Purchase Cessna 150 or Cherokee 140?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by ujocka, Dec 5, 2018 at 8:04 PM.

  1. ujocka

    ujocka Filing Flight Plan

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    I am looking to purchase my first plane. I currently have CPL/SEL/MEL/IR. My mission is purely the enjoyment of flight, and to build hours in the process in the most economical way.

    Criteria:

    -No more than $25k for purchase.
    -VFR only preferred (simplicity and less to maintain)
    -Tricycle gear only
    -Parts easily available and affordable
    -Speed is not a major factor
    -Based in FL
    - Will be tied down outside ($60 vs $450/mo for community hangar near me)
    - I'm 5'9 and 175lbs
    - Most flights solo with an occasional passenger.
    -Metal aircraft only (No fabric/wood)
    -Most flights would be 2-3 hour roundtrip hamburger runs and sightseeing at small airports.

    I originally was set on a Grumman AA1 or a Cessna 150, but keep reading that for the same money and maintenance expense a Cherokee 140 would be a better buy.

    Is a Cherokee 140 truly the same operating expense as the Cessna 150? At the very least I know the fuel burn is slightly higher. I just find it hard to believe that apples to apples maintenance on an O-200 could be the same as the O-320.

    Are Cherokee 140 parts as easy to find and priced comparably to the C-150?

    I really like the Grumman, but ruled them out because I don't like the much higher stall speed and glide ratio like an F-16.

    I am not a CFI, and my full-time career doesn't afford me the time to go that route. Owning would allow me to seize the opportunity to fly at the drop of a dime when work permits.

    I was the president of a flying club for several years, but unfortunately the scheduling and commute to the nearest one wont work anymore.

    I have time in Cherokee 180/C-152/C-172 and 1 flight in an AA-5 so I am familiar with how they all fly.

    If there is any additional info I can provide please let me know.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018 at 9:05 PM
  2. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    Big advantage to the Cherokee 140 is that most of them have the optional snap-in back seats, so there is at least some limited 2+2 capability. The front seats are a lot roomier than the C-150, also.

    The Cherokee carries a lot more fuel than the C-150 (50 gal. vs. 22.5), and it's capable of cruising considerably faster, though at a higher fuel burn. On the other hand, you could throttle the Cherokee back to 60% power and cruise at pretty much the same speed and fuel burn as a C-150.

    Having owned both, I found the Cherokee's Lycoming O-320 engine to be more trouble-free and easier to maintain than the C-150's Continental O-200. Parts availability should be no problem with either airplane. The Cherokee's systems are only slightly more complex (engine-driven and auxiliary electric fuel pumps and two more oleo struts; but simpler manual flaps).

    So all else being equal I favor the Cherokee for the mission you describe, but when shopping for 40+ year-old airplanes, all else (maintenance history, airframe and engine times, equipment, aesthetics, etc) is rarely equal. If you find a great deal on a well-maintained 150 that has everything you need, that might be the way to go, I've done both, and didn't regret either one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 12:03 AM
  3. Dana

    Dana Line Up and Wait

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    Personally I found the Cherokee 140 to be dull and sluggish handling compared to the C-150. But why rule out taildraggers? Get your tailwheel endorsement and lots of other options become available. Don't rule out a used experimental, either, if maintenance expense is a concern, performance will also likely be better than any factory built plane in the same class.
     
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  4. Old97

    Old97 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Cherokee based on comfort. Range is better as well if you actually have to go somewhere. I definitely prefer the better sightlines from the cabin, especially in the pattern.
     
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  5. ujocka

    ujocka Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you for the replies. Your insight as a previous owner of both planes helps tremendously. I am leaning heavily toward the Cherokee over the 150, for the reasons you stated (extra seating/baggage, etc). Especially if they can be operated at about the same expense (except fuel burn)

    Interesting that you found the O-320 easier to maintain than the O-200. I wonder if that is the general consensus when comparing them or if that was particular to the condition of both of yours.

