Atlanta Sport Flying
Purchasing an aircraft
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 It is possible to rent some high end Light Sport aircraft such as the Cessna 162 Skycatcher. But,  unless you intend to fly only a low number of hours in the local area,  renting is expensive and  inflexible.  Hourly costs are normally $120 upwards and the aircraft has to be booked in advance and it is often difficult to book enough hours to accomplish a typical 3 to 4 hour cross country flight assuming you can afford the potential $400 price tag.  Luckily there are plenty of cost effective options for buying an aircraft, but the choices can be confusing to newcomers to the sport. As part of the flight instruction advice can be provided to help the student decide on an aircraft which fits their budget and flying requirements.  Atlanta Sport Flying LLC is not a dealer for any particular aircraft manufacturer so there is no sales pressure.   This page tries to provide some basic information on aircraft purchase and answer some of the more common questions. A good place to start looking for an aircraft is www.barnstormers.com  The classified advertisements are easy to search by aircraft type and manufacturer.  Note Barnstormers has a mix of Normal Category, Light Sport aircraft plus ultralights so check the advertisement.  All two seat Trikes will be Light Sport, the majority of single seat Trikes can be operated as ultralights. If considering buying a used Light Sport aircraft first check it has an FAA N number and the required registration certificate - check in the FAA registration database that the N number exists - http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/  and the owner and address check out.  Often an attractive price is associated with an aircraft which is not registered with the FAA, usually an aircraft previously operated under the old Ultralight training rules which are no more.  It is very difficult to near impossible to get these aircraft registered as the grace time has expired and the FAA is not flexible.  Without an N number the aircraft cannot be operated legally and no training hours can be logged in it - the only exception being Ultralights which do not require N numbers and registration. Get the seller to email copies of the registration, airworthiness certificate, and last few pages of the engine/airframe log. Check the aircraft has a current annual - check the engine/airframe log.  Was  the annual performed by an FAA certified A&P (preferred)or the the owner ? Note a recent annual does not mean the trike is airworthy - I’ve seen a trike with a recent annual performed by an FAA A&P, with de-laminating mylor leading edge - the wing was not air worthy. What type of registration does the aircraft have?  o S-LSA  - factory built o E-LSAs  come in three forms:  Previously  operated under the  Ultralight tra.ining exemption rules -the  majority of E-LSAs are in this  category. Experimental Amateur kit - built from a kit but the  manufacturer does not need an S-LSA equivalent.  The same as an S-LSA but built from a kit Next look at the company-  how long has the company  been in business and are they still actively suppling  S-LSAs or  E-LSAs today.   If the manufacturer is no longer in business then spares and support could  be a problem. Be wary of very new companies. For Trike E-LSAs the major companies are P&M (UK), Airborne (Australia), North Wing (USA), Revo (USA),  and Air Creation (France) - all these companies have good products - the choice will be down to the  price, condition and the intended type of flying. For Trikes the condition of the wing fabric is very important no all companies can provide wing sails for out of production wings and new fabric can be expensive in the region of $4000 to $10,000 depending on the manufactured. If the wing fabric is not good then it is effectively a trike only sale and shoudl be priced accordingly - a good used wing may be a less expensive then purchasing a new sail if available. On  the wing look out for faded colors, ‘tired’ looking Dacron, delaminating mylar, damaged stitching, tears or holes on the fabric.  A dirty wing may be airworthy but does indicate it hasn ot been looked after. If possible test the dacron A recent annual does not mean the trike is airworthy - I’ve seen a trike with a recent annual with de-laminating mylor leading edge - the wing was not air worthy. Generally speaking the trike companies have been more stable than the Airplane companies  but  I have had good experience with QuickSilver and Rans and can give  recommendations about  other airplane manufacturers  on request. Who is the maker of the engine?  Rotax engines are the most widely used with reputable repair stations - parts and spares are readily available.  I've used Rotax 447, 503, 582, 912 engines and never had an inflight failure or any problems.  Other engines include HKS, Jabaru and Hirth - make sure you know and talk to the US agent to check support etc. What is the history and condition of the engine and how near is it to its Time Between Overhauls (TBO)? Rotax two strokes (447, 503, 582) have 300 hour recommended TBOs, but if used regularly will run with no problems for much longer allow $2000 to $3000 for a 582 major overhaul  - the 447 and 503 will be significantly less.  The 912 four strokes have 1,200 to 2000 hour TBOs depending on the engine serial number so although more expensive to buy operating costs are lower than the two strokes especially if you are flying 300 hours or more a year. If you have any questions related to aircraft purchase please do not hesitate to email or call