Phoenix Valley experience and help

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by aterry1067, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Oh Geesss...not another "What airplane for me" thread!!!!

    Howdy folks. I am currently getting my PPL cert and looking forward to my first airplane purchase. I'm training in a 172, as most everyone else has done, and while it's a fine airplane for training, I find that it just isn't quite wide enough for my......girth.

    Thus, I am currently looking to experience several different aircraft. The two airplanes that have garnered the most interest are the 177 Cardinal and the Commander. Those two appear to be well known for their cabin comfort, and that is the part that is of utmost importance to me. I am happy to sacrifice a few knots cruise speed for comfort, and a pilot side door. That said, I could deal with a single door if I got a ridiculous deal on something, but if I am buying what I want, then I am going to have a pilot side door.

    So I am looking for some help here, in experience and knowledge, both of which the site seems to have an abundance. If anyone is in the Phoenix valley that has a Commanche, Socata TB-10, 20, or 21, Cardinal, Commander, Archer, 182, Arrow, etc etc etc, I'd be happy if you'd let me come out and poke around your airplane...look at it, feel of it, smell of it, and I'd be more than happy to fill the tanks for a few flights around the flag pole if you're up for that (you as PIC of course....).

    My ultimate goal is to build an RV-9, 10 or 14 to my specs. But for now I need something with "economy size" seats and cabin to fit my "economy size" a$$.


    Any and all help, advice, comments, opinions, and tribal knowledge is greatly appreciated. Please bear with me in my time of newbness, until I can become an official pilot and gain all the knowledge of an official old-timer.

    Thanks and Cheers.
     
  2. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Sundowner?
     
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  3. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    I guess PA-32 is out. :)

    what part of the valley? We live downtown-ish and keep our plane at Goodyear
     
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  4. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I doubt an RV-9 is a good choice for a wider person.

    The reference to "economy size ass" is being used incorrectly. Economy seats are always narrower. In the movie Swingers they refer to a female person as "business class" because she wouldn't fit in economy. (I'm not endorsing the use of the expression, just passing that bit along)

    Now then, Cardinal would be a fine choice. I am a former Cardinal owner. I think a 182 would also be plenty comfortable.

    Another option for you is to get comfy flying from the Right seat. Nothing prevents you from doing so in your own plane.

    Commander - nice planes. Sometimes maintenance will drive you away. Not that they are less reliable, but there is anecdotal information about parts availability.

    [Rob just recommended against a Vans aircraft. What is the world coming to?]
     
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  5. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    That too! But I don’t see those pop up for sale very often.
     
  6. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Nope! Not ruling anything out at this point. Lol.

    I live in northern Glendale near Deer Valley area. KDVT and KGEU is about equal distance for me, but I work closer to KGEU so that’s where I will most likely be based.
     
  7. Eldorado

    Eldorado Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don’t know what would beat a 177, for a variety of reasons. 2 doors, low sitting, high wing to block the sun and rain, good reliable and economical engine, good resale. That would be my first choice. Agree the RV’s are pretty tight fit for two. Fine for one person.
     
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  8. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    PRO Tip: Never allow your wife/s.o. to sit in a PA-32/PA-34 unless you are prepared to buy one.
     
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  9. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Commander - in Phoenix do some density altitude takeoff calcs, especially for the airports up north in the summer.

    Our club considered one, but running the numbers for a departure in the summer from GCN put a bullet in it.
     
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  10. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Line Up and Wait

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    As far as I can tell, there are no ridiculous deals on any planes right now, so, don’t plan on that part. PA32 is the widest most comfortable cabin I’m aware of in the piston-GA world, but only one door up front. Cessna 205s, P206s, and 177s all have double doors up front and about the next best shoulder width.
     
  11. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    A person on this board owned a Commander. After taking off from Prescott on a warm day, he got rid of the Commander.
     
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  12. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Lol. “Business class”....I like it. Thanks!

    Thanks for the info.
     
  13. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for the heads up. Do you know which model? Would a TC turbo make a difference?
     
  14. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    it sounds nice for sure. But that is a whole lot of airplane for two people, and the occasional 3rd. Would you say it is a reasonable platform for no flights of more than 3 people?
     
  15. Snowmass

    Snowmass Line Up and Wait

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    Read Doctor Atkins book and then any airplane will be fine.
     
