Lately, my airplane shopping has been kicked up a notch. We are coming to the realization that this summer will finally be the time our family takes the financial plunge and buys an airplane of our very own.
Making that decision to move forward is the easy part, it's finding the bird that can be a process. And make no mistake, those hours I spend at the 'puter scouring Trade-a-Plane, Controller and ASO are valuable...to me. But to the spouse who watches from afar, it's called being “obsessed” about buying a plane.
Maybe the non-flyer just can't know what if feels like when husband and wife sit down and decide together that the time appears right to make a huge purchase like your very own plane. Hearing a loving spouse say “yes, it's time,” is like opening the flood gates of imagination for a pilot, because suddenly the possibility exists that the keys to a new (previously-loved) bird will soon be in your possession.
So with the determination that somewhere in the next 60 days, the stars will align and we'll get the plane, I went off to surf the Internets – all of them – and found out one big thing:
Shopping for airplanes online is highly addictive. Sites like Trade-a-plane should come with their own warning labels, because their endless pages displaying pretty pictures, engine times, lists of avionics and prices can grab a pilot and drag you down in an instant. One hour becomes two, and soon, the afternoon is gone. More pages, more airplanes, click here, bookmark this page, print out that one. More, more, more...I must have more.Having exhausted all lists of 182s and 210s on TAP, I move on to Controller, which lists 904 Cessnas for sale, 311 being wonderful Skylanes and Centurions begging me to buy them NOW. Click here, do it TODAY!!! Use our handy Loan Calculator and then APPLY ONLINE!
See, the non-pilot can't understand what it's like to shop online for airplanes. When I say “but this one has GPSS, only 123 TSOH, a KAP 140 Two-Axis Autopilot with Altitude Preselect and an EICAS system,” I get blank stares back from across the room. I look worn down, for good reason:
Shopping via computer can be frustrating, because you will inevitably find the pristine airplane of your dreams, with McCauley three-blade prop, a complete custom panel housing a Garmin 430 AND S-tec 50 autopilot, priced right in your range. But then you read on to find it has 2,245 hours total on airframe and engine, so the damn thing has to be about ready to puke oil and very important engine parts out the side of the crankcase any time. Or you find a cream puffer with 10/10 paint and interior, only to find out it has missing logbooks and way too much damage history.Obsession – when it comes to airplane shopping – is defined as sitting at the computer, drooling for hours over endless pictures of 30+ year-old planes. But reality always wins, and soon I must go on with life, coming up for air long enough to eat, poop and lay my weary aviator bones down to sleep where I'll dream of – you guessed it – airplanes.
This whole obsession deal will end, I promise my lovely wife...when I land our new plane back at EUG. That is...if I can ever