Another rent vs buy for PPL...

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Cardiff_Kook, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. Cardiff_Kook

    Cardiff_Kook Filing Flight Plan

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    I have read a number of threads on here covering this topic but the threads seem to mostly cover someone buying their "forever plane" and training for PPL. My question is different (I think.) I am wondering about buying a trainer.

    I am brand spanking new to flying (2 hours). I don't want to buy my "forever" plane because I have no idea what I will want. I want to buy a well maintained, inexpensive plane to learn in, maybe keep, maybe sell. My reasoning is the following:
    1. Pride of ownership
    2. I want to learn in a tailwheel and they can be hard to come by for rentals
    3. No scheduling issues
    4. Inexpensive to fly (4.5 galllons/hour)
    5. I get to know aircraft

    There are plenty of rentals locally so that is not the issue.

    I have been looking at a well maintained Aeronca Champ 7EC. I would hangar it at $400/mo. The closest airport for hangar is 10 minutes further than the closest with rentals, so there would be a bit of extra drive time.

    Financially, I could afford a $100k+ plane- but I have no interest in that level of commitment nor what I would even want. I figure down the road, once I am proficient, if I have a specific mission (xc) I could just rent or if I want, buy.

    I have heard from a buddy that I will quickly want a faster/more powerful plane. Thougths? I guess my biggest fear is buying it and in 10 hours being bored with the plane and having the hassle of trying to find a buyer.

    I put a high value on my time. In my mind I will have more flexibility owning vs renting (plane is always there, ready to go)- but that could be a fallacy.

    Input appreciated.
     
  2. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    There are 4 variables to deal with during flight training and you’ve identified a couple but let’s be complete:
    your schedule
    CFI schedule
    weather
    airplane schedule

    Owning an airplane mitigates 2 of these issues, plus you always know where the airplane is, who flew it last, and what condition it’s in. True, you are now responsible for maintenance but that’s part of ownership.

    I bought a cherokee, a common trainer, during lessons, long before checkride. Didn’t care if it was my “forever airplane” or not. I was tired of dealing with rentals. In the end, it’s become my forever airplane. Would I like faster? Sure, many of us would. But every shop knows how to fix it, there’s always parts with no problem, and it’s easy to fly. Some would say even boring, but then, I’m boring, so we’re a good match.

    One advantage, it’s fairly easy to sell a trainer. Not sure about a Champ, but I’d be surprised if it became a problem.
     
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  3. Martin Pauly

    Martin Pauly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Expect to spend some time on managing YOUR airplane, maintenance, paperwork, etc. How much exactly is hard to predict because it depends so much on what shape it is in and how often something needs to be looked at. I don't want to discourage you from getting a Champ for your training - I think that's great if you can easily swing it financially - but when it comes to your time, there are upsides to renting.

    There are many upsides to owning as well, of course. In the end, you may find yourself wanting to keep the Champ for the occasional low-and-slow fun flight even after you step up to a faster airplane for traveling.

    Good luck for your decision and training!

    - Martin
     
  4. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Rent vs buy is going to depend on what your rental fleet is like. If you've got 100 aircraft on the line, buying isn't going to be worth your time.
     
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  5. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    in most cases....your fixed costs (insurance, tiedown/hangar, annual inspection,...) will be at least $3,000-5,000/yr. If you don't have at least $300-500/mo to let it sit....and not fly....rent....add a loan payment to those numbers if you're carrying a note.

    On average it's going to cost you $1,000-$1,500/mo to own and operate and aircraft.....

    btw....renting is always cheaper. Owning the keys will cost more...but the convenience is wonderful. ;)
     
  6. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, get a good prebuy and a champ or chief, sounds smart as long as you’re sure flying is for you


    Also buy it cash, had a family member who liked to say you never finance toys.
     
  7. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    Owning is ultimately about convenience, not cost. It will almost certainly be more expensive to own than rent.

    There is much to be gained by renting until earn your certificate. By then you will know a lot more about flying and what your realistic flying goals are. That will make you a more informed buyer.
     
  8. Deelee

    Deelee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Maybe I missed something, but do you have your medical yet? If not, that's an obvious thing to obtain before thinking about any of this.

    To the question - I have been toying with the idea of buying, but it is just too convenient and inexpensive right now to just rent. The plane I fly is always available when I want to fly it. Only thing that would be nice is to be able to pack up for a week and fly off somewhere(s). For now, the numbers and the cost/benefit just don't add up.

