Top 6 Aircraft for First Time Owners Financed by AOPA Finance in 2021

Photography of night flying in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. AOPA NACC (FDK) Frederick, MD USA

Top 6 Aircraft for First Time Owners

  1. Cessna 172 Skyhawk
  2. Cessna 182 Skylane
  3. Cirrus SR20
  4. Mooney M20
  5. Piper Cherokee
  6. Beech Bonanza 35

Cessnas are perennial favorites by first time owners. They’re also popular, along withPiper Cherokee, in the training market. Those two reasons account for their positions on this list. Additionally, their values have increased—particularly in the pandemic era as well as the preceding (and continuous) strong demand for flight training aircraft.

The Cirrus SR20 has a great customer service reputation, is a very stable flying platform, offers the “gee whiz” factors of side stick, all glass cockpit and of course, the ballistic parachute. As the Cessna and Piper fleets continue to age, along with more emphasis placed on advanced avionics in training aircraft, the SR20 will continue to increase in popularity in the primary training environment.

Mooney aircraft have reputations for sipping fuel while moving fast. Their also known for being a “pilot’s airplane” i.e. you’ve got to pay attention to fly them. They’re also a cozy fit (one of the reasons for their aerodynamic slickness). And new Mooneys traditionally price out near Beechcraft, so not accessible to everybody. Put that altogether, and it’s not hard to see why this underrated aircraft historically has not been a top contender for first time buyers.

However, this past year saw the Mooney M20 ascend to #5. The M20 benefitted from the elevated values of the Cessnas, Pipers, Beechcraft and Cirrus. Mooney values remained consistent with previous years, making them a relative bargain. Those that purchased realized the M20 is a robust hauler, moving 2-3 people and bags fast a couple hundred miles at a time.

The Beech Bonanza is a perennial, aspirational aircraft for the discerning first-time buyer. Bonanzas possess a good useful load and can haul four folks and a few bags quickly and in comfort. Moreover, the 35 functions well for multiple mission profiles. The increase in value they enjoyed did not seem to deter those pilot-owners determined to purchase a Bonanza.

Great advice. Great rates. From helpful and responsive reps you can trust. Three good reasons to turn to AOPA Aviation Finance when you are buying or refinancing an airplane. If you need a dependable source of financing with people who are on your side, just call 800.62.PLANE (800.627.5263), or click here to request a quote.

Click here to view the top High End Piston sold in 2021

Adam Meredith

Adam Meredith

President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company
Adam Meredith, the longtime president of AOPA Aviation Finance Co., died after a long battle with cancer in December 2023. He is remembered for his passion for helping fellow pilots, leading a team devoted to putting flight training and aircraft ownership within everyone’s reach.

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