How to
Buy an Aircraft

Step 1:
Choose the Make/Model
that is Right for You

Step 2:
Get Pre-Qualified
for Financing

Step 3
Shop Around

Step 4
Research Your Aircraft

Step 5
Put Deposit on Plane/
Open Escrow Account

Step 6
Pre-Purchase Inspection

Step 7
Verify the Aircraft
has a Clean Title

Step 8
Get a Quality
Insurance Policy

Step 9
Arrange Final Payment

Step 10
Closing Paperwork

Step 11
Pick Up your plane/
Schedule Delivery

Printable Version

Aircraft Buyer's Checklist

Step 1:   Choose the Make/Model that is Right for You
This is one of the most important decisions you will face in this process. The aircraft should meet your personal standards of style and taste, as well as fit into your needs and budget.

Examine your needs:
What will you primarily be using your aircraft for? This is one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself. If you have a family of six and would like to take them on vacation once a year, but you are mostly going to be using your plane to commute sixty miles to work, you probably don't need to own a Cessna 210 just because it will hold the whole family. In the long run it would be much more cost effective to buy a plane more suited to your commute and rent a plane for that big family vacation each year.

Think about what is important to you in an airplane and make a list, arranging it from most important to least important. This will help you determine which plane is right for you.

Determine your budget:
The purchase price of an aircraft is only part of the affordability. You must also consider the cost of operating and maintaining the aircraft. Being prepared for such a big decision will insure that you make the right one.

Compare aircraft size & performance vs. operating costs
Once you have established your basic needs & budget, you can begin comparing aircraft to see which one is right for you. A Cherokee 140 for instance has four seats, but will realistically only carry two adults and two kids, where as a Cherokee 180 will carry 4 adults while going a few knots faster, but it will also cost more in maintenance, fuel & insurance. Performing a cost comparison for each type of aircraft you are interested in will help you narrow down the market.

To help you compare, our website contains reviews and performance specs for many makes and models of aircraft. Once you have chosen a make/model, you should read the information specific to that aircraft thoroughly. This will give you an idea of what you can expect as an owner and what to look out for when buying your plane.

Do you qualify for insurance in the plane you desire?
Your experience level as a pilot greatly determines which types of aircraft you qualify for insurance in, as well as your yearly premiums. It is a good idea to start making contact with an insurance company at this time. A quick conversation with an insurance agent may save you from wasting your time shopping for an airplane you can't get insurance in. Often times, you may qualify for insurance after you meet a minimum requirement such as five hours of instruction in a similar make and model. By knowing these things ahead of time, you can be one step ahead of the game. To learn more about insurance and who to contact see Step 8: Get a Quality Insurance Policy.

As you can see there are a lot of factors involved in choosing the right type of plane. For this reason many aircraft buyers choose to enlist the help of a qualified aircraft broker. This person can save you time, money and in some cases a lot of headaches.

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