First Airplane Purchase: Piper Arrow

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by Paul Montbleau, May 9, 2018.

  1. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello!
    I am currently a student pilot with my solo endorsement and am having trouble completing my private pilot training due to the fact that my schools airplanes are booked up 4-5 weeks in advance. I need to buy an airplane.

    I will try to keep this as short as possible, but I appreciate all of your time and help!

    I was originally training in Piper Cherokees (PA-28-180) but since they are all booked up, have been training in our Piper Arrow which has a little more availability. Since I know it will take me a little more time to get checkride ready with this switch to a complex airplane, I am purchasing one.

    The Arrow I found is a 1967 year with 2600 Total Time on the airframe (never used as a trainer) and 560 hours STOH (since top overhaul, as you all know). The owner has explained to me that all the plane needs is basically a new engine since he has pushed it past TBO and its a 50 year old engine now. I figure this is a good time to upgrade the engine from a 180hp engine to a 200hp engine, although if thats more hassle then its worth, I will keep the 180hp engine and give it a major overhaul. He is an older gentlemen who has owned it for 10 years and flys it weekly to commute to work. The compressions on the engine still look great, he just feels it would be smart to give it a new engine.

    So my questions are:
    Do you guys think its worth the upgrade to the 200hp engine?
    Will they have to do weight and balance again? (If so, would that be a good time to replace the Garmin 150 gps with a Garmin GNS 430?)
    How often do you need to service the landing gear (rough estimate) and how much does that cost?
    Anyone know how much it would cost for labor to put a new engine in?

    If anyone has suggestions for completing my private pilot license with a complex aircraft, I would appreciate those tips too but not the main focus of this post. I am buying a complex airplane for the ability of being able to do my instrument rating, commercial license, and CFI in this plane

    Thank you so much for your time and help! I really appreciate the guidance in the world of aircraft ownership!

    - Paul
     
  2. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    I think that you should keep looking for a better deal on an Arrow if that's what you want. How much was this guy going to sell it to you would be a starting point. Upgrading to a 200 hp engine would run anywhere from 28 - 40 grand plus install. Your Garmin 430 would be another 700 - 1000 plus installation. "Service" the landing gear doesn't cost all that much but replacing components thereof would get expensive.
     
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  3. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Don’t think it will be worth the investment to upgrade to the 200 . Going for the ppl in a complex airplane takes a little more time ,but it is worth it. A good mechanic will have no problem servicing the retractable gear. I would look for a 73 with the extended wing and stretched cabin. Good luck and welcome to theforum.
     
  4. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Also, if you think time is of the essence, depending on how you manage the engine refresh or new install, your plane may be down for a while.

    Plus, a new-to-you plane almost always seems to come with an introductory year of “get to know your A&P”, with its requisite dollars and downtime.

    Not saying don’t do it, just go in knowing this.
     
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  5. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    If I were in your shoes and have the time to take off work I would enroll in Embry-Riddle or some other major flight school that has lots of airplanes on the line and just take the Private Pilot course. You would be light years ahead financially and be certificated pilot much sooner vs. buying a 50 year old Piper Arrow and training in it. Also, if you go the route of aircraft ownership, it pays to look at a lot of airplanes and compare numbers before you buy. Be patient and the right airplane will show up sooner or later.
     
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  6. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    I am going to Embry Riddle Aeronautical online at the moment because they do not have a campus here in San Diego, CA. I have a good job in San Diego and the weather allows me to fly often. I strongly considered going to their Prescott or Daytona Beach campus and I came to the conclusion that I will do my Multi-Engine training at one of those 2 campus's. I like being able to fly for fun and renting embry riddles brand new airplanes constantly would get really expensive and would be left without owning anything besides my hours.

    I really appreciate your help though Brad!
    I'm really liking this online forum community already and ive only been a member for a few hours now!
     
  7. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    He wants $36,000 for the airplane but I talked him down to $26,000! Im factoring in $25,000 for engine replacement or overhaul, so call it a $60,000 piper arrow with 2600 hours of private owner time (not used as a trainer). Feels like a good deal, no?

