Selecting a sport plane is similar to selecting a car. You have similar options and each is interrelated with other options. Fortunately, the FAA already has made some of the major decisions for you—such as weight and capacity. You’ve got many more choices when selecting a car.
The first and most important aspect of deciding on a specific airplane is knowing what you want from it. Make sure you’ve answered the questions presented earlier. Spend some time talking with other pilots, not about makes and models so much as how and why they fly. You could discover some new ways to use your new wings.
Second, become an informed consumer. You probably shop for a new car by comparing features and prices and looking for the best relative value. It’s the same with deciding about a sport plane. Read the magazines, especially Sport Pilot, to find out what’s new.
Many of the new light-sport aircraft manufacturers offer videos and books on their planes. Invest a few bucks in packages from the leading manufacturers to learn what’s new. Many kit and plan airplanes also have reasonably priced information packages.
Third, make sure you try before you decide. The new LSA manufacturers and used-plane owners will let you inspect and fly the aircraft before you decide to buy it. Even if it means you have to jump on a commercial plane to visit a candidate, consider doing it. You certainly wouldn’t choose a new or used car without a test drive.
That’s your introduction to choosing a plane, covering how to figure out what you want, how much you can afford, and how to make smart aviation decisions. Enjoy!
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide