Aircraft Suggestion

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Tarheel Pilot, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Tarheel Pilot

    Tarheel Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    So I've finally saved up enough money to buy an aircraft and I'm looking at some options. One of them is buying a Piper Cherokee 180. I have flown Cherokees all throughout my training and I rent them. However, I'm wondering if they're the right aircraft for my mission.

    I have basically been flying in my home state, I'm either keeping proficient with my skills, or doing sight seeing trips (while staying in G Airspace. I also do some trips up in the mountains, so far I'd kept to paved runways in the mountains, but I wouldn't mind going to some of the grass strips.

    I haven't been to much fly ins because of my work schedule, but plan to attend some. The farthest I'd travel is AirVenture in Oshkosh WI. The aircraft doesn't have to be IFR ready, but it should at least have the option to be upgraded to IFR.

    What I'm basically looking for is an IFR equipped aircraft that is right for recreational flying with myself, and maybe one other person (or dog). I may take friends and family up sometimes, but not often. One of my place to visit is the mountains. :)

    Thoughts?

    PS: Any aircraft that has a similiar handling to Cherokee 161/180 is preferred. I have flown a Cessna and I just didn't like the handling of it compared to the Cherokee.
     
  2. Doggtyred

    Doggtyred En-Route

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    Grumman Tiger is on my short list. Its slicker and faster than the Cherokee 180.. but once you master speed control its a wonderful plane. Canopy.. low wing. VERY nimble taxiing with castering nosewheel

    Nothing wrong with a cherokee either, and there are plenty of them out there.
     
  3. Steve

    Steve En-Route

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    imho, you can't go wrong with a cherokee 180 / archer as a first plane. you'll be happy with it for a long time if it's in good mechanical condition.

    i flew one (180) to/from the bahamas once. very reliable transportation.
     
  4. Shipoke

    Shipoke Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well I love my Warrior 161. And have taken it into Grass with no problems. I have flown it to Gaston's took 9 hours from Harrisburg Pa. Aslo been as far north as Mass. and south as georgia with no problems. if you want to talk about it call me. (717 554 5360) Dave P.S. Grummans are good too, took all my training in them
     
  5. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    You might save some cash picking up a Cherokee 140, though those grass strips had better be long...
     
  6. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Steve's right - it's hard to go wrong with a Cherokee/Archer. Never owned one, but have about 150 hours in them. Great planes. Just don't be in a hurry to get anywhere.

    If you wanted a hair more speed, a Tiger or an Arrow is another option.
     
  7. nyoung

    nyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It is hard to go wrong with a Cherokee 180. I have owned a 1971 PA28-180F for about 10 years and flown it about 1200 hrs. The Cherokee family are great airplanes, both reasonably priced and reasonable to maintain.

    A few things to note about the 180

    • Early models will have useful loads around 1000#, later models tend to lose a few #s of useful load per model year due to added equipment and interior.
    • Pre-1973 models have a shorter fuselage. If you intend on carrying 3 or more real adults any lengthy distance, you need to look at 1973 and post models that have the 5" fuselage stretch. (You can ask my friend who flew in the backseat from Chicago to Sun n Fun about this)
    • I'm not sure the exact year, but approximately 1974-1976, the Cherokee got the longer tapered wing that the Archer/Warrior series presently offers. Slightly improved performance. Personally, I like the stubby Hershey bar wings, great for maneuvering on the ramp, and plenty of space in the hangar.
    • Cruise easily @ 125KTAS. With speed mods, good engine and rigging, 130s KTAS is possible around 10gph.
    • Speaking of speed mods, if you intend to do a lot of night flying, get one that has the Knots2U wingtip mod with landing lights. Having (3) landing lights is awesome for night landings, and provides redundancy to the single light in the nosebowl (which has a tendency to burn out).
    • Lyc O-360 is about as bulletproof of an engine as possible. Most make it to 2000hrs TBO without any top or bottom work.
    • Most Cherokees are old enough to have either 'No Autopilot', and 'INOP autopilot', or a wing-leveler (that's what mine has). If I was shopping for one again, I'd find one that had been retrofitted to an STEC 30 with altitude hold, Garmin 430, and ideally a GPSS coupler. It would probably add 7-8k to the purchase price, but is twice that to install aftermarket.
    • Parts availability is easy. Tons of planes were built, so used parts from Wentworth are easily found. If a new part is required, Piper is still in business, and still makes the PA28-181 and PS28-161, which share quite a few parts in common with the Cherokee series.
     
