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Part 1: Determine the mission

How do you decide what aircraft you really need? This is part one of a four-part series aimed at helping to answer that question.
Understand aircraft ownership with AOPA Aviation Finance

Low performance was just fine when you were training. “Slow” was the right speed and you had only your flight bag and one passenger to carry. Now that you have your certificate it may occur to you that faster is better for what you do, and you need to haul a load while doing it. It could be time to move up.

How do you decide what aircraft you really need? This is part one of a four-part series aimed at helping to answer that question.

While you love flying, and that rental trainer is enough to satisfy your passion, it occurs to you that the utility of an aircraft can be useful to you as well. You start looking into aircraft with more capability, more seats or more speed, such as a Cirrus SR22, a Beechcraft Bonanza, or a Mooney. 

What made you think of utility in the first place? The answer is your typical mission profile, the same thing you now need for deciding which aircraft is best for you. If you most often have a family of five traveling for recreational purposes maybe you should look at a Bonanza, a Piper Saratoga or a Piper Cherokee Six. 

Or maybe it is just you and one or two other people traveling to a destination 400 or 500 miles away and time is important. For those trips maybe a Cessna TTX , Cessna 182, or a Mooney Acclaim is best. You don’t need cabin space, and you don’t need a ton of speed, so in that case four seats are fine. The SR20 is even advertised by Cirrus Aircraft as a “dual role” airplane because it is (1) easy to manage for the “newer pilot” yet (2) fast enough to save time on business trips. Pilot experience should be factored into the decision as well.

What’s the distance of your average mission? How many people will typically be aboard? How much stuff do you need to carry? Asking those questions should help narrow down which aircraft best suits your needs.

The staff at AOPA Aviation Finance can help with those sorts of decisions and help you understand ownership costs to avoid surprises later.

Considering aircraft ownership? AOPA Aviation Finance will make your purchase experience as smooth as possible. For information about aircraft financing, please visit the website or call 1-800-62-PLANE (75263). 

Click here for Part 2: Getting serious 
Adam Meredith

Adam Meredith

President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company
Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, is an aircraft finance professional with more than 15 years lending, small business management and customer service experience. Adam is a commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings.

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