Upgrades needed to customize the aircraft to your needs:
Paint and fabric
Forecast annual operating cost - you can calculate this using the COPA Guide to
Estimating Aircraft Operating Costs
Insurance availability for this type of aircraft
An airport to base the aircraft
Hangaring required for the aircraft
Based on all these criteria and perhaps some other ones, too, the available aircraft types can be assessed to see which ones fit and which ones don’t. With a “short list” made up, each remaining type can then be assessed more carefully to find the optimal solution. Given perfect information, the best choice can be made this way. The problem is that information is rarely perfect!
The “Emotional Method” is much simpler. This is the method most often used when buying planes and cars, too. This method simply says, “Buy the plane that you find appealing”! If this didn’t work then GM would never sell Corvettes, as they don’t stand up to the “Scientific Method”!!
Most people don’t give a lot of credence to the “Emotional Method”, but there is one strong factor in its favour – very few pilots appreciate owning and flying the scientifically best aircraft for them if they don’t like the aircraft in the first place. It may be the right aircraft for them, but it just doesn’t grab their imagination! We don’t usually choose spouses using a scientific method!
In reality, most potential aircraft buyers do a combination of the two methods – they analyze the basics, create a short list of aircraft that will fit the bill for their needs and then pick the one that most appeals to them. The ultimate test is whether you are happy with the choice when it is done – how you get to that point is ultimately immaterial!
The hardest part of buying an aircraft is probably learning all the details that can be factors in the buying process. Fortunately COPA has a complete book entitled The COPA Guide to Buying an Aircraft that can help you through the whole process. It is available on the COPA website at no charge to COPA Members. A paper version is also available for a fee to cover printing and postage.
COPA Guide to Certified Aircraft 8