First time buyer here.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Christian R, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. Christian R

    Christian R Filing Flight Plan

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    I have been doing some research here and there. I am looking to buy a Cherokee 180 as a first plane because of the maintenance, versatility and what not. I also like how much weight I can carry.

    Everyone keeps saying you can find a nice one for 35k but when I look the decent tones are about 60k.

    I am open to other airplanes with the same maintenance costs as well.

    What are good website to search for planes, and also what are some good places to look for used avionics, or would you guys not recommend that?

    As you can probably tell I’ve just read myself in circles on how to approach this. I’m also looking for someone to do a prebuy and become my Mechanic.

    I was thinking about buying a fixer upper and doing the overhaul and adding avionics. Or if I could find one as I like a decent price, I’d love to do that as well.

    I am located in Miami!
     
  2. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Do you have a hanger to put it in?
     
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  3. George Mohr

    George Mohr Line Up and Wait

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    PA28 180 is a great first airplane. 35k seems short for a 'nice one'. Barnstormers, Controller, and Trade a Plane are the usual haunts for listings. Good luck!
     
  4. AlleyCat67

    AlleyCat67 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In addition, the Piper Forum online probably has advice and listings.

    I recently (2017) went through the trauma of buying a first airplane. The unicorn is a low time engine, good airframe, nice paint/interior, and modern avionics. Those don't come on the market very often, and if they do they will be expensive. Consider getting a plane with a run out engine and getting it overhauled yourself. For one thing, you'll be sure of the quality of OH if you arrange it yourself. Also there cost of an overhaul is pretty cut and dried - the seller doesn't have much choice but to discount the plane by (nearly) the cost of the overhaul.

    One red flag in your post was "Miami". I shied away from Florida planes due to corrosion risks. Imagine my surprise when the logs showed up for my California pre-buy and it turns out the plane had lived in Florida for seven years in the '90's! But that's something to be careful of. Also... one of the first questions to ask is "how much has the plane flown in the last 1-2 years? The answer to that question is frequently less than 10 hours, in which case you may well need a top or total engine overhaul (but the seller will NOT price it accordingly).

    Good luck!
     
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  5. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    For someone new to general aviation and aircraft ownership I wouldn't recommend a "fixer upper" as those usually turn into a
    boondoggle. Usually results in having more in the airplane than it's worth.

    Also, you have to realize you are shopping for what is basically an antique. More and more small GA airplanes are falling into worse condition due to owners forgoing maintenance that they deem "too expensive" and then peddle their airplane back into the market hoping someone doesn't look too close.

    In Miami a hangar is a must, and those aren't plentiful and what you do find will be pricey. Insurance? Better check your rates and coverages.
     
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  6. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    You aren’t going to find a decent Cherokee 180 in this market for 35k. 50+ is probably realistic. The ones that are cheaper have probably been drug out of someone’s hangar, had a pencil whipped annual, and out on the market.

    Buying an airplane is a gamble. Ones that have hours and calendar time left on engines, and well maintained airframes are unicorns. Buying one outside of that is a gamble. Personally I don’t think it’s wise to finance an airplane or any upgrades or repairs. Owning one is expensive enough without having a monthly payment on top of it all. Unless you find a low time cream puff I would be sure I had 20k on top of the purchase price should it need an engine or other repairs. Some will think this is overkill but it’s a harsh reality. Look through this forum and you will see 2-3 cases or more where someone bought a plane and it immediately needed major repairs. True you may get lucky and not have to spend significant money on it for years, you have to decide if that luck is your burden or the previous owners.

    Airplanes with little use and long periods of sitting will nickel and dime you to death. Then you will have the people that say “it’s over TBO but still runs great and has high compression”. Well all engines run great until they don’t. Past TBO and engines older than 15-20 years that are still healthy are a real thing. However, they are in bonus time and in my opinion are fully depreciated in engine terms.

    In annual doesn’t mean good airplane. Get a great prebuy or better yet have the annual done over again by an independent shop. Now you are thinking “well I’m never going to find an airplane that meets all these criteria for what I can afford”. Which really means you can’t afford an airplane yet. Unless you make big money 35-65k is no small amount to spend on a toy. Make sure it’s one you can use.
     
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  7. Christian R

    Christian R Filing Flight Plan

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    Okay you all have given me a lot to think about. Are there any other planes you guys would suggest then?

    I might consider starting a small flight club, and then move on to two planes and so forth. Spreading out my risk as well. And possibly even making some money.

    My goal is to build as many hours for free as possible.
     
  8. FancyG

    FancyG Pre-Flight

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    CFI?
     
  9. samiamPA

    samiamPA Pre-Flight

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    Christian - even having one partner dramatically helps with the big, fixed costs. I did that for my first airplane and learned a ton.

