Airplane NEWB - May need a plane for business,help me find the best option

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Jared Kornelsen, Aug 12, 2018 at 1:57 PM.

  1. Jared Kornelsen

    Jared Kornelsen Filing Flight Plan

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    Little background ( skip down if you dont care for backgrounds): I sell bolt together metal buildings out of Texas and one of the owners of the company has a Cirrus SR22. The other day we flew from Midland, TX airport to Carlsbad, NM, met a client at the airport, closed an approximate $320,000 deal and flew back all in about 3 hours. If I would have drove it would have taken me almost all day to do what I did in about 3 hours. Now the company I work for is growing rapidly and I'm being tasked with starting to broaden our sales footprint and start selling our buildings further out than just our immediate area so if/when the oilfield goes down again we wont be dependent on this area for sales.

    I've always liked flying and have only ever been a passenger in small single engines but now with my job expanding I see a real upside in me getting my license and buying a plane to use for work and possibly being able to charge the airtime to the company. I must be able to justify it though and this purchase will be something that happens probably 3-6 months down the line at the soonest.

    I estimate with my base salary without commission, my fuel, food, and a hotel to drive to a client that is 200-250 miles away would take 3-4hours one way if I drive and cost about $400-$500. If I fly we are looking at around 1-1.5hours one way so lets say 3 hours total air time at $150 operating cost per hour(based on the SR22) is $450, also add in my time and we are around $550-$575. Plus the obvious added benefit of being able to accomplish a lot more in my day, making a good impression on the client etc etc.

    So.. I need something fast enough to greatly speed up traveling an average of 65mph on the road for a minimum of 200 miles and on up toward 500 miles. Then the big factor in being able to justify it is operating cost. I think being around or below $200 per hour is still reasonable for my purposes. I am married and we have 2 kids and plan to have more in the future so a 6 seater is also very tempting and further tempting yet is a twin engine, but I fear the operating costs would make the $200 per hour near impossible for a twin, correct me if I'm wrong please.

    Now the big question, price range.. It would be financed, and I'm thinking around the $100,000 range or less, possibly more if that brings into the equation the obvious option for my criteria.

    One more thing, in the next 1-3 years we plan to move back to NE TX and having a grass/dirt runway at the house would be awesome, if thats not compatible with the options available to me then thats ok but would be great if it the plane was friendly towards that as well. I have googled this a bunch and have found some options but I figured it would probably be best to ask on a forum.

    I welcome any feedback/questions.
     
  2. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Since you do not have a pilot's certificate, you are putting the cart before the horse.
     
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  3. JC150

    JC150 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Piper Lance (6 seats, very spacious for the whole family! More space than an A36 bonanza)

    Columbia 300/350 (4 seats, fast!) (Columbia 400 even faster, with air conditioning as an option, utility category w/ dual wing spars)

    Piper Comanche (great bang for the buck, cheaper than a debonair/bonanza to buy, but some people say parts are hard to find... my friend has not had this issue with his comanche..)

    33/35 Bonanza (4 seats, but you can get option back seat for a small kid)

    A36 Bonanza (6 seats, but we're way past the $100,00 price range now)

    Mooney M20J (4 Seats)

    Piper Dakota (4 Seats, slow-ish, "if it fits it ships")

    Cessna 182 (4 Seats, slow-ish, also carries a lot)

    Edit, there are pilots at my field who bought a plane before getting their certificate. One guy I know, his CFI would fly the work trips, and once enroute, they would do a lesson getting there, and a lesson coming back, everytime until he got his certificate
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018 at 2:14 PM
  4. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Uhh. Not really.
     
  5. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Great analysis and small GA aircraft are very useful in the scenarios you outline. I hope you figure it out and do it. BUT, always remember this word, "getthereitis", it will kill you surer than sure. When you choose to travel by air you must be willing and able to decline a trip if there is an issue with the weather or airplane or yourself for that matter. This may mean losing a $500,000 time sensitive sale, if that is ok with you, then go for it.
     
