The Best Way to Buy an Aircraft: A Beginners Guide

Buy an Aircraft
Realistic photo of White Luxury generic design private jet flying over the earth. Empty blue sky with white clouds at background. Business Travel Concept. Horizontal.

That cross-country client meeting tomorrow? No problem, you can take your plane! Don’t have one?

It may not be as expensive as you think to buy an aircraft. However, there are important factors to consider.

Here are a few tips on how to buy an aircraft.

A License To Fly

The type of license or certificate you have determines which type of aircraft you’re allowed to fly. If you plan to fly solo every now and again, you may want to consider either a recreational or sport certificate. If you have bigger flight dreams, you’ll need a pilot’s license.

Buy Within Your Budget

Buying an aircraft doesn’t have to break the bank. A sport certificate holder could purchase a single-seater ultralight plane from $8,000 to $15,000. Smaller, single-engine planes range in purchase price from $15,000 to $100,000. Multi-engine planes, on the other hand, will cost pilots anywhere from $75,000 to $300,000.

If you’re financing an aircraft purchase, bring a pre-approval letter with you when you shop. This will tell sellers you’re a serious buyer and you’ve got the funding to back it up. If you plan to pay cash when buying an aircraft, you won’t need to worry about financing options.

It All Adds Up

There’s more than just a purchase price to consider when buying an aircraft.

Many pilots set up an escrow fund to cover the costs of owning their own aircraft.

Consider the following added costs when creating your plane buying budget.

  • Storage Space
  • Maintenance and Inspections
  • Fuel
  • Insurance
  • Parking Fees
  • Airport Fees
  • Pilot and/or crew (if applicable)
  • Updates

Legal Leg To Fly On

You will need to hire an aviation attorney before you buy an aircraft. This is an essential and costly step in the process.

Associated expenses vary to anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000 annually. It’s best to do your own homework to determine which services you’ll need and which you can provide for yourself.

Shop Around

Still wondering where to buy an airplane? The answer depends on how far you’re willing to travel. Sites like,, and AVBuyer can help you determine where to buy a plane.

Prospective plane purchasers can type in their location to find aircraft for sale nearby. These sites will provide you with information about different types of aircraft available near you.

Test and Research

You drive a car before you buy it, the same should be true of your plane. Take your aircraft out for a little spin to make sure you’re comfortable with it.

You’ll also need an aircraft appraisal to verify the valuation of an aircraft. This is similar to the Kelley Blue Book value of the vehicle.

Go Buy An Aircraft!

Now you know a little more about how to buy a plane. After carefully weighing cost and availability, you’ll be able to find the right fit and take flight! If you purchase a small single-engine one-seater or a multi-engine monstrosity, enjoy the opportunity to buy an aircraft.