I went to look at a Piper Warrior II last week. If you’re going to fly a lot — the tipping point seems to be about 100 hours per year — it makes more financial sense to buy a plane rather than continue to rent. There was a group at my local airport looking for a partner in their 1979 Warrior II. It’s a four-member group, and one of the members had just moved out of state. I saw the flyer at the local FBO (fixed base operator; basically, it’s the place you’d think of as the airport headquarters) and gave the number a call. The buy-in price for the Warrior II is $12,000 and a 1/4 share of expenses. So, I’d be a part-owner of a plane and be responsible for a quarter of the costs, in addition to paying about $60 per hour of flight. Partnerships like this are a great way to fly cheaply (relatively, at least; flying is never cheap). The partners split the cost of things like the hangar, insurance, the annual maintenance inspection required, and upgrades and other fixes to the plane. I also did most of my original training in a Warrior II; they’re very reliable, stable airplanes. This one was fully IFR (instrument flight rating) equipped, which would save me money when it came to getting my instrument rating. I wouldn’t be renting a plane and an instructor; just an instructor. So I met with one of the owners and looked the plane over. It was in fine shape, and had been well maintained. The avionics equipment, although not new, seemed to be in good shape, and the exterior, while dated, was also solid. All in all, the plane was a strong value, and splitting the costs four ways would have allowed me to fly more. The group of guys seemed to get along, too, and the one I met was very friendly and really loved flying. I like that kind of passion. I passed on the plane. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Everything was what I was hoping for, in terms of the plane and the group and the costs. No complaints about any of it. Ultimately, though, I turned down the opportunity. For one reason: I don’t want to own a Warrior. Don’t get me wrong: they’re fine planes. And this was a fine specimen of that type. But it’s not the plane for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I used to own an RV-4. The emphasis on RVs is speed and economy. They fly fast and cheaply. Except for one model, they don’t seat more than two people, so they’re not family-haulers. But man, are they fun to fly. I was truly interested in the Warrior, simply because of the financial sense it made. It would have been the smart buy. But I finally decided I didn’t want to be stuck in a plane I wouldn’t be excited to fly. Now, flying itself *is* exciting. Zipping around the sky in any airplane is fun. But the Warrior is a plodder. It’s gentle and predictable and slow. You’ll get where you’re going, and it’s easy to fly and land. If I’m going to be owning a plane for 10 or 20 years or more, however, I want a plane that screams along at nearly 200 mph (or even more). A plane that’s just stretching its legs at 150 mph. A plane that can go upside down and do loops. A plane with a less genteel stall break. As good as the Warrior is, it can’t do those things. I feel like I’d miss those capabilities too much in the end. And when I felt like selling my share in the plane, I wouldn’t like the process of advertising and showing it. I’d be locked into something I didn’t love. I’d be settling for less (at least in terms of my criteria). So in the meantime, I’ll be a renter. Then, when I find a plane I fall in love with, I’ll consider being a buyer again.