Can I really afford a Bonanza / Debonair??

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Johnbo, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    I dunno, made me laugh my diet coke through my nose just now. :D
     
  2. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Looks like an IPC gone wrong! :D
     
  3. Johnbo

    Johnbo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You mention Arrow...should that be on my list? How well does it do grass strips?
     
  4. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Nothing wrong with the Arrow, and it fits your budget and then some. I own one, I wish it did more but for the money, I feel I get better bang for the buck than many folks who spend more for less marginal return on their investment. It would do grass fine, I haven't had issues with it in the few instances I've taken it to grass. But that's not the point either.

    Honestly, just like the Debbie, it's not a full-up 4 seater. I'm not a large man, (FAA std adult, 5"10, 170 lbs), but I find PA-28 cabin width insufficient for comfortable side by side seating. I ameliorate the issue by flying momma and kiddo in the back seat (payload layout that incidentally I cannot do in a Debonair or F33 with 50lbs in the bag comp, and one hour's fuel remaining in the tanks) so I can stretch and slouch. If I had a consistent need to have the front pax seat occupied, it would grind on me.

    So no, I don't think they should be in your list. Your list just needs a year's time in order for the recession to shwack these prices back to reality. If they were better priced and had Lycoming engines, I'd get a 182 and fly into the sunset. I long for 2 door ease of ingress and egress these days. Very popular with the pedestrian crowd. Ditto for Lances/Saratogas. FG sixes I find slow for the gas. 182 is a good compromise between an Arrow and a PA32/C206.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  5. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

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    It does fine on a grass strip, if it is long enough.
    This is tough isn't it? We all want more than what we can afford. :D it is the eternal conundrum. I am 'happy' with my Arrow mostly because I have chosen to stop looking at other options. however, If I had the money an A36 would be my choice, but...
    The choices are relatively few. The inventory is old so there are going to be issues with every option and everything is a compromise especially in an up market.
     
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  6. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    Trust me, if you own a 182 after just 2 long cross countries you will be thinking about a speed upgrade!

    I always kind of laugh after a cross country. On the way out I'm seeing a ground speed of about 135 mph as I stay down low to minimize headwinds. Its at this point, bouncing along I think about faster planes. But then on the way back, climb up to 9500msl going east and tailwinds are pushing me at 185mph and think...this 182 is perfect, roomy and stable.

    I think its great for local flights and pattern work. I pull back the power quite a bit and easily see 10gph for short cross countries and even less for just doing takeoffs and landings since there is so much taxi and low power time.

    Remember, if you buy the Bo you can never, ever complain about speed or consider a upgrade or their secret cult will sacrifice you to some unknown god that has a V-tail shaped head :)
     
  7. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    Whatever you *think* your purchase price is, cut it by 15%. Then you have a reserve to fix the stuff that will need fixing that has been pencil whipped by the last IA that was working on it.
     
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  8. wheaties

    wheaties Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Keep in mind that the price of 172 and 182 have, in the past 2 years, gone crazy. Another alternative is a 177. Cardinals, any year but 1968, are awesome. They have more room than a 182, sturdier than a 172 and burn holes in the sky. That said, might be hard to get anything 1970+ in a cessna these days (not counting multi engines) for your price.
     
  9. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    15%? That's cute. By the time I'm done with neglected components I'll be at 100% of my purchase price... and a 100% new plane except for engine, airframe prop and bladders.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
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  10. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    What component in [non-ethanol] mogas affects the bladders?
     
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  11. Fiveslide

    Fiveslide Line Up and Wait

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    In my non-expert opinion, it's the gas component.
     
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  12. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    brilliant!!!! o_O
     
  13. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    Honestly my personal number for the next plane is going to be 35%. But I felt like I'd get skewered by people in here for being a negative Nelly, when in reality I feel like any first time buyer should settle on a purchase price, then lop 30-50% of that right off the top to find out what they can actually afford. Would have saved me some headaches. But there are a few people out there who will immediately reply that they got the deal of the century and paid $14 bucks for a brand new Pilatus that has needed 0 dollars in maintenance and runs on .2 gph of hopes and dreams.
     
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  14. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    :yeahthat:

    I thought the Husky, being a "new" plane (1996), might be a different experience, but slowly but surely I'm following right behind you. The prop just came back with new seals. The latest is the tailwheel needs a new tube.