    What is typical real world cruise on the Cherokee 140? I used to get 118 from the Cherokee 180.

    I'm really not interested in tailwheel, as I want to keep my flying as simple as I can and insurance to a minimum.

    If there are any experimentals that meet all of my above criteria, please let me know. I am not interested in building though.

    If anyone else has any additional insight I'd appreciate the opinions.

    Thanks again
     
  6. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    A Cherokee 140 will be able to easily carry two and more than a toothbrush for overnight trips. Not so for two seaters.

    FWIW, the glide ratio of an AA1A is 8:1, not significantly different than any other light single. It just glides faster. I built over 400 hours in 4 years in an AA1A immediately after getting my PPL. Most fun plane ever for barging around for burgers. The O235-C2C is a very robust engine, and sips 6 gph at 108 kt. Maintenance of the AA1X series is really simple. The only downside of the two seaters are they are a bit short legged on fuel.
     
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  7. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

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    Plus, you can open the canopy.
     
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  8. ujocka

    ujocka Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you for the clarification on the glide ratio. The stall speed, approach speed, and best glide speed were what concerned me most. While obviously not fast, they are significantly higher than the other aircraft I'm considering.

    How are cost and parts availability of the AA1s in comparison to the Cherokee and the 150?
     
  9. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    It's been a while (2003) since I owned a Grumman-American product, but as far as I know airframe parts are readily available through Fletchair and elsewhere. The only caveat is that because the Grumman-American airplanes are built differently (read: better) from most other types, it's a good idea to have a mechanic familiar with the breed.

    Fortunately the owners group, American Yankee Association (aya.org), is one of the very best around. There you can get referrals to AA-1-knowledgeable instructors, transition training and mechanics. There is also a free online message board ("The Grumman Gang") at grumman.net, a good place to get questions answered by those who know what they're talking about.
     
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  10. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    I've owned both (and currently own the PA28). Although I vastly prefer the PA28 for my mission, for what you are asking/requiring, I think the Cessna is better suited. Its slightly cheaper to fly/maintain, seems to do better outdoors (good luck keeping water out of an outdoor-kept PA28), is cheaper to purchase, and is a little better for local flight sight-seeing stuff.
     
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  11. ujocka

    ujocka Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you once again for the insight. So are the majority saying the only difference in the operating expenses of an AA1, Cherokee 140, and Cessna 150 are the GPH (Assuming they are equal in their condition)?
     
  12. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    I don't know about the AA1, but some people with 150's and PA28s like to get mogas STCs, which can save a little more money on gas. I personally don't believe that the words "plane ownership" and "saving money" should really be used together, but hey...
    And my PA28 has been modded, and seems to be a gas hog compared to similar PA28s, and especially compared to C150s...my C150 was easily a 5 gph plane, my PA28 is at least 9 gph.
     
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  13. ujocka

    ujocka Filing Flight Plan

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    If the difference in apples to apples between the three is negligible (couple hundred $ a year), I think the Cherokee wins with me because of the higher cruise, increased useable weight, and the back seat/extra space.

    I won't be using mogas, as I'm not that efficiency minded that I'll start toting large gas cans to the airport to save a few $.
     
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  14. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    Basically, it's another religious discussion. C150 - high wing better for sightseeing and camping.
    140 - easily 2 people, 3 if you don't want much in the way of baggage, a bit more stable in cross-winds.
    AA1A - it's a convertible! Fun until the Tstorms hit and you don't have a canopy cover when parked.
     
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  15. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    I have a Cherokee 140. Cruise is typically 100-105 knots at 2400 RPM. ~7 GPH if leaned well. It's been a great plane overall. I would never put anyone in the rear seats to be honest. I'm 6'1" and there is no room for legs behind me. I suppose if you had a short person in the front passenger seat you could put someone behind there.

    Overall, it's been a great 2 person airplane. Flown it all over and even into some fairly high density altitude airports with no issues.
     
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  16. JScarry

    JScarry Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The fuel burn on my Cherokee 140 with the 160hp engine is around 7 gph at 2100 RPM (the lowest that it will stay in the air) and (surprisingly to me) 8 gph at 2500 RPM (max) leaned way out. Speed down low is around 100 kts (without wheel pants).

    Climb and Descent - IFR departure and Descent
    On the FAA test they have lots of questions on fuel burn for flights but the POH doesn’t really have any good info, so to estimate time and fuel burn I did two flights on a no-wind standard day from KSBP to FABEG and the RNAV 29 Approach. I reached 5,500' MSL before reaching FABEG so I started the descent and reached 3,300' MSL at FABEG. Total fuel burn for the two flights was 4.7 gals and total time was 1.0 hours. I started out at around 800 fpm and was never less than 500 fpm. Neither flight was direct to FABEG since I had to extend my departure on the first flight and extend my crosswind leg on the second for traffic. Total distance was 63 nm, so about 15 nm to reach 5,000' MSL. Total time including taxi time was 68 minutes. Flight time was closer to 50 minutes or 25 minutes for each leg.

    KSBP to 5,000' MSL and Descent
    To estimate time and fuel burn I did two flights to 5,000' MSL. Total fuel burn for the two flights was 4.7 gals and total time was 1.0 hours.

    Climb to service ceiling.
    On a hot day the Cherokee takes forever to climb. But on crisp January mornings, it climbs like a real airplane—1,500 fpm on takeoff is not unusual. So I wondered how well it would perform on a typical crisp morning.

    I climbed to 12,800' on a cold (for here) day 10°C to start and -20°C at 12,800'. At 2,000' on left downwind at the numbers! After initial climb, maintained 500 fpm though FlightAware has higher numbers. Kept the RPM at the top of the green and leaned aggressively. Even though winds were calm on the surface, there was a strong tailwind so groundspeed was phenominal. Indicated was closer to 90 mph and got down to below 80 at the end. Total distance was about 55 nm from KSPB to GVO via V27. My timing matches FlightAware, but I topped out at 12,800 over GVO.

    I returned at 500 fpm and flew the RNAV 29 approach. Total fuel burn was 11 gallons and time aloft was 71 minutes.

    Useful Load
    I keep it filled to the tabs so I have 33 gals of fuel and 650 lbs of payload. I’ve been near that a couple of times and climb rate is poor at sea level so I don’t think I’d try it in the mountains or with high density altitude.

    Maintenance Costs
    From 2013 to 2017 it flew 590 hours and cost $18,350 for maintenance. That’s about $31 per hour. That includes $2,600 for a windshield replacement when one of the guys hit a bird and $1,200 when someone blew up the muffler. That doesn’t include tiedown, taxes, and insurance. Annuals average $1,600 with me doing most of the tearing apart and putting back together.
    If you are an average flier (50 hours/year) your cost per hour would probably be closer to $50 for maintenance.

    Big ticket maintenance items are magnetos every 500 hours—$1,200 and fuel lines every 8 years ~$800. I spent a lot of money getting it sorted out when I first bought it but nothing major in the last 8 years or so.
     
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  17. Witmo

    Witmo Pattern Altitude

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    Only have owning experience with a Cessna 150. It's an ok single person airplane. With a 150hp STC it's a really nice single person airplane. I went on many fly-ins and camped out under the wing. If building time is the number one goal, a 150 would suffice. It sure would have been nice to have some extra range and carrying capability. I've got the A&P cert and don't think there'd be much difference at all between a 150 or the Piper mx-wise. At the same price point I'd opt for the Piper.
     
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  18. mizer2167

    mizer2167 Filing Flight Plan

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    PA28-140 is an airplane that can be used for 2-up travel or 3-up in a pinch.

    C150 is usually not, at least not 2-up with anything more than a toothbrush.

    If your mission is going to be to fly as economically as possible solo, or with the occasional buddy around the local area, go with the 2-seater. You can purchase a decent 150 less expensively than a -140, leaving more money for gas.

    An AA-1 may work, since you're not vertically or horizontally challenged. With me and another 6'5" 205 lb. guy, we wouldn't have enough useful and I can't close the canopy. Useful is only about 420 lbs. on those.
     
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  19. ujocka

    ujocka Filing Flight Plan

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    Awesome info. Thank you to each of you for taking the time to provide detailed info on cruise speeds, fuel burn, and individual experience with maintenance.

    I am definitely headed towards the Cherokee 140 based on all of the info received here.

    One person stated a PA28 wouldnt fare as well outdoors as the C-150 and would most likely be affected more by rain. Is that due to the door seal or simply that there is no rain protection from the wing?
     
  20. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    And even 4-up, in an ultra-pinch, under carefully controlled conditions.

    Back when I owned a Cherokee 140 at Van Nuys, CA, a pilot friend asked me to help out. He was soon to be married (despite the fact we had counseled him), and asked me to fly him and his bride the 12 nautical miles from Van Nuys to Santa Monica after the wedding so they could evade rowdy well-wishers. They planned to have a car waiting for them at KSMO.

    On the appointed day I decked out the airplane's interior with paper wedding bells and ribbon and waited for them, certain that they would have changed clothes before coming to the airport.

    Nope.

    [​IMG]

    She showed up in full wedding gown and he in tux. I'll let those of you with Cherokee 140 experience visualize the two of them squeezing into the back seats, while her brother took the shotgun position. There was minimal fuel aboard, and we were all young and skinny, so we were legal. Barely. ;)

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Lachlan

    Lachlan Pattern Altitude

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    Keep in mind that the O-200 really doesn't like 100LL as much as some other engines, and many O-200 owners will tell you that they have fewer stuck valves when running cheap ethanol free mogas. Next, a Cherokee may burn more fuel per hour, but if you're travelling anywhere it evens out with the 150 in total fuel burned, as the 150 burns less/hr for more time than the faster Cherokee burns for a shorter flight time. Either way, I say buy the 150 and join the 150-152 online club. I'm not biased.
     
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  22. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    You want to have a fun plane? You said metal plane with a nosewheel??? That kills the fun right there. Go get a J-3 Cub if you want some fun :) cub 1.png
     
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  23. SbestCFII

    SbestCFII Line Up and Wait

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    Definitely the 140. A real airplane. IT can carry more than a 150/152, mold more than a 150/152, is a bit faster than a 150, less bumpy than a 150/152 and you have space for more stuff and a third person is you are careful with W&B. Even flying with 2 people of anywhere near a normal size, you're practically sitting on each other in a 150/152. Better visibility on the ground and in the air. I owned a Cherokee from 2003-2012 and did lots of cross-country flying and instrument instruction for a few years in one. It's a solid plane.
     
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  24. Lachlan

    Lachlan Pattern Altitude

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    Each airplane has its benefits and disadvantages when compared to one another. I never understand the comments about poor visibility in a 150. I've flown in lots of different airplanes, and I honestly think they all have different aspects of visibility that are different than each other, but none are too terrible, except the biplanes.
     
  25. JScarry

    JScarry Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I need to take out the carpets before each rain and wipe out the interior after. A cover would fix that. It seems to be a problem with all Pipers. But it only rains a dozen or so times a year here so I don’t bother. Mine has been outside for at least 20 years with only minor corrosion - mostly the on the steel flap hinges.
     
  26. flyer770

    flyer770 Pre-Flight

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    Trying to find a decent Cub under $25k is a bit of a trick. I’ve seen some serviceable Aeronca Champs at or below that though. Though neither would do very well in Florida tied down outside.
     
  27. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    Although not a huge deal for me since I hangar, but door seals, window seals, roof vent, all leak to some degree. I replaced my door seal, and window seals, which stopped them from leaking for about 6 months. The roof vent leaks regardless (the roof vent has just a little cowl over it, and strong winds can blow rain into the vent). I hangar next to another PA28, and he has owned his 1974 PA28 since new. He said he gave up trying to stop the door and window seals from leaking back in the 70's after replacing them multiple times.
     
  28. TheBoatDude

    TheBoatDude Filing Flight Plan

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    My main gripe with the Cherokee variants is the lack of windows that open (no, that little smokers window doesn’t count). In cooler weather, not a big deal, but it can get hot in the cabin once temps reach 80°F or so. There are vents but they don’t work that great IMO. Beside that, I like the Cherokee over the cessnas.
     
  29. cappy48

    cappy48 Pre-Flight

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    >>Interesting that you found the O-320 easier to maintain than the O-200. I wonder if that is the general consensus when comparing them or if that was particular to the condition of both of yours.

    Yes... The LYC is a better engine..

    Parts for Cherokees tend to be less expensive.. For instance, the rudder skin for a C150 ONLY fits a C150. The rudder skin for a C172 fits ONLY a C172. In comparison, the rudder skin for a Cherokee fits the 140, 150, 151, 161, 180, 181, 235, 236 and so on...

    I will let you work out the economics... and landing gear parts have HUGE commonality, and on and on...

    Basically...

    The C150 is a good single seat aircraft, a marginal 2 seat aircraft. The Cherokee 140 is an outstanding 2 seat aircraft, OK for 3 seats, and 4 seats "sometimes" with careful calculations. Once you pay the same fixed costs, (hangar, tiedown, insurance etc. I am not sure the (average) costs would be much different.

    I am not sure I would be comparing them at all.. the Piper equivalent would be the Tomahawk.

    If you are EVER going to take anyone with you.. (helps pass "building time" ) there is no contest between your options..

    Cap
     
  30. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Line Up and Wait

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    This is only anecdotal, based on what I've seen out there in the world -- but I think a $25K C150 will be in better condition than a $25K PA28.

    I would take a ratty PA28 over a middling C150 for the comfort and mission flexibility. You can fly a big engine like a little one, but not vice-versa.

    You don't say how long you intend to own the plane for (i.e., how much time-building you aim to do), but if this is a year of "lotsa flying" and then dump the thing, you may still want to rent (or dry-lease/block time with a local plane owner) -- the cost to get any airplane to your standards and liking are not small and impossible to recoup. Best to just spread the costs out over multiple years.

    If you're selling in a short but not immediate timeframe (2-5 years), then you might argue stretching for a C172, as resale is pretty easy on those. There is inherent demand by flight schools for a $40K C172 L/M/N/P model, and you can often sell it quickly with a few phonecalls or a barnstormers listing. Less so the C150s and PA28s.

    If you're keeping the thing for awhile and don't mind owning a plane you'll never dispose of in the same year you list it, the 160/180/200hp Beech Musketeers give a tremendous bang for the buck. I love the 165hp ones, but that motor's orphan status concerns even me -- even though they're stupidly cheap to acquire, and it's a great motor to fly behind. I particularly miss my fuel-injected 200hp super, and would buy it back if i could. Ours had a 1300# useful load, insane. They have poor landing manners and can bite new pilots with rude porpoised landings, but your ratings imply you can handle the airspeed control required to keep it in check.

    In any event, buying a plane with the hope of disposing of it later means not buying something YOU want, but something everyone else wants. This means white paint in decent nick with a swoopy stripe if possible, reasonable avionics, a non-disco interior, and no real "excuses" about missing logs, damage history, shotgun panel layouts, etc. In this price range I think you want to limit your excuses to two or so, probably limit total time to 7 or 8K (once a plane approaches 10K TTAF everyone loses their mind and values plummet), and stick to a plane people have rented before. These days that's going to be a C150, C172, C182 or PA28. The corollas and camrys of the sky. :)

    Check the useful loads on any plane you're considering. The higher the better. It's a critical number in two-seaters (and try hard to get over 500#, it's difficult to do with IFR kit), but even in a 4-seater, the difference between a 700# useful and a 850# useful is tremendous.

    $0.02. Good luck hunting!

    - Mike