My husband Jared and I have been pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the number of readers who have reached out to provide well wishes, personal experiences and advice since we announced the search for our first aircraft this past September. Following our most recent update after a failed offer on a Mooney (see “Almost First Time Owners,” T &T November 2020), some of you have emailed me curious about the status of our hunt.
In a nutshell, the search went into hibernation mode over the last few months. However, the pause ended up being a blessing in disguise as it allowed time for a huge, game-changing development…I will turn it over to Jared to recap the latest.
Jared Jacobs: After I realized that a deal on the Mooney was not going to happen, I needed some time to unwind and reset. Plus, it seemed to me that the market was just too hot! Any reasonably equipped/priced aircraft I came across online would be under contract in what seemed like hours. And those that remained available were usually some combination of overpriced, in need of serious upgrades, or had a storied past. With demand for personal aircraft skyrocketing due to the pandemic, I talked to several aircraft dealers and brokers who saw shattered sales records in 2020. While we would like an aircraft sooner rather than later, there is no pressing need.
So, with these things in mind, I told myself that I could stand to sit on the sidelines and continue to observe for a few months to see if anything changed. Well, things did indeed change, though not necessarily on the market side, but on the personal side…we now have a partner.
During my recent King Air recurrent training at FlightSafety, I mentioned in passing to a coworker that Rebecca and I were conducting an aircraft search. With little downtime between me stepping out of the simulator and him stepping in, I hardly noticed this comment register with him as we quickly checked off a few more pleasantries then went on our separate ways. But later that night, I answered an unexpected phone call from the same coworker.
“Jared, I’d like to talk to you about your aircraft search.”
He explained that he had owned two aircraft in the past and had decided to sell his most recent airplane because he simply wasn’t flying it enough on his own. But he missed owning an airplane, and with the addition of a partner, he thought this could be an ideal setup to reduce costs and increase utilization. My mind immediately raced with the possibilities.
It was a quick conversation to pitch the idea, and we agreed to take time to think it over and discuss it with our wives. But before we exchanged goodbyes, he added, “I’m very serious about this.”
He need say no more. After pouring over the numbers, I knew that sole ownership had major financial drawbacks. In fact, a number of T &T readers we heard from attested to the value of finding a quality partner. And that is exactly who I unwittingly stumbled upon – a trusted friend, top-notch aviator and experienced owner. This was a gamechanger.
Following our short phone conversation, I wanted to lay it all out on the table to ensure we both wanted the same things. So, I composed an email detailing our must-haves, deal-breakers, budget and scheduling requirements (including links to the previous T &T articles, of course). As it turns out, we are a great match.
Thanks to a hectic December work schedule, this back and forth took up the remainder of 2020. So now we find ourselves in a new year with essentially a new search. In discussing the ideal aircraft for both of us, we have narrowed it down to either a straight tail Bonanza (likely an early F33A) or a well-maintained and upgraded late-model Debonair. The market appears to have cooled slightly, but aircraft are still going quick. Jointly, we do not feel an urgency to purchase an airplane right away and are holding out hope that we will stumble onto the right airplane through a connection rather than the battlefield that is online aircraft listings.
But, as the warmer months approach, I imagine our urgency will grow, and the search will intensify. So, keep your eyes out – with any luck, there will be more exciting details in Editor’s Briefings to come!