Personally, I have owned shares in five aircraft over the years (X-Air, Land Africa, SkyRanger, Savannah and Jodel 1050). My thoughts briefly:
- Permit or CofA - For me it's permit all the way. Owning a CofA aircraft is very expensive. The advantage of CofA is that it can give you IFR capability and easier travelling overseas, neither of which I'm interested in. For the overseas countries that I fly to, there are bi-lateral agreements in place that allow me to fly permit aircraft there. I should point out that having an EASA Permit is just as expensive so I'd opt for a national permit. Generally these aircraft are much cheaper too, and in many cases have excellent capabilities.
- For permits, in my case everything was done through the NMAI or UK LAA depending on the type. The maintenance was done by the group
- Insurance was about €900 per year if I remember correctly for hull cover. (The Xair was 3rd party only, about €300 if I remember correctly)
- The breakeven will depend on many factors. But roughly speaking, if you're flying less than 50 hours per year then you want a share in an aircraft or hire from a flying club. Personally, I've never seen the advantage of owning an aircraft outright. You'll never fly it enough to make it pay and aircraft don't like lying up for a long time. At least in a group it should be regularly flown which avoids lots of problems in the long run. It also means that maintenance bills are cheaper if there's a big repair or overhaul required.
Obviously, you'll want to choose carefully which group you buy into. It's not always straightforward and I've heard some horror stories but I've always been very lucky with the people I've owned aircraft with.
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