Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Buy Your 1st Bird

Low time, any time could be the best time to own an airplane

Buy Your 1st Bird“I’ve sold airplanes to student pilots with two or three hours in their logbooks,” says Jim Sherman, regional manager for Premier Aircraft Sales. “In the past couple of years especially, half of my clients have been low-time pilots, first-time buyers.”" />

“It’s tough for these transition pilots to get insurance,” he continues. “And if they can get it, they’ll be paying higher premiums, which can really raise their cost of ownership each month.” Anderson says that low-time pilots can transition into a high-performance airplane and keep their insurance costs under control by working with their insurance agent or aircraft dealer to develop a detailed transition plan.

“We believe that finding the airplane is just part of the buying process,” adds Ahles. “We have to ensure the pilot and passengers will be safe. That’s why we create a transition training program to suit the new owner’s skills to the airplane’s requirements.”

Anderson agrees, “When you make a big jump in performance, you’re going to need much more than a minimum checkout to satisfy the insurance underwriters. It’s not uncommon for them to require 30 or more hours of dual in the airplane and maybe up to 10 more hours of solo before you carry passengers.”

What’s This Gonna Cost?

Sooner or later, the subject of cost comes up. “Buying an airplane boils down to two things: down payment and monthly payments,” says Ahles. “If you’ve created a realistic budget, any qualified sales professional can help you fill in the blanks about operating expenses, maintenance and tie-down.”

And that budget will help you determine whether or not you buy new or used. Years ago, a first-time buyer rarely bought new. Today, with interest rates being so low and tax incentives so attractive, it definitely opens up a new aircraft as an option.

“From a sales standpoint, all airplanes hold their values very well,” adds Ahles. “It comes down to price and comfort. Can you afford a new model of the airplane you want? And do you want the added comfort in knowing that your new airplane is covered by a factory warranty? If it’s ‘yes,’ then new is the way to go.”

Whether you’re buying new or used, owning your first plane is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do as a pilot. So, don’t let your lack of logbook time stop you. Your license allows you to go places, so what better way to go than in your own airplane? And what better time than now to buy an airplane?

What A Deal!

Most first-time aircraft buyers think that their only option is to look for used aircraft. But before you stick your nose deep into Trade-A-Plane, you may want to consider buying a new airplane. The bonus depreciation provision allows a tax deduction of up to 60% of the cost of the aircraft in the year of purchase. Used aircraft owners can only deduct 20% of the purchase price in the first year, so if you’re looking for a tax shelter, a new aircraft is definitely the way to go. In addition to the tax incentives, many aircraft manufacturers have special promotions for factory-new airplanes.

Cessna Aircraft Company offers a $4,000 rebate on any of its aircraft for student pilots who complete a private or instrument rating with their new Cessna airplane. Currently, Cessna is offering a brand-new Skyhawk for only $1,050 a month, a 10% down payment and 4.5% interest.

Lancair also offers special financing programs. Some buyers who were able to pay a substantial down payment were asked to only pay for the interest portion of the loan for the first couple of years.

New Piper also is joining the ranks of attractive financing programs. This year, the company is offering incentives such as free fuel, insurance, avionics upgrades or additional training with the purchase of a new Archer or Seneca.

Liberty Aircraft doesn’t have any specific sales incentives, but promises low operating costs with its newly certified, FADEC-engine-equipped two-seater. The company is estimating that the hourly operating cost, including annual inspection, TBO, insurance, storage and fuel, is well below $40.

In the meantime, many manufacturers, such as Cirrus, Mooney, Raytheon (Beechcraft), Lancair and Socata, include extensive transition flight-training programs, which encompass groundschool and flight school with a new aircraft purchase. With such aircraft-manufacturer deals in store for buyers, how can anyone resist buying new?

Buy Online:
Get A Loan:
ADN Find Aircraft
Find out more about aircraft loans from the following lenders. Many of them have online loan applications.
Aircraft Shopper Online
Airfleet Capital
(800) 390-4324
Avia Air Finance
(800) 604-AVIA
Plane & Pilot Aircraft Mall
First Victoria National Bank
(800) 201-9123
MBNA Corporation
(800) 62-PLANE
Premier Aircraft Sales
Union Bank of California
(866) UB-LOANS

WINGS Online

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