Mallory Cantrell | January 27, 2020

Buying a Plane: Where to Start

So, you want to buy a plane?

Buying a plane can be a stressful process for many soon-to-be aircraft owners, but it doesn’t have to be. At Omni Aircraft Sales, we pride ourselves on taking the stress out of purchasing an aircraft. Since 1983, we have made it our mission to provide a streamlined aircraft purchasing process that meets the unique needs of every buyer, whether they are first-time purchasers or seasoned business fleet professionals. We provide an expert level of care for aircraft buyers and sellers alike, and firmly believe in full transparency when it comes to the aircraft acquisition process. Our expert knowledge of the aircraft market gives you an edge in any aircraft transaction you take part in, be that buying, selling, or even trading in.

There are many significant factors to consider when looking into aircraft ownership. While the purchase price is certainly an important aspect to consider, simply focusing on, “How much does it cost to buy an airplane?” can lead to missed opportunities and lost value.

In addition to our Code of Ethics, which is adhered to during every aircraft transaction, we also have an established procedure that we follow to help you reach the point of aircraft ownership as smoothly as possible.

Ready to purchase your next aircraft? Here is the process we follow to help you have the smoothest aircraft purchasing experience possible.


1. Pricing Evaluation

Just like an aircraft, there are a lot of moving pieces to aircraft transactions. An important opening step is to ascertain your ideal aircraft. Knowing your budget is integral, so too is understanding operational costs versus fixed costs. We like to start off the acquisition process by asking questions like: What type of passenger loads will your new aircraft be handling? What travel range will your plane require? Do you really need the latest avionics package? These ancillary considerations add up quickly and they may not be on your radar if you initially begin the process of purchasing an aircraft alone.

Relying on our encyclopedic-like knowledge of the aviation industry keeps you a step ahead of inclement financial weather and overshooting your anticipated landing price. We believe this client-centric approach helps to significantly narrow down the list of potential aircraft you are searching for. This step also helps us to hone in on the specific details of your future aircraft that truly matter to you. By starting with this detailed pricing evaluation process, we are ensuring that the following steps are smooth and comfortable for you because we now know exactly what kind of aircraft meets your needs.


2. Aircraft Search

Because an aircraft is such a pricey and specialized purchase, you shouldn’t have to settle for buying an aircraft that does not check all of your boxes. That’s where Omi Aircraft Sales comes in. After 35+ years operating in the aviation industry, we have become well-versed in navigating the aircraft acquisition marketplace.

We have countless contacts in the industry who keep us informed on what aircraft are currently on the market. Often times they help connect us with aircraft that are not readily found with a simple internet search. We have off-market resources we can set in motion to find the plane that is right for you. We made a name for ourselves finding planes most people cannot. We also pride ourselves on getting you the optimal aircraft for your needs. There’s no greater joy than finding the plane you’ve always dreamed of. That’s why we make it our mission to ensure you receive the aircraft that fits you perfectly, so you never have to settle. Whether you are buying your first airplane or your dozenth, we look forward to utilizing our industry knowledge to help you make the best purchase.


3. Purchase Offer

Aircraft acquisition is a tough market, not totally dissimilar to the housing market.

Like the housing market, there are two prices in the aircraft purchasing market: estimated (best-educated guess) versus actual (what the airplane finally sells for). In theory, these two prices should be fairly close, but in actuality, these prices can be miles apart. In-demand and proven planes with low hours on the engine and a state-of-the-art avionics package will have an estimated value. But the actual plane might be worth far more or less due to an airplane’s history or what the market for similar planes suggests depending on accrued history with similar aircraft.

Some sellers may misinterpret a low-ball offer, while others may value a healthy negotiation. Because we have a long history of positive interactions with sellers across the nation, we know how to approach a seller in a way that is most likely to result in the acquisition of the aircraft you want. With Omni Aircraft Sales, airplane buyers can purchase comfortably, knowing we are putting our industry expertise to work for them, so they can acquire the aircraft they want at a price that won’t break their budget. On top of that, we know the formal offer language fluently and can even navigate any soft escrow payment that may be required.


4. Pre-buy Inspection

This is the step that requires the most patience and is frequently the most hurried. You have done the research, found the plane, submitted the purchase offer for the aircraft and now here comes the wait. Sometimes the pre-buy inspection takes longer than you want but “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and you do not want to find yourself on the wrong end of an engine rebuild while on approach. Omni Aircraft Sales’ pre-buy inspection on aircraft purchases not only takes care of manufacturer-required inspections but also means all major repair items are covered by the seller. Omni Aircraft Sales also coordinates schedules for inspections, the scope and cost with the appropriate and trusted maintenance facility. This step also coordinates paperwork inspections of the log book for “stickers,” airworthiness directives (AD), etc. This process will reap the most benefits to an almost microscopic level of detail. In that light, we understand it can be a hard step to wait for completion. Don’t be afraid to contact us regarding this all-too-important step. Chances are, we are just as excited as you. We love “new plane day!”


5. Aircraft Acceptance

Aircraft acceptance is the culmination of our meticulous inspection process. What this means is that any and all discrepancies that emerged during the pre-buy inspection process have been satisfied. At times, it can be a juggling act to keep the inspection process chugging along, so it helps to have Omni Aircraft Sales on your side through this, in order to make sure all the inspection requirements have been met. This is a huge hurdle to clear because, after this step, your aircraft acquisition can proceed to closing. This means your purchase of an airplane is now started on its final approach. There are only a few steps remaining.


6. Pre-closing

Congratulations! It is paperwork time!
This part of the airplane acquisition process requires FAA filings, documents with the purchase of an aircraft and the transfer of ownership. This will be coordinated through escrow as well, if you are financing part of your purchase. This provides a final opportunity for your lender to make sure all your lending paperwork is in order as final funds will now be put into escrow and a circulation of the closing budget will go to all parties. A final insurance binder will also be confirmed to make sure coverage is seamless.


7. Delivery

This final step is mostly handled between Omni Aircraft Sales and any agent that may represent the seller. At delivery, we submit a Delivery Receipt Letter to the seller or their agent. We coordinate the pick-up or delivery of the aircraft being purchased. This might include determining aircrew logistics as well. This step is closely coordinated with final distribution of all escrow funds and final FAA filings. Surprisingly, you are not receiving ownership of “just the plane.” If there are any engine ownership transfers or any avionics ownership transfers, these will need to be completed as well. Finally, we also coordinate any ancillary ownership support services or operational support that might be required to complete the transfer of your new plane successfully.

We know this multifaceted process can seem like an insurmountable mountain of tedious steps. One of the advantages of having Omni Aircraft Sales in your corner is our familiarity with this process. We have negotiated the purchase of a multitude of aircraft and each one presents unique challenges. Our ability to deal with these unexpected hiccups along the way sets us apart from other aircraft purchasing agents. The sheer volume of experience we have with pricing evaluation, searching, inspections and closings makes us a safer choice than others because we can anticipate the unexpected and be there if the unexpected happens. We pride ourselves on facilitating smooth airplane transactions and supporting our customers should negotiations turn stormy. Our experience helps you prepare for either occurrence with equal confidence. We look at our experience just like a brand new avionics package: we can see potential storms coming before you are flying in the middle of them.

If we can do anything to make your next airplane purchase more pleasant, we encourage you to see the Omni Aircraft Sales difference for yourself.
Send us an email here and let’s start finding your next dream plane.

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