  16. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    my wife and I find a 6-place makes a GREAT plane for two plus two small dogs plus a little luggage. Occasionally we take a friend, too. F0BFC925-86B1-4278-8FDF-2CE1FE2582CC.jpeg
     
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  17. av8orDave

    av8orDave Filing Flight Plan

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    A Cardinal owner here... the pros and cons, in my opinion:

    Pros:
    - As a few have mentioned, the doors are huge and offer very easy in/out access relating to width. Note that as a high-wing plane, you're still ducking down to miss the wing on entry/exit.
    - The cabin is quite wide for a 4-place GA aircraft.
    - For a high-wing Cessna, they are low-slung and look pretty good!
    - Most maintenance is relatively cheap and can be performed by most any A&P (there's nothing super-special about a Cardinal).
    - The Cardinal has a very active group of owners that are willing to help with nearly any question that could come up (Cardinal Flyers Online).
    - A bit more to play with than in a 172 (180hp, constant speed prop, cowl flaps, etc).
    - I suppose no wing strut makes the list... overall the Cardinal has exceptional visibility for a high-winged plane.
    - It's just uncommon enough to get an avgeek excited. No one ever says "Oh, cool, a Skyhawk!", but it is pretty rare for my wife and I to land in Anytown, USA and not have a person or two comment on seeing the Cardinal.

    Cons:
    - Let's face it... it is basically a 172. The performance difference is pretty marginal.
    - Get a good pre-buy. There are a number of value affecting items out there (the carrythrough spar, bent/wrinkled firewalls, etc).
    - Having said the item above, finding a "good" plane can be a bit of a challenge.

    Good luck with finding the perfect plane for you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
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  18. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    Grumman Tiger. The answer to every question that isn't answered by Bonanza.
     
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  19. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Thanks! I will definitely keep it in mind.
     
  20. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Thank you for this valuable insight!
     
  21. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Thanks! I really like the Tiger and would love to check one out. From my limited perspective though, there seems to be a rather sparse supply. I feel the same about the Socata.
     
  22. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I have a Cardinal and heartily endorse them for this sort of mission. It is based at KFFZ and I am happy to take you for $100 hamburger run or just have you come by for a look. Just PM me.

    Alternately you could join Cardinal Flyers Organization and look in the member directory or ask in the online forum as I believe there are several based at KDVT.
     
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  23. av8orDave

    av8orDave Filing Flight Plan

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    I'd second the recommendation to join Cardinal Flyers... it really is a standout amongst aviation organizations dedicated to a type. I'd also point out that their president provides services to locate and get a quality pre-buy when looking for a Cardinal. They also have an active classifieds section, which can be helpful when looking for a plane.
     
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  24. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    The supply is there, just not a willingness to sell all the time. Cheetahs are also underrated.
     
  25. Kal Ma

    Kal Ma Pre-Flight PoA Supporter

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    Does donwtownish mean central Phoenix? I live around Roosevelt.
     
  26. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Thank you. I’d be happy to take you up on that offer in the near future. I recently joined CFO, and am learning a lot.
     
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  27. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Thanks. I recently joined CFO and will be reading intently for the foreseeable future. Everything is leaning to a Cardinal, but for sure, @Rgbeard has been making a great argument for the PA-32.
     
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  28. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    Central and Camelback area.
     
  29. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Also of note for the new people here, we are tentatively planning a fly-in breakfast meetup at Marana (KAVQ) for Friday, Dec. 18, arrivals starting at 10:30 AM. I will start a separate thread also about 2 weeks before.
     
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  30. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I will plan on bringing my Cardinal RG to Marana.
     
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  31. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    My secret: the Cardinal is on my list of planes that I would love to fly in at least once.. RG or not, I simply want to experience one. I think they’re great looking.
     
  32. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Well, of course you can come out and have a ride in mine. If you want, you can fly down to Marana with me.
     
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  33. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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  34. Kal Ma

    Kal Ma Pre-Flight PoA Supporter

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    Are you in the cloudbusters club in Az? Wanted to know the experience with that or any other club in Phoenix. Thanks
     
  35. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Phoenix Flyers

    Awesome club. It’s basically them and Cloudbusters as the only two non-profit clubs in the valley.

    I think cloudbusters is OK, but they’ve had a lot of “incidents” (pilot related. Planes are fine), and I think insurance is a bit challenging for them, especially retracts.