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So the latest controversial Flying opinion published by J. McClellan is that new airplanes are a better deal than used ones, mainly because that's the only place to get the latest technology. And I would agree, if and only if you've just won the lottery. Otherwise, if you're among the vast majority of GA pilots who are not one of the "No billionaires left behind" crowd, you'll find there are major reasons to ignore this bunk. Let's count some of the ways the expenses of a new airplane compare to those of a used aircraft.
1. Purchase price 3 to 5 times greater for comparable performance.
2. Sales/use tax proportional to purchase price (3-5 X greater).
3. Personal property tax greater, and potentially much greater.
4. Insurance cost, depending on qualifications, 3-5 X greater.
5. Hangar vs tiedown - would you tiedown a new Cirrus or Lancair 400? (Maybe you wouldn't tie down a 1980 Mooney either, but it's an option.)
6. Maintenance - depends on how well the used aircraft has been maintained already, how well it's being cared for, how old the plane is, how old the avionics are, how familiar A&Ps are with the make and model, etc. Since new planes can be lemons, too, this can go either way.
7. Business depreciation deduction - may favor a new aircraft, but this depends on capricious tax laws and IRS determinations for most of us.
It's easy to make incremental upgrades in a used aircraft as the technology evolves exponentially, which it will - we can all take that to the bank. Soon as the next generation is out, we'll want that, etc. Are we moving to a lease business model, as with autos, so some folks can be sure to have only the latest technology? Maybe that wouldn't be a bad idea.
Bottom line is, there's no real choice for most people at all here, though there are two different clientels - one very large, the other pretty small, consisting of wealthy businessmen (trying to stay that way, I presume), flight schools, fractional operators, clubs, partnerships, etc.
You can still learn even when you're weather out.
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