There have been many articles written on how to buy an aircraft; what you are about to read is not one of them. This is not an article that claims to give you enough knowledge to go about purchasing your own jet. Quite frankly you cannot acquire enough knowledge to go it on your own simply by reading a few articles on the topic; much of what is required comes from experience.
I am an aviation consultant with thirty years of experience in the industry and I can tell you that it requires at least three of me to do the job. Being the primary consultant during this process, I bring into the loop an aviation attorney and an aviation accountant. I utilize experienced individuals that match the needs of my clients in regard to the legal and accounting aspects of the transaction. I handle negotiations with the seller, whether that is a manufacturer of a new aircraft or the owner of a pre-owned aircraft. I also arrange and oversee the pre-purchase of pre-owned aircraft or the acceptance process and completion oversight of a new one. Like a conductor of an orchestra I see to it that we are all reading the same sheet of music and playing our parts at the right time.
I have had a recent experience speaking with a manufacturer's representative indicating that they preferred the client comes directly to them, I guess they want to be able to slaughter the lamb. The fact is that all the aircraft manufacturers have negotiated the terms of purchase of their aircraft, this is the "secret" they don't want you to know. The interior options a manufacture offers are very limited and in the interest of keeping their productions number up they discourage many customizations that can be easily be accomplished. An aircraft completion management firm can offer you almost anything you desire even if it requires taking a "green" delivery and having a third party complete the aircraft to your liking. Do I need an aircraft completion oversight firm even though I'm buying a new aircraft? ABSOLUTLY POSITIVELY YES! It is foolish not to have representation prior to your aircraft being on the assembly line. During the manufacturing and test flight process mistakes and accidents happen. If you don't have a representative onsite you could be receiving one of these airframes. Granted this is not an everyday occurrence, however having a representative onsite insures you will not be the recipient of an aircraft that has gone through a non-routine manufacturing or test flight process.
The Bottom line is that I don't recommend that a layman try to purchase an
aircraft on their own. Don't try to become an aviation professional overnight, hire a fee for service consultant that has your best interest in mind. An aviation consultant will make the whole acquisition process hassle free for you and give you the "peace of mind" of knowing that you are getting an aircraft that is safe and will retain its value for years to come.
Capt. Ivan Klugman
President of Integral Aviation Solutions