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  6. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Yea really, because he assumed zero cost for training.
     
  7. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Well, your post wasn't particularly helpful. If you want to offer suggestions, I think Jared might appreciate it. Otherwise you might be stomping on someone's dreams b
     
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  8. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Mooney would work, but not for long with kids.
    Columbia is way out of his price range.
    Lance would be doable, but would have a basic panel.
    The other 3 are feasable decently equipped...maybe a SR20.
     
  9. cowman

    cowman En-Route

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    Do it because you want to do it, because it's fun, because it's exciting or cool. Put away any thought of it being practical or financially justifiable.

    It's a long road and a lot of work to get the basic PPL you need to do this. For what you're planning you really want an instrument rating eventually as well. Even with that, you'll quickly find you have to cancel trips quite frequently for weather delays and other things. You can't reliably expect to be able to use a small plane to get yourself 300miles or more to a destination on time and be safe. Now, if your schedule is flexible and you're patient it can be done. Flying yourself down to <insert favorite vacation spot here> without having to deal with airlines is a GREAT feeling and, at least for me, a great payoff for all the work and weather delays/disappointments that lead up to getting there. But the work, delays, and disappointments are all part of it which is why I am saying do it because you want to not because you think it will be practical or profitable(unless you're trying to justify it for the tax write off, spouse, etc then totally try to sell it as practical and profitable).

    Your budget is reasonable for what you seem to want to do. Just bear in mind these planes are not cheap to maintain, you might get away with $2-3k/year for annual and maintenance... you could blow an engine and need to come up with $40k for an overhaul and lots of little several hundred-thousand dollar issues inbetween. Also realize in that price range you're probably not buying a plane that's only a few years old. Probably more like 30-50 years old. That's not a bad thing, certified aircraft are maintained to a high standard and inspected/fixed yearly. A 50 year old airplane can be just as safe and reliable as a brand new one... again just giving a reality check.

    There really is so much to all of this to learn. I've been here for 6 years, got my private and instrument rating, flown all over the country, and I'm still learning new things.
     
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  10. JScarry

    JScarry Pre-Flight

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    Two guys on my field learned in my Cherokee and after getting their license would take it on weekly trips of 100-200 nm. They got tired of the 90 kt speed and after flying it for a year they upgraded. One got a really nicely equipped Dakota and the other got a Tobago. Much more comfortable and can carry four adults if you are careful about fuel (and the adults are on the small side). Either of them would be good trainers. Having an IFR equipped plane also means that they can pay someone to fly them out of the fog while they are working on their IFR rating.

    At the low end of your distance range, a Dakota or 182 would be fine and they are good airplanes to learn in. But they are 140 kt airplanes and 500 miles is a lot of seat time. Learning in a six seater capable of 500 nm trips probably means a high-powered retractable like a Bonanza or Cessna 210. I don’t think you can get a decent one for $100,000 and you certainly don’t want to learn in one. Insurance would probably be prohibitive.

    If you want to do the 500 mile trips, in your price range you can get a four-seat Turbo Arrow that is capable of 160 kts, a 182 RG that flies at 155 kts, or maybe even a higher-powered Comanche. They are easy to fly but the retractable gear and constant-speed prop would probably add 5+ hours to your training and a couple thousand to your insurance costs.
     
  11. Ben2k9

    Ben2k9 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would up the budget to $150k and get a 15 year old Diamond DA40 or Cirrus SR-20 for now. This gets you a very capable modern plane that has pretty decent cruising speeds. When the time comes that you have more kids you can always upgrade/swap. Hard to buy a plane to cover every feasible need and still be practical for your initial need.

    Consult with an aviation attorney first because if the plane is used majority for business there are some nice tax advantages that can lower your out of pocket cost and help you afford it better.

    Completely forget about a twin engine for now.
     
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  12. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I agree with this... Get your medical first, then the private pilot license second...

    THEN start wondering what airplane.

    And to save yourself some personal money, what's so wrong with using the boss's Cirrus for the business trips?
     
