Navajo Cost of Ownership?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by ApacheWind, Nov 12, 2021.

  1. ApacheWind

    ApacheWind Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello,

    I'm a long time lurker and first time poster. So, my wife and I are looking into getting an aircraft probably within the next year or so, and I am heavily in research mode at this point. Our mission is primarily monthly trips up to 800nm or less, up down the east coast, and this side of the Rockys with the occasional longer trip. We are a family of three, but will often be bringing others along since we like to take trips with extended family and friends. It would also be nice to have an easy way in or out for our aging parents, and my wife definitely wants a cabin class. We will be flying at night, as well as overwater to the islands so we definitely prefer a twin. Probably will be flying about 100hrs a year. I know the ago old debate about if a twin is actually safer, and as an ATP I am defiantly under the mind set that they are provided one receives and stays unto date with the proper training. Also, turbines at this point are out of the picture because of the cost of acquisition, we are looking around the 200K range for the purchase. So I have been looking into the C300-400 series as well as the Aerostar and have been able to find some good information on these, but I can't seem to find much information about the Navajo. We don't need pressurization, they have a great useful load, and on paper looks like it would fit our needs well, but how much is the total cost of ownership? Cost per hour? How much would a typical annual run after catch up maintenance? Granted any cabin class twin is going to be expensive, but would a Navajo be more cost effective to operate than any Cessna 300/400 series aircraft?

    Thanks ahead of time for any and all information.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2021
  2. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I dated a Navajo once. She was pretty spendy too, very high maintenance. Moved onto another model soon thereafter.
     
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  3. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    If you want comfort and don’t need pressurization, a Navajo is going to be very hard to beat. I looked at them a lot before settling for a 310 as a first twin due to insurance obstacles. If not for insurance, I would have a Navajo. You sound like you won’t have that problem, but you will still need to consider the cost of annual simulator training and possibly a mentor pilot for a while.

    In executive configuration, a Chieftain doesn’t tend to have more seats than the short body versions. Just more cabinetry.

    I can’t tell you actual operating costs, but I got the impression they would be less than a pressurized Twin Cessna.
     
  4. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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  5. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    Some casual looking I did at the subject led me to the $500/hr range.
     
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  6. BladeSlap

    BladeSlap Pre-takeoff checklist

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    “I don’t order the off label stuff when I’m out with my lady, she’ll have a glass of your finest listerine”

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  7. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    I think you’re cost of ownership between a Navajo and a 414 will depend on lot on the airplane you buy. Some have impeccable maintenance and operators and some are used like tractors, fix it when it’s no longer usable. In close to 20 years of 400 series Cessna ownership, I think I had one minor pressurization issue and it was due to an avionics installation not sealing some bulkheads. Pressurization is nice, especially for longer trips.I flew to New Orleans on Saturday at 16,000 feet and back at 13,000 on Sunday. I didn’t like getting into a Navajo, the wing spar behind the cockpit made it awkward for me.
     
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  8. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    FWIW: You might look into getting a paid DOC report from Conklin & de Decker for a Navajo for some current values. But one of the main things with the Chieftains is to find one that hasn't been abused as so many were. I maintained one for about 18 months and found it to be reasonable to maintain even with the counter-rotating engines. However, that was a few years ago.
     
  9. ApacheWind

    ApacheWind Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks, I did't think insurance would be a big problem but it does seem like I should get quotes before I get too much deeper into the cabin classes.

    Thank would't be to bad. Did you get to that figure wet with OH cost per hour included?

    I really would like pressurization, we just don't need it. In your experience with Twin Cessnas, could 30-40K per year total cost flying a well maintained 340 be reasonable?

    Thanks for that! I will check that company out. I was hoping for any private owners to give insight to their yearly cost, but I will look at this company for sure. I hadn't heard of them before.
     
  10. Todd82

    Todd82 Line Up and Wait

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    When talking 400 series Cessna's beware of the geared engines in the 421/404. Lower TBO, more expensive, etc. From experience, you'll be budgeting north of $600/hr in those.
     
  11. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    A pressurized, 400 series Cessna will cost you a lot more in maintenance than will a Navajo.

    There is also a fair degree of difference in expense between a baby Navajo (PA-31-310) and a Chieftain (PA-31-350). The latter will burn 8-10 gph more than the former. The maintenance cost and longevity, or lack thereof, of the 350 hp engines is most of the difference. My first stint in Navajos was the 310 hp version and we burned about 33 gph for 180-185 KTAS. The useful load, without VG's, was just about 2,200 lbs. My second stint was Chieftains and we were burning 42-44 gph for about 165 KTAS. These aircraft had the VG's so about 2,500 lbs useful load. VG's and the extra weigh definitely slowed things down.

