Someone to pre-inspect a purchase

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by Gregory Haley, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Gregory Haley

    Gregory Haley Filing Flight Plan

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    So, I’m interested in buying a plane as I begin training for my PPL and really could use assistance on both the financial ( market valuation) end of things as well as what appears to be a pretty Byzantine world of hours SMOH etc. is there a reputable firm/ service that is not a rip off for all this? Would I be better served to ask “some fellow” at the local hangar for his opinion? I’m aware that I’m a rube enough to be bound to lose a bit of money, but I would prefer it not to be catastrophic........ and there is this sweet 81 Mooney with new avionics just calling my name, lol.
    Thanks in advance, and, try to be nice to the novice......
     
  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There’s been plenty of instances of PoA people asking other PoA people to take a look at a plane that was in their neck of the woods, if it’s not in your area. Also post the plane pics/details on mooneyspace for feedback.
     
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  3. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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  4. Gregory Haley

    Gregory Haley Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks!
     
  5. Larry Korona

    Larry Korona Pre-Flight

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    In general it's best to get some student pilot experience under you belt before running out and spending $$ on a plane. You don't say much about your progress other than your at the beginning of the process. I would hold on to your money until you are certain about your flying goals, in the mean time you gain a lot of knowledge about ownership, costs, responsibility of ownership, and maintenance. What make and model plane to by and fly is very important, no idea why that " sweet 81 Mooney" is on the top of your list. What plane are you flying now for your training?
     
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  6. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Who will take care of the maintenance once you buy an aircraft? Perhaps ask him what it would cost to have him pre-buy it? I always recommend to use the APIA that will maintain the aircraft to perform the pre-buy or at least be personally involved during the process. After all, he will be the one to give you the list of discrepancies missed by the "other guy" at your 1st annual.
     
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  7. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pattern Altitude

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    Gregory, at the risk of being redundant, where?
     
  8. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    More info needed for good recommendations
     
  9. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    How much exposure to light airplanes do you have?

    Im guessing it may be minimal based on your initial post. Assuming that is true I’d suggest considering trying to find a mechanic who is also a flight instructor (or at least a pilot) that would be willing to act as a buyers agent. Someone with those qualifications should be able to listen to your Aviation desires and make some suggestions on types of airplanes to consider. Once a type has been settled on your agent could find some good candidates and inspect them or oversee the inspection when the time comes. Also, learning how to be an aircraft owner does not stop with the purchase, so the ideal guy would be able to mentor you through those experiences too.

    As bell206 suggests, it would also be best if the guy you use is the guy you intend to have maintain the airplane after the purchase. Despite having some set rules on what is and is not airworthy there are a lot of varied opinions and approaches to maintenance. What one mechanic allows to slide may not be acceptable by the next one and new aircraft purchases are often a Pandora’s box when the first annual is due.

    Knowing your location would help. Perhaps there is someone familiar with your area and can make suggestions on who to contact.
     
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  10. Gregory Haley

    Gregory Haley Filing Flight Plan

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    Sarasota fl, and I’m in Atlanta ga
     
  11. Gregory Haley

    Gregory Haley Filing Flight Plan

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    Well, I,ve also read people recommend buying and training on what you think you would like to end up with. However, I,ve thought that something small and newer and perhaps even experimental might be an easier entree’. No matter what though, I’ll need someone that knows what they are doing to steer me clear of obvious pitfalls.
     
  12. Gregory Haley

    Gregory Haley Filing Flight Plan

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  13. Larry Korona

    Larry Korona Pre-Flight

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    What are you flying/training in currently?
     
  14. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Airplane ownership is not of the faint of heart, but owning the one you're training in has some advantages. The OP really needs mentoring. There are lots of threads here on airplane ownership, but parsing out the information can be less than straightforward.

    In short, one needs to determine what sort of airplane one wants. Cessna 150/152 and 172 come to mind, as do Piper Cherokees. There are of course others, these are just the most common. Most trainers have fixed gear and fixed props and don't go at that fast. There are a number of outlets were people advertise airplanes including Trade a Plane, Controller, Barnstormers and others. Best place is of course the airport, most have flyers for aircraft for sale. Once a likely aircraft has been identified you want a qualified mechanic to lookout over and make certain it's airworthy. Even relatively simple trainers can have lots of things wrong with them. A few times you'll see are total time, which can be in the thousands of hours and is usually not a big worry. SMOH is the time since the engine was overhauled. Most GA engines need overhaul ever 2000 hours. A low time engine can be a nice thing, though a high time engine is not verboten. You usually get a good sized discount for a high time engine. Engine overhauls are not for the faint of heart.

