Upgrading your aircraft from one model to the next can be one of the most thrilling aspects of aircraft ownership. Our team members have personally made the leap multiple times from single-engine to multi-engine to turboprop and back, adjusting the fleet as the mission changes.
The current trends in aviation insurance capacity are not making the upgrade process any easier which is unfortunate in an environment when acquisition costs of highly capable airplanes are at their lowest and the panel technology has never been more attractive.
Certain upgrade paths are easier than others with respect to the aircraft type, value and nature of operation. A Cessna 150 to a Lear 31 is a big jump. While it has likely been done, one is missing out on a lot of the fun that happens in between. In the current aviation insurance market, it would be virtually impossible. Clearly the Cirrus SR pilots are an upgrade target to the Vision Jet and they have developed programs to help that process.
In the old days a transition plan would have looked like the following:
While this may still be a logical upgrade path, it does incur a lot of transactional friction. Consider going directly to that Bonanza or Cessna 310 right away. There will be some pain in the insurance and training requirements initially, but you will have a longer operational experience growing into the bigger plane, and down the road the eventual move into that new TBM930 will be less of a leap. If you are further down the road already and looking at a turboprop, do not discount some of the legacy jets as a possible alternative.
Many people think the Cessna 340 turboprop conversion is really cool but some of these unique airplanes are just about impossible to insure, especially in the current aviation insurance market. Stick a little closer to the centerline and you will find far more insurance capability, pilot training, and maintenance accessibility.
Optics matter in the upgrade process. Gather all the ratings and experience you can so that your aviation insurance broker can present a well-rounded profile to the insurance company. We recommend the following to improve your chances of finding coverage for your aircraft transition:
At AssuredPartners Aerospace, we have extensive experience helping clients move to that ‘next aircraft.’ Now is still a great time to take the leap into a new aircraft with the acquisition prices more attractive than ever and the level of avionics capabilities beyond anything seen before. Email us, call us 800.622.2672 or visit ap-aerspace.com if you are planning an aircraft upgrade. We would appreciate the opportunity to help you pick the right upgrade path, make a plan, and see it through.