Seems to be more retracts on the market

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by WDD, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)
    Seems to be more RGs on the market - 182s, cardinals, arrows, etc.

    I wonder if the recent insurance rate hikes/restrictions are having an effect.
     
  2. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I'm not sure what others are seeing, but over the past 3 renewals my annual compound %'age increase in insurance premium cost has been almost precisely the same for my retractable Aztec as it has for my non-retractable Husky. No claims, no y-o-y change in coverage amounts for each of the airplanes. Despite that the increases, especially last year, have been breathtaking.

    I would venture the increasing cost to maintain and overhaul steadily aging RGs might also be a factor. Some of the Cessna components on the 172 and 182 RGs are becoming quite difficult to find and expensive to replace (saddles?) from what I am hearing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  3. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    Maybe retracts are becoming like twins - in addition to insurance costs, increased costs to maintain added to the overall sky rocketing costs of planes in general is just too much. This all combines to depress the market for rg’s.
     
  4. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    I think taildraggers and retracts are both on the insurance naughty list right now, so not sure that's an apt comparison.

    From what I'm reading all over the place, it seems after a certain age, getting insured on anything more complicated than a Skylane is either expensive, difficult, or impossible. I could absolutely see that driving increased sales.

    I have never found retracts of any make to add much to the maintenance bill over time. Yeah, they can all take a bite once every few decades. That's more accumulated neglect than cost to operate IMO.
     
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  5. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Actually, when you look at the new production airplane statistics in recent years it is retractable single piston airplanes that are the most endangered species. Not difficult to imagine the same factors causing this drop in interest and demand are also factors in the used market.

    This 2016 thread is a bit out of date, but the numbers have widened out even more:
    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/com...ed-species-retractable-piston-singles.102288/

    Numbers update:

    2016 stats for all piston manufacturers worldwide:
    • Total piston engine aircraft delivered - 1142
    • Retractable piston twins - 97
    • Retractable piston singles - 65
    • Cirrus (all models) - 317
    • Cessna fixed gear singles (all models) - 217
    • Piper fixed gear singles (all models) - 54

    2019 stats for all piston manufacturers worldwide:
    • Total piston engine aircraft delivered - 1509 (up 32%)
    • Retractable piston twins - 205 (up 211%)
    • Retractable piston singles - 37 (down 43%) (21 Piper Malibus, 9 Mooneys, 7 Bonanzas)
    • Cirrus (all piston models) - 384 (up 21%)
    • Cessna fixed gear singles (all models) - 196 (down 10%)
    • Piper fixed gear singles (all models) - 182 (up 337%)
     
  6. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    My experience with my Arrow and the Aztec is similar to yours. If the systems have not been maintained well they usually need a little TLC in the first years of ownership to get things cleaned up (I have a 3-year PM program underway going through the hydraulics on the Aztec in stages). Things are generally trouble free otherwise.

    But it's probably not the routine and expected maintenance that's the main issue any more. It's the aging parts that are finally wearing out, showing cracks and other problems due to the extended age of the airplanes. Doesn't matter how well the maintenance was performed on them, after so many cycles and years time is catching up with components that were probably never expected to be in service for decades.

    ...the main landing gear was the subject of a previous AD, which included required inspections of the gear pivot assemblies for cracks, but that the area of concern highlighted by this SAIB is the actuator assembly that mates with the main gear pivot.

    Figures 1 and 2 below reflect two (Cessna) actuators with the crack location most commonly noted that contributes to the gear malfunction. Photo provided by the FAA.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  7. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Line Up and Wait

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    I haven’t had any additional cost on annuals or yearly maintenance on any of my retractable aircraft.
     
  8. CA182R

    CA182R Pre-Flight

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    Probably not a huge factor, but commerical license requirements now give the option of training 10 hours in all glass panel (technically advanced aicrraft) instead of 10 hours in complex (retractable landing gear) aircraft. Maybe another sign of how things are.

    Perhaps some flight schools are reconsidering the need of having that extra RG..
     
