Choosing your Airplane

So it’s time to get serious about your dream of aircraft ownership. Where do you begin?

Choosing the right aircraft for your mission is a critical step that requires evaluation in several different areas.

 1. Consider the “90% rule”.

What type of equipment will you need for 90% of your travel? If you’ll only occasionally need a 5th seat, consider renting for the few times you’ll actually fly 4 passengers. You’ll potentially save $100,000.00 – that’s quite a few rental hours! Are your trips primarily regional trips? A few knots of additional speed will go unnoticed while those same knots could be welcome on long cross country trips. What will your average trip length look like?

 2. New or Pre-owned?

A good rule of thumb is to purchase the newest aircraft that you can afford. You’ll save dollars in maintenance and your aircraft will probably require fewer avionic upgrades, paint and interior upgrades. A brand new aircraft will save you a substantial amount of money in interest charges, new aircraft rates are much lower than used aircraft rates, and you may see 20 year amortizations) and you’ll be able to calculate your maintenance expenses to the dollar due to the warranty. Additionally, if you can substantiate business use, the tax dollars saved through depreciation of a new aircraft can actually PAY YOU for the first 4 years! To learn more about this tax benefit, visit Advocate Tax.

3. How much aircraft can you afford?

Again, there are some benefits to purchasing a new aircraft because interest rates are lower, less money is required for a down payment and amortizations are longer. The result is a lower payment, and aircraft finance companies approve candidates mainly on cash flow rather than assets owned. In many cases, the lower the payment, the easier it is to qualify regardless of the total amount borrowed. For more information, visit:

 Cessna Finance

4. Safety –

This is the time to take a hard look at your flying skills. Choose an aircraft that you’ll be comfortable with, one that matches your skill level. You can learn about the flight characteristics of different aircraft along with their safety records at AOPA. (The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association).

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