Aircraft ownership is within your reach. From tips related to buying your first or a new plane to the biggest mistakes pilots make when purchasing insurance, our aircraft ownership articles shed light on all of the aspects of owning your own flying machine.
With the economy in trouble, pilots are finding innovative ways of keeping themselves in the sky
Affordable flying is something of an oxymoron. World War II aviator Jimmy Doolittle is credited for uttering the phrase, “How can it be said that there is no money in aviation? That’s where I left all of mine!”
New versus old: What you get and what you don’t get
This week, within the course of about two hours, I received calls from two friends who wanted to buy similar, but different, airplanes. The common thread was that each wanted something fun and simple to own.
Buying an airplane with a partner opens up ownership to any pilot. Do it right the first time
It’s a safe bet that before the ink was dry on your solo endorsement, you started thinking about buying an airplane. If you stayed with the same FBO after your checkride, the negative aspects of renting became clear: dirty cockpits, long squawk lists, items held together with duct tape, and having to schedule weekend flights far in advance. Like many pilots, you probably made some calculations and figured out that you could never afford to own. Most people stop there. But there’s a way that almost anybody with just about any income can own an airplane. The answer: a partnership or, more correctly, a co-ownership.
How new aircraft buyers are changing the face of general aviation
Just over a decade ago, buying a brand-new aircraft wasn’t an option. While you might have been able to special-order something esoteric, most legacy manufacturers had altogether stopped building new airplanes. When you could buy something brand-new, it looked just like the airplanes already sitting on the ramp, albeit a bit shinier and with that “new plane” smell. The technology, both in the cockpit and within the engine, was pretty much the same from one aircraft to another and hadn’t really progressed much in more than 40 years. The designs of the aircraft themselves had stayed pretty much the same since the 1950s.
To borrow a line from my favorite songwriter and performer, Neil Diamond, aviation is “headed for the future and the future is now.” If you’ve ever been in the market for an airplane, 2008 is a banner year to buy.
With careful planning, shared ownership could be the best way to go
Would an aircraft partnership save you money or allow you to fly a bigger and better airplane for less than you’re spending now? A partnership, or shared aircraft ownership, is one of the oldest and sometimes most practical forms of owning an airplane.
Shared access and exceptional member care make flying a cinch
I was introduced to a new kind of flying at an open house in Long Beach, Calif. Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles Lindbergh and cofounder of iFly, spoke of the “world’s first exclusive aero club,” a membership-only venture that provides shared access to technologically advanced aircraft and high-end customer service. Having recently earned my private license, I typically rent airplanes (and envy friends who own theirs). But iFly’s program was intriguing, so I decided to check it out.
I’ve always believed that everyone can own an airplane. Indeed, I’ve noticed that many of the people who are now jetting around in Gulfstreams or Challengers got started in Champs, Cubs, Stinsons, Cessna 150s, Cherokee 140s or similar entry-level airplanes.
It feels great. It looks sexy. You catch yourself daydreaming about it in boring meetings. People come up and look at it wherever you go.
A brand-spanking-new airplane. There are few thrills and accomplishments as satisfying and special as buying a factory-new airplane. To the new owner, a new bird is the epitome of symphonic beauty and brilliant engineering; a powerful engine and supple, luxurious leather interior combined with the latest in navigation and communication technology, which, in many cases, outpaces commercial airliners. And it’s all yours.
It’s an issue practically all of us must address at one time or another. Virtually every pilot—student, private, commercial or ATP—dreams of owning an airplane.
In most cases, the first question a pilot must answer is the obvious one: How much money are you willing to spend on an airplane? In the majority of cases, this will be a finite number that will make the selection process easier. In others, a prospective buyer may be willing to spend as much as he or she needs to buy the airplane he or she wants. One way or another, a smart purchase, like a small fight, begins with gathering all the important information.
Here’s a list of some of the biggest boo-boos that pilots make with aviation insurance
It was so long ago that I’ve forgotten exactly who said it to me. I’ll never forget what he said, however.
I was a teenager and had been expressing one opinion after another with the absolute confidence that adolescents often have. After a few minutes, the wise old man said to me, “You know, Jim, it’s not what we don’t know that gets us in trouble, but what we’re absolutely sure of that simply isn’t true.”
We set out to answer the one question that every pilot faces at one time or another: Should I buy an older airplane or the latest model?
There’s no denying the fact that all pilots love airplanes and, if given the chance, they would all buy and own one. That’s the easy part. Buying one is a whole different story, however. And it all hinges on one seemingly simple query: How do you decide whether to buy a new or used airplane?
Low time, any time could be the best time to own an airplane
“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.”
Whether you equate it to the search for the Holy Grail or a textbook example of caveat emptor, with a little perseverance and luck, you can still find a great deal on the airplane of your dreams—if you know where to look
Whether the stories are real or just urban legends, sooner or later, every hangar-talk session turns to a tale of someone finding that cherry-red Bonanza sitting in a barn in the middle of nowhere and the farmer selling it for $5,000. While stories like this are much more fiction than fact, a question remains: How can you find that undervalued gem that will ensure your place in aircraft buyer’s lore? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it used to be.