Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by allPrimes, Oct 11, 2020.
Apparently I bought a single use, disposable airplane.
I belonged to clubs for 25 years before I bought so I had the opportunity to fly various makes and models. I recommend club flying just for the exposure to different aircraft. You will also get a feeling for the maintenance and costs of various aircraft. As far as missions go, most of my flying was boring holes in the sky or short weekend trips so something to fill that niche was needed. I also wanted backcountry capability. The wife wanted at least three seats so we could take our daughter with us. Of course I had a budget to work within too. So after deliberating between a 180 HP C172, a Hawk XP and a C182 I decided on a 180 HP C172. I definitely didn't overbuy, so far it has worked out well!
In my 20s while working a well paid IT job, I had no desire to fly - I was a military “fallen angel” - mother died and after coming back no flying for me. Sucked. Planes on TV? Switch the channel.
A coworker wanted to learn and I got suckered into helping her learn and purchase. Long story short? Sure, I can split a 172 with her for the paltry money it was to finance it. Whatever. It was after 9/11, insurance rates were astronomical, schools were dumping planes, and the price was right for a near-run out, original panel 172M. Our flying club IA helped put new glass on it all around, and refresh the carpet. We paid 30k for it, 25k financed, about $250 a month split two ways plus tiedown and maintenance. I spent more on some dinners, and fiscal responsibility was never my strong suit. The mission was recreational flying, no more than 2 95% of the time. Weight and balance? What’s that?
First year she put in less than 30 hours on the 172. i, the reluctant non-flier, found myself putting 300 hours into that airplane. At 105 knots, time goes awful slow...the mission became commuting to places for work in less time - quality of life. June Gloom in Southern California demanded IFR flying, specially when home base was right next to LAX at HHR.
My good instructor friend said...Mooney. Speedy, economical. Ok. I bought the 172 from my friend and it was all mine- sell it, find a J model, carry the two...finding a 201 proved daunting and my budget was no more than 70/75k. 150/155, a couple more gallons fuel burn, waaaay more range, yeah.
The only person that had a Molney during my 5 month search was a broker in San Diego. It was a K model, but at $169k. that was well above my budget. A fancy, brightly colored turbo, older avionics and I had no experience with a plane that different- let alone budget.
Over several months the broker and I became friends. The plane was actually a probate plane and no one wanted to take a chance in paying for an annual on a plane they didn’t own; the wife was spending zero. End result, I bought the plane for a little over 80k...I just never sold the Cessna. “It was cheaper to fly” and “didn’t cost much.”
I moved to the Midwest. The cessna and the mooney both came. I covered 14 states and the Mooney was far more convenient than a commercial flight many times. By a long shot. Chicago to Minneapolis? No contest. I flew in snow, landed in it; learned to avoid freezing rain. Flying cross country taught me to love Xm weather and my stormscope. My MX20 and my 696 became good friends. Did the turbo help? Sure. Not cheap...and when the mooney was grounded? I flew the crap out of that 172. Rainstorms? Yup- threaded those needles. “Moderate” turbulence? Lol sure. “Braking action: poor”? That will send chills down my spine in the future on a frozen runway.
Mechanics hand tightening spark plugs? Thank you JPI. Bad valves? Thanks JPI. Impending engine issues? All day.
I owned half of an L39 for a while. Good news bad news. Whatever. Totally frivolous purchase and enjoyment.
Both planes are paid off. I upgraded the 172 by doing an owner assisted HSI / sl30/ MX20/GX60 - I almost installed an autopilot but didn’t . I’m in the middle of building the harness for a hand-me-down GNS480/GMX200/GDL88. Avionics install costs are...obscene. I can pin, lace test and troubleshoot as well as an avionics shop. I’ll be swapping out the Gtx330 for a gtx345 in the mooney and upgrade to a JPI 830.
Flying missions and budgets are interesting. Some people are disciplined about it, and to them its recreation - to others of us it becomes a lifestyle. I guess our budgets adjust accordingly.
Flying doesn’t have to be expensive. How necessary is it? How solid and inflexible is our mission? But when you’re flying and you have an emergency, be it a blown vacuum pump in IMC, a mechanic that screwed up and now you have a real emergency, you failed to notice the wasp nest in your air vent and now they’re awake, you just got socked in and and and ...can you really and genuinely overpurchase certain things?