    The paint and interior is in near perfect conditon and heres the list of

    Avionics

    Sigtronics SPA 400 4 place intercom
    King KMA 24 Audio panel
    King KX 155 720 channel digital flip/flog Nav/Com
    King KI 209 Glide Slope
    King KX 155 720 channel digital flip/flog Nav/Com
    King KI 208 VOR/Localizer
    Garmin 155 GPS
    Garmin GTX 345W transponder (ADS-B In & Out)
    King KN 64 DME
    JPI EDM-700 engine analyzer (Fuel Flow, Oil Temp, RPM)

    Thank you so much for your help Tim!
     
  8. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    In my opinion:

    No, 60K is NOT a good deal for this aircraft. There are better deals out there, you just have to be patient.
     
  9. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    When it comes time to overhaul, ALWAYS go with the biggest engine you can, no one ever wished they had less power.

    The 430 is a great unit, I have a 430/530 in my personal plane and a 530/530 in the work plane, hard to beat them right now IMO.

    But I'd highly recommend looking at a PA-24, its a much more refined and better flying airplane, you can find some really nice examples for your price range.


    60k isn't bad for a zero time engined arrow, and I bet he could do better on the overhaul price if he really looked.
     
  10. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I'd look very hard at the additional expenses involved in converting from a 180 to a 200 HP engine. The engines are dimensionally different, the 200 weighs more, and I wouldn't be surprised if it required a new prop. It will definitely require a new everything else, from baffles to exhaust. It may not even fit in the 180 cowl - I dunno.

    The best value on an airplane is to buy one with all of the upgrades you want already installed.
     
  11. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    For sure.

    In that case it makes sense to stick with what you got
     
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  12. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    as a 28r-200 owner my recommendation is go straight to a 28r-200, preferably 72 or newer (non midget cabin). They re generally sold at a good discount from the semitapered arrows (III and IV). Maintenance has been the sweetheart point for me, much cheaper to maintain than some of the higher performance retracts out there, and not just on account of fuel consumption mind you. The 180s climb rate in the summer is really anemic. This airframe would have been perfect with a io-540, but that dream died with the assassination of primary non commercial.

    The engine swap is not worth it imo. Too many 200s available for sale.
     
  13. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Welcome.
     
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  14. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    How do I find out roughly what things will cost?
    How much does weight and balance cost?
    How much would it cost to change the Garmin 150 to Garmin GNS 430?
    Adding toe brakes to co-pilot side?

    Thank you all for the help so far, I do a lot of work on exotic cars but airplanes are completely different
     
  15. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Things cost parts + labor, just like everything else in life. Some parts are available as PMA replacements, others you have to go to the OEM, or in the case of orphaned airplanes, sometimes salvage is your only savior (PA_24 Comanche et al).

    No idea how much weighing an aircraft runs these days. Haven't done one yet.

    There's no "changing" of a GPS per se. the 150 is not slide in replaceable by a GPS/NAV/COMM like the GNS 430 in the least. You'd be making an initial installation. Since the 430 has NAV and COM connections to be made to antennas, intercom and switching units in addition to the CDI connections, you're looking at more labor for the job than a stand alone GPS navigator (like the kln 94, gps 400w, gtn 625, etc). A different antenna for the GPS as well if you're talking about a 430W. All in all, you're looking at 30-40 hours for a GNS 430 installation. Avionic shops run 90-100 bucks/hr, so that's 4k plus the hardware cost. Nobody initial installs a non-waas 430 in these days knowing that the upgrade to waas rivals the cost of a 430w initial install, plus you'd have to incur the additional cost of the labor on the waas antenna in the process. You're looking at a 11-12K all-in installation for a 430w, about 3-4K less for a non-waas 430.

    I haven't priced the kit for toe brakes on a pa-28r lately. I don't think it's cheap though, especially after labor. Honestly, I use the hand brake even in the left seat, so I'd be inclined to do that if I were seating right seat. As the owner of my arrow I'm the only one who lands it, so I don't have issue with toe brakes on the left only since that's where I always seat.

