My wife and I have been aircraft owners for the past 10 years and we have not regretted a moment of it. The pleasure of being able to pull the aircraft out of the hangar in the evening and go flying is immeasurable. Personal ownership is the ultimate as the plane is yours and will reflect your attitude to flying. With a syndicate the aircraft condition is kept to that of the 'lowest common denominator'. There are also good syndicates and bad syndicates.
Anyone asking me about ownership - I have basically 1 rule. Don't look at the purchase cost - Its the ongoing costs that will cripple you. Do your sums. Go talk to people who own planes - not people who want to own planes. Visit Kilrush airfield and talk to any of the pilots around there. All the aircraft in Kilrush are privately owned - there must be about 40 aircraft based there now.
I agree with previous threads - don't go for the traditional spancans - they are money pits. The new generation of Ultralights and VLA's are the only way to go. Unless you have a family go for a 2 seater - you can always rent a 4 seater on the very odd occassion you would need one.
Get your hands on some PFA magazines. they are a great source of information. There are also Pilot and Flyer magazines which are now starting to recognise the utility and versatility of the new VLA and ULA aircraft.
With 50k to spend you don't need to go second hand as most of the VLA/ULA fall into that price category. Have a look at http://www.czaw.cz/
- the CH601XL. You could have one of them flying in Ireland all paid up (including vat) for well under 50k. With a bit of luck you should be able to see one appearing in Kilrush over the next few weeks. This is a serious go places machine with a 120 knot cruise at 70% power burning about 14 litres of mogas per hour
There is also the Samba/Lambada which you can see at Abbeyshrule. The real problem you have is with the amount of money you have to spend your choice is almost limitless
Good luck - If you want any specific info you can either post on the site or PM me.