View Full Version : What plane to buy
I am starting to do my homework concerning aircraft ownership and think I will be able to own, either wholly or in partnership, an older plane in two to five years. 90%+ of my flights are just me or with only one passenger, so two seats is all I'll need - rentals will do for multiple passengers. I would prefer something with a Lycoming O-320 for reliability and parts availability. An O-235 or 360 would be fine, too, just no Franklins or other out-of-production motors. (I am partial to Lycoming because I was born and raised in Williamsport, PA and all but 1.5 of my flight time is behind one.)
Tube and fabric or metal doesn't matter, and I can learn to fly a taildragger. The biggest issue is purchase price - I have a pretty good understanding of operating costs and maintenance reserves.
I am thinking an older Cherokee 140, C-172 (all things being equal, Cessnas cost more), Stinson (is there a Lyco STC?), PA-22 or 20, Grumman or some other older Piper. I might add I weigh 250 and am trying to gain, so useful load is an issue, which leaves out Citabrias. (I can't figure out why a Citabria or Champ has such a crappy useful load compared to a Cub or Super Cub.) A J-5C (100 HP) looks kinda cool, and the .5 I got in a J-3-85 was a blast.
Thoughts? The Cherokee is the frontrunner right now, simply for easy maintenance, low costs and virtually no unknowns and vice-free behavior.
But if I got a lot of money, it would be the grand caravan.
I need a plane that I can get a family of 5 into and their luggage...
You can't go wrong with a nice 172. I would also recommend trying to get a partner as the plane gets used more and stays in better shape and it costs you less.:)
250 and trying to gain? I'd say the Cherokee 140 would be out of the question. I have lots of time in both Cessna and Piper, and I've always been partial to Cessna for some reason.
If you can afford to get into a partnership with a Cessna 182, I think that would be your best bet.
That's great news!! I am thrilled for you.
Now: Let's design this thing around your description of your typical mission profile. Wife & kids? Long X-C's? Dodging clouds? More ratings?
Don't get too hung up on the cost +/- a few grand just yet. That's what's nice about these old birds...they're like real estate, you aren't going to lose any of the money.
Unless, of course, Kerry gets elected, and GA is banned in the name of national security. That would stimulate a downturn...
Wife will fly with occasionally, but she falls asleep before pattern altitude - she says the combination of noise and vibration rocks her to sleep. No kids, just short X-Cs and I don't see myself getting IFR any time soon. As good as the skills would be, realistically, I wouldn't be using more than a couple times a year to get into or out of Watsonville through the fog.
I would love an old 172 - I flew the Archer today and was wishing again that the FBO would get a 172 again (the 172N got sold). I just prefer how Cessnas fly - intangibles. A friend has a '56 182 and a 50-something straight tail 150, both cherry - beatiful planes.
A J-3 or J-5 actually wouldn't be too farfetched - enough useful load for me (barely, though), isn't that much slower than a 172 or Cherokee to make a significant distance on a hamburger run, and is dirt cheap to operate. Flying with the doors open above the beach on hot afternoons would be just too much fun.
It sounds like you've closed yourself on a 172. And that's a good thing. You might have to pay a few bucks more, but you will still have the money! It's true! Ask my wife! ;)
Also, the difference in payment for a $10,000.00 increase in price is about $75.00.
I wouldn't be using more than a couple times a year to get into or out of Watsonville through the fog.
In the Watsonville I know, you'd need it in the summer a couple of times a day!! You'll get the bug for the rating later, don't worry about it now. But the 172 is the world's premier IFR trainer. Get the avionics you need IN THE LOAN! One thing you may not know now, (I didn't) is that once you get your own wings, you'l fly approximately eleventy-two times as much as you do now.
There are also more 172's to choose from on the market.
Guy who works for me bought one to train in, did a few minor upgrades to it, and made ten grand when he sold it a year later...
Yep, you need a 172.
Well, maybe more than a couple times a year, but I don't do that many cross-countries - most of my flights are just local. I've been lucky so far - haven't had to divert to Q99 and call for a ride (yet). I have had to cancel a few flights because the fog was just too close. One time, it was okay when I arrived at the field, but by the time I finished preflight and planning a short X-C (was still a student), it was on the runway - took all of 20 minutes to go from VFR to don't even think about it.
