Keep and upgrade? Or buy a different aircraft?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by P51P28, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. P51P28

    P51P28 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZD
    Hi everyone. I'm looking to gain some perspective from outsiders on my current "dilemma".

    So, I'm looking to position myself to buy out a Piper Warrior 151 from my father-in-law. This will be my first stab at being an aircraft owner w/o a partner. We've had the aircraft for about 10 years and it's been an absolute delight to fly. All of the maintenance has been done by myself and father-in-law (A&P - IA). We know the aircraft, where its been, and its fits my current/future mission perfectly. It has roughly 3800 hours on the airframe and about 500 hours on the engine. It was the airplane I got my PPL in. Its in fantastic shape for its age and has many years to go. The aircraft is based about 2 hours from where I live and I'm in line to secure a hangar here locally.

    My immediate mission is very simple. Visit my parents (50 min flight), visit my in-laws (35 min flight), and local 100 hamburgers. Future wise, my wife and I would like to take it on some trips...maybe. Who knows.

    Anyhow, we're always talking about possible upgrades for the Warrior. It has the basic six pack along with a VOR, a couple of older radios and a DME. Nothing fancy. Well, as life progresses, I have plans to get my instrument rating. We've discussed going the 430/530 route, IFD 440, etc. We've also thrown around the idea of getting a digital engine monitor, getting rid of the vacuum pump, upgrading the engine with Bold Warrior 180 STC to battle the summer humidity. List goes on.

    Here is the "dilemma." Do I throw a bunch of money at our well loved Warrior or should I plan to upgrade to a different/more capable airplane? Perhaps an Archer? Having an extra 30 horsepower in the Warrior to gain some takeoff performance would be golden but is it worth the $25,000 price tag? Having a nice Avydyne IFD 440 would be nice but is it worth the $14,000 price tag to install in the Warrior? See where I'm going with this?

    Do I buy the Warrior and eventually upgrade piece by piece when needed? Or do I plan for the Archer or something of the sort?

    Sorry this was a bit long winded but any thoughts/opinions would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  2. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    1,431
    Location:
    Bryan, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    It sounds like it fits your current mission of short trips; however, I wouldn’t redo a panel unless I planned to keep it forever.
     
    guzziguy likes this.
  3. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2016
    Messages:
    1,967
    Location:
    Illinois
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kevin
    Agree, especially the bold part.
     
    guzziguy and P51P28 like this.
  4. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    1,101
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    Better the one you know & love than the one you've never met ...
     
  5. P51P28

    P51P28 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZD
    My thoughts exactly. We've all heard the nightmares of discovering the hidden unknowns. Yikes.
     
    WannFly likes this.
  6. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6,251
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    Yup, the very first question you have to ask is whether this really is your forever plane. Everything else hinges upon this answer.
     
  7. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    9,321
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    What do you want to do with IFR? Are there conventional Approaches at the places you fly to? GPS may not be necessary for your mission.
     
  8. P51P28

    P51P28 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZD
    You may be right. I'd like get my instrument rating to be able to fly some light IFR. Fly through cloud layers, etc. Nothing heavy. To me, its a nice way to fly and keep current.
     
  9. P51P28

    P51P28 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZD
    Nothing is forever. At this point the Cherokee fits my mission quite nicely. 5 years from now? Who knows.
     
  10. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    6,095
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    You have stated nothing that warrants you up grading to a different airplane. I’m not even sure dumping the vac pump is warranted for the missions you give.
     
    P51P28 and Pilawt like this.
  11. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6,251
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    Then in that case I would keep things as-is as much as possible until you figure out the answer.
     
    P51P28 likes this.
  12. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2018
    Messages:
    4,030
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kenny Phillips
    Or at least five years or so.
     
    P51P28 likes this.
  13. P51P28

    P51P28 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZD
    I agree. These were my thoughts before posting. I wanted to hear some other opinions. :)

    Yup.
     