    I also believe in what somebody else just posted - don't finance your toys.
     
  9. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    a champ can be flown as a sport pilot. No medical necessary.
     
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  10. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    To get 4.5 gallons an hour you need something like a C150 and fly it at <60% power.
     
  11. Cardiff_Kook

    Cardiff_Kook Filing Flight Plan

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    I would buy cash.

    I don't have medical but I am mid 30's and active so can't imagine it would be an issue- but something to look into.

    I take it I can get my medical before training?

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
     
  12. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You really need to get your medical (unless going Sport) before spending any serious money. Just because you think you're in reasonably good health, the FAA medical form may have loopholes you didn't consider. The kicker is Question 18 - (20-someodd subquestions) that all include the phrase "Have you EVER ...?"

    There's a sticky around here someplace about the medical. Take a look before you commit aviation.

    Here's the infamous Question 18:
     

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  13. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Owning an airplane complicates your life in ways renting does not.
    If you put a high value on your time rent from a place that understands and respects that about their customers.
     
  14. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is a long response.

    I bought a 56 172 with 900 SMOH, two nav-coms with ILS indicators, and a Venturi, for $25,000 to do my PPL flight training. That was in the early 90’s.

    I put $2000 down and financed the rest through AOPA/BofA for 20 years. That made my payment $300 a month. My first year of insurance cost $600 with zero time. I could have tied down outside for $45 a month but chose to put the plane in a hanger for $180 a month. I paid $700 for the pre-buy and had no maintenance surprises while I owned the plane. I did owner assisted annuals and averaged about $600 a year for those.

    I did oil changes every 25 hours and burned about 1 quart per 10 hours. That’s about $170 in oil and another $30 or so in filters for that first year.

    All together that’s around $1500 in maintenance for the first year, including the oil changes, $2,200 for the hanger (could have been $540 to tie down outside), I would have lost most of the $3,600 in loan payments since most of that went towards interest, so I figure that first year cost me around $7,300.

    I didn’t factor in any depreciation because I received multiple offers of $25,000 or more after the first year, primarily because it was a good looking 56 with a mid-time engine.

    At the time 172’s we’re renting for $130 an hour dry in this area, or $13,000 for the 100 hours I thought I’d fly that first year. That’s a $5,700 savings and I was able to fly on my schedule, flew a lot more often after I soloed than I think I would have if I rented, and was able to take multiple trips with my wife that first year that I probably wouldn’t have taken in a rental.

    The original plan was to get my PPL, sell the plane for $25,000 and then but something more advanced. The only thing that ‘went wrong‘ was I didn’t sell the plane for several more years. In the end I did sell it for $25,000 to someone that wanted a solid 56 172 to restore. Buying instead of renting worked for me.

    On the flip side, I had a friend in the 70’s that started his PPL the same time I did. He decide to buy a plane to use to get his license when he had about 3 hours of training. He bought a V-tail Bonanza for cash, because he could afford it, that’s the plane he’d always dreamed of, and he wanted to get his forever plane to start.

    He scared himself doing something just before he soloed in the 150 we were both renting at the time and never flew again. He always planned on going back to finish his PPL, and liked being able to say he owned a Bonanza, so he never sold it. The only time he ever flew in the Bonanza was a short flight with the ferry pilot the day his plane was delivered.

    He paid tie-down on the plane for several years while it rotted sitting at the tie-down. In the end, the city that owned the airport it sold for salvage costs when he stopped paying the tie-down fees. The IA that bought it tore it down and sold the parts. He said too much had rotted sitting outside to make restoring the plane economically feasible. I’ve also heard of people buying a plane to get their PPL and having an engine failure shortly after they made the purchase. A major overhaul can mess up the math very quickly.

    I think buying the right plane to get your PPL can work, it did for me, but it can also go very wrong. Get your medical before doing anything else. Fly enough to be sure you really want to be a pilot before making a decision on what you’re going to do. By then you’ll have a better idea about what kind of plane you’ll want.

    Finally, do your homework on the type of plane you’re interested in, and then get a thorough pre-buy from a mechanic that knows that type of plane before making a purchase. If you’re buying a plane to resell, buy a trainer or a plane with a lot of demand, that you can be pretty certain will sell quickly when the time comes.

    Good luck

    Gary
     
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  15. jallen0

    jallen0 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    One last point. Make sure the weight of you, your CFI(s), and fully loaded fuel, extras you will be carrying, will work for the plane you intend on buying.
     