I bought my plane specifically to fly to and from the Bahamas.
Requirements were that it had to be able to hold 4 adults and go to from my home airport to the Bahamas, and back to clear customs in FL on a tank of fuel. That narrowed the plane choices down to a C210 and a Cherokee 6.
The Cherokee 6 won out because of purchase price as well as MX costs.
I have never flown my Cherokee 6 at under gross weight on initial departure to the islands.
So, I turbo charge V35 is not too much for short hops to the coast for crabs?
Pretty much spot on for me with a SR22, although there are other planes that would fit the bill. We travel via general aviation as much as we can, plus I do Angel Flight missions. Even with the kids out of college I fill 3 seats regularly with Angel Flight. Just this past weekend our youngest daughter joined us on a weekend trip, so we had 2 for half of the flying and 3 for the other half, plus plenty of luggage.
I'd love a SETP, but it's just well out of our budget. My wife would enjoy it too, until she saw the bills.
Hey....the wifie needs her crabs .....live...and fast. lol
I have never in my life had the resources to obtain the aircraft that meets my mission and I never will.
Two words: Private sector.
I had planned to overbuy, but never got around to it. My first plane was a 160 HP PA-28-161 with a 665 lb full-fuel useful load. I flew that at max gross on a lot of family trips (not in the western mountains, of course), with full tanks and two parents, two kids, baggage, and Border Collie on board, and it served us well. I was worried what would happen when my kids grew to adult size, and toyed around with the idea of getting a PA-32 or PA-24 to haul the extra weight. But it turns out that once your kids are adult-sized in their mid teens, they don't all want to come on the same family trip together any more. I'd fly one daughter (and sometimes a friend) back and forth to university, another daughter down to Boston for Red Sox games, my spouse out to see her cousins, etc. but the plane never had more than 3 people in it any more (my dog, sadly, passed in 2014 at the fine age of 17).
So now, 18 years later, I still have my first plane. Most of the time, it's just me in it. For cross-country, it flies 124 KTAS at 8,000 ft DA and 75% power burning 7.5–8 gph LOP-WOT, or 6 gph down low at 55% power pottering along at 95 KIAS (about the same KTAS near the ground), sightseeing. I'm on countdown to retirement, and very happy that I have a simple plane that I can afford to operate, but that's still practical for flying to the Canadian Maritimes, NYC, Boston, DC, Toronto, etc etc when I want to make a trip from Ottawa. I have no regrets about ignoring the advice to buy a plane for tomorrow instead of today, because the "tomorrow" I'd imagined never happened.
I did, with an “*”.
I bought a 182, primarily because my perceived mission was frequent family trips with a wife and two growing kids.
what I ended up doing most of the time was flying solo, with one child, or with a buddy. A 172 would’ve easily done 95% of my missions.
But, the “*”.
About 3-4 times/year, we’d fly to my parents’ place. With a 172, my fuel load would’ve been minimal. My only rental option (at the time) would’ve been a 205 (he now has a 182).
Between daily minimums and the time we’d spend there (3-4 days), renting for the 1% would’ve been close to, if not the same as, the standalone cost owning my 182. In the end, it was a similar cost to over-buy for my standard use, to be able to use the same airplane for the infrequent but required mission.
understood - I ended up removing them, increased useful load (woohoo!), and got an insurance reduction (sent the insurance company a copy of the log entry)
My rule for non essentials is "don't borrow." I saved up to buy my PA-28-161 in 2002, saved up to install a simple autopilot in 2011, and saved up to install an IFR GPS and ADS-B transponder in 2017, while also paying for two kids to get through university (fortunately, tuition in Canada is a lot less expensive). Now I'm thinking about saving for new paint and interior.
I could never have justified putting my family into debt just to fund a personal hobby. Debt is for mortgages, short-term cashflow (stuff you're going to fully repay in a month or two), or unforeseen emergencies.
Interesting....I look at mine as a retirement investment account. I started with $60K back in 2005. This is what we have now.
When I can no longer fly....it will be sold and there's another $100K or so for retirement or the widow.
I started powered flying with a PA-28-161. While it was a great airplane and taught me a lot, early experience with IFR showed me it just didn't have the performance I wanted for safety and utility. I moved to a C182 and love the attributes of that airplane. I could have saved myself some substantial money by going right for the 182, and if I were doing it again, I'd go for that. Considering that the PA-28-161 and 182 don't have a substantially different Mx profile, the additional fuel burn, higher purchase cost, and higher overhaul (prop+6cylinder) are the only cost considerations.
