Airplanes aren’t like cars, and a person thinking about buying one will need to jump through quite a few legal, logistical and financial hurdles before being able to drive it as a legally registered vehicle. For that reason, a potential buyer should carefully consider how a plane purchase fits into their long-term financial plans before jumping in and starting the process.

Buying an airplane isn’t cheap, and if you go into it with your eyes closed you could quickly find yourself in over your head. To help prevent that from happening, potential buyers should make a list of their wants and needs to figure out what kind of plane they actually need. Then, they should take a careful look at their budget and see what the average cost of the planes they’re interested in is before working it into their overall financial picture.

As with most big ticket items, the upfront cost of the plane represents only a fraction of the total cost of ownership. In addition to the purchase price, there are also ongoing costs like insurance, storage fees, fuel and maintenance. All of those costs will add up over time, and it’s important that would-be airplane owners consider all of them when making their purchasing decision.

It’s also important for a potential airplane buyer to understand that as their family and lifestyle changes, so might their aviation needs. A single pilot might start out with a small, four-seat aircraft like the Grumman Tiger or Cessna 182, but as the family grows they might need more space or capability, in which case moving up to a Beechcraft Bonanza or Duke is probably the best choice.

Another important consideration is that a plane is an investment that will likely require regular maintenance and replacement parts. It’s not uncommon for a plane to require major repairs at some point, and a potential airplane buyer should be prepared for that and should factor the cost of future repair into their financial planning.

Lastly, potential airplane buyers should always take a test flight with any aircraft they’re serious about buying. Whether they’re going with their aviation friend or an experienced mechanic, a test flight will give them the chance to get a feel for how the airplane performs and if it’s the right fit for their lifestyle and capabilities.

Finally, a potential airplane buyer should check the plane’s accident and incident history to ensure that the plane is safe to fly. Specifically, they should ask the seller to show them the repair records for the aircraft and verify that the repairs meet FAA regulations for airworthiness. buy a plane

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