    I swear, some day I'm gonna write a book...
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  15. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    There seems two opposing philosophies among airplane owners. "Fix it, and fix it right" or "If it ain't broke don't touch it" (the corollary of which is nothing much gets attended to until it fails).

    Even though my planes are purely for personal use, dispatch reliability is important to me, so I tend to get on stuff at the earliest indication there may be an issue, and do a fair amount of pre-emptive PM.
     
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  16. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    I was solidly in your camp while the previous owner had been in the "if it ain't broke, screw preventative maintenance."

    Worked out for him. Not so much for me. Lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  17. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you know what you're doing good PM doesn't require gold plating every fix.;) ....however, there are quite a few that don't know and pay dearly with the CC thinking they got a gold plate job....and didn't.
     
  18. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Gold plating gets saved for cosmetics, like new panels and interiors...none of which I have any money for. :(
     
  19. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait

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    True dat. There is no such thing as an upgrade, and if you need speed just toss in a larger engine or TN it. Easy, right?
     
  20. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    Yeah I'm pretty anal about my maintenance (as in I want the plane perfect), but it's my plane and I get to decide that.
     
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  21. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    Fair question to which I can not give solid answer. Our mechanic said to stay away from it as he believes it will trash the bladders faster. Our seller's A&P, during the pre-buy right in front of the seller told me not to use it and said it will trash the bladders. Now maybe the doctor we bought it from wasn't using ethanol free all the time? His mechanic said if we use it you'll pretty much need to use a fan in the cabin (when its parked) to get rid of the terrible odor. There is still a slight odor in the cabin and it definitely smells like mogas, probably leaked and they never got it all out.

    I never bothered to fully read up on it. My understanding is that the mogas will give off vapor faster and some kind of change happens. Also, if any water does get in with the fuel it will cause nasties in the tank. So then people add stabilizers which adds another variable. I think there is also something about warm gas (think inside a nice heater hangar) and then running outside (really cold winter air) and vapor lock. Not all engines/planes are mogas certified, I think some are related to the vapor lock issue. The last one I recall is that true ethanol free premium isn't really 92 octane, its probably closer to 88 or 89. Obviously the sticker by the fill cap indicates a minimum of 87 but neither are 100.

    Then there is the practical part. I absolutely hate the odor of mogas. I usually top off at least 25-40 gallons which would be a major pita with 5gal containers. Ideally a person would get a small 50...75gal tank and mount on a trailer and make sure that tank has a nice bottom valve to remove water. But our hangar rental rules only allow a single fire code compliant 5 gal container of fuel in the hangar at any time. They come in once a month and inspect the hangar for this and check extinguishers....I know because twice I left a second can for the tractor-tug and I got called each time. So I would need to store it at home where I absolutely do not want 75gal of car gas sitting in the garage, especially in the winter. It does suck though, sure would be nice to pay $3/gal at the local gas station and $5/gal on the field. Thankfully right now our 100LL is just $4.30/gal so not as big of deal...but that will obviously change over time.
     
  22. dmcummins

    dmcummins Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I can’t smell a difference, and I’ve never had anyone mention it. It is a bit of a pain to fill up some 5 gal cans, but currently paying $2.75 for 90 octane vs $4.10 for 100ll Is still worth it. And I don’t have to start the plane, taxi to the fuel farm and gas up,then another start and taxi back.

    I’ve heard all the old wife’s tales about bladders and valves going bad. I’ve also talked with guys that have put 1000’s of hours using Mogas with no problems. I do put some 100ll in if I’m on a trip as it’s all that’s available, I can’t tell any difference.
     
  23. Finnelly

    Finnelly Pre-Flight

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    Everyone needs to know that the auto gas STC is for ethanol free fuel only. I use it in Seattle and it’s about $3.95 a gallon but can’t find it anywhere in Southern California so I’m stuck buying avgas there.
     
  24. Johnbo

    Johnbo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lots of good info here folks; thx.
     