But I totally agree with the above, don't put yourself in debt for airplanes. They WILL cost more than you expect, and you don't want a payment hanging over your head in addition.
Did I overbuy? Yes and no. The plane fits my mission perfectly... but not my wallet. Getting the plane sorted has been and still is a headache. I've probably got another year before she's in 100% shape of where I want it and it's been a financially difficult 3 years to get it where it is now. There was a swept tail 172 converted to tailwheel that I rented all the time. In hindsight my life probably would have been significantly less stressful during those years had I bought that instead.
Now that I'm almost through the bulk of the pain, I'm glad I have this plane, and it fits my mission perfectly. The 172 would have gotten me 75% there, but the 180 does 100%... since I never plan to sell the plane I'm sure it will all have been worth it... but still getting there.
As I finished my PPL, I kept a spreadsheet and a list. The list was trips that I took by car and wished I had a plane or that I canceled but could have taken in a plane. The spreadsheet had rows for destinations and columns for different airplanes, with the cells being the one-way trip time for the combination of destination and airplane.
My conclusion was that my mission at that time called for a 4-seat plane at least 130 KTAS and as affordable to operate as possible. So when an Arrow became available, I wasted no time buying it. I am selling the Arrow now, about 4 years and 400 hours later, simply because my mission has changed to needing more speed and either fewer or more seats. The Arrow has been very good for fine-tuning and understanding my mission. The new owner will be doing the same thing as he finishes his PPL and spreads his wings.
The mission redefining has been mostly flying solo (thank you to @EricBe's MyFlightBook app for letting me quickly find out how many flights I have had N passengers) so a plane that is faster and more efficient with fewer seats was a better fit. Thus, I've spent almost 3 years building an RV-14 and I am nearing first flight. That plane will go 30-50 knots faster than the Arrow on the same fuel burn and less maintenance costs, plus more fun.
Then, one of my main family destinations moved from 230 nm to 1100 nm away, with miserable airline service on both ends. Mix in a pandemic, and suddenly my family's margins of agony between commercial and private air travel have narrowed considerably, so I am also shopping for a plane that will haul 4 adults and maybe a couple kids at 170+ knots.
A lot of planes will work for that mission-defining role. Any of the Cherokees, a 172 or 182, a Mooney, a Bonanza, or any of a dozen other types. A couple hundred hours in, you'll better understand your mission. It's like a Honda Accord, the car you buy when you don't know what kind of car you need. It will do most things well enough to get used, help you see what you really need, and be easy to sell when you're ready to get into something else.
Owned a Tiger for 10 years. My son and I flew everywhere. My wife was only on maybe 5 of those trips and I only loaded all 4 seats a single time. After the last 2 years flying mostly solo, I decided on the RV7A for speed. My buddy says I should've just got the single seat RV3 instead as most of my flights are solo now that my son is off to college. Wife will fly on local flights over the city but doesn't want to do long XC.
Owning any airplane is almost certain to increase the complexity of one's life. I think for some people the perceived rewards don't offset that effort and the airplane ends up languishing in a hangar or at a tie-down, not being flown.
I've really enjoyed every airplane I've owned. But each progression from the first, very basic Cherokee 160 confirmed that the more capable the airplane the more often I used it. You may find the same...the 172 is a great airplane, but the material extra capability of the 180 may end up allowing you/taking you places further afield and into different terrain and territory than you might have tackled with the 172.
I'm at the age and stage in life where even though I may lust for more speed and more altitude, the Aztec is the culmination of my journey for the cross country flying I do. And somewhere in the years ahead as I inevitably reduce the distance and frequency of those longer flights, I expect the more basic VFR only, low and slow will come to dominate - sort of closing the circle.
My airplane has one mission, to have fun. Mission accomplished.
Just make sure they are small cups and only half full
That's my story now. The long cross-countries are almost history, but I still enjoy local $100 hamburger flights and occasional trips to Palm Springs, L.A., Lake Tahoe, etc. for a long weekend.
Good point—it has a lot to do with where you fly. If I lived near the mountains or at high elevation, I definitely would have considered something more powerful like a C-182 or PA-28-235. Fortunately, in eastern Canada and the northeastern/midwestern US, 160 horses can get the job done even in hard IMC with a full load.
