The aircraft manufacturing industry’s total revenues shot past $20 billion in 2019. Though it may have slowed during the course of the pandemic, there’s no doubt that more and more people are looking into getting their pilot’s license and taking to the skies.
The only problem is, which plane do they use to get there?
The wild and woolly world of aircraft types and valuation can be pretty confusing. But with a little bit of know-how even the greenest pilot can make smart decisions about the types of aircraft they invest in.
Where to obtain that know-how? Why, right here, of course.
What Determines Aircraft Value?
At the end of the day, a plane isn’t too different from any other kind of vehicle when it comes to figuring out its value. Where people trip up is ignorance about the choices they have available, rather than anything unique to the process of aircraft appraisal.
Think of it like buying a car. Brand new models that have rolled off the factory floor are going to cost more than a second hand model from 5 years ago, even if they aren’t radically different.
On the other hand, that same car from 50 years ago is going to shoot up in price again, despite being so much older. Why? It could be a classic, it could be rare, but more than anything is it almost certainly makes use of parts which long ago ceased manufacture. Even if you can buy the thing for cheap, the process of getting it back into working order is going to end up costing you more than buying a newer model.
The same applies to planes. Super old planes cost you in time and restoration what they save you in up-front costs. Make sure you consult some value guides before you start writing checks.
Is an Airplane a Good Investment?
Maybe you want to put some money somewhere where it will accumulate. Are airplanes a good avenue for that, or does aircraft valuation not change sufficiently to make it a worthwhile investment?
Well, it’s true that airplanes tend to hold their value over time. And we’ve established that a well-maintained classic airplane can go toe-to-toe with more modern models when it comes to price.
But we’ve also established that the cost of maintenance and upkeep on those planes eats into any potential appreciation on a pretty massive scale. That means you need to be supremely savvy with your investments to turn your plane collection into a real money-spinner. Sorry!
Different Types of Aircraft Can Be Confusing, But Buying Them Shouldn’t Be
And that concludes our brief guide to what goes into valuations of the different types of aircraft. Old or new, well-maintained or falling apart, the process of buying different types of aircraft can be as complex as it is exciting. Whatever you end up buying, keep one thing front of mind: make sure you like flying it.
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