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  9. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Frankly I cannot see how this could possibly be true. :fingerwag:

    What, your mechanic doesn't charge for the time to jack the plane and do gear swings? Or maybe you don't bother doing them at all? No time charges to lubricate all the additional pivot points on the gear, compared to an equivalent fixed gear plane?
     
  10. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    The problem with RG is not the MX. It is the number of gear up accidents

    Tim

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  11. CA182R

    CA182R Pre-Flight

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    Interesting numbers (wow 9 Mooneys!). It could be because the current market is all premium airplanes or "low" cost ones.
     
  12. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Line Up and Wait

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    Oh, so you want to talk about pennies. I guess a Cessna cost more on annual since your AP has to check TWO doors. No one should buy a Cessna and have those additional cost.
     
  13. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    That would be nice - hope you’re right.
     
  14. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    For most of us the added hours each annual is material.
    Agree with you, that in your case it's not the same economics for your Gulfstream.
     
  15. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Seems like a combination of things. Gear up repairs easily surpass 100k including propstrike and engine inspection. Bonanza will pass $200k often. That's a big hit for insurance companies who have several every week. Also the young money is buying Cirruses which deliver a new airframe, latest avionics and good performance. Most of them wouldn't be caught dead in a 30 year old beat up Cessna(they're fine to me). And TAA aircraft are acceptable for commerical rating now. There really isn't a need for a retract, except among the bargain shoppers, but then bargain shoppers don't want to pay the insurance for a retract.
     
  16. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Insurance on my retract only went up $100 bucks this year. Unfortunately, I got my instrument rating this year and still paid more. So much for that cheaper insurance with the instrument rating.....
     
  17. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    It probably is cheaper with your IR compared to what the larger increase would have been without it.
     
  18. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Four folks I know have sold their retracts because they had cut back on flying so much that they didn’t think they were able to stay ahead of their planes anymore. They said it came down to switching to something easier to fly or to stop flying.

    Three of the four switched to slower fixed gear planes.

    The other planned on getting out of flying, sold me his hangar, and is now looking at a cub a friend of his wants to sell him. He said that if his friend had talked to him before he wouldn’t have sold the hangar so I’m glad that conversation didn’t take place until my deal was done.

    Gary
     
  19. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    You can pry my retract out of my cold dead hands. Or buy it from the bankruptcy court when I run out of money to pay the insurance. Whichever comes first.
     
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  20. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    I will be 73 next month. When I hit 70 my rates started taking bigger increases each year. My little taildragger insurance quote came in with about a 15% increase over last year. In the course of talking about it with the insurance people I asked what to expect on my retractable when it renews in August. She said that since I had a big hit last year of 40%, she expects it to only increase 15% this year. ONLY15%.

    There has been such a surge in aircraft prices I think it might be a case of hitting a level where the market can no longer sustain increasing prices, or maybe the rate of increase is slowing. The infusion of government COVID money can’t sustain the economy forever. There are many shortages of products of all kinds. We may never really recover from this mess for the long term.
     
  21. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    If you're a bargain shopper there's no requirement to insure the hull on a retract. The liability insurance is generally driven by the number of seats more than any other factor. And believe me, the hull insurance on a Cirrus is going to be a lot more than most 40 or 50 year old retracts if you do decide to insure for hull loss. The insurance companies know that if you pull that red handle the airframe is a write-off (a few have been rebuilt, but its very uncommon).

    Similar trend I am observing, but more of them are either no longer flying or have reverted to renting. I have some personal friends who between them used to own a total of 3 Comanches. All have sold in the past 3 or 4 years (one plane went to another friend of mine, thankfully) and all but one have quit flying. 4 of them are spending their time and money on motorcycles, one bought a sailboat and one is now instructing IFR students.
     
  22. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I'm 65, but have seen the same thing. The insurance on my Aztec went up 15% each of the previous two years and then went up 21.5% for the current year. The increases on my Dawg (Husky) have been almost exactly the same percentages in the same year (same underwriter).

