As a pilot, or for those learning to fly, purchasing a light aircraft is a fantastic way to take to the skies. The exciting prospect of purchasing your aircraft can cause you, the buyer, to overlook the day to day running and maintenance costs of their aircraft. Below we will be looking at the main areas you should focus on to ensure you are prepared for your purchase.
What are your purchasing options?
Aside from the obvious outright purchase option, you could organise the shared ownership of the aircraft, either through a partnership, a Special Purpose Vehicle (i.e. a separate legal entity created to just own the aircraft) or via a flying club. Through spreading the cost with other individuals/members, some options offer a more financially accessible route to ownership together with the camaraderie of kindred pilots.
Purchasing the aircraft in its entirety is a great choice for those who value the independence and freedom of their aircraft. Arkle Finance’s Aircraft Mortgage facility provides a tailor-made service for those in the market with such a requirement. It means the purchase of the aircraft is an easily accessible option.
What you need over what you want...
In an ideal world, every pilot would have a fabulous aircraft with the latest hi tech avionics, custom fit interior GPS navigation systems, high-spec equipment and that one-off perfect paint job. However, a private pilot who flies for a few hours a week won’t often see the benefits of splashing out on the higher priced aircraft. Determine a realistic monthly budget you can comfortably stick to; factoring in the ‘unforeseen circumstances’ costs wherever possible - maintenance costs are always more than you expect. You can access a useful calculator on the AOPA website - www.aopa.org - if you’re a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
How will you maintain your aircraft?
In addition to airborne experience and the purchasing options at your disposal, there are a variety of other factors you must consider in terms of maintaining your light aircraft. You will already know that there is more than just the purchase price in the overall cost of an aircraft; besides the obvious fuel costs, hangarage, parts and maintenance charges all quickly add up. The other initial consideration will be aviation insurance. Such Insurance policies provide coverage for any damage made to the aircraft whether in-flight or otherwise, as well as providing liability cover for anything you or your aircraft might damage.
Also consider where you are going to keep your aircraft. Light aircrafts tend to be kept in a hangar or tied-down outdoors at local airfields. Keeping your plane outdoors will of course cost less than any hangar or covered space, but will being constantly exposed to the elements have ongoing affects? Costs will vary from airport to airport; generally, the more rural the airport the cheaper the cost. Your aircraft has to be regularly maintained and will some time need ad hoc repairs. These all have to be given full consideration before making that purchase.
If you are looking to purchase your first aircraft, check out our comprehensive guide to buying and financing an aircraft.
Our aviation mortgage facility is a fantastic way to making your dream come true. Contact us online using the form on the right or give us a call on 01933 304789.