  8. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Just to play devil's advocate, while I love Pipers myself, based on what you are wanting to do with the aircraft, I would definitely want to seek out some folks with considerable experience in mountain flying with PA28s. As I recall, most Piper performance charts don't go above 8000' Density Altitude, and I have always been a little uncomfortable extrapolating above 8 in Pipers (if you look at the deteriorating performance in the curve as it approaches the end of the chart, you will see what I mean). Not saying that it can't be safely done, but just looking at the charts, it would suggest that you should do some research before committing to the Piper.
     
  9. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Given your intent to carry no more than one passenger, an O-320-powered 4-seater (e.g. C-172, Grumman AA-5/5A Traveler/Cheetah, PA-28-140/150/160, Beech 19 Sport) might do you just fine, and be available for significantly less purchase cost than a 180HP 4-seater like the 180 Cherokee or Tiger. The 172 is probably the best of the bunch for grass, but if the runway is long enough and the grass short enough, any of them will do. The hills of North Carolina (you did say "Tarheel," right?) aren't high enough to make the high-DA limitations of any of those a significant barrier. I'd suggests looking at and flying each of those types and see which one strikes your fancy best, although it sounds like you've already ruled out the Cessna. And I would point out that the fold-flat back seat area of the Grummans provides an excellent environment for a dog.
     
  10. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    No low wing is good on a rough runway, especially a Cherokee.

    If your intent is to operate out of rough mountain strips you'd better get used to the handling of a Cessna 180, 185, 206, 207.
     
  11. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Amen to that, especially if you like their handling. Cherokee 180 or Archer have been for sale forever for a reason - They're an easy-to-fly, easy-to-maintain aircraft. Performance is average, but if you're not looking to go places really fast (for a lot more $$$$$) they're great.

    Two data points from our club planes (one of which has been sold): One was a 1976 Archer with a 1004 lb. useful load, the other is a 1977 with 1006 lb.

    1976.

    I've flown a LOT of Archers, and you're being VERY generous. Miles an hour, I'd believe your numbers. Knots, no way. Out of all the Archers I've flown, most of them were 115-knot birds. *ONE* of them went faster - 122 knots - And it was one of the 80's models that had full fairings on the gear instead of just wheel pants. It was also cleaned, waxed, and had a pretty new engine.

    I would NOT expect to get more than 115 out of your average Archer. :no: But if you're not trying to get somewhere on a schedule and you just want to enjoy your flight, there's nothing wrong with 115 knots either. If you really want to go faster, get a Cherokee 235/Pathfinder/Dakota. You'll burn about 3gph more than the 180, but you'll get 130-135 knots.

    It also makes you look REALLY cool on final approach! :yes:
     
  12. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have a cherokee 140. Really, the only money saved with a
    140 vs 180 is the purchase price (and therefore hull insurance).
    Otherwise, the "hourly" cost of a 140 vs 180 is pretty much the
    same. The higher fuel burn of a 180 is approximately offset by
    the higher airspeed.
     
  13. CJones

    CJones Final Approach

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    I'll go ahead and throw the RV hat into the ring.

    Two-seater. Low wing. Easy to maintain (experimental).

    You can probably find an older VFR-only (but upgradable to IFR - usually cheaper than upgrading a certified plane) 160hp RV-6 out there for close to the same price as a 180hp Cherokee/Archer.

    160hp RV6 will probably get you around the 150-160kt range on 8ish GPH. It'll also climb like crazy, so you can get up above a lot of the summer bumps (in the -7A, if the flight is longer than an hour or so, I'll go up to 9-10k easily).

    Taildragger should handle any type of 'rough' strip that a Cherokee would with the added bonus that it can handle short strips better than most Cherokee variants.

    If you're pretty confident that you'll be solo most of the time, you could go for an RV-4 and get some really good performance for your $. Not to mention the 'coolness' factor.
     
  14. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    Do you have a love for airplanes? Does enjoyment and character matter to you? What really stirs you? Put aside practicality for a moment and think about what interests you to fly. It helps to own an airplane that excites you in some way every time you open the hangar door.

