Thoughts on First Plane Purchase

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Elijah Baker, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. Elijah Baker

    Elijah Baker Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello fellow Pilots! I am beginning to look into the purchase of my first plane. I have read many of the threads on here regarding plane purchases and expenses. I am ASEL Private and IR rated pilot with close to 200 hours (going to commercial and CFI/CFII next). Over 50 hours in Piper Arrow/Saratogas. Typical mission profile will be local trips on the weekend from Columbia, SC to Greensboro NC (about 180NM). Trips to Maine, Florida, and NC Coast every other month (2 adults, 0 kids). Trying to decide if either plane described below would be worth pursuing:

    1. 1979 Piper Turbo Arrow - 2 owner plane always hangered, 3200 TTAF & 1770 SMOH, all original avionics and interior. Paint in good shape. All logs available and no damage history. Asking $43,900.

    2. 1953 D35 Bonanza - 4500 TTAF & 200 SMOH/POH, nice paint and interior, all logs available and no damage history. Always hangered asking $50k. (worried about the cost of parts and availability of parts on something this old).

    Both planes are currently IFR rated, have current annuals, and fly regularly. Give me your thoughts!
     
  2. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    $6k for 1500 hours of engine time. Probably worth it.
     
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  3. Elijah Baker

    Elijah Baker Filing Flight Plan

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    I am not super worried about the difference in cost, although the turbo on the arrow does scare me cost wise especially since it wouldn't really be needed on the east coast (plus the arrow is close to OH). I do have a few reservations about the older Bo's as well though. I have never flown one first of all but from all I hear and read people love them. Anyone have any experience either flying or maintaining one of these older Bo's?
     
  4. Agronomist

    Agronomist Pre-Flight

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    Check out Mooney’s. Great support and great airframes. Also very efficient. Love my C
     
  5. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The bo is a better bang for the buck.
     
  6. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Only took til the 3rd post for someone to suggest the airplane they own. You guys are slipping!

    I have thought about going to a turbo but I have reservations about it, because I don't know how it was run. Did they run it properly, or did they run it like it was a rental? I would only do a turbo if it was priced as a run out and I was going to have it immediately OH'd, or if it was 0 SMOH.

    I'd lean toward the Bo if given only the choice between these two planes.
     
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  7. Elijah Baker

    Elijah Baker Filing Flight Plan

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    Yeah I was originally looking into Mooney’s. Specifically the C. Only concerns I had were cabin room (once again never flown in one, just heard others complain), the prop hub AD, and the fuel bladder issues. My current instructor actually crash landed a Mooney back in the 80’s due to the fuel bladder issues. I think most of these issues have been rectified now in most Mooney’s though correct? Obviously I would have a good pre buy done b/f considering any purchase.
     
  8. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Was there a budget posted? What about a fixed gear plane? Cheaper in a lot of ways, yes, a bit slower.
     
  9. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I’d go with the arrow,age of the Bo makes me Leary.
     
  10. Elijah Baker

    Elijah Baker Filing Flight Plan

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    Budget currently would be in the 40 - 60K range. I think this range pretty much gets me what I want. Efficient, cross country plane for 2 adults with basic IFR I can upgrade over time. I am definitely open to fixed gear airplanes. Since this is my first purchase I really want to make sure I get what fits my mission. Just thought the two planes I listed in the original post may have been pretty good deals but after hearing other comments on the thread I am now not so sure.
     
  11. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Cleared for Takeoff

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    A clean Archer is nothing to sneeze at.
     
  12. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    If I didn't need a turbo then I wouldn't get a turbo.
     
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  13. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Agh! One of the dumbest old wives' tales in aviation is the "Mooney with the small cabin" one. I'm 6'4" and over 300# and I own a Mooney, and it's one of the more comfortable four-seaters IMO. There is one and only one Mooney with a small cabin, and it's this one:

    IMG_3782.JPG
    IMG_3783.JPG
    IMG_3784.JPG

    Now... Fuel bladder issues? Mooneys don't come with bladders. They have wet wings, which occasionally need to be re-sealed (like, every 30 years or so) at a cost of about $4,000. Again, this is something that's quite overblown by people talking about Mooneys who don't actually know much about Mooneys and have never owned one.

    There is an STC to put bladders into a Mooney rather than re-sealing the wet wing, but it's nearly as expensive as a re-seal, decreases available fuel capacity, decreases useful load (by the weight of the bladders), and still needs to be re-done about as often as the re-seal. Plus, it does introduce the same issues all planes with bladders have, where a wrinkle in the bladder can "hide" water, you need to keep them topped off to keep the bladders from drying out over time, etc... So yeah, bladders have issues, but most Mooneys don't have bladders.

    For your mission, I think a Mooney would make an excellent choice - An E model is probably the sweet spot for you, unless you want something newer or you want to carry people and stuff in the back (in which case one of the slightly-longer F and J and the long-body R should be considered, depending on your needs and budget).

    Another good choice would be a Comanche, which Ed could have recommended had he not been busy chastising others for recommending the plane that they own. ;)

    Personally, I wouldn't be looking at old planes with original avionics at this point. ADS-B deadline is very near, and we're getting to the point where the good avionics shops are pretty much booked up until the end of the year with ADS-B upgrades. However, if this is a plane you know you're going to keep for a very long time, it's not a bad idea to buy a nice airplane and outfit it the way you want - It just costs $$$$$ that you won't get back when you sell it.
     
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  14. Agronomist

    Agronomist Pre-Flight

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    If you don’t need to fill the backseats you have legroom that only Shaq could fill.

    My mooney has a new prop so now AD. They are a little narrow in the elbow and I had to adjust how I sat compared to the Cherokee I flew before but I find it comfortable. I’m 6’2” and 185lbs. I did look at bonanzas before purchasing the mooney and I couldn’t find as well equipped bo for the price of the mooney.
     
  15. Elijah Baker

    Elijah Baker Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks to everyone for the comments! I think at this point the search will continue. I am in no hurry, I really want to make sure I get what fits my needs and mission and the best plane for the money. I was originally interested in the M20C and M20E/F but got kind of turned off of them recently from reading on various forums about the issues with the wet wings and prop hub. Thanks for the clarification on the wet wings vs fuel bladders. I will admit, I was a little confused on this topic before the clarification from flyingcheesehead. Honestly, legroom and cabin width shouldn't be too big of an issue for my mission (mainly concerned with comfort). I am 6'0" 200lbs and the wife is small as well.
     
  16. MtPJimB

    MtPJimB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just bought my first plane a couple of months ago. My mission parameters are very similar to yours. I had about 450 hrs in 172s, Piper Cherokee, and Beech Musketeer. I wound up buying a 2001 RV-6A with only 930 hrs TTAF and Engine for about the same price point where you are looking. I've got to say I'm really loving it so far. You might want to give some consideration to the experimental world. Lots less hassles for avionics upgrades too.
     
  17. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don’t think she is really a factor, aircraft are a little different than cars, best dispatch rates Ive had were on older planes, did my PPL in a 1940s plane, can’t recall having to scrap a flight because it was down for anything unscheduled