How to Buy a Used Airplane

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Before you head out determined to own an airplane, you should consider the best way for you, in your financial situation, to acquire one. You have several choices.

  • Buy 
  • Rent/Lease
  • Borrow

To determine which is the best for you, you must look at your overall financial situation, as well as how you plan to use the plan.  Will you be taking long flights or short trips, and how often are questions you should ask yourself before making any decisions.

Buy or Rent?

The cost of owning a plane goes beyond the cost of the plane itself.  There’s insurance to think about, the cost of fuel, taxes, maintenance, inspection fees and the cost of storing the plane.  You’ll need to estimate how much all these different expenses will cost over a year period.  If you’re renting a plane now and considering buying one, simply figure up what you’ve spent in total over the last year. How much different will your yearly expense be if you purchase a plane and become responsible for all the other fees and costs associated with ownership?

If owning a small plane will cost you less than renting one, it might be a good choice to start looking through aircraft sales online.  But if you fly only a small number of hours each year, renting is probably the most cost efficient method even compared to a small aircraft for sale . If you plan to increase your flight hours, though, calculate how much extra the rental will be and use that to determine if purchasing a used plane is the better option.

Finding the Right Used Airplane

Aside from figuring out how you’ll use the plan, consider how many people you’ll usually have on board and the type of landing strips and airspace you’ll likely encounter on your flights.

Carefully consider each airplane you look at. While small aircraft commonly last well over 20 years, you should still consider the age of the plane and how easy or difficult it might be to get any parts you might need for maintenance or repair. Is the engine a common one, and easy to find parts for? How much fuel does the aircraft require? What’s the capacity of the plane?

Where to Buy a Used Airplane

Ask where you rent your plane now, or at a small, local airport.  Any flight clubs or organizations there might have information.  You can also check your local classified ads for used aircraft sales, a new aircraft for sale, or look online for used airplanes for sale.