    Airports are littered with rarely-flown airplanes because (I believe) their owners rationalized having their particular airplane for some purpose other than pure personal (yes, selfish) enjoyment. Everyone wants a fast, load-hauler, IFR X-country, roomy, practical airplane. Guess what...they don't need one and their airplane is not enjoyable to them and doesn't get flown much. I see it everywhere.

    Nothing wrong with Pipers and Cessnas, but now that you are done with your training, you are no longer limited by the small and uninspired selection of airplanes most flight schools use. I understand the confidence that familiarity instills, but don't pidgeonhole yourself simply because you may not have much familiarity with other types. Hang out at other airports, talk to folks, bum rides, try to fly different types, read and educate yourself as much as possible. Have you flown enough other truly different types to know for sure that you only want something that flies like a Cherokee? These airplanes have their function, and no airplane can do everything, but with all the cool and different airplanes out there, I've always wondered how so many folks never really want to fly anything other than the common metal trainers. If you're ambivalent and in the dark about other aircraft types, and want to dive into ownership, you can always buy something comfortable and familiar and buy/sell as your interests and needs change. No need to feel tied down. Buy a decent plane, and you shouldn't lose any money when you sell.
     
  15. nyoung

    nyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Kind of funny to argue about Cherokee speeds (afterall, if speed really matters there are plenty of other planes to purchase). But, I dunno, 115 true seems slow for an Archer, isn't that more like Warrior speeds?

    In my Cherokee, WOT @ 8000ft yields 130KTAS +/- a few kts depending on weight. It does have the full suite of K2U mods which added a few kts after their install. I have verified this by flying wind triangles, recording GPS groundspeeds and entering them in a calculator like this one.
    http://www.reacomp.com/true_airspeed/index.html



     
  16. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Based on a few hours in each type, 120 KTAS is about right for a 180 Cherokee, and 122-125 KTAS for an Archer (lower drag wing design). IOW, about 10 knots slower than a Tiger. ;)
     
  17. flyersfan31

    flyersfan31 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He's not looking to do anything special. No big loads. No gravel bars in Alaska. A Cherokee would be just fine for what his plans are. He has experience in the plane. He's comfortable with it. Go with it. I agree with Ron that a 172 would be an improvement, without diverging greatly from the basic 180hp 4 seat configuration, for the advantages of the high wing. If it's just occasional and not extreme grass, the high wing is not a big deal.

    I don't think I'd want castering nosegear on grass, but those with such aircraft are better informed on that issue than I.
     
  18. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A castering tailwheel ... now, that would work. :thumbsup:
     
  19. Tarheel Pilot

    Tarheel Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    Wow, I have inspired some debate and discussion here. :)

    How does the RV handle? I have looked at getting an RV-6(A) mainly because it reminds me of the P-51 Mustang and if I did get one I'd probably have it painted as an old P-51 Mustang. One of the things I do like about kitplanes is that you can build it anyway you want to, and that's a big plus for me.

    I will keep looking but so far it does seem to be between a Cherokee 180 (I really love how the bird takes off, with all 180 horses at full power) and possibility a kit.
     
  20. CJones

    CJones Final Approach

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    I think you're thinking of the 8/8A or 4/4A - they are tandem two-seaters - much more 'fighter-plane'-ish looking. The 6/6A, 7/7A, 9/9A are side-by-side.

    As far as handling - they are a little more sensitive on the controls than the Cherokee, but still plenty stable for a good cross-country and IFR platform.

    If you like how the 180 feels on takeoff roll, you should try a 200hp RV on for size. ;)
     
  21. Tarheel Pilot

    Tarheel Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    Yea, I was thinking of the RV-8(A), my bad, I may look into the RVs. :)
     
  22. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm surprised nobody picked up on this. Why only G space? If 700 to 1200 AGL is your thing, get a Cub. :D
     
  23. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Before you get too excited about RV's, how about you and your dog get into one and see how it fits. Ditto you and your friend. Other than the 4-seat RV-10, you may find them a bit tight for your XC purposes. And that doesn't even begin to address the issues associated with owning an Experimental/Amateur-Built airplane.
     
  24. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Very true. :yes:

    Naah, I only plan 105 in a Warrior (or an old 160hp C172).

