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Posted 31/08/2023 in Buying Guides

Aircraft Buying Checklist: What Every Buyer Should Consider

Aircraft Buying Checklist: What Every Buyer Should Consider

When it comes to making a substantial investment like purchasing an aircraft, you can't afford to leave any stone unturned. Whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned aviator looking to upgrade, the aircraft buying process is complex and fraught with critical choices. To help you navigate this intricate journey, we've compiled a comprehensive aircraft buying checklist that covers everything from financial considerations to the all-important pre-buy inspection.

Financial Considerations


Have a clear understanding of your budget and what you can realistically afford. This includes not only the upfront cost but also the ongoing maintenance, insurance, and operational costs.

Financing Options

Examine the different financing options available, whether it's a traditional loan, lease-to-own, or equity-based financing.


Get a preliminary insurance quote for the aircraft models you're considering. This can significantly influence your annual costs.

Aircraft Specifications

Type and Model

Decide on the type of aircraft that best suits your needs. Are you looking for a light sport aircraft for recreational flying or a twin-engine model for business travel?

New vs. Used

Weigh the pros and cons of buying a new versus used aircraft, considering factors like depreciation, warranty, and customization options.

Avionics and Equipment

Make a list of essential avionics and equipment you'll need. This includes GPS systems, autopilot features, and in-flight entertainment systems if desired.

Pre-Buy Inspection

Maintenance Records

Review the aircraft's maintenance history. Frequent, well-documented maintenance is a good sign of a well-cared-for aircraft.

Mechanical Inspection

Hire a reputable mechanic to perform a thorough pre-buy inspection. This can reveal any potential issues that may not be immediately apparent.

Test Flight

Conduct a test flight to evaluate the aircraft's performance and handling characteristics.

Finalizing the Deal

Paperwork and Documentation

Ensure all the necessary paperwork is in order, including the bill of sale, aircraft registration, and any applicable taxes or import duties.

Final Price Negotiation

Once you have all the information, negotiate the final price. A thorough pre-buy inspection can provide valuable leverage during this phase.


Finalize the financing, transfer the title, and make any required payments to close the deal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the most important step in the aircraft buying process?

The pre-buy inspection is crucial as it reveals the true condition of the aircraft, helping you avoid costly mistakes.

Can I negotiate the price of a used aircraft?

Absolutely. The final price is often negotiable, especially if the pre-buy inspection reveals any issues that need addressing.

Should I hire a broker for buying an aircraft?

While not necessary, an experienced broker can help navigate the complexities of the transaction, including negotiations and paperwork.


Buying an aircraft is a significant investment, both financially and emotionally. This checklist serves as a roadmap to guide you through the complexities of the purchasing process. Armed with this information, you can make a well-informed decision that you won't regret.