Whether you are a first-time buyer or expanding your fleet your fleet, there are a lot of questions to consider when you are buying a plane. A company or organization buying a plane may have more resources to help with the task. An individual will have to make several considerations as they determine the right plane for them.
As an airplane broker, these are some of the questions I often ask individual buyers to help them narrow down the right plane for them.
Are you hiring a management company, or independent pilots?
A management company will provide you with a variety of related turn-key services such as maintenance or pilots. The holistic approach of a management company can help ensure that all your operational needs are met.
Those who are more budget-minded, or who may not need a particular service, may see benefit from hiring independent pilots.
Will the aircraft be on a charter certificate?
This allows the owner to use the plane to generate some income to offset expenses. The rules governing charters can be more stringent (and often require expenses), but your plane can be making money for you when it’s not in use. The 135 regulations need to be met for this, however.
What is the mission or need for your airplane?
It’s a good idea to consider the purpose of your plane before you purchase. How far are the majority of your trips? A good rule of thumb is to buy a plane suitable for 85 percent of your missions to ensure that it is a cost-effective purchase. For example, if you live in Chicago, and regularly have business in Florida, you’d want a plane that can reliably cover the 1,200-nautical mile distance.
If you fly to Hawaii once a year for a family vacation, that trip might fall outside the capabilities of your plane. You’d either have to stop and refuel along the way (if your plane could handle the ocean stretch of the trip), charter a different plane, or fly with an airline.
To illustrate the 85 percent rule, the light jet Embraer 300 could cover your trips to Florida, but Hawaii would require an alternate plan. If you wanted 100-percent mission capability you could pay an additional $40 million for the Gulfstream 550.
It’s likely more cost efficient for you to buy an airplane that covers 85 percent of your trips and use other means for your longer trip.
Where will your aircraft be operated?
Consider the airport closest to your home, or that you’ll be using the most frequently. Make sure it has the capability to handle the type of plane you are looking for. Does the airport have the type of instrument approaches that allow for take offs and landings in less than ideal weather? This can impact the type of purchase you make. It’s also a good idea to make sure your local airport offers the type of fuel you’ll need for your aircraft.
It’s a good idea to consider all these questions before you buy a plane. There are some additional considerations to make when you are in the market for buying a jet, as well. An airline broker can help you determine the best plane to fit your needs.
If you have any questions, contact us today!