    Obviously you can see the math - One partner reduces your fixed costs 50%, and a second partner only another 17%. So two helps, but then of course it adds more cooks to the kitchen.

    We all worry about an engine - when you are an owner, that is a potential $20k bill that could really hit at any time. (The engine usually does talk to you for a while to let you know that something is up.)

    If budget is a factor and you don't need the extra seats or speed, you might consider a two-seater instead. I got a Cessna 150 last year in great shape for $18k and my annual is not very expensive at all. Just something to consider.
     
  10. samiamPA

    samiamPA Pre-Flight

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    Actually if that is your mission I will double down on my cheap 2 seater recommendation - go slow and earn those hours. I'd take a good look at the Cessna 150s, Tomahawks, and Grumman Yankee's out there.
     
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  11. Christian R

    Christian R Filing Flight Plan

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    Yeah I that would be the goal to be a CFI with my own plane for now. Until I figure out my next move.
     
  12. Christian R

    Christian R Filing Flight Plan

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    I was considering a 150 but that limits other streams of income. I’m pretty set on a “capable” 4 seater.

    but I am considering another partner. I’m just a dynamic person in the sense that I won’t just fly for leisure. I see this plane as an asset. But want to absorb as much knowledge from everyone else as possible because I am very new to aviation.
     
  13. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You may consider attending an Adult Ed A & P Class.

    Not to get the Cert but to gain insight into required maintenance practices.

    Also possible you may want to assist with the maintenance.

    If you know where you will base the aircraft building a relationship with

    the Tech’s there can help a lot.


    When you have a potential purchase lined up I would suggest you have the

    “ Gaining IA” involved in your Prebuy research.

    Why not have the person that would do the dreaded “ First Annual” review

    Records in advance of the purchase?

    That way the Tech on site of the PB can focus on the physical evaluation

    of your find.

    I recently did a PB and the aircraft had a polished Prop.

    Some folks say no go and others are not concerned.

    What is important is that you know before purchase so you are not surprised.

    You can do great things with Cell Phones.
     
  14. samiamPA

    samiamPA Pre-Flight

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    Christian - just wondering why you are set on doing this with your own plane? If you want to keep costs as low as possible while gaining hours that would seem to be the better route.

    I know you want to view your plane as an "asset" but the problem is that you will be double dipping in terms of both business and pleasure. This means it probably won't fulfill either mission completely.

    As an MBA I have looked at ownership in every way to try to get it to be more affordable, including what you are suggesting. At the end of the day, I found it simpler and more profitable to just keep my hobby as my hobby and my business as my business.
     
  15. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    For basic single engine, fixed gear, it would be hard to beat Cessnas, Cherokees, or Grummans. And maybe certain Musketeer models, like the A23/24. A plane equipped with modern IFR avionics is going to be well north of $35K. If you plan on equipping an aircraft for IFR from scratch, bear in mind that this could cost more than the value of the airframe/engine. WAAS, panel ADS-B, modern audio panel and NAV/COM, AP, electronic displays (G5s or equivalent), etc. come in about $10k increments. This might be OK for a keeper, but not economically sensible for a plane you will move in the next 10 years.

    I bought my AA-5 to do IFR training in, and decided to keep it because it fits my mission of regional IFR travel, with occasional longer trips. It has undergone many incremental avionics upgrades over 35 years of ownership. While a 2-seater might be attractive for cost, they are so limited in range and payload that they are not very practical for longer flights with passengers (and luggage). My original VFR time-builder was an AA-1A. A fun plane for sure, but it could only carry 2 skinny people and a shared toothbrush for a 3 hour trip with VFR reserves. The 4-place has so much more flexibility.
     
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  16. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Beech Sundowner, or Super Musketeer.
    GREAT planes.
    A little slow, but solid as a rock.
    Not as popular as the Cherokee, so usually go for a little less.
     
  17. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    No. or better, NO. NO WAY.

    Getting a 'first plane' that you want to hold out for rental is fools errand. Insurance to do it: HIGHER. 100 hour inspections: $$s

    Owning a plane is expensive. Owning an "earning" plane is a whole different story. Not for the faint of wallet.
     
  18. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    If by "asset," you mean financially, you may wish to re-examine that perception.
     
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  19. blueskyMD

    blueskyMD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Cherokee 180s are great first time airplane. back in 2003 I almost bought a 180 but I wanted to have a retract for cool factor so went with Arrow II . Arrows are relatively cheaper to buy and for me maintenance was not that bad. Try to find a Cherokee 180 challenger if you can , more room and nicer
     
  20. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    If time building is the only goal, a Grumman Yankee will be the cheapest overall way to do it from an ownership perspective. They are cheaper to purchase, use about the same amount of fuel, cheaper annuals, longer TBO and less cylinder issues. They are fun to fly for different reasons. The Yankee is more responsive and faster, the Cessna more stable and fun to play around with short takeoff and landings. If you plan to instruct neither is a good option for today’s plus size crowd.
     
