Scott F. Smith


Buying a Used Single Engine Aircraft
Engine Research & Installation
Avionics Research & Installation
Air Frame Repair
Finding a Flight School
Negotiating a Lease Back Agreement
Commercial Operations
Cash Flow Analysis

Since recent world events and economic downturn, I have set out to see if an older historic aircraft can still make money in a flight school. I will describe how I have taken a reasonably priced older aircraft, and am how I am trying to make it profitable. This web-site documents the highlights of this process, which began in August 2003, starting from purchase, restoration, flight school selection, through commercial flight school and rental operations.

Last summer (2003) I went to the Aircraft Owner's and Pilot's Association's (AOPA) Annual Fly-In in Frederick Maryland, with my Dad, brother Tommy, and a pilot friend of mine Phil Stearns, to learn more about buying used aircraft. I didn't really think at the time that I would have closed a deal 3 months later.

In 1998, my dad purchased a new 172R Skyhawk N26502, and he learned very quickly that it was extremely difficult to make a profit, or even break-even in the aviation business. He still leases N26502 to Aviation Adventures in Manassas, Virginia, but he is still subsidizing every flight hour.

Since my Dad already had experience of buying a new aircraft and leasing it back to a flight school, I wanted to find out if it would be more beneficial to buy and restore a used aircraft that wouldn't cost $180k, but maybe more reasonably priced between $20 - $50k.

Since I also wanted to get my pilot's license and finish my Aviation degree, I thought to myself, "what a great way to learn the details of operating and owning an airplane and finishing my Aviation degree at the same time."

Eliah (my medically fragile son) and I, ready to taxi for departure for Parkersburg, West Virginia (4/18/04) in N50037. Priceless!


• Home • Introduction • Buying and Aircraft • Engine Research & Inst. • Avionics Research & Inst. • Air Frame Repair • Finding a Flight School • Negotiating a Lease Back Agreement • Insurance • Maintenance • Commercial Operations • Cash Flow Analysis • Conclusion •

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