t take the test flight alone. 

You should take with you a trusted aircraft maintenance technician or at the very least an experienced pilot. The aircraft should be thoroughly tested before you purchase to ensure that you don’t get any nasty surprises after purchase. 

Along with your mechanic be sure to personally look for any signs of neglect or lack of basic maintenance. Even damage to small parts such as antennae or worn tires can give you a clue to how it has been cared for. 

Buying an Airplane and Much More

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Come Fly with Me: 5 Things You Need to Know When Buying an Airplane