    Our flying Club insurance on the commercial certificates went up 22% this past renewal (16 airplanes, including 13 172s, 2 Seneca IIs and a Citabria).
     
  23. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    Are you sure on the insurance costs of a Cirrus vs retract anything? This does not match what I am seeing on other forums.

    Tim

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  24. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    I've been looking to trade up from my Skyhawk to a PA-32. I hit the big 7-0 this summer. Since PA-32s come in both fixed-gear and retractable flavors, I asked my broker to compare them. I have nearly 5,000 hours, an instrument rating, and 950 hours in retractables, of which about 150 are in a PA-32R Saratoga. She said the premium on a fixed-gear PA-32 is a reasonable bump above the 172, but the premium on a PA-32R of identical hull value is about double that of a fixed-gear, and some companies won't quote me at all on a retractable.

    I guess they figure since us geezers can't be trusted to turn the left-turn blinker off on the freeway, we'll forget to lower the gear, too.
     
  25. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    You need to break down the components of the insurance. I'm talking about the hull loss coverage, not liability coverage. That's what insurers are most concerned about with a retractable airplane. The proverbial gear up that writes off the prop and engine or does enough airframe damage that it cannot be economically repaired.

    There's a few things working against the Cirrus:
    • The hull value difference. The in-motion hull loss coverage for replacing a 40 year old, 200 hp $90,000 Mooney M20J is a lot less than the in-motion loss of an equivalent 200 hp (but, of course newer) Cirrus SR20. The oldest S20s (circa 2000 +/-) are going for more than double the value of said Mooney.
    • The parachute writes off the airframe if deployed. For any reason. The insurers might be giving Cirrus owners a break on their liability premium because of the parachute, but they are more than making up for it if the plane is covered for in-motion hull loss.
    • Composite airframe repairs. Seemingly minor damage to a composite airframe can turn into an expensive, involved repair process if there's any structural integrity issues at all. Aluminum structures are well known, ribs and skins are replaceable (have a look at the pictures of his Arrow on @hindsight2020 thread he started earlier today). One of our Club members collapsed the nose gear on his composite plane (a turbo IO-550 Lancair ES) and damaged the composite firewall. It's turning into a nightmare for him as the insurance company wants to write it off as they are unsure if the firewall can be fixed properly.
    A little while back I was toying with the idea of selling my twin and replacing it with an older, Avidyne equipped turbo-normalized SR22. Go higher, go faster, burn a bit less fuel, half the spark plugs/filters/oil and no retract issues. Met with the lead underwriter for our Club coverage (not the broker, the underwriter). Was an interesting conversation. Among other things my in-motion hull coverage would more than triple - partly because of the much higher value of the airplane and partly because, in their view (I'm paraphrasing), "anything but the most benign of problems will result in the parachute being deployed and the airplane written off".

    $90,000 asking price:
    https://www.controller.com/listing/for-sale/196319025/1980-mooney-m20j-201-piston-single-aircraft

    215,000 asking price:
    https://www.controller.com/listing/for-sale/202262139/2000-cirrus-sr20-piston-single-aircraft
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
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  26. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Do you know if any of this differential is related to the third party liability premium portion of the coverage? Or only the potential difference in the risk of hull loss?

    Personally, if I owned a sub $100,000 single engine retract (such as an older Arrow or Mooney) I would probably dispense with the in-motion hull coverage and "self-insure". Now that should be incentive enough to remember to "cancel the turn signal". :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  27. Datadriver

    Datadriver Line Up and Wait

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    soon
     
  28. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    Gotta be the hull loss part. We're comparing a PA-32-300 Cherokee Six to a PA-32R-300 Lance, identical airplanes except for the landing gear. The retractable doesn't create any additional liability exposure.
     
  29. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    I think that ship has already sailed. When the new rule was passed in 2018, I know of a couple of schools who almost instantly put their Arrows and 172RGs up for sale. I imagine any that were going to dump them probably have already.
     
