How to Get a Good Deal When Buying an Aircraft Online

And Other Tips for Shopping for a Business Jet

Owning your own private aircraft is a fantasy that few can afford to dream.

It means that you can finally skip the lines and the hassle of commercial travel. For some, it means manning the cockpit themselves so they can take to the friendly skies in style. However, as you’d expect, purchasing an aircraft is by no means a simple or easy affair. Buying your own aircraft online requires extensive research, a keen eye for details, and the willingness to walk away if something doesn’t feel right about the deal.

It’s possible to find a good deal on an aircraft when buying online. The trick is putting in the time and effort it requires to find the right one for you, your needs, and your budget.

Let’s delve into a few best practices that you should use when shopping for aircraft online.

Look Only at Vetted Listings

Finding an aircraft for sale isn’t difficult. Finding the right listing for sale is the challenging part.

During your search, you’ll be overwhelmed by listings that range in legitimacy. That’s why it’s important to only look at vetted listings that have undergone a review process from accredited aircraft dealers. The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) is one such organization that performs this service.

Going with listings that have been verified by an organization like IADA ensures there are no bait-and-switch listings and no charter listings mixed in. This saves you a ton of time and headache when searching for aircraft online.

Work with a Reputable Aircraft Dealer

Whether you’re buying a boat, a house, a car, or a private aircraft – you always want to work with a reputable dealer that has a track record of experience, transparency, and ethics. This is exactly what the IADA brings to the table.

Their mission is to make the aircraft purchase process easy and efficient for both buyers and sellers by having a standardized process that uses ethical and effective business practices. Making an aircraft purchase is one of the most complicated transactions a person can make, but the IADA does an excellent job at simplifying it for all parties involved.

Consider Engine Cycles

Similar to automobiles, planes have a finite life expectancy due to the wear and tear that they incur when flying. However, they don’t accumulate mileage. Instead, flight hours and engine cycles are used to gauge a plane’s relative health.

For reference, an engine cycle must include all of the following:

  • An engine start
  • A takeoff and landing
  • An engine shutdown

The more cycles an airplane racks up, the more concerned you need to be about low-cycle fatigue (LCF). LCF can lead to the eventual failure of certain elements of the aircraft.

Just as you’d be wary of a car with a lot of mileage, you should also hold off on an aircraft with an especially high engine cycle count.

Ensure Annual Expenses Fit into Your Budget

Before you put down any money on buying an aircraft, you need to be sure that you can afford the annual expenses of ownership. They break down into the following main categories.

  • Storage and hangar costs
  • Gas and oil
  • Aviation insurance
  • Financing costs
  • Inspections and maintenance

Since these costs are dependent on the type of plane that you own and the region of the country you live in, it’s usually best to try to get an estimate on all this ahead of time.

Have the Private Jet Appraised

Getting a private jet or aircraft appraised helps determine its true value, similar to getting a house appraised. There are two main ways to go about this:

  • Desktop appraisal: Conducted by a certified appraiser, they will determine value using all attributes they have available about the plane along with a market data evaluation. Since the appraiser never physically steps foot on the plane, this type of appraisal only runs about $500.
  • Physical appraisal: This is an in-person and highly detailed appraisal conducted by a professional who will check the entirety of the craft and review all logs. Since the physical appraisal is so comprehensive, it typically costs about $2,500 or more.

Purchase Your Aircraft Online with Confidence

As you now know, finding the perfect aircraft for sale for personal ownership or for a business can be a difficult process if you don’t have experience in the matter. When searching for private jets and aircraft online, always go with an online marketplace that thoroughly vets their listings. This ensures that you’re only looking at the highest quality listings that are worth your time.

Additionally, don’t forget to do the preliminary math beforehand to estimate all the costs of owning, storing, and maintaining your aircraft. This will ensure you’re not unintentionally taking on a liability you can’t afford.

If you have any questions, please ask below!