    Even Piper's original optimistic specs on a Cherokee 180 C model were for 124 knots in cruise. You must have a really clean, well-rigged, and many-modded bird - Or you're light.

    Why not? :dunno:
     
  25. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    Tapered wing PA's came out in late 1974. My first plane, N4341X was a 75 model and had the tapered wing. Bought it with 1.2 hours in my log book, it was in pretty darn good shape too, paid $11,000. Flew it 600 + hours, sold it for twice the price in 88. Many GREAT memories........................ I loved that toy......:goofy::goofy:

    Ps. The experimental route is a wonderful option to look at. :cool2:


    Ben
    www.haaspowerair.com
     
  26. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Nonsense. The roughest back ranch strips and levee roads get used by low wing airplanes all the time. Unless it's a biplane, I haven't seen the wing on top of an Ag plane.

    If you want to see some rough service and back country strips come to Australia. The Bonanzas are the mainstay utility and bush delivery planes there. I've said it before, I'll land a Bonanza anywhere you can land a 206.
     
  27. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Just get a Bonanza, they're available in a wide spectrum of prices.
     
  28. Tarheel Pilot

    Tarheel Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    Eh, sometimes you feel like just cruising in the sky and not having to deal with ATC, kinda like how you take your sports car on the back roads.
     
  29. NC Pilot

    NC Pilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'd pretty much stay away from any homebuilt. I also think the 180 HP 172 is a much better plane than a 180 Cherokee. The 172 will haul more, is a true 4 place airplane, is more comfortable (especially for people in the back), will take off and land in shorter distances, and is at least equal in speed (although with the one 180 Cherokee I flew with my 180HP 172 was faster).
     
  30. CJones

    CJones Final Approach

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    We were six months into the build of the -7A before we ever sat in one. Boy were we relieved when we finally did sit in a few different models at Thanksgiving one year and we both fit!

    It is a good idea to try any a/c on before buying and especially building.

    If you're long-bodied or long-legged, you might want to look at the -8 or -8A. If you're a little broad in the shoulders, you might want to look at the -7/-7A (its a little wider than the -6/-6A.

    As far as XC travelers, the 2-seaters aren't like flying a plush sofa, but the speed difference between an RV and a Cherokee 6 (as close to flying a plush sofa as anything) means that you get to your destination considerably faster. It's a balancing act - my wife is hooked on the 182RG b/c she likes the roominess while I still like the RV b/c I can get up to altitude and cruise faster. For her, it doesn't really matter how long it takes b/c she is usually snoozing after the first hour of flying regardless of which plane we're in. ;)
     
  31. CJones

    CJones Final Approach

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    That's a pretty broad statement. I'm curious what has turned you off to homebuilts so whole-heartedly.
     
  32. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    Are you actually recommending others do the same? Why? Curious to hear your facts, stats, and negative experiences associated with owning and flying experimentals. Not sure if you are familiar with the state of "homebuilding" these days, but there are so many different types of designs with so many professional quality builders out there, that for you to make such a flippant blanket statement tells me that you might be thinking of the hobby as it existed about 60 yrs. ago. Give some real information. Otherwise, you are perpetuating misguided fear and stereotypes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  33. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I would warn anyone off a homebuilt for their first aircraft purchase. Owning an aircraft comes with a raft of issues, and an experimental comes with another wholly different raft. One raft at a time. I wouldn't think of dissuading anyone from purchasing an experimental as their second aircraft.
     
  34. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    Again...facts and explanation? What difference does first-time purchase vs. second, third, etc. make? You know that many folks' first airplane is the one they built? What are all these "raft" of different issues you speak of? I have owned both types, and I think owning an experimental is a little easier and less of a hassle than a type-certificated plane. But really, they're practically the same. An airplane is an airplane. Most are put together pretty traditionally. Experimentals do not need to be operated any differently unless there are specific and unusual operating limitations issued by the DAR. Maintenance is virtually the same. Insurance is no problem. Some experiemental types may have higher rates. But then check the rates on a Cirrus. You can't receive flight instruction in an experimental, but that doesn't matter unless you are still a student pilot. As far as practical ownership issues go, I can't think of any significant differences on the negative side to experimentals. Just the opposite - I can think of more negative issues associated with factory type-certificated planes. It does help to buy an experimental that has decent parts availability, should you not be mechinically inclined to build replacement parts should you need them. But if you browse the Wag Aero or Aircraft Spruce Catalogues, you'll see support for a lot of different designs. Any kit maker currently in business will provide all the support that is needed.
     