    The Navajos are great flying airplanes and surprisingly easy to work on. They are very stable instrument platforms. Very comfortable for the passengers, particularly with the club seating option.
     
  12. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    Yes, my $500/hr estimate was all-in.
     
  13. vcollazo

    vcollazo Filing Flight Plan

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    I share a PA31-310 with 2 partners. Our all in cost is about $500 or a little less per hour. We operate it LOP at cruise and burn 26 gph while cruising at 165 to 175 KTAS depending on load and altitude. With all 4 tanks we can go 900 NM with IFR reserves and 925 lbs of people and luggage. With mains full and outboards half full it is 720NM and 1120 lbs of folks and luggage.We ran our last set of engines to 2050 and 2360 hours. On teardown the engines showed little wear on the bearings and other major components, and we had replaced 3 cylinders (2 on right engine at about 2100 hrs and 1 on left at about 1900 hrs.) It cost us around $52,000 per engine to overhaul with new cylinders this past March. If you need more info please feel free to PM or email me lvcollazo@gmail.com.
     
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  14. kep5niner

    kep5niner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If your mission dictates a twin, get one. Pressurization gives you more options, but at the end of the day, getting into a twin for personal use means you need to have the flexibility and be ready for ??? for the budget.

    I’ve enjoyed ours, wouldn’t have anything less than a twin (UL, speed, etc), and have enjoyed all the years of ownership.
     
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  15. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    Navajos are very popular with the 135 crowd, so that makes it hard to find a nice example for sale, and if you do it will probably fetch a premium. But, they are awesome airplanes, and if you can afford one, I think you'll be very happy. Pressurization is nice, but it adds a lot of complexity and expense.
     
  16. vcollazo

    vcollazo Filing Flight Plan

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    Apache Wind, I did forget one thing. The only credible statistics I've ever fond for the SE vs ME accident argument comes from. WW II records of training losses. Pilots and their training were basically equivalent and losses were significantly higher for both the P47 and P51 compared to the P38.
     
  17. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Did you mean the other way around?
     
  18. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not picking on you at all, but I see this a lot. Can you explain to me the added expense and complexity of pressurization? I flew pressurized twin Cessnas for many years and had no problems at all. Except when I would forget to set the pressure for the destination altitude...
     
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  19. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    I’ve been flying pressurized Cessnas since 1994 and I’ve had one pressurization issue, other than that, no expense that I can think of. This is on 7 different airplanes. :D
     
  20. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    Perhaps not from the operational standpoint, but definitely on the maintenance side of things. Especially with an airplane that has been neglected.
     
  21. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I think the big issues happen on the 8th plane
     
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  22. vcollazo

    vcollazo Filing Flight Plan

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    I did mean the SE fighters did have a significantly higher loss rate in training than the P38s. In combat the P38s had a .2% higher loss rate.
     
  23. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    The singles in question were almost all tailwheel (airacobra being the outlier, and that one had other issues due to the CG placement of the mid mount engine) vs the P-38 being trike. As such, you're not in a position to establish causation as a function of the engine count during training in WWII. By the same WWII metrics one could say training was more dangerous than combat (numerically training was bloodier), and thence pilots should have been sent to fight with less flight training. Which again, would be a result of not understanding causation vs correlation.

    In closing, using WWII training data to argue for civil piston twin in 2021 is a complete non-sequitur.
     
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  24. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    Are you saying I need to stop with this one? :D:eek:
     
  25. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    totally up to you, 7th plane, 8th plane, no pressure.........................


    see what I did there?
     
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  26. vcollazo

    vcollazo Filing Flight Plan

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    I did consider the fact that the tail wheel were more dangerous on takeoff and landing which was partly offset by the lower reliability of the turbcharged Allison engines in comparison with P51 Rolls Royce engines, but the huge difference in losses is much more than could be explained by the tailwheel vs tricycle gear difference.
     
  27. Kristin

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    Maintaining the pressurization system, chasing leaks, and then every time you need to run lines in and out of the pressure vessel, you have to reseal and should be retesting the pressurization. It adds up. A pressurization test cart is something that most higher end shops have, but that means you are hobnobbing with turbine aircraft and paying the shop rates which they charge.
     
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  28. ApacheWind

    ApacheWind Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the information! I’ll be looking hard into the 310 Navajos for sure…I also appreciate how this thread turned a bit into a conversation about some classic WWII birds … if money were no option I would def get a B25 for my trips