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Buying an Airplane

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  • #16
    Let me know what the taxman says , when you get audited ?

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    • #17
      My partner owns a baron. He says it probably costs him all in around $35-40k a year with hanger, insurance, maintenance, fuel costs.

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      • #18
        One of the residents in my programme had been a Family Doc before coming back for specialty training. He bought a Lake Buccaneer in the mid-70s and wrote a portion of it off flying into clinics in Northern Ontario lake towns. He kept the plane through residency and was still flying last I spoke with him a couple years ago. Used it to 'commute' to his cottage. He loved flying (and I enjoyed when I got the chance to go up with him) but he was very forthcoming about the expenses involved. I could never have justified those kind of expenses for a hobby.

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        • #19
          A few thoughts: 1) if used for business, it is a business expense. Yes, deductible. Follow the rules. 2) This forum is not the place for details, but planes purchased for business are eligible for bonus depreciation. 3) some pilots avoid direct ownership costs and join a club. Pay into a common maintenance pool and otherwise pay for gas to fly. 4) safety? Well, ask yourself what Buddy Holly, Kobe, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and JFK jr. all have in common?

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          • #20
            Two reasons not to do it:
            1. $
            2. Safety

            Not smart. Deduct the plane ticket / travel expenses and fly commercial.

            Buying a plane as a business expense for a doc? I cannot imagine trying to count that as a business expense. IRS might pounce on that. It just sounds ridiculous, but so much of our tax code is........(Ok, not going down that hole).

            If you must fly then rent a safe plane and be really careful. I would even consider paying to fly with a professional co-pilot who can help ensure safe travels and teach you.

            Live your life. I have a good friend who flies and rides motorcycles. Free country. Just be careful.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by childay View Post

              I think that's one particular plane. I'm sure someone will know
              Generally refers to the V tail Bonanza from half a century ago. But now that techies are making all the money and buying planes, Cirrus aircraft is known as the “geek killer”.

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              • #22
                It is what you make of it. I have owned several small airplanes, all fine (albeit slow and older) well kept small aircraft. None have cost more than $20k and I usually spend between $5-7k per year on the hobby. It brings me a level of joy unlike anything else. There is really nothing else that I have the desire to spend the money on.

                Safety is always a huge concern. Physicians are notorious in aviation for being overconfident - having dominated medicine, they should be awesome at everything, right? The thing about flying is that overconfidence and carelessness result in your own injury or death, and cannot be taken lightly. Physics and gravity do not care how smart or accomplished you are. I've taken extensive steps to mitigate risk as much as is reasonable so I can continue to enjoy this hobby.

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                • #23
                  Oh, and to your primary question, I probably wouldn't try to deduct flying unless you are looking for an audit. There are legitimate uses but it's pretty hard to justify a personal airplane as a business commuting expense. Most of us can't even deduct car mileage.

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                  • #24
                    I'd encourage you to continue renting for a while. Finish your private, earn you instrument rating, learn the commercial maneuvers and then decide if you want to purchase an airplane. If you're flying under 100 hours a year, it's generally cheaper to rent. As others have mentioned, some of the flying clubs are helpful and/or buying with partners. I generally fly 75-100 hours a year and haven't made the numbers work to purchase. I'm also spoiled with access to year old Piper Archers with G1000 and autopilot, probably $450k aircraft.

                    A plane for locum work is impractical because you will be away from your home airport and hangar, subject to ramp/hangaring fees, outside MX etc. Google "get-there-itis". If I have to be somewhere, I fly commercial or drive.

                    Mooney's are also known as Dr Killers. They're generally performance oriented with retractable gear and people can get over confident.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by familydocPA View Post
                      It is what you make of it. I have owned several small airplanes, all fine (albeit slow and older) well kept small aircraft. None have cost more than $20k and I usually spend between $5-7k per year on the hobby. It brings me a level of joy unlike anything else. There is really nothing else that I have the desire to spend the money on.

                      Safety is always a huge concern. Physicians are notorious in aviation for being overconfident - having dominated medicine, they should be awesome at everything, right? The thing about flying is that overconfidence and carelessness result in your own injury or death, and cannot be taken lightly. Physics and gravity do not care how smart or accomplished you are. I've taken extensive steps to mitigate risk as much as is reasonable so I can continue to enjoy this hobby.
                      This is a very very reasonable approach. Slow and older (planes last a long time). I would be curious how many flight hours are logged.

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                      • #26
                        Have you considered getting a hot air balloon?

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                        • #27
                          There are old pilots
                          There are bold pilots.
                          There are very few old bold pilots.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Flapjacks View Post
                            First of all, I caught the bug, currently getting my private pilots license and I'm transitioning to full time locums as 1099 worker. Some questions:

                            Anyone here buy a plane as a locums doc and fly to assignments? Can you deduct this for Schedule C? Buy it as an LLC, will this give you a deduction?
                            I met some docs in Alaska who are also bush pilots. Non-zero chance @24-the-white-coat-investor knows someone.

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                            • #29
                              My thoughts lately having been thinking about it is there really is considerable expense. I'd rather get some land (cheap here) and build a hangar and my own runway, lots of people do this and its pretty cool.

                              Maintenance and such, just expensive, no way around it. Planes now are super expensive, unless something is literally 50 years old, steam instruments and wimpy.

                              The other issue, just playing a flight sim and reading up some, is that flying is very technical and requires a consistent exposure. It is way too easy for docs to be over confident and sparsely practiced, which is a disaster in the making. Theres a lot to flying and its far better if you do it often to stay sharp.

                              I want to do it, probably will at some time, but I'll be taking it extremely seriously and I think with even a 80% full time doc job its hard to do (and family). Want to give it respect it commands. Also annoyed I cant afford awesome planes.

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                              • #30
                                If you are going to do it, rent one that is properly maintained.

                                My dad has been an aircraft mechanic for almost 40 years and wont touch those or fly in them. You wouldn't believe how many people he knows that have died in small plane accidents.

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