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  30. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    So you are comparing apples and oranges.
    Compare a newish Bonanza if the same year as an SR22. The difference was interesting when I got a quote a few years ago. (I was pricing out DA-42, SR22 and G36). Cirrus was by far the cheapest for total coverage. The DA-42 lowest liability. The Bo had highest hull and highest liability.

    Tim

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  31. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Go back and read my original post in #22. That's what you responded to; which in turn I responded to. No change from the original premise I stated in #22.
    Most people here currently flying, or considering a retractable airplane, are dealing with 40+ year old airplanes. Not everyone. But most.

    If you were to compare late models of the same vintage or even brand new $850,000+ airframes of the three models you indicated I wouldn't argue with your outcome. I doubt many here fit that profile though.

    I was looking at replacing my existing 1979 twin with a first generation SR22 - the closest "affordable" non-retractable single that can carry something comparable. The ridiculous cost of the hull loss insurance Is a material barrier.

    For someone considering a 200 hp 4-cylinder Mooney M20J (or similar) the cost of insuring that retractable isn't necessarily as big an issue as they might think. My premise is the closest fixed gear comparison to that Mooney is one of the oldest SR20s. The combination of the added entry cost + the higher hull insurance is substantial. The incremental utility of the SR20 over the Mooney, for most owners, is marginal, at best. My conclusion is a well maintained older retractable might be the better alternative over obsessing about comparable fixed gear performers...and the hull insurance will be lower on the older retract. For some it might not even be worth insuring a $90k airplane for in-motion hull loss - possibly better to put the premium towards fuel and discipline oneself not to forget to extend the gear. We are getting to the point where these older airplanes, Mooneys and Arrows and Comanches for example, are becoming "throw aways" in the event of a significant airframe repair.

    YMMV
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  32. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I know a couple guys who've been forced out of their Mooneys by insurance, or the inability to attain thereof. Happened when they joined the UFOs.
     
  33. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    I think I'm catching on.... UFO=Uninsurable Flying Octogenarians?
     
  34. Tusayan

    Tusayan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Me too, and I do just that except for ‘not in motion’ coverage which I found to be cheap. My plane was selected intentionally on the basis of being worth about 1% of my net worth, among other attributes. By not giving money to the insurance company that percentage is going down over time, not up. Insurance is a 21st century addiction that generally runs counter to the financial interest of responsible people.
     
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  35. Johnbo

    Johnbo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Insurance. High costs for aging pilots is driving them out of retracts and high costs or refusal to quote is keeping young / low time pilots from buying them so the pool of available pilots is really small so the prices have to come down.
     
  36. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    I wonder if the added cost of higher insurance is more than offset in the lower cost of buying a retract vs fixed gear? Then again, that doesn't do you much good if you can't fly it because no one will sell you liability at a certain age.
     
  37. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Agree with your first point.
    But why would the 3rd party liability be any different for a low time pilot flying an Arrow vs a fixed gear 235 Cherokee of similar vintage, just as an example?
    Seems to me it is just the in-motion hull coverage that should be the price issue. Same point @Pilawt made in post #29.

    I think this situation has some analogue with when the price of piston twins collapsed due to $150 per barrel oil in the spring of 2008 as the financial crisis started to unfold in earnest. The cost of avgas was astronomical and the price of two-engine airplanes adjusted downward accordingly, compared to similar vintage and equipped high performance singles. Twins were a freakin' bargain back then; I bought mine in the aftermath wreckage of that circumstance.

    Seems those here who have been beating the drum about the value proposition of older Mooneys, Arrows and similar retractables are making a valid observation about the situation today.
     
  38. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    (With fingers crossed), I have not seen huge increases in insurance on my Bonanza.

    I think the maintenance costs of retracts are overstated. Yes, they do have an additional maintenance aspect, but I think they are easily balanced our by the fuel savings from not having those speed brakes underneath).

    That could be true. I don't know.
     
  39. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)
    My situation is that I’ll hit 70 in 10 years - not wanting to get a plane in 3- 5 years only to have to have to get rid of it after 5 years
     
  40. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    When you compare modern fixed gear versus retract, that retract does not gain much with out piston powered planes.

    Tim

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