Ownership anxiety, how did you prepare yourself? Need your advice.

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Chapel K., Nov 9, 2020.

  1. Chapel K.

    Chapel K. Pre-Flight

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    Always want to own an airplane. First secured finance and got my medical. Set up a schedule to learn and finally got my PP certificate at the end of Aug. Very excited. Started looking online and checking out some airplanes offline at local airports.

    This afternoon, when driving away from my local airport after meeting with a seller. Suddenly, I realized how little I know about what it takes to take care of the airplane. I had almost zero mechanical experience, except changing oil for my car, had no idea about all sorts of scheduled maintenance. I don't even know the proper name of different parts. And I will need to rent either a hangar or tie-down. When I was learning, the flight school took care of those airplanes. Soon, I will have to be the one ... taking care of my plane.

    I felt like expecting my first child! Lots of anxiety. Am I the only one?

    I would like to ask my fellow airmen here how you cope with issues like what helped you to reduce the anxiety and increase your preparedness? Who did you have to make friends with? What kind of professional assistance you have to get? Where did you find those resources?

    Thank you in advance!
     
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  2. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

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    Money will solve everything.:D

    Seriously though, join a local EAA chapter. They should be able to help with advice. Use them to find a good mechanic. Find an AI that will do owner assist annuals. This will allow you to get to know your plane and its systems. Even if you are the sort that just drops off at the AP and writes a check, you need to understand about the mechanics of your aircraft.
    There are a couple of books about aircraft ownership. Check Amazon.
     
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  3. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    This forum is as good a place to start as any to ask questions. :thumbsup:

    There are also "Type Clubs" for many of the makes, and even models, of airplanes. If you know what make and model of airplane you are thinking about buying, an online Type Club forum can be a place to ask more specific questions.

    If your mechanical knowledge about airplanes is embryonic you might want your first airplane to be one of the plentiful, simpler configurations that every maintenance shop out their knows how to work on. Perhaps any of the variety of Cherokees or 172/182s.

    Talk to the maintenance folks that keep the planes at your flight school in the air.

    You are on the right track to be asking these questions. Buying the airplane is the easiest part of becoming an owner.
     
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  4. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Money,a good mechanic and a good pre purchase can help ease your anxiety. Good luck.
     
  5. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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  6. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I joined a flying club when I started flying. It was a one plane four person group and the plane was an Archer. I learned so much during that time thanks to the owner who let me jump right in. I performed the owner assisted annual with the shop and really enjoyed getting my hands on everything, and asking questions. When we bought our first plane I was perfectly comfortable with what needed to be done, and keeping ahead of the maintenance by doing something new or updating every annual. With our new to us commander I participated in the pre-buy but due to this covid crap was not allowed in the shop for its first annual, I hope that will change by April.

    Others mentioned joining the local EAA group, that could really help with some hands on. Who do you know that flies? Maybe a local flight with a fellow pilot for eats, ask them questions, take the time to learn something every time you're around an aircraft.
     
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  7. MacFly

    MacFly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My plane is Experimental, so in addition to knowing what to do, I've also been learning how to do it...I got pretty comfortable with the basic in's and out's from reading a lot. There is a ton of such info all over the internet. Then my CFI transition trainer, who is a good friend and really smart guy about this stuff, helped me put it all into context. Still learning something every day.
     
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  8. AlleyCat67

    AlleyCat67 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It's easy to get the impression from this forum that every pilot is a born mechanic, who grew up repairing tractors and Piper cubs on the farm. But there are lot of folks (like me) who are not particularly mechanically inclined who still manage to own and operate their planes safely. The biggest thing is to find a good mechanic, who you trust and who has the patience to explain how the plane's systems work. Looking over the mechanic's shoulder when they perform an annual is a good way to learn about your plane too. Also, when I first bought my plane i made sure to hangar it at an airport with an A&P. That way I was never tempted to "explain away" some new noise or performance issue - I just taxi'd it to the A&P and asked if it was an issue.

    Also, start reading the listserv or forum for your aircraft type. You'll see certain problems crop up again and again - these are likely to be the most common issues for your airframe or engine. Then you can read up on those systems in particular.
     