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  16. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    If at two hours in you already know you want to learn in a taildragger and like the idea of a Champ or similar plane, I'd say you have it figured out. Go for it, but keep your eyes open.
     
  17. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    CFI aspect/consideration: does a local club or the rental/FBO have dedicated instructors that are available vs the availability of a “free agent” CFI that you may or may not be able to find to meet you at your plane/airport on your schedule AND that you know you get along with and match your style of learning? You may be better off if you can find a CFI from a “pool” of CFIs at a club or FBO that meshes with you, and may be more available and plentiful than a CFI AFTER you’ve locked yourself into an airport due to your new plane (ball & chain). Something to consider.
     
  18. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Renting vs buying will come down to how much you actually fly. If you fly less than 100 hours a year and live in expensive areas then owning might not be for you unless you just want to cost be dang. I fly a lot more than that so owning makes way more sense to me. Not to mention I have seen how the local club airplanes are flown and maintained and want no part of that.
     
  19. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    If it were me, I'd do just what you're saying. Buy a small, inexpensive trainer and fly the heck out of it. Nothing like owning your own plane. And don't be afraid of experimentals.

    A little advice, the first 10 hours of training is hard on planes. Lots of bounced landings. Keep renting for the first 10-15 hours then buy a good plane for the the rest. You didn't say how far you're planning on going but if you're considering an instrument rating, make sure you buy something with decent radios. Otherwise they can cost you more than the plane.
     
  20. Cardiff_Kook

    Cardiff_Kook Filing Flight Plan

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    This is a $30k plane. I can't imagine it would get me instrument rating (but I don't know what is required there.)

    I actually don't even know if I can do the check ride in it- but I am told I can spend my last 5 hours in 172 to train for check ride. Thoughts? Is that an issue?

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
     
  21. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    Whether you can do the checkride in it will depend on how it's equipped. As for 5 hours in a 172, it may take more; the 172 will handle like a bus compared to a Champ.
     
  22. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

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    Rent. You don't know enough to own, yet.
     
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  23. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    You should have no problem getting your private and instrument rating in a $30k airplane depending upon what instruments are installed. (You'll learn what's required in your training.) However, if the radios are bad and you want a solid, IFR capable plane, you could have $20k+ in radios. Talk to someone with experience with radios before you buy a plane.

    There is also no problem doing the final 5 hours in a 172 for a check ride. Just a little added cost to get familiar with the plane.

    In my case, I got my private in a rental years ago then did the IFR in my dad's Arrow with dual VOR's and an ADF. Not a good set of radios for IFR but it worked to get the license. Now I'm saving up for more/better radios.
     
  24. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He will learn....but they will be costly lessons. It usually is.....
     
  25. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    If there are plenty of rentals locally it is probably best to rent. The convenience of owning is somewhat diminished if availability is no problem.
    Once you have your PPC and have built up a little time, you will have a much better idea of what plane would work best for you. A two-seat trainer is great until you want to haul more people or go faster. You're young and have time on your side, so be patient, get your medical and learn to fly. Life is a series of steps and you're less likely to trip if your take them one step at a time, rather then try to take three at once.
     
  26. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    If we only had a nickel for every student pilot who has the idea that owning a plane will make training so much cheaper...

    Ownership is all about the cost of convenience. Convenience is a real thing, but it comes at a very real cost. And it costs more the less you know.
     
  27. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

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    Buy a Cessna 195, they make excellent trainers and you can look cool at the same time.
     
  28. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    Rent - for two reasons. #1 you don't know yet if you're really going to like this long term. #2 if you do stick with it and buy an airplane that's going to be it for awhile, kind of like getting married. Now is your chance to mess around, try different planes and get a broader experience. One of these days you're going to wake up and realize you've been doing this for 50 years. Ask me how I know...
     
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  29. Warmi

    Warmi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you gonna get bored after 10 hours , there will be no plane that won’t be boring to you...
     
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  30. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I continually think about buying even though renting is cheaper due to availability and "condition" of the rentals. Don't get me wrong, where I rent are safe planes but, the planes have subtle differences that for a low timer like myself takes a minute to recalibrate too. One thing I have thought about that seems to rarely get mentioned (someone did mention on this thread though) is time/effort of ownership management like scheduling maintenance and registration, logbooks, etc.

    I would just add to the other comments about not knowing enough yet, the amount of information that I don't know is outstanding. I would want help with buying a plane, no way do I know enough now to make a good purchase decision without assistance.