Don't mean to rain on your parade, but for your mission profile, renting is better than owning unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket. Buying a plane as an investment and letting it sit around does not make sense. In addition to the cost of money, you will be paying sales tax, use tax, insurance, tie-down and annual. All of this, except a small fraction of the annual, is totally independent of the actual number of hours flown. After you figure in all those costs, the value of an aircraft like a 172 as an investment medium goes out the window.
If you are doing just local flights, you are barely putting in 50 hours a year. Add the variable costs (engine reserve, fuel, maintenance and maintenance reserve) and your actual per hour costs would be twice to five times higher than renting. What do you gain for that? Pride of ownership is about it. The only time owning makes sense is if you are doing cross country flights and need to know that the plane will be available when you want it and you can be gone as long as you want without needing to be back in a couple of days because another renter has it scheduled.
I cannot argue with one word from 20Pilot; he's absolutely correct.
My whole sales pitch comes from the assumption that you love flying, and would like to sink deeper into it.
In the year before I turned in the family beans for the beanstalk (or however that went...) I flew about 40 hours. :( I usually decide to fly about 5 minutes before the act; eerily similar to sex... This means that the frantic call to the FBO left me rattling through tail numbers in descending desirability until the trip was off. The proposed overnighter would be poisoned by someone with an hour scheduled in the middle of the next day. And on, and on, and on.
This year, by the time purchase anniversary date rolls around, I'll be closer to 200 hours. The thing has become a part of the family. I go and sit for days in the hangar; sometimes Wulfenite will slip a plate of food under the door...
I have not and will not done the "cost per hour" worksheets in the AOPA buyers kit. I don't want to associate the cost with the act. I figure it costs $XXXX per month to have a plane. Who knows, business could take a dump and I've got to off it next month. Or I'll fly it for 30 years. Don't know; don't care.
I say it's worth it, and if you do get it, my prediction calls for a massive uptick in hours/distances flown, ratings, etc..
If I am wrong, and you are only going to buy it and somehow restrain yourself to 40 hours a year nevertheless, then listen to 20pilot...
Best of luck, whichever way... :)
Between renting and owning are flying clubs. Belonged to Alameda Flying Club back in the 80's. Several aircraft, reduced instructor rates, for additional ratings and good hourly rates. Saves a bunch on insurance also.
Once owned a 1946 Aerocoupe. 90mph top end. Flying by the seat of your pants. I grew up in NW Philadelphia in Germantown. If you ever get to Oakland International and have free time call me and I'll buy lunch or (?). Also shoot most Thursdays around 4:00pm in San Leandro
Stephen 510 407-0415
I figure that my c-182 costs me about $3,000 per year just sitting in the hanger. The last time I figured cost per hour was about 18 years ago when I owned a c-172. The cost to me was about the same as a nice twin from a FBO fifty miles from me. I wisely decided to never calculate per hour costs again.
About twice a year I’m overcome with financial wisdom and decide that I MUST sell the girl. Then I go for a flight and the wisdom of finances is replaced with the wisdom of flight. Any hobby or interest is going to deplete your account somewhat. An Airplane will seem to be more when compared to any other hobby. However in the long run you will recoup most of your costs if you maintain the airplane and can sell it when the sad time for a parting of ways comes. You can’t do that with any other form of transportation. Just figure out how much the car in you driveway costs (include maint, insurance, depreciation, gas, cost of the garage etc.) I once did that for a friend who was complaining about “wasting” money on my airplane. She never brought up the subject again.
The most important factor in owning an airplane is an understanding spouse.
I want a plane largely for the same reasons as Bill. If I had my own, it'd get flown several times a week, since scheduling wouldn't be an issue. The FBO I fly out of seems to be getting a pretty good increase in business, and while that is good, it also means the schedule gets jammed up days in advance. It is getting pretty tough to do a spur-of-the-moment flight, and there is the minimum rental time if you have the plane for the entire day. Also, with my own plane, I know who flew it last and how it was treated.
The only flying club at WVI isn't an option - it is something like $250 annual dues and the rental rate is higher on top of that.
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