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  9. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    If you can find a mechanic local to you to tend to the airplane you're ahead of the game. If you can get the mechanic to do a prepurchase inspection of your intended purchase better still. Someone knowledgeable should look over the aircraft before you buy it. A hangar is a really good idea if you can find one, otherwise you'll need somewhere to tie down your aircraft. And of course don't forget to call your insurance agent.

    The big problem with airplanes is most are quite old. As such it is always possible to have a catastrophic malfunction that costs big dollars. There is nothing whatsoever you can do to forestall this possibility. You just have to be prepared to write a big check.
     
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  10. Chapel K.

    Chapel K. Pre-Flight

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    I did form this sort of impression... lol.
    Found these two books! Appreciated. Reading now. For these who have Kindle Unlimited, they are actually for free!

    Reaching out to my local flying clubs.... Thanks!
     
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  11. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Just buy it.
    Then you will be forced to figure all that stuff out.

    Then you can tell us because we all just pretending to know.
     
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  12. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    Once you own you can start with simple stuff, even just checking psi then airing tires up. There are books, classes, then fellow pilots to ask about maintenance.

    If we have Oshkosh next Summer(should) there will be maintenance classes & briefs. I’m sure there are options closer to home.
     
  13. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    After I purchased my airplane (way long ago), I learned that nothing prepares you for purchasing and owning an airplane quite like, well, purchasing and owning an airplane.

    Good luck with the purchase. I absolutely loved owning (and flying) my airplane.
     
  14. Michael Marra

    Michael Marra Filing Flight Plan

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    Chapel K,

    Yes, felt the EXACT same way when I bought my plane 22 years ago....never looked back, and really still enjoy owning it!

    One of the smartest things I did was NOT buy the most airplane I could ACQUIRE, but the best airplane I could KEEP.

    Buying a plane is different from keeping a plane - sounds obvious, but those who own know what I am speaking about.

    My advice to anyone buying a plane is to:

    1. Do an honest analysis of how much plane you really need for what you can realistically afford and the flying you typically do. I looked at dozens of planes, and at the end of the day I realized I mostly flew solo or with one other person and bought a simple Cessna 150 for weekend flights to $100 hamburgers, fly-ins and short X-C's. List out your FIXED and VARIABLE costs to realistically budget for it.

    2. Do an annual (not a pre-buy) on the plane. There is no standard "pre-buy" but there are standards for an approved FAA annual from a disinterested party where they are signing it off and staking their reps. Sure, some people can still pencil-whip anything, but that is why YOU pick the A+P with YOUR interests in mind. Negotiate the findings of that annual into the final price, which may be significant. Have the annual include a complete forms review (all logs).

    3. Buy the plane and try to have a $5,000 reserve in the bank on top of the price, and earmark money going into that reserve every month. Stuff will break, and you will want to "fix" certain things for your new (to you) plane constantly. Estimate $1,000 annuals per year, as that is about the average after you add in the upgrades and things you want improved.

    4. Fly the plane enough to make it worth buying over renting. If you are flying less than 50 hours a year, you might want to consider simply renting. My goal is 100 hours a year to justify my ownership.

    5. Finally, find a network of fellow pilots/owners to bounce ideas off of and always look for varying perspectives on all maintenance, improvements, add-ons and extras. I look here on this site, my type club (Cessna 150) and my local flying club (EAA or The Keystone Flight) and the ubiquitous "airport bums" (I include myself in that group) for advice and assistance.

    Keeping it at 5 things...

    Chapel K, owning an airplane has been a fantastic life-changing experience for me. Most of my best friends are pilots and owners, and most of my most enjoyable time with family and friends is around planes and airports. If you even think you would like it, you will probably love it.

    Best wishes! Come drop into N94 at Carlisle sometime in your new plane and I will buy first round!

    Mike N714AJ
     

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  15. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    i dove in with both feet with my plane. i did my diligence best as I could, but there were a few more surprises that, as others have stated, were solved with money and time. It's very much like buying your first, second, third house....you don't know what you don't know, and wonder if this time it's going to hurt as you sign the mountains of paperwork. But in the end, it's your home. or in this case, it's your plane.