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  13. trenton

    trenton Pre-Flight

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  14. trenton

    trenton Pre-Flight

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    Or just charter/rent with a CFI as much as you want and see how well this idea works.
     
  15. Jared Kornelsen

    Jared Kornelsen Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you for the great response! To address some questions/concerns: As for the business use of the plane, at first it would be used for meeting new potential clients where the meetings would be initiated by me probably 1 day to maybe a week out or so, so I should be able to work around the weather part most of the time. Once a good footprint is established I would use it to visit/check in with high volume buyers/etc... Also eventually my wife and our little family want to move back to NE TX as mentioned. We want to get into cattle ranching with some family but I would still possibly like to be involved with the buildings as well and the best way I see that to be a possibility is to be able to hop in the plane and be at our store in WTX in 2 hours and also being able to service our customers by flying from home and being of value to the company like that even with living about 6-7 hours away by car.

    I read all comments and some more than once and I researched the options given for about 1-2hours or so, here are my newb take a ways.

    I LOVE the interior space of the Piper Lance, that would be perfect for kids or for taking customers on a flight. The 145kts cruise speed isnt super fast but may be worth the interior space. It looks like they go for the 75-100k range.

    While looking at the Lance I saw they made a Turbo version as well, they do 175kts which would be fantastic. They cost about 30-40k more it looks like, but my question is on the Lance and Lance turbo, what would the operating cost be on these as far as the engine rebuilds? Also the N/A Lance I believe is TBO @ 2,000hrs, what is it on the Turbo?

    Then we have the Comanche 260B that also looked pretty good. Interior not as good as the Lance but for little kids in the back it would be fine. Cruise is around 160kts which is between the Lancer and Lancer turbo. They seem to go for much cheaper though, around 45-80k and I saw a highly upgraded one north of 100k although there are not many for sale it looks like. Also have the same operating cost questions on this one.

    The Bonanza 33/35 look like really solid 4 seaters, but after seeing the Lance I really feel like I should stick with 6 seater options.

    Can someone tell me more about the planes I singled out, what things to consider with them, or suggest other good 6 seaters? If not thinking about operating costs then I would go Lance Turbo hands down from what I've read but I'd really like to know about the operating costs first and the ins and outs of the turbo vs N/A.

    Also would these be good options to buy and learn in because that may be a strong possibility that Id like to go that way. I like the idea of making the business trip a lesson with the instructor.

    Also how would these plane fare as far as grass/dirt runways?
     
  16. Jared Kornelsen

    Jared Kornelsen Filing Flight Plan

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    trenton ,That is one clean plane!!! For that price I would want something faster though. There is another 0 engine time one for sale in tade a plane for about 100k less but does not look as good interior wise and does not have club seating. Which raises a question... Can you modify the interior of your aircraft, like add/remove/modify seats and seating arrangements or does any and all work on a plane no matter what it is have to be done by someone certified etc? Also is the 6/300 a better option than the others I singled out, if so for what reasons?
     
  17. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

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  18. Jared Kornelsen

    Jared Kornelsen Filing Flight Plan

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    Yeah that 210 is pretty nice.. Please define insanely expensive. Do I need to be looking at fixed gear? Is there are 6 seat fixed gear in the price range that will cruise 170+?
     
  19. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

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    No, and most "6 seaters" aren't "6 person". It's not prohibitively expensive, but I'd guess in the $5000 range for the first year in something like a Bonanza. Something to make note of. You'll be looking at around $2k in a HP fixed gear single like a 182/Dakota/etc. How long of a grass/dirt runway are you planning on building when you move to TX?
     
  20. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    Don't forget your training costs. You need to figure on $10K to get your PPL and another $8K or so to get instrument rated. There are also the fixed costs. Here in Nevada I pay about $700/mo for hangar, insurance and taxes. All that is before you even start the engine.
     
