When’s the Right Time to Buy Your First Airplane?

Thinking about taking the plunge can bring on a range of emotions, but there’s work to do before you actually jump in.

[File Photo: Adobe Stock]

How do I know when I’m ready to buy my first airplane?

The prospect of buying an airplane for the first time can be exciting, mind-boggling and outright scary. If you wait until you are emotionally, financially and mentally ready, airplane ownership might never happen. But the freedom of hopping into your own bird and flying anywhere you want, at any time—without the need for schedules or the stress of returning at a specific time—is as satisfying as you can imagine. If it is your dream to own an airplane, no time is better than the present.

Before taking the plunge into aircraft ownership, it’s important to establish a realistic cost assessment that considers the expenses of parking, insurance, maintenance and a few surprises (such as a flat tire, broken starter or dead battery). The great news is, there are many airworthy gems to be had, even if your flying budget is tight—so don’t let the financial component become an unsurmountable barrier. The cost might not be as exorbitant as the words “airplane ownership” might sound. Both of the airplanes I’ve owned have cost me less than the annual cost of owning of a high-end (not luxury) car.

Do you have a question about aviation that’s been bugging you? Ask us anything you’ve ever wanted to know about aviation. Our experts in general aviation, training, aircraft, avionics, and more may attempt to answer your question in a future article.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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