Buying a plane -- the definitive guide?

Hi, folks. What’s the consensus on the definitive guide for buying a (single engine piston) plane? Is there a (modern) book that covers the process, all the costs, issues, and everything you need to know? TIA.

I just finished the process (with 5 others). We didn’t use a book. I think it is really important to establish and refine non-negotiable parameters. For example, I insisted that any potential purchase be relatively close by. I don’t have the time to travel to a plane; I also don’t have the resources to travel with a mechanic (more or less constantly) to verify the claims of perfection that are made so often. On the other hand, you might be a licensed technician or partnering with one, you may have loads of time, money and inclination to travel to the deal that looks best. In fact, the adventure may be part of the reward that you are seeking. Our parameters were:

IFR capable with relatively modern avionics.
Suitable for training.
Clean Maintenance Record
Fixed Gear
And there were some pesky financial parameters.

We ended up with a 1999 182S; so far, we are quite happy.

A lot of guys I know looking for used planes also put a ceiling on TTAF for the year the plane was manufactured.

EDIT: They also tend to put a ceiling on the time on the engine(s).

There is no definitive guide, although there are lots of books on the subject. Check Sporty’s and AOPA to shop for one that might sound right for you.

The best source for information is other airplane owners. Opinions will vary WIDELY, so be ready. Once you narrow your search to a particular model, you will probably be able to find specialized resources for that particular model.

Be prepared to spend full days and lots of money on your search, let alone an actual purchase. Definately do your homework, don’t get in a rush, don’t fall in love with the first airplane that seems to fit the bill, and most of all, get a prepurchase inspection! Good luck

There is a book entitled How to Buy a Plane (or maybe it’s Airplane). Also, aviation consumer has a guide on DVD.

Also, there is a good bit of knowledge here: … a604a63d1&

Your instructor is of little use except to check your skill level, and even people who have had several planes are mostly full of anecdote. Brokers are a mixed bag of cheats and honest folk.

There are services, I offer one myself. I can generally save someone more than my fee, or at least close. The real key is not to end up with a plane that sits in the hangar for various reasons. At the very least, get someone to act as a Mentor, and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER buy a plane without a prebuy unless you think you can part it out without a loss.

Nothing like real time experience. Check out … 5a9dfad6b7 for my own experiences as well as others (good and bad experiences).

In a nutshell for my experiences… Don’t buy an underused plane and remember there is a bottom side to an engine (see link for details).