Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Buy To Fly


Rent versus own: What’s best for you?


“To me, the thrill starts as soon as it leaves the ground, so I didn’t need to go anywhere in the airplane to achieve my goal. I just wanted to fly, and the LSA approach made it happen sooner, and owning my own airplane gave me complete freedom to do that.”

Ken Shannon

Many pilots learn to fly for very specific uses and, in the process, seek out airplanes that will serve that purpose. Although Ken Shannon was born and raised in Wichita and worked at Cessna during his college years, he didn’t decide he would learn to fly until he had such a purpose.

“We bought a house on Table Rock Lake, which was a solid four-and-a-half hours by car, and I didn’t have to think about it too hard until I decided to learn to fly. I started out in rentals, but before I soloed, I decided it made more sense to spend money on my own airplane rather than someone else’s.

“At the same time, I reasoned that I wouldn’t buy that airplane until I had the landings worked out. I wanted to put those first hard landings on someone else’s airplane, not mine.

“As a college student, I had driven the company van for Duane Wallace, then president of Cessna, so I knew his widow Velma. I mentioned to her that I was looking for an airplane, and she referred me to a 1984 182 that Duane had given her and was subsequently sold. The current owner had it for sale, so I bought it.


Anisa Shanin
“From that point on, all of my training flights were in the 182. As part of my flight training, we would fly down to the Table Rock and do my training in ways that mirrored what my use for the airplane would be. That way, when I got my license, I was very comfortable in making trips like that. In fact, right after I got my PPL, I took my wife on a trip to Sedona, Ariz. By that time, I knew the airplane really well and was very comfortable in it.”

Anisa Shahin

The confidence gained from training in their aircraft, or one exactly like it, is often mentioned by those who buy to fly. This includes Anisa Shahin, a Los Angeles corporate tax attorney, and her Cirrus. Shahin was one of the featured aircraft buyers in the May 2010 issue of Plane & Pilot.

“I had been exposed to general aviation early with an uncle who was an aviation medical examiner and pilot, along with childhood experience flying in light aircraft. It always interested me and, when I started finding myself waiting in long lines at airports or making long, tedious drives (such as between L.A. and San Francisco), I knew it was time to take the leap and learn to fly.



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