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  21. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    I worry about this part of your statement, where the purchase has to be "justified"... it sounds like you mean purely financially, like that the plane will let you save more money (somehow) than it costs to buy and train in and maintain. Knowing little about you or your business, my hunch is that this math is unlikely to work out. If the travel will be to meet clients, that sounds like the kind of trips where you "have to be there and be on time", and when both of those things are important, a car with good gas mileage is a more reliable and cost-effective way to go. The clients aren't going to pay you more if you show up for a meeting by air, are they? If small planes made pure business sense, more businesses would have them.

    That being said, if you WANT to fly, do it!! "Coming home to a dirt strip in Texas" sounds amazing! I think that the business use case here would be great for partially offsetting the costs. But there are many costs, and the key word here is "partially". The main reason to go for this has to be *joy*, and along with this an understanding that for most people flying (and especially owning) costs more than it ever makes back, but because of the joy, is still "worth it".

    My $0.02, having not really looked at your math in detail...
     
  22. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think PaulS's response was spot on. Airplanes aren't cars. If you are looking at them as merely a means to an end, you are setting yourself up for a fall. The OP started with stating a business need. How can I get from point A to point B quickly. To ignore an obvious safety concern does not serve the aviation community at large. I am happy to see more people become interested in aviation but this current rush may come back to to bite.
     
  23. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    Wow, insurance is expensive in Texas! With 62 hours, I paid $3100 to insure my Mooney in 2007, then $1700 at renewal. With Instruments, it dropped to $1100, and has been below $1000 the last four years . . .

    I say, check it out. Talk to a couple of instructors and get going! Just be aware that few people offset the full cost of airplane ownership through business, unless the business owns the plane.
     
  24. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith Pattern Altitude

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    Cherokee 6
     
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  25. MetalCloud

    MetalCloud Line Up and Wait

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    Man, some people are douchey. Sorry about that OP. Pay them no mind. People don’t seem to realize that an end goal like yours is a perfect use case for general aviation. Some people are goal-driven and like to plan and dream.

    You’ve presented some great data points and it’s perfectly doable, like other helpful folks have said.

    I like the option for the SR20 or SR22. While at the top end of your budget, they are safe, efficient, capable, and comfortable. Great for business and family travel. It’s an excellent first plane that can allow you transition into anything as your skills and experience grow and your needs develop.
     
  26. Jared Kornelsen

    Jared Kornelsen Filing Flight Plan

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    $5,000 does not scare me, used to pay more for a hellcat we had for about a year so that broke me in I guess lol.
    As far as the runway.. We want to remodel or build a house in NE TX so we dont have the land/house bought yet but that would just have to be in the criteria once we buy out there. I imagine we will need minimum of 2,000ft depending on the plane.. Box blade it, water, pack it, and then maintain it from there I would imagine, would want to get a tractor for the ranch anyway eventually.
     
  27. Jared Kornelsen

    Jared Kornelsen Filing Flight Plan

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    It doesnt have to save me money, its more about time and being efficient with my time, well time is money.. As in if I can save a bunch of time traveling then I can get more done and generate more sales etc. Yes I would need to be on time but these would usually not be trips that are planned 2 weeks in advance and if they are and the weather screws with it then Id probably drive. They would not pay me more no, but I'm thinking mainly for new clients who have never met me or heard about our business. If I fly in from 3-5hrs and the airport is nice and we can meet right there the atmosphere and setting is really great for doing business and some unasked questions on the clients part could easily be put to rest as well. If they haven't done their research on me or my company and dont know if we are rinky dink company and if Im just another traveling salesman then if I fly in that should show that we are pretty serious if we have make the investment to fly to meetings, specially if they know nothing about aviation and assume everything aviation wise costs gobs of money. I think it would be a good show to the clients, they work with someone that flys in to see them periodically and if they would have an interest in flying as well that would be a good way to cement a business relationship if you bring em up for a quick buzz around town.
     
  28. Jared Kornelsen

    Jared Kornelsen Filing Flight Plan

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    I like the SR's as well and from looking at for sale ads you could get a decent SR20 for about 100k less than a SR22 but both are 4 seat and 6 seat appeals to me ALOT. Plus if you go 4 seat then it'd be tempting to go for a bonanza which is cheaper at least to buy, and faster.... What would a SR20 cost to operate vs a V35?
     