  14. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    6,201
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Priyo
    Exactly. I am in your shoes, the only diff is, I have already put whole bunch of money in the panel. I am planning on restoring it to its former glory. It’s an archer, so doesn’t matter how much money I throw at it, it will only go so fast. I also know that I won’t recuperate even 50% of the money I will end up putting into it. But this is a plane I trust and plan on keeping her at least another 7 years. Note: plan.

    Then go for a RV 10 or whatever.

    Don’t know what will happen in 7 years and life is too short to plan on whole lot of ifs and buts.

    Your case is a little different, you know the plane inside out, if I were you and it fits the mission, I would keep her.

    There are few threads here on someone buying a plane, doing everything right, pre buy and all and ended up with junk. No thanks.
     
    P51P28 likes this.
  15. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    6,095
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    The only variable on the vac system upgrade is the condition of your system. If the hoses are old, I would do that, But if the pump is near TBO, the filters were not routinely replaced, and the instruments are old you might up grade.

    Other wise I’d keep what you have and use preheat in the cabin during cold months. The old gyro stuff that is not getting banged around during flight instruction are pretty reliable.
     
    P51P28 likes this.
  16. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,247
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    somorris
    I agree with those saying keep your current airplane. If your current airplane has a glide slope with the VOR, and airports in your area have approaches you need, you may be able to pursue your instrument rating using it. So far, you don't absolutely have to have GPS in order to get the rating, although it is REALLY good to have if you wind up using your rating. There are other routes you can go other than a used 430/530 etc. Garmin has quite a few options right now, and in a few more years, there may be even more. If you don't have ADS-B Out, Garmin has a combo transponder/ADS-B Out/GPS Navigator. Garmin also has a GPS navigator/radio option. You could perhaps pursue or even complete the rating, then based on the type of flying you do, add a little more capability.
     
    GRG55 and P51P28 like this.
  17. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    14,371
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    weilke
    The 30 extra hp don't add much capability. If it fits your needs 'as is', just keep flying it. If you get the bug to do the IR, upgrade the panel as needed.
     
    WannFly and P51P28 like this.
  18. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,606
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GeorgeC
    It's already dialed in, fits like your favorite jeans, and there are no unknown unknowns? Keep it. No sense starting over, especially for another pa28.
     
    AKBill and P51P28 like this.
  19. P51P28

    P51P28 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZD
    At this point, I couldn't imagine trying to look for another airplane to buy. What a daunting task. Buying the Warrior comes with peace of mind.

    Looking forward to getting the annual finished. The one this year has taken longer than expected. We sent off the magnetos and the radios; replaced the mufflers; overhauled the cabin door latch; and a few other time consuming squawks. Need to get back in the air and get the engine running.
     
    WannFly likes this.
  20. Rcmutz

    Rcmutz Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2015
    Messages:
    662
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rcmutz
    The first thing is the analysis of your mission. You sound like you have that nailed. I have for the last 8 years or so stymied myself from doing various types of improvements to my Tiger, because I thought I would want something faster/bigger. Perhaps a Bo or a Comanche. The problem is, I really have no need for anything more than a 300-500 NM aircraft. The difference in time over 500 NM is not a whole lot. The wife doesn’t like the local and hamburger runs on the weekend. Will only fly if we go someplace and stay for a while. So, while I have constantly looked at other airplanes, I have not put upgrade money into my Tiger. Well, at 63, and the insurance hard market now, a retract is probably not a smart move. This is the year I start down the upgrade path. Interior is done, now exterior plastic, and eventually paint. Avionics as things go TU. 430W, ADSB out transponder, and KX-170 all working good. G5’s next when instrument gyros crap out, and possible a GFC 500 to replace the C1 which is still working great. One can sink a lot of money into an airplane that only will return 50-60% of the investment.
     