Beautiful plane! I'm sure you've gotten more far more than $60K worth of enjoyment out of it.
But if it were strictly a retirement investment, $100K on a $60K initial investment after 20 years would be about 2.5% ROI, so not a great investment even if you didn't have to pay to maintain it. If you figure in $5K or so you're spending on maintenance and engine reserve every year just to keep it from losing value (I'm leaving out variable usage-based costs like fuel, oil, hangar, etc), then it's a -3.5% ROI.
Best think of it as a hobby with a refundable deposit at the end, rather than an investment, or the numbers get depressing fast.
ya but....that doesn't sound as good.
Hard to say. If I had bought more, I could travel farther, faster, but the cost of insurance, operation, maintenance and training would be significantly more. I might have had time to use the extra capability, but given the demands of my career pre-retirement, maybe not. I'm pretty happy with my AA-5 as is. Well-equipped for IFR, new engine and interior, and 7.5-8.0 gph and affordable for insurance and maintenance for convenient regional travel, +/- 500 nm @ 115 kt. Still better than driving, and one can go farther afield as long as one is not in a big hurry. I'm retired, so hurry is not essential anymore. As I get older, this will be an easy-to-operate ride for travel and pleasure. Plus it's completely paid off in every respect, so all the better.
Or maybe an RV8 "just in case" you talk someone into flying with you.
Funny, my wife is the opposite. If I'm flying for fun, she'll tell me to have fun and she'll see me later. If we're going on a trip she's ready to go.
I may have. I bought a 91 AG5B Tiger. Fixed pitch prop, a sliding canopy, welded down landing gear, the epitome of a simple plane. 90% of my time is solo. The other 10% is with my spouse. Backseats have never been sat in until recently when I took my 2 granddaughters for a taxi ride around the airport. I think a lot depends on your family situation and whether you have over-bought. My wife likes to fly if we have some place to go, but out here in the PNW, there are not a lot of $100 or even $300 lunch/breakfasts runs, especially with COVID. When my children were younger, sports activities would have prevented them from traveling along with their size - both boys were near 300lbs and well over 6’2” and there is no way they would fit in most GA aircraft. Still, I like the flexibility that I have. I can go virtually anywhere with full tanks and all the luggage the plane will hold (and with the back seat down, that’s a lot) and not have to worry too much about weight and balance.
I bought a Tiger, trained and got my PPL. It was, for that time of the mission, perfect and I planned to keep it forever. Hail storm while tied down voted differently and I was back in the market. Tigers are obscenely priced and I was a little underinsured. Bought a J35 Bonanza I am training on now for insurance requirements. Faster, more complex, challenging and great useful load. Heck of a lot more to insure.
Overbuy, I doubt it. Hard to define however. None of us would die without a plane, but the same could be said about sex or a 100 other enjoyable things. Pick your passions and pursue them. I’m careful about retirement and save a lot but I had a neighbor die 14 days after his last day at work. Enjoy life now also.
I had a remarkably similar story.
With a recently minted PPL, I had been kicking tires on C210s and stopped in the Mooney factory in Kerrville so a new 201 was most likely my future. But I wound up locating to a small town which had a Piper dealer. The sage old owner of the dealership had me pegged for this beautiful new 1980 Archer with basic IFR and autopilot that he probably had ferried to his FBO for my benefit without my knowledge. The Mooney would have been great, but the Archer was probably right on the money for me. Fast forward 40 years later, I still own it and it is perfect for my pre and post retirement.
And this airplane has been flown solo and with a growing family of 4 on many long X-countries at full gross and at a cruise of 125-130kt. These flights included Connecticut to Florida, the Bahamas, New Orleans, Dallas, Steamboat Co., Rapid City, Minneapolis, and Prince Edward Island. As empty nesters, it has flown to Anchorage and back.
While in the middle of that growing family, I was looking at Saratogas for increased speed, load and sexy retractable gear but never pulled the trigger. Then new paint and a new engine rebuild a few years back and then transformative avionics including an Aspen with GPSS, G430W, Stormscope, fuel flow and engine monitor have really modernized it and further made it even a more enjoyable traveler.
So don’t ignore those with more experience who may know better than you what would work well. And that Saratoga I passed up was never missed when my family requirements were to change a few short year later. So color me very happy. And if you really need sexy or exhilaration, with the money you have saved from not overbuying, consider renting an aerobatic airplane and fly it in IAC competitions as I had also done.