    Once you've identified an airplane to buy you have to find a place to put it. Hangars are best, airplanes being indoors. Lots of airplanes are tied down though. All these things get arranged with the airport where you're going to keep the aircraft and train out of. Of course you have to find an instructor to train you, you've also got to get insurance. That should be relatively cheap, since trainers are usually not worth al that much. The other thing you should be aware of is that airplanes require annual inspections, and those can run big money, even for a trainer. No matter what have a good sized reserve of cash to pay for unexpected maintenance.

    The one bright spot in all this is when you're done with the aircraft you'll be able to sell it for close to what you paid for it, assuming it isn't damaged.
     
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  15. weirdjim

    weirdjim En-Route

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    The problem I see, speaking as a primary flight instructor with 50+ years and multiple dozen students, is somebody looking at a Mooney with twisty prop and bendable legs with either single or low double digit hours in your logbook. You''ve got enough going on just to keep the sucker pointy end forward and belly side down without worrying about that damned horn going off in your ear just before your prop carves its initials into the runway. 172s, Cherokees are wonderful trainers... forgiving and twitchy. That Mooney (or its siblings) will call your name soon enough.

    Jim
     
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  16. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Gotta agree with Jim on this one. A Mooney is horrid trainer. It can be done, but I wouldn't recommend it, and I'm a Mooney owner. Better to rent until you get your PPL, and then start working on getting a Mooney. The transition won't be easy, but you'll be way more prepared to handle it.

    The other thing you'll find is a lot of instructors aren't comfortable training in a Mooney, and many of those who are shouldn't be. Mooneyspace is a good place to go to find out about Mooney particulars.
     
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  17. Larry Korona

    Larry Korona Pre-Flight

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    don't think this the plane you want or need. I'll repeat what I said in my earlier message - In general it's best to get adequate experience under you belt before running out and spending $$ on a plane. You don't say much about your training other than your at the beginning of the process. I would hold on to your money until you are certain about your flying goals, in the mean time you gain a lot of knowledge about ownership, costs, responsibility of ownership, and maintenance. What make and model plane to by and fly is very important, no idea why that " sweet 81 Mooney" is on the top of your list. What plane are you flying now for your training?
     
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  18. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    Yikes, what the others said ... there isn't anyone here that could accurately check the plane for correct repairs after those accidents unless they were an A&P. Seems pricey with that history
     
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  19. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Not to mention the antique radios and no ADS-B compliance.
     
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  20. Gregory Haley

    Gregory Haley Filing Flight Plan

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    Just a piper archer, which is about as entertaining as a Ford Fiesta with no AC in Georgia, but then, perhaps that’s the point. I’d read elsewhere to go ahead and buy closer to what yo think you’d use, and I wanted to travel back and forth to family in Indiana, or. Vacation. No desire for flash or tricks, but speedy economy appeals. You all make good points though, and it seems that this may be more than I can chew. My dad was an AF pilot and I used to fly with him in my teens. He flew commercially for small companies in Bonanzas for a while after his service, and he seemed to say that a faster plane might be no harder than others to manage. However, he’s got early Alzheimer’s now, so I don’t know if I’mgetting a full considered review, so your opinions are much appreciated.
     
  21. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Nothing says you can’t get a few training hours in a Mooney to gauge your own comfort and aptitude, and an honest experienced CFI to give you an honest opinion about your abilities at this stage vs additional challenges that a complex fast plane brings at this stage. Don’t not do it, just dip your toes with a few test flights.
     
  22. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Once you know how to fly the mooney it’s no harder to fly than a Cherokee, but it will take longer to learn in the faster, more complicated plane - and you may or may not consider that a bad thing.
     