  35. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    If you purchase a certificated aircraft, you have a different set of issues from a non certificated. For the certificated, you worry about how it has held up, how its equipped, and what it costs. For an experimental, you worry about all that in addition to how it was put together, and that's a big one. You also get to think about the difference in performance of kit aircraft, which can be violently different from each other, far more so than certificated aircraft.

    Your certificated aircraft will probably have lots of brothers and sisters around the airport, and there will be mechanics who are familiar with the breed and can work on it. There will be likely be plenty of parts that you can procure, and the AD system to inform you of potential hazards. Your experimental may or may not be built according to the plans, may or may not have standard systems, and there may or may not be a mechanic familiar with the breed. And you still have to get the damn thing annualed.

    Most certificated aircraft can sit out on the ramp while you're trying to score that hanger. Can the experimental? Your underwriter will know what to do with the experimental. Will he or she know what to do with the experimental. Your CFI will be easily able to train you to fly the certificated. He or she cannot in the experimental, so you have to go find someone who will. Doable, but more difficult. Additional issues.

    Airplanes are airplanes, but they are radically different from bikes and cars. If you have an experimental odds are you're going to need to do some wrenching on it, all the experimental owners I know have done so. Are you confident you can do that? Are you mechanically inclined? From my own experience I would not have been very good at it when I bought my first airplane. Better now.

    Like I said, there are a set of issues that go with each, its just that the experimental has an additional set of issues. Nothing whatsoever wrong with owning an experimental, they're cool. I would just say get familiar with the issues of aircraft ownership first. Owning an airplane is a big and very complex commitment. Making it more complex out the gate seems like a bad idea to me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  36. CJones

    CJones Final Approach

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    Agreed. A thorough pre-buy by someone experienced in the make/model is of utmost importance when buying a homebuilt. At the same time - I hope people don't think that homebuilts are actually allowed to fly with bailing wire and a dream. Homebuilts are inspected before allowed to fly just like certified airplanes. As far as performance... I don't know what you think the variance is between models, but I doubt it's as drastic as you make it out to be. I'm pretty confident that I could go hop in any RV-6A/7A and be able to get it off the ground, perform PPL standard maneuvers and land the thing without much trouble. Tandem seating might be a bit different, but that's a different model, just like a Cherokee 140 is different from an Aarow.

    As far as 'specialized' mechanics go... If I owned a Cessna and had a mechanical problem, I would call one of the handful of A&P's working in my area and hope that I could get on their schedule so they can charge me their fair rate for a resolution. With the RV, if I have a problem, I email one of the 80+ RV BUILDERS that I know and have an answer to my problem in probably a few hours - the BUILDERS will know their airplane inside and out because they BUILT it. Granted, some A&P's know airplanes in and out because they have 1.) taken an airplane apart and put it back together throughout their career or 2.) have built a homebuilt themselves, but I would guess that a lot of A&P's (especially newer ones) don't know much more about how an airplane is put together than what they have read in books.


    Sure. Why not? Their not made out of sugar.

    I'm curious why people think you can't train in an experimental. I did 90% of my IR training in an experimental.

    As long as you aren't charging for the use of the plane, it's not a lot different than a certified airplane. You'll obviously want someone with some experience in the type/model that you are training in, but that should be the case for any aircraft you're training in.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  37. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    The problem with giving training in amateur-built airplanes is that no two fly as much alike as any two production planes will. Yes, there may be very minor variations between production planes, but they've all be flight tested at the factory to confirm that they conform to the standards established for the type. Ain't that way at all with E-AB's, especially since homebuilders have such a penchant for diddling with the design to suit their own personal needs or whims, not to mention the lack of production control to ensure construction within specified tolerances. The result is that you can never be as sure that any particular RV-8 will fly as much like any other RV-8 as you can with two PA-28-180's.

