We’d all love to have a vintage aircraft collection.

If you’re a fan of aviation, then you’re a fan of the history of human engineering as well. The farther back you go with airplanes, the more you’ll learn about the ingenuity that was required to build them. There is something that attracts passionate aviators to historical aircraft, and if you have recently caught the bug, then keep reading.

Learning about antique airplanes is one thing, but owning an antique aircraft is an entirely different sort of dedication. If you’re going to drop all of that money on your dream aircraft, you’ve got to learn a few key things. Keep in mind that owning an antique plane is not like owning a modern jet. More often then not, antique aircraft ownership is a massive responsibility to the aviation community.

In this post, we’re going to give you five tips for buying an antique aircraft. You can never be too safe when you’re out there searching, so buckle up, and we’ll get you ready for take-off.

1. Figure Out Money First

Come up with a budget before you start legitimately searching for your plane. Antique planes are a bit trickier, though, because there are fewer of them out there. You’re likely to have to pay more than you would for a regular old used plane. You may feel like you are chasing the market; after all, antique aircraft in fully restored condition will be priced substantially higher than your project aircraft.

To combat this, obtain more financing than you think you might need. That way, when you find that perfect plane, you won’t find yourself short on cash.

2. Where to Look

As we said, there are fewer antique planes on the used market, so you’re likely going to have to do a bit of research to find what you want. A great source of information is vintage aircraft associations and the for sale listings at several websites. You may want to plan on attending shows like EAA and meet with owners and possible sellers in person.

Don’t ignore the used plane market, though. You never know what’s out there, and someone could be getting rid of a complete gem for a reasonable price. You’re going to have to be diligent about the search if you expect to find a good deal.

3. Learn Everything There Is to Know

There’s a lot you’ll have to learn about your antique plane before you decide to buy it. If you’re a true aviation-head, this won’t be a problem.

Use VREF to find out what its worth and what parts or modifications will add to the value. Give yourself a history lesson on this plane so you can determine whether the seller is truthful about its value. You don’t want to end up with an aircraft that has loads of non-original parts or that the plane is being misrepresented.

4. Thorough Inspections

In addition to your history lesson, you need to have a mechanic thoroughly inspect the plane before you make any decisions. You can’t just buy the aircraft thing and start flying; you have to make sure that it’s airworthy.

Even though it might seem insulting, don’t let the seller’s mechanic look at it. Explain to them that you’ve got someone that you trust (even if it’s you) and that you’d be more comfortable if they took a look at it. Any resistance to this should be met with skepticism. If you need help finding the right A&P mechanic, then contact VREF for assistance.

5. Look Into Tax Exemption

Once you’ve sealed the deal, you’ll be ready to take your dream plane into your possession. After you’ve had your fun with it, there’s one more great perk to tell you about before your purchase. In individual states, there’s an “Aircraft of Historical Significance” tax exemption that you should take advantage of.

All that you need to prove is that it’s an original or replica version of an aircraft that’s 35 years or older, that you don’t use it for commercial purposes, and that it’s on public display for at least 12 days per year.

Shopping For Antique Aircraft Is a Joy

Now that you know a little bit more about how to shop around, you can start looking for antique airplanes today. When you find the perfect one, you’ll never need another toy again.

To investigate your antique plane, visit us at VREF.com. Our online aircraft valuation guide is unmatched, and we can help you make the most informed decision possible.