  23. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    That, and Mooneys have a well-earned reputation of being finicky in the landing phase. In a way it isn't fair, land a Mooney at the correct speed and it will give you a greaser every time. But student pilots tend to be a a bit more ham-handed when it comes to airspeed on final, and trainer aircraft are more tolerant of this. Mooneys also sport rubber biscuits in the landing gear which will happily return all the energy of a hard landing into a wonderful bounce, they are sufficiently low to the ground that three bounces gives you nice consolation prize, a prop strike.

    Learn in a trainer, save the Mooney for later. I don't even think you can insure a Mooney for Ppl training.
     
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  24. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    If you think an Archer is boring to fly, a Mooney isn’t going to be any less boring. They’re an airplane meant for traveling so they’re designed with stability in mind and don’t really feel that much different on the controls than an Archer to me.

    If for no other reason I’d suggest putting the brakes on a purchase until you’ve tried a few different types so you can see what you really want. You may come back to the Mooney, or you may not.
     
  25. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    True once you decide to get IR.


    Tom
     
  26. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Those accidents were 20 years ago. And someone spent alot of $ on it; custom panel, TCM 210 HP engine, JPI 930 engine monitor.
    For a J that’s probably well below average price, check prices of other Js. 77s are lower because they were a transition year, still part F, and part J.

    The most important thing to check for: corrosion.


    Tom
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  27. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    @Gregory Haley - Even if you don't end up buying for your initial PPL you can still look into things. If you just know you are going to own a plane and relatively soon after or even during your PPL then here is a list of things you can start doing now - generally given in order.

    0. Get your medical if you already haven't. Any nasties on Q18 and come back here before going any farther. This should only take a few hours.

    1. Get talking with the insurance company right now. Give them a broad list of planes that you might consider and ask them the insurance rates. This will help you find out yet another aviation expense. This should only take a few hours. Pilots here can recommend brokers to shop things around too if needed.

    2. Research hangars and get on several lists. This can be a huge surprise for new owners. They find a plane first and need to start by tying it down. That starts to bug them and they want a hangar. Then they find out there is a list and its like 5yrs long. The final insult is the cost. You might be thinking $300/month and they are $800/month. So find several airports around you and get on their rental lists. This can be done over just a few days with phone calls or quick visits to the airports or cities that run them.

    3. Learn W&B. Do this soon. then start applying it to all the planes that interest you. Make sure you throw cases in with just you (obviously), you and friends, you and family on long trips, full fuel, high density altitudes, etc. This is where you will learn some surprises and be glad you figured it out now vs later. For example you might love low wings and find that the Mooney just can't carry everyone and enough fuel and you get a Dakota instead.

    4. Through referrals start researching which A&P you will eventually use. They don't have to be on the same field. You might even be able to do owner assisted. Either way, try to get a good feel for your mechanic. You probably have a few airplanes in mind. Pay them an hour or two of labor to chat with them and run those planes by them. Ask them if they are okay maintaining the planes you pick and what the base annual rates are. Now the most important part in the short term - ask them if they would be willing to do a pre-purchase inspection. This is the single event that will hopefully catch the $$,$$$$ problems or determine its in fantastic shape. You are down south and listed Florida. You are going to want someone who's gonna be on top of corrosion, etc. And just remember, the plane you like could be in Michigan - will that mechanic fly up with you to check it out.

    5. If you have lots of $$ then this step may not apply. But think about the price you really want to pay. Then include another $500...$2000 for you and your mechanic to go and see it. Factor in another 6%...10% of the purchase cost for the first annual. Right now simple single engine planes are commanding pretty good prices so do your best to keep to that budget. It might take a while...like months but something will eventually come up.

    ...at our small field what I am seeing is a hangar will open up. The new renter now has 60days to get a plane in there or they give up the hangar (but keep their spot on the list). The next opening might be another year so there is urgency. So there is a rush to find a plane. Sometimes that rush leads to something ok but maybe not exactly what the owner wanted...all because the hangar itself is so hard to come by. So do all the stuff above as soon as you can. When that hangar opens up you'll already know what you want, costs, etc. Its not uncommon for hangar waiting lists to take years until there is an opening so now is the best time to get on those lists.
     
  28. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    This is a first time pilot, who is having trouble locating an A&P let alone one with a bunch of Mooney experience. Eventually, he'll have to sell it also, so he needs to "price in" that previous damage history even if it was fixed perfect ...