Choosing the right aeroplane is not only necessary, but also extremely difficult. There are so many aircraft out there, all with their own merits and drawbacks. These are far from universal, however: aircraft suit different purposes and are rarely one-size-fits-all. So how can you make the best decision? We share some of the top tips to choose the right aeroplane.
1. Define your needs and mission
You’ll need to figure out what your aircraft’s primary “mission” will be – how it will you use the plane most of the time. If you are only going out for joyrides with yourself or a friend, you can’t buy anything with a turbine. Will you be flying cross-country? Does your plane need to carry cargo? How fast does your cruising speed need to be? Do you need to fly IFR? Know this and lock it in first. You should shop for a plane that meets 90% of your needs.
2. Determine your budget
This is the big factor in figuring out what kind of aeroplane you’ll be able to buy. You have to be able to afford it. You’ll have to factor in the initial purchase cost as well as insurance, maintenance, hangar fees and fuel.
3. Consider business use
Can you fly for business? This determines what loans are available to you. Commercial loans such as chattel mortgages and hire purchases have many advantages for businesses, such as claiming GST and depreciation. Ask a financial professional for more information. Read our guide on renting vs buying an aeroplane here.
4. Choose something safe (and less costly)
Older planes might look like a bargain on the outside, but might be cash sinks when you take the plane off the buyer’s hands. Older planes avionics equipment is usually outdated and requires replacing with newer equipment with GPS and other electronic instrumentation. Older planes may also be coming up to their TBO (time between overhaul) time which means a big investment in an engine rebuild.
5. Join owners groups to find out how your plane flies
If you have a plane or two in mind, it’s worth visiting or joining an owners group to find out how a plane flies and handles in the air. You may find out the plane you had your heart set on isn’t for you.
6. Monitor performance and suitability on demo flights
You have to make sure your intended plane hits your 90% needs rule and 100% of your safety rule when taking it up for a demo flight. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to walk away. Performance indicators should be within normal limits through the whole flight.
7. Don’t get attached
We can’t always get what we want in life, and buying a plane is no different. Don’t get too attached to a plane lest you make a rash decision. Buying a plane is a HUGE investment. You want to make sure you get it right!