Owning your own aircraft is often very pilot’s dream but what are aircraft ownership options for PPL hoders? To be able to fly when you want without having to book or wait (apart for a gap in the weather) is true freedom. The disadvantage is one we can all imagine – cost, but it’s not as expensive as many people think. There are lots of bargains to be had at the bottom end of the market and, like motor vehicles, owning a older airplane can work out cheaper than buying a brand new one and having to put up with the depreciation.
If you can’t fly your own aircraft for certain days of the week you could lease it to a club or school and thereby earn some income from it to offset the cost of ownership, leaving the aircraft free for you use on those days that you know you’re going to be able to make use of it.
Aircraft Ownership Groups
For many, the most cost effective way of flying is by buying a share in an aircraft instead of buying one outright or hiring aircraft by the hour. You will be able to fly more often and with less expense within a well maintained group owned aircraft. You may also enjoy the added benefit of belonging to a small group of joint owners who can share experiences and provide mutual support.
Aircraft ownership through a group usually involves a capital payment to secure your share of the aircraft with monthly payments into a fund that pays for ongoing maintenance and insurance as well as the (sooner or later, but inevitable) costly task of as a replacement engine.
On top of that there will be an hourly rate for the use of the aircraft (dry, without fuel or wet, with fuel). Your capital payment remains intact and you can elect to sell the share at a later date if you want to leave the scheme.
All this may at first appear like an costly way to fly, but if you intend to use your PPL on a regular basis during the course of a year then it can still work out less expensive to buy a share in an aircraft as opposed to hiring by the hour from your local club or school. The important thing is to check the finance, the group and the contract to make sure it’s properly managed and that there are no hidden extras.
Where to buy light aircraft
There are several places to start looking for purchasing outright and also for group ownership.
- GA Buyer magazine – AVBuyer.com list single and twin piston engined aircraft, turbo props, helicopters, and private jets.
- Flyer magazine – Flyer’s classified ads sections has group ownership and aircraft for sale.
- Pilot magazine – Pilot also lists single engined aircraft and group shares in its classified ads sections
- Local airfields and flying clubs – Check the notice board of your local airfield. Put up a notice of your own expressing and interest. With a bit of luck you’ll find someone willing to sell before they start advertising in the press.