Are you considering purchasing your first aircraft? If so, you are probably already immersed in searching for your ideal airplane and accessories, best available pricing and cost-effective financing. In addition, there are several major personal and financial factors to focus on before choosing that special aircraft of your dreams, including:
1. Be realistic when shopping for your first aircraft:
Weigh your need for high flight speed against the savings of flying slower. – Whenever you take demo flights to test-drive an aircraft, take careful note of its performance aspects. For example, while your pilot shows off the aircraft’s notable climbing capabilities, check out the power control settings and the fuel flowing rate. After the flight, you can compare the plane’s control panel numbers to the aircraft manufacturer’s statistics. Be aware that speed is costly. Always weigh your need for such speed in flight and calculate the approximate amounts you will pay for it. Since the majority of single-engine aircraft travel in the under-300 nm range, you may opt for less speed at a lower cost. Actually, you really will not need the extra speed unless most of your flights are greater in distance than 300 nm.
2. Don’t overlook LSA or shared ownership options:
Many creative modern improvements now available in most standard and commercial airplanes originated in light sport models. Among these advancements are carbon-fiber compositional elements and LED lighting. Such LSA examples as Cessna and Piper’s current Skycatcher and PiperSport provide 2,000-hour TBOs and multiple safety innovations with prices in the neighborhood of $100,000 to $150,000. Of course, if you share ownership of your first aircraft with a partner, your costs will be divided in half. Whether you share ownership via a corporate entity, a basic partnership or as fractional airplane ownership, you will benefit from cost savings. You can explore the possibilities of fractional ownership through aircraft manufacturers like Cirrus Share, and at LetsFly.org you will find updated information about cooperative plan ownership.1
3. Allow for the cost of necessary accessories:
Before purchasing your new airplane, run an approximate total on the cost of all needed accessories. Although it is easy to forget about these extras in the excitement and enthusiasm of finding the aircraft you always dreamed of owning, you need to keep track of these accessories and their prices. All of the attractive comfort aspects and safety features currently on the market add expense to your acquisition. As an example, a practical addition of two parachutes to your plane purchase will increase your total cost by $4,000 to $6,000. Such extras can make your flying experiences much safer and greatly enhance your time spent in the air. Just be sure to figure in the expense of these accessory items before you finalize your plane purchase.
4. Know the benefits of using your aircraft for business:
Talk with your attorney or accountant to learn the benefits you will gain when using your new airplane for business purposes. You may be able to claim a business deduction on your tax reports, thus saving money. You will also most likely be able to use pretax money for upkeep and repairs. You may even save big-time on your taxes, with funds left in your account for other, more pleasurable purposes. Remember, also, that financing a plane is not comparable to financing a car. Instead, buying an aircraft is more like purchasing a new home. This is because, in both cases, the majority of the interest will be paid initially. Also, neither an aircraft nor a house is categorized as one of life’s essential items, so qualifying for both involves a comparable procedure.
Purchasing your first aircraft can be a truly exhilarating experience, and the better informed you are as a buyer, the better the overall purchasing process will be for you. By being prepared to look for and ask questions about all important aspects of the aircraft of your choice along with all necessary or desirable accessories, you will be well on your path to getting all that you imagined and hoped for in your attractive first airplane.