    And that doesn't even begin to address the issues of varying quality depending on the skills of the individual builder. One reason I've never had much interest in building my own plane is that based on my skills, I would never get into a plane I had built myself. Was every E-AB plane on the market built by someone with equal forbearance for his/her own personal skill limitations? :dunno: :eek:
     
  38. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Take heart. Your engineering training provided with at least some basics for how things work. Not so for us lost-ball high-weeds business majors.
     
  39. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    I don't disagree with much that you state, I just take issue with the notion that "putting in your time" with a factory airplane does anything to alleviate or prepare you for ANY of these issues. If you really want an RV, what good is it going to do you to buy and fly a Cherokee for a while?

    This can be reasonably surmised by a knowledgeable mechanic. Previously owning a factory airplane doesn't give you any advantage here. Should we not also worry about the integrity of 40-60 year old factory airplanes, many of which have been left out in the elements and beat up by students, and possibly overstressed over the years?

    Yes, but again, owning a factory plane first in no way prepares you for the varied flight characteristics among experimentals.

    You might not necessarily even need "dual", just "time-in-type". There are qualified instructors out there for any type. Just maybe not your flight school Warrior instructor. Transition training will be an issue no matter how long you have been flying, how many hours you have, or how many factory airplanes you have owned.

    So with your first plane you learned how to change oil, replace tires/repack wheel bearings, clean the windows, put air in the tires, replace light bulbs, replace spark plugs, batteries, etc. All the same things experimentals require. You learn what you need to do at the time you need to do it regardless of the type or class of airplane. Any new aircraft type, factory or experimental, will require you to learn new things.

    Yes, doesn't hurt to find a mechanic BEFORE you buy something unusual. But there are many thousands of experimental airplanes out there, not all owned by their original builders, which means A&P's work on them...meaning a lot shops see and have experience with many different types. If you had nothing but smooth maintenance sailing with your factory plane, how does that help when you buy that experimental?

    Bottom line, buy what you want. If you feel it's too difficult or too much trouble, then you probably don't have it in your blood, and you should probably just take up golf. :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  40. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Can't say what you've got against Cherokees. However, you will get familiar with the issues of care, feeding, and maintenance that I discussed without having to worry about whether the builder put it together right.

    You experimental might have been spending some time in the elements, and the FSM only knows how it will react. And can you really expect a mechanic to be cognizant of a potentially one-off design for which there are no standard parts? And being a new airplane owner, do you even know a knowledgeable mechanic?


    You'll have a boatload more flying hours in your certificated aircraft (you own you fly. Gotta justify the expense) to at least train you about aircraft flight. And better to get familiar with things like long XCs and overnight trips with an aircraft that any mechanic is familiar with. If you break down in bumphuck west egypt will the local guy be familiar with your one-off hot rod?


    Owning an aircraft already involves lots of new issues, some quite daunting. I had to purchase my own, with no help from anyone. I had to figure out which airport to base it at, find out how to get onto hangar waiting lists, find a mechanic, get insurance, register it with both the FAA and the State government. On and on. It was already a difficult thing to do. I can only imagine the extra complication for trying to find a homebuilt aircraft. As it is, having been an aircraft owner for a decade, I think purchasing an experimental would be difficult. The market is smaller, so I'm going to have to look farther away. I know NOBODY, so how do I evaluate the design itself, not to mention whether the guy put it together right. Who do ask to helm me evaluate these issues? Remember, its now my six on the line.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, nor that anyone shouldn't do it. I am saying there are extra issues on top of an already difficult process.

    Again, if you aren't already an airplane owner, how do you know a good mechanic from a bad one? How do you find the expert to evaluate your purchase?

    In Chemistry there is a thing known activation energy, or delta G. It is the energy you have to put in to get a chemical reaction to go. After that energy is put in, the reaction will go all by itself. What I've been trying to say (apparently to deaf ears) is that the delta G for a certificated aircraft is lower than for an experimental. Chemistry also has catalysts, which are substances that can lower the delta G for a reaction. A good friend, or an knowledgeable mechanic, can lower the delta G of an airplane purchase. However, if someone hasn't been in the airplane world, they may not know such a person. The reaction with the higher delta G will work just fine, but if the energy isn't available it won't go ever. If the delta G is too high to get into the experimental, the pilot won't fly. The delta G for owning an airplane has been going up dramatically in the recent times, and I wonder when it won't be too much for all of us.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010