Chris has owned three previous Piper products prior to this one. In fact, he’s co-owned all airplanes previous to the Matrix with his father, also a pilot. I asked him what inspired them both to get their licenses at about the same time.
“That’s a fun story,” Chris told me. “Dad was one of those guys who in his 20s and 30s was always saying, ‘I’m going to get my license. I’m going to get my license,’ but never did.” When Chris finished his junior year of high school, friends asked him what he wanted for graduation the following year. He told them he wanted his pilot’s license.
That spark finally motivated his father to do the same. The last airplane they owned together was a Saratoga. Because of family and professional obligations, Chris went from flying 60 hours per year to under 30. Given that this was less than half of his personal minimum of 60 flight hours annually to justify ownership, he sold the Saratoga and took up renting Mooney's from a local Des Moines, Iowa, FBO. “I was enjoying it, but the Mooney is not a practical airplane for my family of five.”
As Chris's children got older, it became more realistic to think about buying an airplane again. The appropriate partner came along, too, with similar hours and similar needs in aircraft performance. “One thing led to another and ultimately we bought the Matrix.”
While the Matrix was the logical step up from the Saratoga for Chris, how to acquire one wasn’t a simple matter. He hadn’t been involved in an airplane partnership in over two decades, and had never been the lead on the transaction. So, he looked to AOPA Aviation Finance to help him co-pilot the deal.
“Once we located an airplane and we felt comfortable about how we were going about the pre-buy and what we were going to do, and the LLC was ready to go, then I engaged AOPA Aviation Finance. They were wonderful.”
What sold him on AOPA Aviation Finance? His membership with AOPA meant the counsel he sought was free. He knew because of AOPA’s reputation with the lenders that they would all be reputable.
Chris felt confident he could have gone to a local lender with whom he had business loans. “I could have secured a reasonable interest rate in this market,” he said. “But I also knew I was going to be dealing with somebody who didn’t really understand the ins and outs of aircraft ownership either. And I knew if I went to AOPA, they were going to have already vetted and sourced a finance partner who knew aircraft ownership.”
Chris scored a great deal on a 20-year loan at 3.99 percent with 15 percent down on the $415,000 negotiated price.
If you need assistance upgrading to your next aircraft, please reach out to AOPA Aviation Finance. We are here to assist AOPA members through the financing process.
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