  25. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Much as I hate to do this, I must point out that if the OP is that financially challenged a Mooney might be a good opportunity. They are truly the biggest bang for the buck in all of GA. The short body Mooneys can easily be had for the OP's budget, leaving a capacious reserve for mechanical difficulties. The earlier aircraft come with the bulletproof and maintenance light Johnson bar gear, and hydraulic flaps that are equally free of expensive maintenance. While a Mooney won't blast out the world's shortest occluded strips, I know Mooney owners who base out of grass strips of the dimensions the OP mentions. It also sounds like an M20C or E would fit the OP's mission as far as payload unless the OP and his people are, er, um, how do I put this politely? Wide of beam, perhaps? I've had to eject two people so far around whom I couldn't fit a seat belt.

    An M20C will not break the bank for acquisition or maintenance unless the OP has poor PPI or is phenomenally unlucky. One will handily outrun a Skylane burning 9 gallons an hour. What a Mooney won't do is carry four plus size individuals and a full tank of gas. That said, a full tank of gas in my airplane will last far longer than the mightiest bladder, so I don't worry about takeoffs when the tanks are less than full.

    I'm very much a Mooney fan boy, so I do plug them a lot. But it genuinely sounds like one could be a solution to this particular problem.
     
  26. Johnbo

    Johnbo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thx for this. I actually have the aviation advance of being a “compact pilot” and have a compact family. Combined weight for the three of is is under 320 lbs at the moment.

    There are tons of Mooney variants it seems so thx for pointing out a starting point. I assume insurance will be like an arrow at the same price level until I get some time in type?

    Defiantly worth looking into. I’ve never flown one...are they going to be any fun around the pattern or dedicated XC machine only?
     
  27. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Moneys are awesome traveling airplanes. The controls are stiffer than most, partly because of push rods and partly because of the increased wind speed over the control surfaces. I wouldn't call the feel sporty at all, but then again I'd not say that for Skylanes or Bo's either. Something that will feel light and sporty isn't likely to make as good a traveling machine or an IFR platform. That said, if you're on the diminutive side like me you should be looking at Mooneys. For your money I'd say look for M20C Rangers. Mooney made more C's than all the other types combined, so there are lots on the marketplace. The M20E has an extra 20 hp, so they burn little more gas to go faster. But they carry a premium to purchase, and if you ever have to replace one of those cylinders its going to be twice as much cash. F's have a stretched fuselage, so more back seat room but increased purchase price. The M20J, also called the 201 (one is supposed to have flown that fast at some point) has some aerodynamic clean ups that make it faster. I doubt you can get a decent example for the money you've discussed. The M20G Statesman has the stretched fuselage and the C motor (the E,F,and J all are fuel injected and 20 hp more). The G is the dog of the Mooney fleet, but only by about 5 knots, and their prices are somewhat softer as a result.

    Probably the biggest failing of the early Mooneys is the diminutive back seat, though I don't think an Arrow is that big a winner in that regard either. But if no one is a beanstalk there's plenty of room for all. I've flown mine full of people more than once. Moneys are tighter than other makes, that's part of where their speed comes from. What put me off suggesting one earlier was when you discussed grass strips. Mooney props sit an inch lower to the ground than other aircraft, so Mooney pilots are always guarding against prop strikes. But if your turf strip is in good shape that won't be an issue. 2400 feet of grass is plenty to get into and out of, though you can't do it sloppy.

    One thing you'll hear about Mooneys is they're harder to land, and I don't think it unfair. Moneys are slick as snot, so you can't just push the nose down like a Cessna. And you can't come in hot, Mooneys float. You can't force one down that isn't ready to fly either, the rubber biscuits in the gear will return all that force and you bounce. Third bounce and you get a prop strike as a consolation prize. That said, if you come it at the right speed over the numbers your Mooney will reward you with the nicest greaser you ever did. Insurance will be steep starting out, as it will with any retractable. Get your IR and keep out of trouble and it goes down. And remember, a 40 AMU aircraft is less money to insure than a 70 AMU aircraft.

    If your main concern about turf is you're operating out of the turf strip you mentioned, the Mooney will be just fine (so long as the strip is in good shape). That's what it sounds like. If the main body of your mission was to blast into and out of occluded little turf strips then I'd warn you away from them. Check out Mooneyspace if you want to know more. You can sign up for free, and there really is a wealth of Mooney wisdom. If you're headed to Oshkosh you'll have ample opportunity to sit in one, and if you look me up you'll have opportunity to fly in one.
     
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  28. dmcummins

    dmcummins Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I looked at the Mooney’s before I bought my Debonair. I was looking at the F models as it was a little more comparable to the Bonanza. The c models were just a little tight for me, especially the rear seat. Would not work for me. But my kids were in their 20’s and big boys, as were most of my friends.

