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I am considering the purchase of a used plane for for business travel. I would pilot the plane myself. I do not have a private ticket. I am thinking that I can cover more meetings, get more business and drive less. My meetings are in the Southeastern United States. I love flying and if I can reach more business easier with a small plane then it could be a win win. The short version of my question would be: Is it more effective and eonomical to travel to business conferences by flying a small plane or commercial airline?
The short answer is - Yes, it would probably be more convenient and - No, it probably would not be more economical. In fact, it could be quite costly when all is considered. You would need your Private and probably an Instrument rating just to get an insurance company to look at you. Then add in maintenance, avionics upgrades, hanger/tiedown fees, etc.
Don't get me wrong... a lot of business people are doing EXACTLY what you describe. Just be careful to factor in all the financials and add a HEALTHY contingency allowance.
It all depends of how much your time is worth, if an hour of your time is worth about 200$ then start looking for a plane.
I was a flight instructor of a CEO started with a C-150 a week later C-172 got his ppl and in about 3 months he bought a shear in a series 4 cessna, and now he fly it himself and has a pilot also, and they are thinking in getting something bigger.
But what it comes down to is how much your time is worth.(think about arriving there much more relax too)
The aircraft should be owned by the company than all traven will be expensed. But most of all you must love to fly, then you will be enjoying your hobby and deducting most of it off your taxes.!
Just one other point to add. Always be in a position or be ready to delay a meeting. The planes we generally fly (until we get to the biz jets) can't always go through/around weather. There will be times when it'll be safer, or just plain safe, to wait it out. Better to miss a sale than not make your "four score and ten."
Private plane is cheaper if your time is worth any real money.
As a GA pilot for +40 yrs and current owner in a partnership with (2) others on a PA28180, my comments are;
1. Fly at least 100 hrs/yr, if shared ownership or +200 hr/yr if owned outright.
2. Be instrument rated.
3. Be able to make decision to stay on the ground and miss that important meeting or not get home when planned, when the Wx is forecast to be below your personal minimum.
4. Plan on doing preventative/light maintenace (ie oil and filter changes, etc).
5. Be prepared for the unexpected repair. Our stall warning switch just quit and Piper's cost for a replacement as of 6/1/11 is $1,906. I was lucky and found a salvaged one for $175 and was not happy with that price either. A $15 micro switch with a $15 sheetmetal mount and engineering cost from 40 yrs ago!!!! At least I can install it myself.
I am an A&P and do all of our maintence and our hourly cost wet is still $85/hr basis 100 hrs/hr.
Make it a habit to check your fuel gauges to ensure the tanks are even.
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