Airplanes are expensive, even the options that are only meant to carry one or two people. People generally prefer to repair their airplanes whenever possible rather than buying a replacement, so there’s a market for airplane parts that resembles the market for car parts. The FAA offers some advice about owning and maintaining an aircraft, but it’s still a complicated market, so anyone who wants their plane to stay in the air needs to understand a few things before they start buying.
Know Your Needs
The first step to buying a part is making sure that you know exactly what you need. That might be obvious is the damage is clearly visible, but it can also be subtle and hard to discover. In those cases, it might be possible to save money and avoid mistakes by having a mechanic diagnose the problem. After all, it’s cheaper to replace a small part of an engine or other complex part than it is to replace the whole thing, and often the small part is all that is necessary.
Know The Part
Make sure that you study the part that you need before you try to find a replacement. In particular, make sure that you can identify common problems to make sure that your new part is in good condition. It also pays to know the average price, since many parts will come from small vendors and resellers that can offer hugely divergent prices for their wares. A little research here will save a lot of money in the long run.
Trust The Vendor
The way to make sure that you are getting a good part is to get it from the manufacturer, but that isn’t always an option. Some parts simply won’t be available from them anymore, and used parts are almost always cheaper than new ones. If you end up purchasing your part from a small vendor, make sure that you look for reviews from satisfied customers first. Most of them are perfectly reliable, but it can be hard to tell the trustworthy professionalst from amateurs that hunt through old hangers at a glance. If the original manufacturer is out of business, it can also pay to look for alternative manufactures with Parts Manufacturer Approval from the FAA.
It’s Best Not To Wait
Preventing a problem is cheaper than fixing it. Prices tend to fluctuate quickly, so if you start looking for a replacement before you need it, you can often use the extra time to find a good deal. It’s not always possible to do that, but you should always plan ahead if you can.
Look For Help
It’s a confusing market, so there are times when it’s hard to make the right choice. When in doubt, ask an aircraft mechanic for help. They might be able to handle ever step of the maintenance process for you, including finding the part, or they might just help you find a reputable vendor. It may be satisfying to do things on your own, but you can often get better results with assistance, and the results are ultimately the part that matters.