    This all to say, buy an airplane with the things already installed as close to your desired end state. You'll save a ton of money on the process. The ROI of upgrades is horrendous.
     
  16. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Doesn't seem like a bad deal for a training airplane. Nice it has a good ADS-B solution already done. But I wouldn't upgrade anything else.

    The 180 hp should be just fine since you are flying from approximately sea level in Diego. The 200 hp is only really good for better climb rate, it won't add much cruise speed. If you really feel you need the extra climb performance find another, more suitable airplane instead of upgrading the engine.

    You have a good engine monitor, so I'd make sure the engine gets a good checkout during pre-purchase. Assuming it is sound just run it on condition during your training time, and keep an eye on the engine monitor. A 180 hp Lycoming is not a heavily stressed engine. With less than 600 hours on the jugs you may get another 200 or more hours out of it with no problems.

    The right side toe brakes are not necessary. It's already been flying 50 years without RH toe brakes. That should indicate something. My first Cherokee didn't have any toe brakes, just the hand brake. I thought I would have to put in toe brakes on the left side. A couple hours flying it proved otherwise. You'll find the same thing.

    Focus on your training, and becoming really proficient flying the plane. You don't need an IFR navigator (430) to do that. After you've flown 50 or more hours in it then assess whether it makes sense to add the 430.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  17. charlie

    charlie Pre-takeoff checklist

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    $25K will buy a good overhaul with new cylinders and overhaul of the engine accessories. Add another $5-8K to cover installation, mounts, hoses, vacuum pump, governor, prop and repairtrd to exhaust and baffling. If the cam is OK it ought to do another thousand hours. Installing a 200 is just not practical.
     
  18. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    try talking to a few mechanics, like on the field where you're thinking of keeping it.
     
  19. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    A lot of the CFI's I talk to are hesitant because the airplane im looking to buy does not have Dual (PIC/Co-Pilot) toe brakes. A lot of people say the CFI should not have a problem with using the handbrake. I would happily add right side toe brakes but I cant seem to find how much that would cost. If its $5000 - $8000 I could probably add them, just can't find pricing anywhere. Currently looking for a CFI with available time and is okay with no toe brakes on his side.

    Thank you all for your help so far, I really like this forum
     
  20. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'll fly all day everyday in the right seat with the handbrake. When I owned my Cherokee I pretty much quit using the toe brakes anyway because I can't dance and I could never get the pressure equalized on the brakes anyway and just use the handbrake. That's all I have in the Comanche currently and have no issues instructing anybody with a handbrake only airplane.

    Unfortunately I am not anywhere near San Diego.
     
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  21. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yes. Top overhauls are essentially meaningless in the grand scheme of things. It sounds like this is an original engine that's ever had a major overhaul, so it's at 2600 hours (and 50 years!) since new.

    Now, it may run another 1000 hours just fine - There's no reason to tear it off just yet if it's healthy. If you're expecting this to be a $60K airplane anyway, and you're buying it for training and time-building purposes, you may be able to buy, fly, and sell without ever needing a new engine. As long as you're planning on the financial hit of a new engine anyway, it's worth the gamble to keep running a high time engine.

    Definitely more hassle (and money) than it's worth.

    No.

    Yes, they'll have to do W&B if you change to a 200hp engine, but all that means is some of your A&P's time to do the calculations - Figure $100 or less.

    If you want a plane with a 430 (and if you do, you DO want the 430W), buy a plane with a 430W. Installing one would be roughly $13,000 (they're running about $7,000 on the used market, plus around $6,000 for installation IME). You'll maybe get half that back upon resale, so really not worth it for a time-building airplane. If you put 500 hours on it, it's still going to cost you over $10/hr.

    If nothing goes wrong with it, a swing at annual will do the trick. The Arrow's gear is pretty simple, so I would imagine it'll be under $500/year difference over an Archer.

    I've found that the overhaul cost (the money that goes to the overhaul shop) is generally right in line with the overhaul cost listed on AOPA Vref, and the removal and reinstallation costs run about $6K on top of that. So, in your case, on an Arrow I with an IO-360-B1E, that's $27,000 for the overhaul plus $6,000 R&R so about $33K total.

