Looking for buying advice. A need for speed in new plane.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Tom Wells, May 30, 2022.

  1. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yeah, I don't think owners who underinsure have any room to complain. I know I wouldn't, it's an agreement with terms clearly spelled out. And if you do it, it's a gamble.

    Frankly, if I ever accrued 250k of hull damage on my plane from flying (the amount I wanted to insure it at), I would just assume the plane repairs are the least of my worries. With that amount of damage done I'd be fine if my surviving beneficiaries handed the keys to InsuranceCo and let them buff my blood stains out of the cabin and resell it. Unless the DuPage hangar tips over, or I crash my car into it at 20mph -- I don't see myself ever collecting on that amount of hull damage. Liability is what really matters to me.

    W.r.t your advice on waiting and flying the arrow more before moving up, it's something I'll have to consider based on my insurance options and the plane market in general. But I really do want a platform that is already equipped well for IFR and longer XCs. As much as I love my plane, and I really do, it's just not ready for that unless I pour a bunch of money into it (e.g., need a GPS unit $$$, replace currently unreliable AI with G5 $$, get rid of vacuum pump, etc). I'm reluctant to do that when I know I'll be jumping ship to something speedier and more modern in the very near future. But we'll see how things unfold, it may work out like that anywho.
     
  2. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    That's not the problem they're grappling with, though.

    Let's say you insure a 250K plane for 100K.

    You gear it up.

    The insurance company will total that plane once it accrues 70K in damage (which is pretty easy in a retract heavy single) and hand you a 100K check and take your plane away. The remaining wreckage may net them 150K. They will pocket the profit.

    If I understand you correctly, though, you would intend to "buy the wreckage" in that scenario or simply not file the claim?
     
  3. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If I did $70k of damage on a $250k plane insured for only $100k, I'm not taking a check from the insurance company (i.e, I would not file a claim). If I did, and they took the plane, I'd be a big financial loser. This assumes that I felt the plane would still worth it's starting value of $250k once repaired. If I did feel that, I would be better off paying $70k out of pocket repairs and retaining ownership.

    In one scenario (I keep the plane), I'm out $70k
    In the other scenario (I cash out for the underinsured value), I'm out more.

    Or I could take a hilarious third path. Accept the 100k from the insuranceCo, buy it back in the auction salvage for $150k, and then repair it for 70k, and then I could be out the maximum amount of money.

    Separately I'm not familiar with the phrase "buy the wreckage", if that implies some other option I'm not seeing, that's just my own ignorance at work. Thankfully I've never had a vehicle totalled.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2022
  4. Country Flier

    Country Flier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    85% solo, the rest of the time 1 pax...this guy doesn't need 3 seats, let alone 4.
     
  5. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    I'd want a good broker to understand the moving parts -- I have heard, but never experienced, that another entity can file claim against your insurance without your involvement. I don't know how such disputes resolve, but you're surely out of the norm and will need everyone marching to your specific sheet of music.

    ==

    When I've had total loss claims paid, we have been offered the "first right of refusal" to purchase the wreckage (for its purported "remaining value") and repair it ourselves. We did so in one gear-up instance when we had the A&P bandwidth to do so, but it was not always reasonable to do so.

    I'd want to make sure I could assert total control over when and what claims get paid. For example, I don't know if an aircraft insurer can separate a liability claim from a hull claim in the same incident, so maybe if your gear-up landing slides into that busload of nuns -- can you get the nuns paid and still keep your wreckage or deny payment on a hull loss? I have no idea, but I'd love to know. These corner cases fascinate me.
     
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  6. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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  7. MonkeyClaw

    MonkeyClaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sorry, I didn't see your questions from earlier! The 350 is an excellent plane, and Van Bortel is a top notch place to work with. I don't remember how many hours I had when I bought the 400, but I think it was around 250 w/ IR.

    I haven't had good quotes from Avemco, but I know others have. My broker has been good at finding me quotes, although since there are only like 7 places that offer aircraft insurance, I have the feeling they are all about the same.

    Good luck, and keep us up to date on what you do! Also, the Cessna Advanced Aircraft Club (https://www.cessnaadvancedaircraftclub.com/) can answer all of your questions about the aircraft!
     