  29. Jared Kornelsen

    Jared Kornelsen Filing Flight Plan

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    This week I'll try to plan a trip up to Weatherford with my boss and the SR22 to meet a new potential customer that I have only spoken to on the phone, if we can make the flight happen I think it will be a good "measuring stick" to evaluate how flying into meetings would affect the whole sales process.
     
  30. ronnieh

    ronnieh Cleared for Takeoff

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    Jared, I will be one of the ones that MetalCloud is referring to. That is not my intent. The fact that you are trying to use good judgement, explore all sides and hopefully make a good decision is the reason that I am posting. I have owned two aircraft and retired a few years ago from my last corporate gig flying a twin turboprop. So these points I will make are based on the aforementioned experience.
    1. It will cost more to acquire, maintain and operate than you think. I would suggest you take what you figure is an all in cost and increase by 50%. There is nothing cheap about an aircraft but, the pilot. $10,000 surprises are not at all rare on small simple aircraft.
    2. You will not break even using your aircraft for business.The best to hope for is you might mitigate some of the expense of ownership with business use. Keep in mind the IRS is very suspicious of small aircraft owned by individuals for use in a business that is not owned by the aircraft owner. You will need meticulous records. Many here will chime in with "never happened to them". Check with your CPA and see what he says. BTDT
    3a. You will cancel a lot of trips, many on short notice.
    b.You will spend time at airports other than your destination.
    c. You will be stuck at your destination perhaps, overnight.
    These will be the result of both weather and mechanical issues. It WILL happen, more than you think. There is a saying, "Time to spare, go by air"
    4.The few companies that allow individually owned private aircraft to be used for business, normally require large liability policies with the business as named insured. Might want to check on this. Might should confirm the company will even approve of this practice, most will not. Also check on your life insurance as the rates and coverage may be affected.
    5. One or two posters made mention of the word safe. This will bring a howl from the low time pilots. The consensus on POA over the many discussions and outright arguments by those that may be more qualified is that is is in the same category as riding a motorcycle on the street. BTW, I have years on street bikes and both the wife and I have been mostly unscathed. As much as I love motorcycles I would never argue that street bikes are safe. I would not put either activity in the category of suicidal but, it is a factor. Small aircraft, low time private pilots and weather is not a particularly safe combination.
    Having said all of this, I hope you can put together something that will work for you. General aviation needs more like you searching for ways to make GA work. It is a tough road with many potholes and road blocks. Best of luck! Oh, and keep us updated. There is a lot of good info on this site.
     
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  31. trenton

    trenton Pre-Flight

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    The FBOs that cater to business and jets will have meeting rooms on site you can use. All will have a casual lounge area, but some will be very casual (folding table and chairs).

    If they have a "common purpose," you could even pick them up in Podunk and deliver them to Austin or Arlington for a game.
     
  32. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    I'd do a late model Cessna 182, It's not the fastest of the bunch, but it would get the job done, and it is not unreasonable to think he could learn to fly in it.
     
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  33. Lachlan

    Lachlan Pattern Altitude

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    You may just end up “impressing” your prospective clients into another choice that looks more affordable. As in, “WOW, no wonder JimmBobb’s Metal Shax are so expensive- their salesmen drive AEROPLANES!” Just something to think about. ;)
     
  34. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    On the other hand, if I was a client and you flew in, I would assume your company has high fees and is not careful and efficient with money.
     
  35. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    You save him a lot of aggravation doing that as he would know you would nickel and dime him to death. I used to have companies do that, they wanted to see our financials to assure we weren't screwing them. I'd tell them no, it's none of their business, shop around like everyone else if they think we are charging too much.
     
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  36. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Pattern Altitude

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    I'd seriously look at a Cherokee 6 or Cessna 182. I had a student who owned a Cherokee Six and it was doable...
    I'd stick with a fairly rugged fixed gear plane at first while you learn, may be a bit of a speed compromise, but it will get the job done and if you want to get something else later, sell it and go for it.
     
