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The purchase of an aircraft is a major commitment and an important investment that should be carefully considered. A serious buyer must take following steps before considering buying a plane. This will allow buyers to check if the aircraft is priced reasonably and avoid any surprises. Always fly and aircraft before you buy and make sure to give a thorough look at engine logs and any unusual entries. Do some research around insurance of the plane and service centers. With a little planning and some advance research, your plane purchase will be a memorable experience.
First and foremost, determine a budget you would want to stick to. It’s easy to overspend and there will likely be costs that arise that you didn’t plan for. It’s best to create a spreadsheet of your own or use an online cost calculator to get an estimated cost. As there’s more to the aircraft cost than just the purchase price of the airplane itself. You’ll need to purchase an insurance policy, fuel, oil, hangar or tie-down rental, and maintenance. And don’t miss out the accessories like passenger headsets and engine covers might seem inexpensive, but these costs add up quickly.
Impulsive buying is one of the most common mistakes made while purchasing an aircraft. You must carefully analyze your requirements and be realistic. Are you a weekend pilot or a business pilot? Do you fly mostly fair-weather flights nationally, or do you log hours on long cross country flights in instrument meteorological conditions? The type of flying you do will largely determine what kind of airplane you will need and what features and capabilities it will need to have.
Make sure to consider the typical flight loading, trip distance and conditions of flight, then compare different aircrafts you are considering to buy. To avoid the trap of buying more than you need or can use, ask yourself if you really need all the fancy bells and whistles. If possible, you can try to rent out the similar type of aircraft you are interested in to get to know how well it will meet your requirements.
Make sure to test-fly potential aircraft in person and it would be wise to take along a trusted aircraft maintenance technician. He will be helpful when it comes to test flying the aircraft, since he is aware of how to look for certain engine and handling characteristics.
If you can’t take a mechanic with you, make sure you have the aircraft inspected thoroughly before you purchase it finally.
Do a thorough preflight inspection yourself and look for signs of corrosion or other obvious signs of neglect like broken antennas or worn tires.
Before buying, have a mechanic you trust give the aircraft a thorough inspection and provide you with a written report of its condition. A pre-purchase inspection should include at least a differential compression check on each cylinder of the engine and any other inspections necessary to determine the condition of the aircraft. In addition to a mechanical inspection, the aircraft logbooks and other records should be carefully reviewed for such things as Report of Major Repair or Alteration, AD compliance, the status of service bulletins and letters, and aircraft/component serial numbers. Ideally, the mechanic you select to do the inspection should have experience and be familiar with the problems that may be encountered on that type of aircraft.
Pre-purchase inspection should also include an analysis of the spare parts market. As difficulty in acquiring spare parts can cost you a lot of time and money, and ultimately risk grounding your aircraft.
Once you’ve decided on an aircraft, spending some time in the books is very important. A careful inspection of the aircraft’s maintenance logs will let you know if it’s been maintained properly, or if there were recurring maintenance problems in the past.
Upon completing your plane purchase, make sure to register the aircraft in your name. You can transfer the aircraft registration by sending an application and proof of ownership to the concerned department. Also check for the airworthiness of the aircraft and airworthiness certificate will be transferred on your name after the sale of plane.
Maneuvering your way through the insurance process is a daunting task. Though you might want to put this off until the last minute, it might be in your favor to begin the process sooner rather than later. Seeking the help of an experienced aviation underwriter will make the process comfortable when determining what coverage you need.
Typically, insurance companies set the requirements and premiums based on the different type of airplane and pilot qualifications. Some aircraft are insurable only at very high rates because of age or other factors. Also check on hull rates before buying to avoid surprises. Avoid the trap of either over-insuring or under-insuring
Buying a plane is a lot of hard work, especially if it’s your first one. So, it is a good time to call upon your fellow aviators, mechanics and aircraft owners and seek some help. In case you’re a member of any professional aviation organizations, review your membership benefits and use the resources that are available
Finding your dream plane has never been easier. With today’s vast amount of online resources, you can look anywhere for your perfect aircraft that fits your needs and budget. While many good deals are still found on your local airport bulletin board, you can usually find a large selection of aircraft for sale on various in trade publications or websites like droom.in.