Avstar Aircraft of Washington, Inc.

10415 172nd St. E., Hangar A1
Puyallup, WA  98374
office (253)770-9964
or (253)770-0120
email:  avstarair@att.net

05-25-2000 Ask Mike! Archive
What is the best way to go about selecting a bird of my own?

I would like your opinion on owning. Which plane would be the least maintenance expense? Also, is a leaseback a good way of having the plane pay for itself?

Many times I've been asked which is the best plane to own.  My standard response is for the prospective purchaser to define what their goal is.

  • How fast do you want to go?
  • How many people do you want to take with you?
  • How many times will there be empty seats (total seating capacity, less one for you)?
  • What type of airport are you going to operate from?
  • What type of airport are you going to operate to?
  • Do you have any specific cargo carrying requirements?

Answer these questions (honestly); determine a list of aircraft that fit the bill.  There will most likely be different models, manufactured by different companies, that make the list.  Pare this list down by determining if you want a high wing or low wing (purely subjective). At this point, add up all the operating costs, fixed (Payments, Annual Inspection, Insurance, Hangar / Tie Down) and hourly (Fuel, Oil, Maintenance Allowance, Engine Overhaul Allowance), and see if you can afford this.

Don't buy an airplane because of cheap maintenance.  If you end up with one the previous owner has stated he didn't spend any money on, watch out!

If you're interested in a leaseback to defray expenses, that can work. If you're looking to make money on it (other than potential tax benefits), run away.  The one's you can come the closest to are in the fixed gear/fixed prop category.  Contact your local FBO for further advice on these questions; I'm sure they'd be happy to help.

Gear Green,