    No longer necessary - The FAA rescinded the requirement that you do the commercial and CFI checkrides in a complex aircraft just a couple weeks ago. You still need 10 hours of complex time to get the commercial, but it sounds like you've already gotten some at your flight school.

    That may open up a lot more options for you in terms of what aircraft to buy for building time and ratings!

    Usually, by measurement of pain levels in the wallet, unfortunately. Hopefully you can learn from plenty of others here.

    In terms of aircraft ownership, pretty negligible. Maybe an hour of your A&P's time to recalculate when something is removed or installed. Probably under $100.

    If you want to actually have the aircraft weighed, then it's a different story. Probably more like $500, since it takes a lot longer and requires equipment.

    As stated above, around $13K.

    Never done it, but I probably wouldn't bother.

    Truth!

    OP, since you're new - Charlie is probably the most credible poster here on the subject of overhauls, as he owns one of the better overhaul shops there is. And I see his total agrees with what I posted earlier, so $33K is probably a pretty good number for the total overhaul cost.
     
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  22. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    This all really helps, thank you Flyingcheesehead! Would it just be easier and faster (reducing downtime so I can start training) to just buy a low time engine 200-500 hours and just do an engine replacement? Its my understanding that overhauls take 6-8 weeks?
     
  23. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's probably faster, but finding one may be a problem. However, in case I didn't say it strongly enough - I would NOT replace the engine until it shows signs of needing replacement. There are plenty of articles available on the subject (google Mike Busch engine overhaul for starters) but if an engine is running OK, there is no reason to replace it regardless of time.

    So, have a mechanic (yours, NOT his) do a borescope inspection, check compressions, and even do an oil analysis if you can, as part of your pre-buy inspection. And if nobody has said it yet, NEVER EVER EVER buy an airplane without having an A&P mechanic inspect it for you first! And do NOT use the seller's mechanic. Bring your own.
     
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  24. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    Hey guys, I ended up finding a 1977 Piper Arrow Turbo with the Continental TSIO-360-F engine in it. Anyone have any experience with this engine?
     
  25. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  26. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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  27. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It’s a fine engine. Watch the temperatures and run Shell 15/50. Fly it regular. Keep the turbo inlet temp at least 100 degrees below redline. Cruise at 65% power or less. Make darn sure the fuel trim is setup correctly. Make sure fuel flow is satisfactory on every takeoff. Keep it a little rich in the climb to keep chts down. If it doesn’t have an engine monitor get one. IRAN the mags every 500 hours. Change the alternator drive gear doohickey every 500 hours (preferred airparts has the least expensive drive gear I’ve found). Install tempest fine wire plugs.

    That’ll get ya started.
     
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  28. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    This one has been sitting for 4 years but the owner did the 100hr/Annual maintenance every year. Should I be really concerned about this engine? Im trying to finish my PPL training with this plane, I can handle quite a bit but I hope having a turbo wont complicate things immensely. Thanks for your help Clark!
     
  29. sferguson524

    sferguson524 Pattern Altitude

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    I might be able to set you up with a CFII in San Diego.. Not sure how she feels about handbrake only tho
     
  30. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    This new plane im looking at has Dual Toe Brakes, so no issues there. But this new one also has a turbo so idk how much more that will complicate my PPL Checkride
     
  31. sferguson524

    sferguson524 Pattern Altitude

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    Fair enough, i'd personally be a little concerned about doing primary training in a turbo, with the cruise power reductions to idle for sim engine failures, and touch and goes.. But that's me.. Sure there's plenty folks here that will disagree with me
     
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  32. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It’ll prolly have a lot of blow by. The engine doesn’t like to set. Re-ringing it might be an option to cure the blow by. An A&P told me to run it at high power for awhile but that didn’t cure it for me.

