5 top aircraft financing options | finder.com

Compare aircraft financing options

Explore starting rates, how much you can borrow and loan terms from 5 lenders.

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Buying an aircraft typically sets you back at least $100,000. If you don’t have that kind of money up front, there are several ways to finance it. However, you might not be able to get financing to cover the cost of ownership, which can run even higher than your monthly loan repayments.

Our top pick: LightStream Personal Loans

  • Min. Credit Score Required: Good to excellent credit
  • Min. Loan Amount: $5,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $100,000
  • APR: Competitive
  • Requirements: You must have a good or excellent FICO and be an American citizen or a permanent resident of the US.
  • No fees or prepayment penalties
  • Quick response during business hours

Our top pick: LightStream Personal Loans

Borrow up to $100,000 with low rates and no fees.

  • Min. Credit Score Required: Good to excellent credit
  • Min. Loan Amount: $5,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $100,000
  • APR: Competitive
  • Requirements: You must have a good or excellent FICO and be an American citizen or a permanent resident of the US.
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How can I finance an aircraft?

There are a few ways you can pay for a new aircraft, including aviation loans, aircraft leases and personal loans.

Aviation loan

When it comes to aviation loans, there are two types of lenders: those that specialize in aircraft financing and lenders that offer a range of loan products and services. Lenders that specialize in aviation financing also typically offer other products you might need when buying an aircraft, like insurance.

Typically, both types of aviation loan providers use your aircraft as collateral. You can usually borrow between 70% and 100% of your aircraft’s value with rates starting around 4%. Terms typically go as long as 20 years.

Aircraft lease

Rather than buying an aircraft, you can often lease it from an aircraft owner. You won’t have to pay as much or be solely responsible for maintenance expenses — which can add up. But you won’t own the aircraft outright.

All aircraft leases are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Personal loan

You might be able to cover part or even all of the cost with a personal loan if you’re buying an aircraft — especially a smaller, used model. Personal loans typically run from $5,000 to $50,000, though it’s possible to find funding up to $100,000 through some providers like SoFi. Rates typically start around 4% APR.

Generally, you need good to excellent credit to qualify for larger personal loans. Terms are also typically shorter on personal loans, often ranging from three to seven years. Shorter terms generally mean higher monthly repayments.

Compare aircraft financing from 5 lenders

LenderAmountsStarting APRTermsEligible aircrafts
LightStream$5,000 to $100,0004.29% with autopay2 years to 7 years
  • No restrictions
US Aircraft FinanceUp to 90% LTV4.49%Up to 25 years
  • No restrictions
AOPA FinanceStarting at $10,0004%5 to 20 years
  • Experimental, kit, light sport, single-engine piston, twin-engine piston, turboprop, turbine, helicopter, waterbird, antique aircraft
Bank of America Private BankStarting at $5 millionVaries5 to 10 years
  • New or preowned aircraft less than 10 years old
Republic Bank$75,000 to $1 millionVariesUp to 20 years
  • Single-engine piston, multi-engine piston, single-engine turboprop, multi-engine turboprop, jet engine
  • No models from before 1970 or with more than 7,500 total airframe hours

Compare lenders to finance an aircraft

Updated September 21st, 2019
Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
Competitive
Good to excellent credit
$100,000
Borrow up to $100,000 with low rates and no fees.
5.34% to 35.99%
Good to excellent credit
$100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.
5.99% to 17.66%
680
$100,000
No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.
7.99% to 35.89%
620
$50,000
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
5.99% to 29.99%
640 FICO®
$35,000
A prime lender with multiple repayment methods.
3.99% to 35.99%
500
$100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
6.95% to 35.89%
640
$40,000
A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much does an aircraft cost?

It depends on the type of aircraft you’re interested in and whether you’re buying new or used. Most fall into the $100,000 to $500,000 range regardless of what type you buy. However, you can find some for as little as $25,000 and upwards of $1 million.

Here’s the price range you can expect for different types of aircrafts:

Type of aircraftTypical cost
Light sport aircraft$25,000 to $400,000
Single-engine aircraft$50,000 to $600,000
Multi-engine aircraft$90,000 to $1 million

Aircraft loan calculator

Additional costs to consider when buying an aircraft

You’ll have more than your loan or lease payments to be concerned about when buying an aircraft. Take these other costs into consideration before hitting the skies:

  • Aviation insurance. Just like with a car, you need to buy aviation insurance to fly an aircraft. This can set you back around $100 or $200 a month.
  • Hangar fees. Paying to store your plane also has a monthly cost. Renting a hangar can run anywhere from $40 to $500 a month, depending on the location.
  • Maintenance and inspections. Annual inspections and maintenance can range from $600 to $3,000 — and sometimes even more depending on the condition of your aircraft.
  • Fuel. Fuel can be one of the highest costs of owning or leasing an aircraft. How much you spend depends on how often you fly and which airport you use. You can typically spend between $4 and $7.50 a gallon, averaging out at around $5 per gallon.

5 tips to get a good deal on an aircraft

Thinking of investing in your own set of wings? Here are a few pointers to find the best deal out there:

  1. Always take a test flight. Especially if you’re buying used. You won’t know if you’re comfortable with the aircraft unless you’ve sat in the pilot’s seat.
  2. Have it inspected before you buy. Getting a professional third-party inspection can help ensure against having to make any surprise repairs immediately.
  3. Make sure all costs fit your budget. The cost of buying the plane is only part of the monthly and annual expenses you’ll have to fork over.
  4. Hire a lawyer. Aviation is highly regulated and can be a legal nightmare without an expert to help you navigate the paperwork.
  5. Use a consultant. A consultant or broker can help you find the type of aircraft you’re interested in and walk you through the financing process, especially if it’s your first time buying an aircraft.

Bottom line

Buying an aircraft is less expensive than getting a private jet — at least up front. But additional costs like insurance and maintenance can sometimes cost you more than the aircraft itself. You can learn more about how financing works by visiting our guide to personal loans.

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