Flyyyyyyyyying Away
March 8, 2005 11:00 AM   Subscribe

What is involved in buying an airplane?

I want to buy a used airplane but have no idea where to begin. There are a few resources that I have looked at such as AOPA and Controller but I still feel lost. I've been thinking about using an airplane brokerage service which will basically find the plane, inspect it and charge a fee. I 'd like a four seater that has about a three hour endurance. I also know about how much I want to spend. Does anyone have any experience in this area who can offer some assistance? Is using a broker a good idea?
posted by neilkod to Shopping (12 answers total)
I don't have a plane and don't know a whole lot about them but I know that planes decrease in value for a while and then increase after that. They decrease for maybe 10 or 12 years (I'm not sure) so if you buy a plane older than that, it's an investment because it will go up in value after that.
posted by sirsteven at 11:45 AM on March 8, 2005

I'm a bit puzzled by the question. If you have a pilot's license, you should easily be able to find a lot of people (instuctors, other students, other pilots, club members) who have bought a used plane, or considered that. Or the next time you rent a plane, why don't you ask around? (People love to give advice; you don't need to restrict your inquiries to the internets.)

If you don't have a pilot's license, it would seem logical to get one before you buy an airplane.
posted by WestCoaster at 11:53 AM on March 8, 2005

I googled for "how to buy an airplane" and found something that looks fairly informative.
posted by agropyron at 12:06 PM on March 8, 2005

I've never bought a plane before, but my dad has bought and sold a few, and he swears by the classified sections in a few airplane magazines. I can't remember them all off the top of my head, but I know that Kitplanes usually has a great selection, along with resources for contacting brokers and dealers.
posted by saladin at 12:09 PM on March 8, 2005

If you are a pilot, you should be a member of AOPA. You mentioned you checked their webpage. You should try giving their member services 800-number a call. They can provide even more information about the process.
posted by reverendX at 12:45 PM on March 8, 2005

Also Trade-A-Plane and Aerotrader are essential subscriptions for you while searching for a plane.
posted by reverendX at 12:46 PM on March 8, 2005

Be aware the initial cost of the plane is the least money you will spend. You must add (not counting varible expenses like fuel) insurance (very expensive), mandated engine and airframe maintanence, place to park, and time just staying current.
posted by mss at 12:53 PM on March 8, 2005

Thanks for the responses. Sorry it seems like I left out some pivotal information. I am a pilot, just sick of renting. In response to WestCoaster, most pilots I know don't own their own planes so they're not much help. This is especially true of flight instructors.

I am also member of AOPA but the info they provide is more mechanical than useful. It does help to know what things to look for but I'm looking for some more real world advice. The task just seems so daunting. This is why I've been thinking of using an aircraft acquisition service (broker). What it really seems I need is to talk to someone who has actually gone through this experience in minute detail. Anyone out there done it?
posted by neilkod at 1:47 PM on March 8, 2005

You might want to check out Global Air's website. Really friendly, helpful folk.

Good luck!
posted by Lactoso at 2:18 PM on March 8, 2005

The link that agropyron provided seems exemplary. It, in turn, mentions "The Illustrated Buyer's Guide to Used Airplanes", which seems to be a (the?) definitive guide on this subject.
posted by WestCoaster at 3:40 PM on March 8, 2005

Where did you take lessons and do you rent now? Most small (American) GA airports have plenty of owned craft 'domiciled' at them and I expect you could talk to folks at the places you frequent.
posted by billsaysthis at 5:49 PM on March 8, 2005

A friend of mine that flies is a member of a flying club. The club has a few planes that they own, and each of the members get a specific amount of time to use with each of the planes. Plus, there's extra time anyone can use up. Like a time-share, I suppose.

Seems to be a pretty cheap way to fly- maybe take a look at your local airport and see what you can turn up.
posted by id at 1:39 AM on March 9, 2005

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