I can get 167 knots out of the RV7A, the RV8 will easily get 175+. I don't get a passenger often, but it's nice to be able to look at them when your talking (rather than tandem). My buddy has an RV8 and I do love like that plane, but got used to being able to set things on the passenger seat on long XC (can't even reach the rear seat in the RV8).
My wife has flown quite a bit, but basically is tired of turbulence, wants to get there fast if it's more than an hour by air (i.e. southwest frequent flyer points). Now with Covid and that she has a new vehicle, she wants to DRIVE (uggh!).
I put nearly 700 hours in my previous Tiger, loved it. Just looked at Barnstormers and the other sites and the Tigers are priced VERY high now. The RV6's are about 20k above what they were when I bought my RV7 two years ago ... can't believe prices are HIGHER during Covid and decreased employment.
I guess it makes sense in retrospect, but one of the biggest surprises for me during the pandemic was that used airplane demand (and prices) went up rather than down, even as students were exiting flight training in droves because of the diminishing career opportunities.
Our flight school just bought two more trainer 172s and the place is BUSY like the old days with 4-5 students in the pattern on weekend mornings ...
I get it. I like my wife up front with me. And like you, I use the front seat for stuff when I'm solo, or when I have Angel Flight passengers in the back seats. I just meant an RV8 might be better than a RV3, just because there is another seat if needed, not better than your RV7.
My wife has tolerated my flying passion well. While we are not living in fear we are being careful. She did fly commercial in July to Rapid City to meet me, but has also been much more in favor of flying private now than before. Previously she'd push for commercial as it's more "reliable", we had two mx issues with rental planes a few years ago, dealt with them, but it as a hassle. Now she's all onboard with flying in our SR22. This past weekend with COPA folks at Migration-lite (a dozen couples that kept their hotel reservations after Migration was canceled) they talked about the next Migration at Scottsdale next year. She thought it would be a good idea to go; we live in Atlanta (1,361.5 nm in a straight line). "I guess we could fly commercial if we have to." I was thinking, "Who are you and what did you do with my wife?" I like flying, but that's a lot of flying. Time wise that would be like flying back from Europe on Delta.
Most of the unemployment has been at the lower income levels. Not all of it, but most. The stock market is back and higher, in general. Interest rates are low and houses are selling like mad. People that have assets have money to buy planes. Depending upon the asset level that's a Tiger / SR22 / SETP / jet.
Our Flying Club (not like a U.S. flying club; more like a big non-profit FBO and flying school) also got busy. Again, not what I would have predicted. I guess there are enough commercial students who were in aviation for the love of it, rather than (what seemed to be until last February) a guaranteed job. Or else they'd already spent so much that they figured they'd go ahead and finish.
O_O The useful load on that thing is bonkers!
Length 22' 4" 6.8 m
Wingspan 26' 4" 8.02 m
Height 7' 10" 2.4 m
Cabin width (interior) 43.5" 1.1 m
Wing area 110 sq ft 10.2 sq m
Aspect ratio 6.4
Empty weight* 1279 lb 600 kg
MTOW (Normal) 2756 lb 1250 kg
MTOW (Utility) 2160 lb 1080 kg
MTOW (Aerobatic) 1746 lb 792 kg
Std fuel option 64 gal 242 l
Extended Fuel option 106 gal 400 l
Useful load (Normal)* 1430 lb 650 kg
Baggage capacity Excessive!
What a beautiful airplane.
At one point a good number of years ago, I looked into the building of the Falco. Unfortunately, I am a kit lurker who will probably never find the time to build one, and this one I ultimately dismissed. The aerobatic capability was probably one of the big attractions.
With the maximum fuel tankage option the range is an almost unbelievable:
I didn't go over, and I can't say I went under. I didn't really have a specific mission other than to enjoy a personal airplane and take it on small short trips with friends, and to visit family. Main use within FL. I think there are times I always wish I had something faster to make going somewhere further away a little more realistic, however I never had a specific mission and I still don't, therefore I don't think I under or overbought. I think if I had the means and did it again I may get something faster, but its absolutely not necessary because most of my flying is just local joy flights and I personally feel my 182 is the perfect airplane for that!
My first aircraft was a J-3. how do you over buy one of those?