    If you are new to turbos, learn to watch manifold pressure like a hawk. Every throttle or mixture change will affect manifold pressure and it may take several seconds to settle down. Folks call it ‘bootstrapping’ when the manifold wanders up five inches seemingly on its own. It only does it after an engine control is changed.

    One thing I forgot to mention in the previous post is vibration. If there is any engine vibration get the prop dynamically balanced. The instruments and airframe will thank you.

    We can talk about Piper brakes later.
     
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  33. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Touch n goes are not a problem, things stay warm enough doing the usual 14” on base and final. For engine failures, start at low altitude. I just took the commercial checkride in mine. Ya really gotta watch temps for that ride.
     
  34. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    A 50 year old engine with 2600 hours and never had an overhaul. I know something about that, as I'm just finishing an overhaul of an engine exactly like that.

    The big thing to remember about this is that every AD that has ever come out on that engine becomes applicable when you crack that case up for overhaul. Depending on the engine, that can mean a lot of expense that a normal overhaul doesn't incur. Trust me on this. And it's probably not just on the engine either. All the accessories are probably in the same boat. carb, prop hub, prop governor, oil pump, , etc, etc. Everything I sent out came back costing more than the estimate because they "didn't expect they would need to comply with that AD from 1969 when they gave the estimate".
     
  35. Paul Montbleau

    Paul Montbleau Filing Flight Plan

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    Sorry Salty, I should have explained that this new plane I put an offer on has 820 hours SMOH, it just has only been flown 10 hours in 4 years
     
  36. scottfromboston

    scottfromboston Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Being that your goal is training through the four ratings, I'd want the simplest airplane possible - minimize downtime, cost, and risk associated with things like retracts and turbos. Airplane ownership has its own learning curve, and you're going to want to be focusing on the flying.

    Buy a solid mid-time cherokee or 172 (with all of the bits you want) and get your 10 hours complex dual time in a multi.

    If you want to travel, or you are really big or really small, and/or are ok with 2 seats, all of these will change things.
     
  37. sferguson524

    sferguson524 Pattern Altitude

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    Good to know with some actual data points :) rather than FUD
     
  38. weirdjim

    weirdjim En-Route

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    Well, let's see now. You've probably got 25 hours and you've already started talking about learning in an airplane with a twisty propeller, bent gear legs, and now talking turbo. Me? I'd buy myself a 172 (Cessna) or Cherokee (Piper) and get REAL GOOD flying a simple airplane for the first 100-200 hours. Those airplanes will only go up in value, and then after you've mastered the art of flying simple, trade/sell up to what you think you really need. But what the hell do I know after 5000 hours and 50+ students?

    Jim

    (Edit: Just saw Boston Scott's post after I posted this and I concur completely.)
     
  39. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Consider if you want a plane only for training, or for beyond.
    Also, the worst thing for any plane is to let it sit. Especially one of the most expensive components. The engine. Corrosion is a real problem on sitting engines, and there is very little in the way of finding how bad the engine is until you take it apart. Sure you can boroscope, while better than nothing it really does not give you a detailed look.

    For the 1977 plane; consider offering to rent the plane at a slightly elevated price. Tell the owner this will do a few things, one put some time on the engine so anyone buying (maybe you) knows the engine is solid. Gives you confidence that the oil analysis looking for metal and corrosion is stable and clear.

    Otherwise, if you want to consider going beyond just the PPL; get one that has been flying, has the IR panel you will want and is fly away ready. This could be an older Bonanza (V-Tail for price point), Mooney (short body, lower price point)....

    Tim
     
  40. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    iMooniac
    @scottfromboston nailed it. You don't want a complex airplane if your goal is training and time building. Again, you don't even need it for commercial/CFI any more.

    So, find an airplane that is simple and forgiving and easy to sell, and fly the hell out of it.

    Also, avoid the "deals" where the airplane has been sitting. If you're looking at a Turbo Arrow that's been sitting for $40,000 vs. a normally aspirated Arrow that's been flying for $50,000, just remember that the "cheap" one can easily have another $40,000 or more in maintenance bills awaiting you in the short term, and after you fix it all up you've spent $80,000 on a $40,000 airplane.