  37. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

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    That’s what I’m doing right now
     
  38. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

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    ktup-flyer
    A friend of mine said he paid $100k for his sr20 and that was in Australia. He threw ferry tanks in and flew it to the US. Pretty solid bird
     
  39. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ari
    As I pointed out in another recent thread of this sort, your actual use case may vary wildly from what you imagine today. The passengers you buy a plane to accommodate may hate flying, for example. But you are doing the right thing by defining your mission, exploring the contours of it, and then evaluating different planes that can accomplish it. Don't get too caught up in the financial justification. Very few businesses can really make the numbers work out on paper, much less in reality. But there is much more to life than the bottom line.

    I got into flying because, since I was a kid, I wanted to...and I finally had the time and money at the same time to make it happen. I knew that I would have business uses for an airplane, but it has not been a financial justification at any point. I won't get into that side of things as there are as many ways to approach the topic as people approaching it and you need to make your own business decisions. My personal approach for business travel in my airplane is to pretend I had driven instead, but much faster. Clients pay for less time, less hotel costs, and the same mileage costs as if I had driven, so they are happy.

    I pay a little out of my own pocket for the privilege, but what it buys me is priceless. Since I bought my Arrow (original 180hp model, cruises at 130 KTAS) a little over two years ago, I have logged a little over 200 hours of cross-country time in it. The equivalent driving time would have been about 600 hours. That means that I have averaged 200 hours per year of my life back instead of staring at a windshield. Also, by making smart decisions about when to fly vs. drive (and always leaving a departure time margin wide enough on all "must be there" trips to take off, change my mind, land, get in the car, and still arrive on time), I also have much less stress from the time I spend staring at a windshield because I avoid hazards like icy roads, drunk drivers, and debris falling off of vehicles in front of me. It also makes me more effective at my job to have flown 1 hour to a meeting rather than driving 3 hours. It's just win-win-win all day long for me. The joy of flying. Less stress. Better results. And the equivalent of 25 eight-hour days of my life back every year.

    Don't get too caught up in speed, either. When I was learning to fly, I made a spreadsheet with one row per what I thought would be a frequent destination and one column per airplane speed plus one for driving. For example:

    Dest. / car / 105kt / 130kt / 150kt / 175kt
    CityA / 3:00 / 1:09 / 0:56 / 0:48 / 0:42
    CityB / 5:30 / 2:21 / 1:54 / 1:39 / 1:25
    CityC / 9:30 / 4:13 / 3:24 / 2:57 / 2:32

    This really helped me decide how much speed was worth it to me. Each marginal speed increase costs more while saving less time than the previous one did. This led me to capitalize on a great opportunity to buy an Arrow with a long history of local ownership and maintenance by people I trust. The cost of finding, inspecting, buying, and operating a 150-knot plane was not worth it according to my matrix.
     
    trenton likes this.
  40. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Shawn
    Don't let the naysayers deter you.

    I got my PPP, IFR and bought a 182 for "fun" but in reality is has become and invaluable business travel tool. I travel up and down California regularly and it has been a Godsend.

    You will never be able to "justify" the cost financially but what it does buy is time, freedom and flexibility. You can come and go on YOUR schedule, not the airlines and traffic as you discovered on your trip with your boss. Only you can determine that value to you.

    Now with that, you can never rely on a single engine GA plane for a daily commuter. It is a luxury when able and conditions permit. Not something that you can rely on every trip. Even living in the great weather climate of CA probably 40% of my trips are still via Southwest or other means for one reason or another...but the 60% ish that I can fly myself is great to have.

    You have a very doable budget, but it will not buy you everything. Live everything else in life...Better, cheaper, faster...pick two.

    For reference, I have a 182 and at times wish I had a faster plane on ling X-Country trips...but that is balanced out by comfort, space, and useful load. You will need to comprise on something at your price point. It really is the Ford F-150 of the air.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018 at 1:37 PM