    I converted my plane to Experimental (E-LSA) and have been working on it, from avionics upgrade to mechanical updates. i know my plane inside and out, and it gives me a lot more confidence in it.

    Good luck with the purchase!
     
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  16. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I went with equity club route first to see what maintaining two planes entailed. Then I bought mine. And about 1.5yrs later I sold out of the club.

    Learned a lot during the club time. And enjoyed having the choice of 2, 4, or 6 seats for a while.
     
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  17. MacFly

    MacFly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yeah...that was me too. I just took a leap of faith, believing that I had the resources (intellectual and financial) to survive. I learned a few important lessons:
    1. buy an airplane and it is highly unlikely, no matter how diligent your pre-buy is, that it won't cost you money and time to deal with items that crop up in the first several hours after purchase
    2. airplane expenditures tend to come in aliquots of $1000
    3. Experimental aviation tends to be much cheaper than certificated aviaton
    I was fortunate in that I had a very knowledgeable friend as a transition instructor and all-around airplane guru. He saved me thousands and thousands of dollar in avionics work alone by either doing it for me or showing me how to do it. I highly recommend working hard to develop that kind of a relationship with someone. The opportunities for such savings are probably greater in the Experimental category, but such guidance would be a worthwhile thing to have no matter what category airplane you buy.
     
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  18. MacFly

    MacFly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A club as you describe would have been great, and might have made me go that route instead of outright purchase, but that option wasn't conveniently available to me in this location. There wasn't even an option for renting a plane for an overnight trip.
     
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  19. Chapel K.

    Chapel K. Pre-Flight

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    Greatly appreciated your detailed advice and invitation to N94. Will keep everyone posted as how my airplane ownership progresses.
     
  20. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    Go to your bank, take out large sum of money in 100 dollar bills. How large? That depends. Take out whatever you feel is large, then double it.

    Go home, get yourself a lawn chair.

    Sit and relax there while someone else set that large sum of money on fire.

    It’s important that you relax and watch the money burn into ashes and fly away and you are able to tell yourself .... man it’s sure a nice day to fly today.

    Once you are able to relax, you got your first lesson in aircraft ownership

    Someone already said, there are no problems that cannot be solved if you are throwing enough money at it. Works in real life too
     
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  21. Southpaw

    Southpaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I just jumped in with both feet . At age 80 I don't have time to mess around .

    Bought a Cessna 172 , 1959 vintage in December of 2019 .

    So far for hours flew its running $400 and hour . That's with the annual , fuel , flight instructor, hanger rent, insurance.

    Paid cash for the plane out of my "go to" fund.

    Insurance notice just came , 23 % increase ,which amounts to 13 % of the aircrafts value.

    I'm spending my children's inheritance.

    My wife died Friday , so it one of those "Time is of the essence" things . This dream is not going to stall now. :)
     
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  22. Chapel K.

    Chapel K. Pre-Flight

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    Am truly sorry for your loss.


    Appreciated your sharing your experience with your c-172 which I flew a number of times during my VFR training. Love your attitude. Nothing can stop aviators' dreams.
     
  23. Doctor Bob

    Doctor Bob Filing Flight Plan

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    I’m on my 3rd plane. Out grew the first one, second one was too expensive to justify my casual aimless flying, and this one (an LSA) has been perfect....for now. Realize your missions may change and your plane might too. I kept my planes in tip top shape and they both sold to the first caller for top dollar. My planes always went up in value. Did I make money when you consider all the costs of ownership? Most likely not. But, who cares? I had fun. When you go on vacation, go to that sporting event, or golf, nobody makes money. You do it because it is fun and makes working worth it. What good is money if you can’t enjoy some of it? I have no regrets with any money I have spent on aviation.

    Buy a plane. If it is not for you, then sell a plane. Not much to think or worry about.
     
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  24. Charles Baetz

    Charles Baetz Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for asking this as I to am looking for this same information.