    My budget at the time was less than yours, that put me into ragged out 182’s, or F model Mooney’s and 61 or older bonanzas with old avionics. There were not many Debonair’s for sale and they were selling for a premium over the V-tails at the time. But I found a very nice Deb that had not been flown much. Most were probably smart enough to pass on it for this reason. Being my first plane I didn’t know any better and bought it. I was lucky and it worked out. I would pass on the plane today.

    If your budgeting $75k, find the nicest 182, Mooney, or Beech that you can get for $60k or so. Then you will have a little wiggle room for maintenance, or hopefully some upgrades in the future.
     
  29. Johnbo

    Johnbo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thx again for this. There are two moonies at my local field (both flown by experienced pilots) but they have three blade props which I assume increases the prop clearance though. A quick look at trade a plane shows much better pricing on the older moonies vs 182 or deb...I may have to investigate further..
     
  30. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You’ll be back...;)
     
  31. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Pattern Altitude

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    Can you take the rear seat out of the M20C, E, or Fs?
     
  32. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I hear different things about 3 bladed props, some good and some bad. The short body Mooneys are a real bargain right now. With the money you’ve proposed you should be able to score one with avionics north of the Stone Age and a decent autopilot. Pay special attention to the tanks. Unless they have bladders or have been resealed by a specialty shop they’re either leaking or going to. A 10 AMU squawk.
     
  33. ajulian3

    ajulian3 Filing Flight Plan

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    I bought my Bo (v-tail H35) a little over a year ago. No IR and 75 total hours at the time. I now have my IR and 230 hours and would do it exactly the same again. Insurance wasn’t that bad and came way down this year.

    Fly a Bo and 182, you will get it
     
  34. Ben Anderson

    Ben Anderson Pre-Flight

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    How much of the $120 to $150 is direct costs per hour. I'm in the same boat at the OP.
     
  35. Ben Anderson

    Ben Anderson Pre-Flight

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    What timeframe is good to consider for a reseal? How long do they general last?
     
  36. Ben Anderson

    Ben Anderson Pre-Flight

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    Is there an STC for the Debs to be Mogas or how does that work? Are they all capable of it from the factory?
     
  37. Ben Anderson

    Ben Anderson Pre-Flight

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    How much more expensive do you think these items end up being?
     
  38. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    When you go look around a Mooney for sale you ask about the tanks, if and when they've been resealed or gotten bladders. If the local mechanic sealed them they can leak any time. If they were resealed by Wet Wingologists they'll last. If they haven't had something permanent done sniff and look carefully for signs of weaps or leaks. If the tanks haven't been really sealed it isn't a matter of if, but when.
     
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  39. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Only the 225HP Debonairs with the IO-470J or K motor can run the Mogas STC
     
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  40. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    @Ben Anderson:

    Regarding MOGAS, I think for any of these old timers you need the STC. Hopefully the previous owner already has it (ours did for the 182).

    For 182 (fixed gear) the costs are pretty simple. We fly about 100hrs per year. Normal cruising you are looking at 11.5gph so use 12gph. I'll use $5/gal for 100LL. So that is $60/hr of fuel.

    The remainder of the costs are spread out: Think average of $2000/annual. Throw in 2 or 3 oil changes per year at about $75/each. For 2 pilots (husband and wife) we pay about $850/yr total and that includes rental hangar coverage, etc. The plane is owned outright so no finance fees. We pay about $150/yr in subscription fees. And we pay exactly $1200/yr in hangar fees. So you can divide all that by our 100hrs and add that to your hourly cost.

    The next part is up to you. For our Continental motor its a 1500hr TBO. So we are budgeting for a minimum of $45,000 cash towards a rebuild. That means a minimum of $30/hr towards the engine rebuild fund. I also have a paycheck withdraw on top of that. In truth I always put in $40/hr for this. Some people just think fuel costs. When you get into these 6-cyl motors the MX reserve can be the 2nd or 3rd biggest hourly expense unless you have crazy hangar fees or financing.

    Hopefully someone will chime in on the Bonanza costs. Probably just a bit more for fuel/hr and maybe another $1000/yr on annuals. Low time pilots will also have cranked insurance.
     
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