Mon May 11, 2020 10:21 pm
Aircraft are a bit like buying a really really old car. even if it's a relatively new aircraft. That is - they're a gamble.
If all works out well, you can get a cracking hourly rate and all is good. If you get a big bill, the hourly rate goes up to a catastrophic number leaving you wishing you'd just rented.
To feel like aircraft ownership is a success you have to make sure you get the advantages you need. Consider where it's based, how available it is, what you can do with it, how restricted it is - do these things make it worth it? At one end of the market is rental, then non-equity shares, then equity shares, then two blokes owning a plane, and then sole ownership. That's a sliding scale of convenience with sole ownership obviously winning hands down, but consequently giving you 100% risk of any problems.
I bought a helicopter to learn on, in order to save the £300/hour rental. After a year I was rather proud that my hourly rate was under £150 having done an entire LAPL courses on it, and having had lots of fun. Then I got a £20,000 bill. Ouch. It made my hourly rate more than renting would have done. That wiped the smug look off my face in a flash. But - the Benefit - I got to keep my machine at home, something that made it unbelievably better than renting.
On the flip side, like many on here I've owned a bunch of LAA machines and found them to be vastly better, primarily because you can do all the work yourself. This means if something goes wrong it can still be a pain - but you can save thousands by fitting it yourself. Last year my RV10 needed a new alternator - I ordered it and stuck it on, and the inspector signed it off - cheap. Could have been a much more serious event on a certified aircraft.
Best way to learn about this stuff is to read what everyone writes on here, and go and chat to some real owners and see their aircraft and experiences. A little grass strip with LAA machines is a very different world to a bigger airport full of certified aircraft. Horses for courses.
Gazelle AH.1, RV-10, RV-8, Sting and Ikarus C42.