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  8. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks for responding on that! Yeah, AVEMCO was willing to work with me when I was a new PPL buying my arrow and gave a good deal. A solid $800 cheaper than the next option. But I may not be with them for the next plane, we will have to see.

    I really like the Van Bortel guarantee deal, gives me a bit more peace of mind that I'm not buying someone's deferred maintenance nightmare. They have a reputation to protect rather than John Smith private seller who would sell you a lemon if it padded their wallet.

    Curious, what are annuals like ($ and time)? I've heard some of the parts can be unreasonably pricey and aren't always available right away. Wondering if the normal annual is going to be huge... Are there any sort of major ADs/problems to look for that could be a big maintenance bill? Or any sort of red flags you'd look for? Any assistance on any of those items would be quite helpful.

    Also, I'll sign up for that website. I just signed up for the FB group yesterday too.
     
  9. MonkeyClaw

    MonkeyClaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hmmm... Annuals typically run me 7-8K, although they should be a little less on the 350 without the turbo stuff. VB will make sure everything is up to date. One of their managers was with Columbia pretty much from the beginning and was a test pilot for them (and later, Eclipse), and knows the plane inside and out. They should run about 2 weeks, but my shop tends to take longer.

    My biggest issue lately was with the starter and adapter. They original starters were lightweight starters by Iskra, which destroyed the adapter the first time they were used. The problem was that the combo would still work, but if you replaced the starter, the adapter would start to slip within a few starts. Most have been replaced, but when my adapter started slipping, they didn't realize that the starter was causing the issues, so the adapter was rebuilt under warranty. Well this past annual, my starter was soaked in oil (broken seal or something) so my shop thought it would be a simple starter swap. I told them they will need to send the adapter for rebuild also (which requires the engine to be removed to get access), which increased the expense a ton. This, combined with a few other issues made it a very expensive annual.
     
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  10. M1tchell

    M1tchell Pre-Flight

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    Well, I'm sold.

    I never really looked into them but assumed they would be much more expensive than they are. The most expensive Glasair on trade a plane right now is $149,900.
     
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  11. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Update:
    1) Thank you @MonkeyClaw for that information! Hopefully I can try a purchase again down the road.
    2) Insurance was a buzzkill again, they put the last nail in the coffin for now.

    InsureCo wants in the neighborhood of $12k to cover the columbia 350. And while I think it's a slick, sexy machine that checks nearly every box -- it's just too much. I'd already be smashing my budget to pieces to buy the plane, the super high insurance would be like paying for 1.5x extra annuals! Insult added to injury. It'd stay high for a couple years, too, so it's not like I can just chock it up to a year 1 expense. Bummer. Such a sweet plane.

    Search continues.
     
  12. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Line Up and Wait

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    $12K insurance? That’s a coffin nail.
     
  13. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)
    Smart to check the insurance now. It’s killed a few dreams of a retract, twin, high speed, etc
     
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  14. Whitney

    Whitney Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Holy crap :(
     
  15. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Piper M600.
     
  16. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    Now you're just teasing us...
     
  17. MonkeyClaw

    MonkeyClaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wow, that's crazy insurance! Can't say I blame you...
     
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  18. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I'm painting with broad brush strokes here but for a pilot with good times a typical high performance single will probably fall into the 1%ish of hull value range after you have some experience. Keep that in mind as you continue to search.

    And $12k for insurance will sound cheap if you ever decide to get into some higher risk flying machines.
     
  19. Snowmass

    Snowmass Line Up and Wait

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    The two place Czech L-39 jet is quite easy to fly and quite fast. It is available in the U.S. You can test fly and take lessons at Santa Fe N.M. No AVGAS lead problems. They are a lot less expensive than you might imagine.
     
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  20. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    OP is stressed over 12k/yr insurance quotes and you offer up a 160gph jet?
     
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  21. Whitney

    Whitney Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Makes my 13 gph not seem so bad after all.
     
  22. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    To be fair the jet would save me money in the long run, because 1 tank of gas is all I would ever buy before I DEFINITELY crash it in a firey inferno accident.

    L-39 is fun to look at, but not practical for my 300h experience in single engine piston :)
     
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  23. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    But burn about 90 gallons per hour, according to a friend who owned one (Delta Captain)
     
  24. Abram

    Abram Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You are going through what every single one of us has gone through when we have an airplane we love. It is really fantastic, but if it was only a little bigger, faster and had longer legs, it would be perfect!

