Many pilots hope to someday own their own aircraft, so AOPA is helping them get off on the right foot at AOPA Expo with a series of aircraft ownership seminars. AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines, who has handled the purchasing of several of the AOPA Sweepstakes aircraft and owns his own airplane, shared his insight and knowledge of the process with about 60 pilots who are contemplating buying an aircraft.
The top of Haines' must-do list is to decide how the aircraft will be used. Finding the aircraft to meet your needs could be the key to blissful ownership. One key is Haines' 80:20 rule. Buy an aircraft that meets 80 percent of your mission. Renting an aircraft can fulfill the other 20 percent.
Then you must discover if you are a good candidate for aircraft ownership: Do you have the time to invest in regularly flying and maintaining the aircraft? Can you afford to finance, operate, and maintain the aircraft?
Once you've decided you can afford an aircraft and have a type in mind that meets your needs, it's time to go shopping. AOPA Online, Trade-A-Plane, Aircraft Shopper Online, and the local FBO or dealer make good starting places.
Other seminars in the ownership track cover topics such as the prepurchase inspection, aircraft painting, strategies for controlling your insurance costs, shared ownership, and maintenance.
November 4, 2005