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  1. I've come across another example of a neophyte aviator buying a plane on impulse. This fellow had his own, successful business in a non-aviation related field. He made the decision to get his pilot's licence. He was still in the early pre-solo stage of his training when he decided that he would buy his own plane, which he did. Now, it was not even certain that he would complete his training, and if he did, his first hundred hours or so would be Day VFR flying. But, seemingly having the readies, he went out and bought a powerful IFR category plane. Perhaps he thought he could subsidize his financial outlay by putting the aircraft 'on line'. One has to wonder if the supporting information for the purchase was studied with the same care he may have put into submitting a tender for work in the non-aviation field he worked in. Well, the plane he purchased was pushing 40 years old. I don't know if he had expert do a pre-purchase inspection for him, or if he just bought it off the ad. Before too long Annual Inspection time comes around. As you might have guessed. the inspection by the careful LAME tasked with the job revealed a few maintenance jobs that could be reasonably expected to be needed in a plane of this age. Things like a welding repair to the exhaust pipe, a few worn bits, spark plugs, filters etc. However the body-blow came from the instrument certification. Remember that this plane was registered in the IFR category. Well, inspection of one of the IFR instruments showed it was faulty and needed to be replaced. Sounds simple enough. Whip out the dud part and put back a new one. But this plane was pushing 40 years since manufacture. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) had long ago gone out of business, so a new OEM part did not exist. The owner wanted to keep the plane in IFR category. So it was decided to obtain a similarly functioning part from another supplier. But the new part did not fit the mounting for the old part. Not a big deal. Just design and fit a suitable mounting. But wait! this is a certified aircraft. You can't just make anything you like and fit it to the plane. You have to get aeronautical engineers to design the fitting and document how and where it is to be installed. That requires an Engineering Order. Can you see where this is going? Every step means more and more dollars. Eventually the bill to certify the aircraft in the IFR category cost more than the cost of the Annual Inspection, even though the cost of the replacement part itself was only about 10% of the eventual total. Not long after the Certificate of Airworthiness was issued, the owner sold the aircraft. I'm not sure if he even completed his training. The moral to the story is that you can buy an old airplane cheaply, but be prepared to put bags of money into it. It that unrealistic? NO. Think about the dream car of your youth. Do you have friends who have bought something like an EH, or or XP Futura to restore? With a bit of searching you can find a rough one for under $5000, or maybe even a bag of peanuts. But to get it to a show-winning condition your friends will be happy to throw thousands at it. It's the same if you buy a cheap old Cessna or Cherokee. Buy cheap, but in the knowledge to end up having something you can wow the crowds with, know what the final cost will be, and that you can bear it. I think I could go out now and buy a TriPacer for under $5000, because it hasn't flown for years; the wing tips, at least, need replacing due to rot; the engine needs to be overhauled because it has been sitting, and it needs a complete recovering. Not to mention the jobs that would come out of the CofA inspection. Doing a lot of the work myself, I wouldn't expect to have a razoo left out of at least $50,000. Would the plane be worth $55,000 on the market? I doubt it. But it would be my plane; restored to my liking. And, hopefully, not having gone over the budget I set for the project before I bought the plane. Here's an example of how one Yank started with a Cherokee bought for one dollar And here's one where the owner went the whole hog: