Resisting the Call of the Warrior

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Keith Ward, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Keith Ward

    Keith Ward Pre-Flight

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    I went to look at a Piper Warrior II last week. If you’re going to fly a lot — the tipping point seems to be about 100 hours per year — it makes more financial sense to buy a plane rather than continue to rent.

    There was a group at my local airport looking for a partner in their 1979 Warrior II. It’s a four-member group, and one of the members had just moved out of state. I saw the flyer at the local FBO (fixed base operator; basically, it’s the place you’d think of as the airport headquarters) and gave the number a call.

    The buy-in price for the Warrior II is $12,000 and a 1/4 share of expenses. So, I’d be a part-owner of a plane and be responsible for a quarter of the costs, in addition to paying about $60 per hour of flight. Partnerships like this are a great way to fly cheaply (relatively, at least; flying is never cheap). The partners split the cost of things like the hangar, insurance, the annual maintenance inspection required, and upgrades and other fixes to the plane.

    I also did most of my original training in a Warrior II; they’re very reliable, stable airplanes. This one was fully IFR (instrument flight rating) equipped, which would save me money when it came to getting my instrument rating. I wouldn’t be renting a plane and an instructor; just an instructor.

    So I met with one of the owners and looked the plane over. It was in fine shape, and had been well maintained. The avionics equipment, although not new, seemed to be in good shape, and the exterior, while dated, was also solid. All in all, the plane was a strong value, and splitting the costs four ways would have allowed me to fly more. The group of guys seemed to get along, too, and the one I met was very friendly and really loved flying. I like that kind of passion.

    I passed on the plane.

    Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Everything was what I was hoping for, in terms of the plane and the group and the costs. No complaints about any of it. Ultimately, though, I turned down the opportunity. For one reason:

    I don’t want to own a Warrior.

    Don’t get me wrong: they’re fine planes. And this was a fine specimen of that type. But it’s not the plane for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I used to own an RV-4. The emphasis on RVs is speed and economy. They fly fast and cheaply. Except for one model, they don’t seat more than two people, so they’re not family-haulers. But man, are they fun to fly.

    I was truly interested in the Warrior, simply because of the financial sense it made. It would have been the smart buy. But I finally decided I didn’t want to be stuck in a plane I wouldn’t be excited to fly. Now, flying itself *is* exciting. Zipping around the sky in any airplane is fun.

    But the Warrior is a plodder. It’s gentle and predictable and slow. You’ll get where you’re going, and it’s easy to fly and land.

    If I’m going to be owning a plane for 10 or 20 years or more, however, I want a plane that screams along at nearly 200 mph (or even more). A plane that’s just stretching its legs at 150 mph. A plane that can go upside down and do loops. A plane with a less genteel stall break.

    As good as the Warrior is, it can’t do those things. I feel like I’d miss those capabilities too much in the end. And when I felt like selling my share in the plane, I wouldn’t like the process of advertising and showing it. I’d be locked into something I didn’t love. I’d be settling for less (at least in terms of my criteria).

    So in the meantime, I’ll be a renter. Then, when I find a plane I fall in love with, I’ll consider being a buyer again.
     
  2. Gerhardt

    Gerhardt En-Route

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    You should've learned in a 150. Then the PA-128 would seem fast. :)
     
  3. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Yeah, this sounds like a slam dunk to be honest... UNLESS... you are looking to use your plane to travel (far) places

    I was a big fan of Pipers for a long time.. very solid, stable.. predictable, and decently comfortable enough. But then when I started going on longer trips even the relatively good cruise speed of the Archer II and III would make a 400 nm trip take hours, especially if you hit any kind of meaningful headwind

    The challenge you will find is, finding an offer that good in a "fast" plane

    I've seen Bonanza, 210, Cirrus clubs that are A LOT more expensive than the Warrior up above... so depending on your mission profile.. that would be a hard offer to pass up

    Some people call them small, but if you go 3 or 4 ways on an M20E or J that could give you a fast machine in an affordable package.. my friend just bought an older Mooney with another pilot.. they're surprisingly affordable planes

    Also... I had another friend who would try to get his hourly flying cost down to his TAS or less... his thinking was, if it costs me $120/hr and I can cruise at 125 knots, then I'm happy.. in the Cirrus my ratio is much worse than that.. but it's also more comfortable than any other single engine GA I've been in (210, Bo, Mooney, etc.) so I accept those costs
     
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  4. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Never got people buying fixed gear PA28s, 172s, etc.

    If you’re going to find a club, find one with a Bo or PA24 or something.
     
  5. Keith Ward

    Keith Ward Pre-Flight

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    @Tantalum -- I've strongly considered older Mooneys as well. They're supposed to be great IFR platforms, too. I'm worried about the upkeep/maintenance on those, as well as the insurance. I've heard it's a lot more for retracts. Is that your experience?
     
  6. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    It can depend on the mission.. if you are student then dealing with scheduling and renting a POS everyone abuses for $160/hr vs owning your own (or part of your own) can have some appeal in it.. esp if you are just looking for private and instrument training..

    ..there's an absolutely gorgeous one on the ramp at KMYF.. guy obviously loves and takes exceptional care of it
     
  7. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    I've never personally owned one but have a few friends who do.. they don't seem to be unusually burdened with maintenance. My friend will have to reseal his tanks in the next 1-3 years, but the plane is quite old (1967 I think).. the quote he got for reseal was $10K

    The older ones with the manual gear is very simple operation, I've been told they're bullet proof

    and the engine, it's a pretty straightforward Lycoming IO-360.. so I haven't heard of unusual maintenance on them either

    I would seriously consider them if you are looking at owning something fast and relatively low cost. I've always felt that for the performance you get (speed, fuel burn) the older Moonies are by far the best bang for your buck. If you haven't been to MooneySpace that can be a good place to check out and ask questions

    and yeah, rumor is they're very solid.. I've had Mooney pilots tell me they don't need an autopilot since it's so stable once trimmed out
     
  8. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Noted, but there are some niche circumstances that call for it. Take my personal situation in 2011-12. Young O-3, recently divorced, not much to my name. Runout Warrior II is all I could afford. Post 78 pants were good for 8 knots. I flight planned 110knots and got it on 8gph (65-70% power mostly ROP depending on altitude). A 172 would have required a fuel stop (420NM leg every weekend, the warrior had 48 usable). It worked out pretty good for me. Waiting for my finances to afford me my "last airplane" (whatever the eff that means in a life that's anything but static) would have meant potentially foregoing a relationship that led to my son and marriage. I'd do it again the same way if I had to, given the same limitations.

    Otherwise, your comment stands; indeed it wouldn't be as attractive an option if the mission didn't call for it on a price point and/or scheduling access emphasis.

    You don't have to go on a drawn out lamentation of a simple airplane like a warrior just to say you'd like to own a 4 seater (does that even exist?) "RV-4" but can't afford to. The only bona fide acro four seater I know is the F33C, and it's clear that's way above your affordability range. We get it man, money is an object. And I totally understand the sentiment of just walking away if you can't afford what you want. I'm there myself; I own what works for me, but I don't "love" my airplane in the least. I am however, very grateful for what it allows me to accomplish. Frankly, the regulatory environment around it antagonizes me a hell of a lot more than the notion I can't throw Piper Navajo money at this hobby without defaulting on my obligation to my dependents. It is what it is.

    It does sounds like you cannot afford what you want. I'm not a partnership guy, but if you're still hung up on what you really want, then the opportunity cost of splitting access with other humans may be your only option here. That or rearrange your finances (make more money, or both) in order to fit what you want. RV prices are kinda in the bozosphere imo, but they are closer to what you probably want. Affordable and capable 4 seaters in the EXAB world are unicorns, otherwise I would have chucked my Arrow out to the salvage yard right yesterday already.
     
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  9. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Gotcha, makes sense, I was in a similar position when I was building hours, still I’d think something more fun like a nicer C170, pacer, small maule, S108, etc would be a better bang for the buck.
     
  10. Gerhardt

    Gerhardt En-Route

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    You know what I like best about the 28s? It's like flying for dummies. There are so few things you can screw up. They're slow and don't want to spin, dang, you have to force them to stall, don't have trouble hauling a couple of middle-aged guys with paunches....what's not to love, other than just having one escape hatch.
     
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  11. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    For me, the whole feel of a trainer, it’s like a civic, great car, really nothing bad to say about it, but also kinda yawn
     
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  12. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Cleared for Takeoff

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    You need to drive a Type R.
     
  13. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Never drove one, but I did watch the first fast and the furious, so that kinda counts ;)
     
  14. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff

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    Too bad you're not "downee shore, hon." I'd entertain partnering my -6a.
     
  15. Raymo

    Raymo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hold out for the RV and try on an A model. Crazy easy to land. I may be biased...
     
  16. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'd opt for an Archer if one was available. I've flown both and the Archer's little bit better performance was always noticeable, especially in climb. Sounds like you have to be in love with your chosen steed, so you probably won't be satisfied until you can afford an RV of some sort (it's a great goal to shoot for!)
     
  17. Keith Ward

    Keith Ward Pre-Flight

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    A shame, for sure! That must be a beautiful area to fly in. In fact, my wife and daughter are going to Salisbury today to check out the university.
     
  18. Keith Ward

    Keith Ward Pre-Flight

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    Would love either the taildragger or tricycle gear. There are a number of RV owners here at my home base in Maryland; maybe I can convince one of 'em to save some money by adding a partner...
     
  19. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    Vintage Mooneys are very affordable to own and operate, if you start with one in good condition. Insurance on any retract will cost more the first year if you have little retract and make / model time. Get 100 hours your first year, it'll come down; pick up IR in it, it'll come down more. Even with insurance rates rising, I'm still paying less than $1000/year.

    Hangars cost what they cost, as does GPS data. But I get 4 seats, 800 nm range (me, full fuel and 470 lb. of my favorite people and stuff) at 145 KTAS or a little more for 9 gph.

    Happy shopping!