  21. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    @Christian R - you say you are new to aviation...does that mean you don't have your PPL yet? If that is the case then a good progression might go like this:

    0. Get your medical
    1. Take a online PPL ground course
    2. Pay & rent to get your PPL.
    3. Decision time:CFI or not?

    If you want the "free" hours of CFI you're gonna need IR, Commercial and CFI which will include some complex rental time. I have no clue what that will cost...most likely 300+ hours of rentals and around 100hrs of dual. You do the math. Could easily be $40,000 or more if all from a training FBO.

    If you truly want to time build, then you own your plane or you join a club (not create a club). That should provide you optimal dispatch time.

    A great guy at our airport found a nice deal on a 172. He hauls about 6...12gal car gas out to the airport for each flight and then flies it about 1.5hrs. He has built around 1000hrs that way. While doing that he completed IR, Commercial and rented a twin for multi commercial. Doesnt seem majorily CFI. What is amazing is that he must have well over 600hrs of night xc!!! So by my math he has spent over $3000 on fuel. Probably another $3000 on hangar rental. And I'm guessing his annuals average out to about $1500 as he keeps up on squawks over the past 4...5 years.

    My wife also did all time building without CFI.

    For those two they were/are patient and realize rushing will cost more and lately that woyld have been to zero job options.

    If you are at serious about owning, you will want to get to know a mechanic or another pilot who mechanically inclined to advise you.

    As others said, depending on where you live securing a hangar up front can be a major PITA.

    I think the cheap time builders are as stated (150, Sundowner, Musketeers). You could also include piper 140 series which will be cheaper. Then of course tail wheel fabric such as Taylorcraft, Chief, Champ, older cubs might be under $20k. But none are 4 seater. And you will want all the fabric one stored inside out of sun and wind.

    I have yet to meet a CFI that uses their own plane. Too many extra responsibilities.
     
  22. masloki

    masloki Line Up and Wait

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    Buying is easy. Spend enough time looking and you’ll see the serious sellers and the rest is trash. Find a local, and bonus points for an independent, mechanic that will assist. EAA local chapter is a good way to get some recommendations. Be willing to listen and learn. Hot market so you may have to make a deposit before you see logs. Just have independent escrow and a solid (aopa /nafi) signed contract. I’ve flown a decade and ownership is a whole different world. Really. It’s like owning a rare car where everything you have learned is just a little wrong. Except when you do it wrong, parts have to be shipped always and have some extra zeros in front of the decimal.
     
  23. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    Consider a 2 person and maybe a rental or club for a 4 person. I own a Cessna 140 and am in a club w 180hp Chickenhawk... I’ve flown 170hrs in last 12 months months and maybe 10 of those in the 172... it’s surprising how rarely ya use 4 seats... and the purchase n fuel differences are big. I have access to two airplanes for $30k...

    If you are going for IR that’s one thing but if you aren’t don’t buy one full of avionics... that’s crap to break. For vfr flying ya need oil temp n pressure gauge the rest are just extra creature comforts. Especially now with iPads for nav.

    a Cherokee 140 is a great 2 person plane with a nice baggage area... it time building is main goal and ya need one that can do your IR in... if IR isn’t a factor I’d go vintage TW those are the real buys on aviation
     
  24. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Wingswap and facebook, too
     
  25. Hangontight

    Hangontight Filing Flight Plan

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    I just bought my first plane last year in May. A Cessna 172. I bought one with a run out motor, flew it for 100 hours, and now it’s in the shop getting its first annual (for me) and a total engine overhaul. Basically I’ll have more into the engine and first annual then I did in the purchase price of the plane, effectively doubling what I paid for it.
    Like others have said though, at least now I know what I have, and that piece of mind is worth a lot to me.
    Long story short, the purchase price of the plane (especially something 50 years old) is only a portion of what you should budget. Make sure to leave money in your pocket for operations, repairs, updates, etc. YMMV

    Edit: oh yeah, I also put 1/3 of the purchase price of the plane into avionics updates last fall, so there’s that too! Airplane ownership ain’t cheap, but it’s only money, ya can’t take it with you when you die!
     
  26. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My guess is a good 180 will start around 45k and upwards. Depending on avionics and appearance. Good luck with your search.
     
  27. Hangontight

    Hangontight Filing Flight Plan

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    nice looking '63 Cherokee 180 went up on Barnstormers today for $44.5k