    Good luck with your training!
     
  31. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don't see myself as ever having a "forever" plane. I tend to keep planes for about 5 years and then move on to something different. But one can't rent the kinds of planes I like to fly...
     
  32. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    @Cardiff_Kook aptly named this thread "ANOTHER RENT VS. BUY FOR PPL"

    What's the new question? I didn't see it.

    Buying a trainer and selling it for about the same amount when ready to move on has been discussed... and discussed... and (you get the picture).
     
  33. Bacho

    Bacho Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I bought a 172 and I am still in training. I have several advantages being an A&P and working at a place that will allow use of their hangar for MX. I bought an inexpensive VFR 172. I hate that it has to live on a tie down, but I cannot justify the $375 a month shared hangar. (My only option)

    I am currently converting it to IFR. In my circumstances I think the money I invest will be a wash compared to the planes additional value in todays market. That would certainly not be the case in many other situations.

    I have learned that it doesn't save me any money, but I am building equity in an asset. It is more convenient for sure.

    I if was in your shoes, No way would I buy a VFR champ and plan to convert it to IFR without an A&P and with a $400 hangar.
     
  34. Eric Brunelle

    Eric Brunelle Pre-Flight

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    Owning is way better than renting, but I didn't buy my first (only) plane until I had my PPC for 20 odd years. Financial issues, kids in college, change of careers - no money for extras like buying a plane.

    Now, I fly 150-175 hours a year - probably worth it from a cost standpoint. When I need to fly a rental - getting complex time - I'm never thrilled with the condition of the rental.

    A couple of things to consider before buying:
    - can I afford this if I have a financial loss? You may have to take a break from flying at some point if there is no extra dough.
    - You need to take good care of this plane. At least a hangar, if not a heated hangar. Not a believer in tie downs, but that's the only way to go in some areas.
    - Unless you're going to become an airline pilot, this is recreation. There's nothing wrong with buying it for recreation - you work hard, you've earned the toy. But this is a toy that will keep you involved with learning something that is complex, gratifying and many times difficult - the essence of life! It's not the worst addiction out there.

    Best of luck with your decision!
     
  35. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    not likely for the 7EC he is looking at.

    Brian
     
  36. Cardiff_Kook

    Cardiff_Kook Filing Flight Plan

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    I have the hangar figured out.

    Do you know ballpark how much it would cost to install an attitude indicator and heading indicator?

    Would that be a crazy idea in such a plane?

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
     
  37. WDD

    WDD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sounds like you've made your mind up. Good luck with the purchase!
     
  38. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    If that sort of thing is THAT important to you then I guess there is no counter
    argument to it.
    A very valid point. Most of my hours are tailwheel so I definitely get its. But you know what else be hard to come by? CFI's with enough TW experience to do primary instruction in TW. You don't want to learn from a wonder CFI who did a tailwheel endorsement one weekend and never flew tailwheel again. You want a CFI that learned in the tailwheel and has hundreds of hours flying AND teaching in tailwheel. Can you find that locally?
    Spoken like someone who has never owned an airplane. Lots of things besides other pilots will prevent an airplane from flying or lesson from taking place when you want it to.
    Owning an airplane because its cheaper than renting? That's hilarious.
    Absolutely no reason the same can't be achieved by renting. I didn't get a second N-number in my logbook until well after my private checkride.

    So now that I've shot down almost all your justifications I will say this. If you can afford to buy and you really think you want to buy to do your training in, go ahead and buy. Extremely few people can honestly say I NEED to learn to fly an airplane. Flying is a 'want' thing now more than ever. If you can afford to do it, 'because I want to' is reason enough. So I recommend these steps.
    1. Find a CFI that will be able to work with you in your own plane (especially if its tailwheel).
    2. Fly with that CFI in a rental for a 5-10 hours. Its one thing to find a CFI who can say yes. Its something else entirely to fly with them and verify you'll be able to learn from them effectively. Not all personalities gel well in the tight confines of a cockpit.
    3. Find a plane.
    4. Find a mechanic with significant experience maintaining that particular make/model of plane.
    5. Don't buy the plane without a pre-buy. That pre-buy should be an annual. That annual should be done by your mechanic.
    6. Buy the plane, learn to fly it, have a blast, don't spend too much time thinking about the $$$$.
     
  39. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    these threads are a waste of time.....you know they're buying anyways. o_O
     
  40. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    Nothing stands in the way of a good case of rationalization...:p