    You are correct that your mission will change as the aircraft capabilities change. Trips that you would go on commercial airlines become fewer and fewer.

    When I was looking to upgrade airplanes, I always looked for something that would give me a bit of growing room. If I thought I needed two seats, I would look for something with four seats. I had young boys, but I knew that they would grow and I needed to be able to carry them a reasonable distance.

    While acquisition cost is important, one of the things that seems to be missing from the analysis is the operating costs. There is a huge difference in the operating cost between many of the airplanes that have been mentioned, and your analysis needs to include a reasonable estimate of those costs. I stopped buying older airplanes because I found that the maintenance costs ran significantly higher, parts were hard to find and there was much more down time.

    I owned a Saratoga II TC and thought that was a really good traveling machine. I could fit my whole family comfortably in it, a reasonable amount of baggage and fly for 3 hours at 165 kts. It was not the most exciting or maneuverable airplane to fly, but it was a solid instrument platform with good avionics.

    Good luck on the search!

    Abram Finkelstein
    N685AS
     
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  25. Whitney

    Whitney Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Great post!

    And yes operating costs are often more than expected.

    What a shock when I went from a Warrior, to a 180, to an Aztec. The Aztec was quickly replaced by a 210. While I was well aware that the Aztec and 210 would cost more obviously, it was still shocking how much more. The 210 was eventually sold, and replaced by a Citabria, which was then sold to buy my current plane, another 180.
    I'm a confirmed single engine, non turbo, type of woman. Keep it simple, low downtime, and affordable enough to fly 3 hours just to get a burger in Stewart on a whim, which I recently did.
     
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  26. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Update:
    Out of nowhere, and totally unexpected, a laggard insurance underwriter came back with a much more reasonable deal at half the price and way less dual hour restrictions for the C350. This makes it still a very expensive option, but doable...

    Time to crunch numbers I've already crunched and see how airplane-poor I want to be! It's funny how this ritual is more about doing the same math over and over again until the sticker shock just wears off...
     
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  27. MonkeyClaw

    MonkeyClaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's awesome news! If you're going to be poor, being airplane poor is the way to do it! We chose a smaller house and better airplane when we bought ours... We've since recovered and now own a bigger house in a better area, along with the better airplane :D
     
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  28. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    @MonkeyClaw I feel the same way. I'm willing to make a few concessions elsewhere in life if it means I can have a beauty in the hangar.
    And on that note, just put in an offer on that Columbia 350 that smashes my budget to smithereens. Wish me luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2022
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  29. kaiser

    kaiser Line Up and Wait

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    Good luck!
     
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  30. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As long as you can afford to smash your budget, good luck.

    I decided on a Mooney. I have one going into PPI on Monday. :D
     
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  31. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yep, the more strict budget was more a sign of discipline... That I apparently don't possess :)
     
  32. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I understand.

    I did not smash my budget, but I DID stretch it a bit.
     
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  33. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sadly the deal didn't work out on pricing.
    Apparently I retained something resembling discipline, because I definitely *wanted* to buy it :rolleyes:...

    ... So now the search continues...
     
  34. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    As I flight plan, I see more and more $8 and $9/gal avgas stops to pick and choose from (or, cough, navigate around). You may see the bottom fall out of the airplane market rather quickly, particularly for some of the thirstier planes.

    I can't lie, the prospect of a $1,300 fillup somehow annoys me where a $1,000 one did not. It's not rational. Luckily the airlines have been squeezing with their pricing on my typical milk runs, so somehow I'm still beating them. Not as handily, but still ekeing out the win and keeping the light-fingered TSA out of my boxers and bags.
     
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  35. MonkeyClaw

    MonkeyClaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree with Mike, above. The bottom's gotta fall out with these gas prices!
     
  36. Snowmass

    Snowmass Line Up and Wait

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    I have flown the L-39 and it is designed as a trainer and very easy to fly. The real brakes and tri gear make it easier than the Aeronca Chief I learned in which had neither. Handles like a Bonanza.
     
  37. Twin_Flyer

    Twin_Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    One can only hope… :yes:
     
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  38. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    My Mooney burning 8.5 gph at 150 knots should (hopefully) hold its value.
     
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  39. Whitney

    Whitney Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I wish...