  21. P51P28

    P51P28 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZD
    The mission determines everything unless you have money to burn. As airplane enthusiasts, we're always wanting something bigger, better, and faster. Story of our lives right? The hard part is to accept the reality. If I lived on a runway and had no desires/needs/missions to go long distance, I'd buy a Cub or a Stearman. Stay around the local area. I know plenty of people who do this. We all do. ***Side note --- I've been thinking a lot lately about coast to coast trips in a low and slow taildragger***

    There's a beauty to appreciating what you currently have. That's where I'm at now. If I feel the need to upgrade out of necessity, then I'll do it. But for the time being,
    the Warrior is perfect.
     
  22. a572mike

    a572mike Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    221
    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mike
    There's a lot to be said for the piece of mind that comes from flying an airplane that you know well. I say keep it, that's what I did in a situation similar to yours.
     
  23. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    7,918
    Location:
    Somewhere else
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Guest
    Your comment that it is 2 hours away says SELL NOW to me. You're not going to drive 2 hours to fly an hour or so. Not today, not ever.

    You also said you're on the list for closer storage. The length (time) of that list is your only factor. The plane will likely be the same market value for a year or more.
     
  24. P51P28

    P51P28 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZD
    I'd never buy until I had local access. I'm currently 2nd on the list for a hangar. Once that happens, things will fall into place. The current 2 hour commute to own an airplane obviously makes no sense. BTW -- Love the POA profile name -- :)
     
  25. Warlock

    Warlock Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,175
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Warlock
    Having owned a couple of PA-28’s I currently have by default a Warrior II 161. It best feature is its dirt simple with electric trim, a 530w and autopilot. Low hours on airframe and engine and owned it long enough there should be no surprises. As soon as the kid finishes her commercial and builds a few hours maybe I will replace it with a faster retract but I sort of getting used to cheap insurance, inexpensive annuals and maintenance even with an open check book. Three years ago I had the Warrior, an Arrow and a Decathlon...I guess I am saying if it’s a good one it probably worth just keeping...
     
    GRG55 likes this.
  26. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    7,956
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    I've found that its much easier if you do the reverse - but that's just me. ;)

    "Dance with the one that brung ya." In other words, buy the Warrior you know rather than face the issues you might if you bought another plane.
     
    WannFly likes this.
  27. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,196
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    You've been flying it as-is, so you are the best judge of what upgrade(s) might be needed.
    I'd agree sticking with the Warrior, but I'm a biased multiple offender when it comes to owning Pipers. :)

    I'd keep the VOR and DME. You didn't indicate if it is equipped with ADS-B Out. If not, and you plan to install it, I think @somorris post above is worthy of serious consideration. You don't need to blow your budget on an IFD440 or Garmin GTN 650. The Garmin GNX 375 combo ADS-B transponder and WAAS GPS would round out your Warrior and make it a nicely equipped airplane for VFR and the type of IFR you're describing.

     
  28. P51P28

    P51P28 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZD
    We currently have an uAvionix tailbeacon. :popcorn:
     
  29. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Crashnburn
    Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have. Better the devil you know than the angel you don’t.

    Speed increases as the cube root of the power increase. However, you’d get slightly better takeoff and climb performance.

    Finally, as others have said, you can do the perfect pre-buy and still end up with junk.
     
  30. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,196
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    Then the Garmin GPS 175 is a reasonably priced IFR GPS only navigator if you decide you want to have that capability in the plane. Flying IFR and not being able to do RNAV approaches may limit your airport/runway alternatives as time goes on. However, there's no hurry to have to spend that money if you aren't already flying IFR.
     
  31. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    6,675
    Location:
    KRDU
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian Flynn
    My thinking about this -

    Is your mission going to change in the future? If you're a relatively low time pilot, the odds are yes. That indicates not to upgrade the existing plane because you'll never get that money back from selling it. It sounds like it meets your mission requirements just fine, but it probably isn't your forever plane. You'll want something different in the future.

    Influencing this is my position - I learned in a PA-28 and when I had 100 hours, I thought a Warrior was a fine airplane or maybe be daring and upgrade to an Archer. Today, my desires have changed to longer travel and that dictates speed. Not even an Arrow really keeps up.