Well it finally happened- almost!

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Will Kumley, May 1, 2021.

  1. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    After having my Private certificate for just over a year and flying a lot less than I would have liked. Partly due to Covid, partly due to what I'm learning are the typical struggles of renting planes from a flight school. I saw what looked like a beautiful PA-28-140 for sale nearby with what appears to be a good price.
    I show the ad to my wife who has been joking about getting our own plane for a while and she says it looks nice and we should look at it in person. Wait, what? Did I just hear that correctly? Thinking I'm getting ready to call her bluff I reach out to the seller and ask if we can come by this weekend to take a look at it and he agrees. The wife confirms we are going to look at the plane and starts asking questions like, will this work for what you want to do? Is it IFR capable (She knows if we buy a plane I'll use it to get my IFR cert), how soon before we need to worry about rebuilding the engine, etc... Much more interest than I ever expected she would show- especially on a Cherokee 140.
    Turns out, someone else looked at the plane before we had a chance to drive to the airport and they put an offer on the plane. If the deal falls through I'll re-engage with the seller but I was shocked the discussion went as far as it did. I think its safe to say the jokes of getting a plane have slightly shifted and hope this means our own plane is in the near future for us. Problem is finding a plane we like, can afford, and won't regret 6 months after purchase.
    I trained primarily in a Cherokee 140 and think its a great plane, but when the joke of getting a plane started she seemed pretty set on something larger. As in a Cessna 182 at a minimum, she had dreams our grown-ish kids would want to join us on all flights but has already seen that if it involves getting to the airport before 1100 they aren't huge fans of it so I think she is onboard with the idea of a smaller plane. She does seem to prefer the high wing, ease of access, and double doors on Cessna's but also understands they have a higher price.
    Not really trying to turn this into yet another thread of what plane to get but my short list would include any of the PA-28 models, Cessna 172, 180,182 and a Grumman Traveler or Tiger. Maybe a Socata TB10. The real question is for anyone that purchased a smaller 4 seat plane (I understand a 4 seater won't carry 4 adults) have you regretted the purchase shortly later wishing you had gone with something more sizable with more useful load?
     
  2. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    Clearly your instructors failed to inform you of Natural Law of Aviation #1, which states "No matter how large the plane, no matter how much the useful load, no matter how fast the cruise speed, no matter how high it can go and no matter how nice the panel, it's never enough." ;)

    Check out post #13 in this thread if you have any doubts about the veracity of the above. :D
    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/dehydration.131876/#post-3080287
     
  3. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    For the flying I did and wanted to do, I really wanted an Archer or bigger/faster. But financial realities meant that I bought a pa-28-140. For the next 5 or so years, I only flew my 140 and not any other plane. When my 140 was down for maintenance for a lengthy period of time, I borrowed a very nice pa-28-180. I realized right away that I liked how my 140 flew, nice light controls (but not toooo light). The extra useful load and slightly faster cruise speed of the 180 was nice, but I really did prefer the lighter control feel.

    I owned that 140 for 18 years and don't regret buying/owning it.
     
  4. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Interestingly enough my instructor owned a Cessna 150 when I started my training, halfway through he sold it to buy a Cessna 120. I've also heard stories of some people buying a 182 thinking they were going to take friends and family up for flights all the time, only to discover 80% of their flying was solo or with just one passenger.
    Don't get me wrong, if I can manage to find an affordable 182 or Cherokee 235 I'd jump at the opportunity as I know I could just pull the throttle back some to save fuel and make it comparable to a 172. But with the reality that most of my flights will likely be the wife and I with the occasional 3rd passenger I'm leaning towards a smaller 4 place plane.
     
  5. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    I hear you. I rented for many years. Warriors, 172s, 182, then the Club's Arrow. My first plane was a beat up looking Cherokee 160 with a barely working radio. It was a step down from what I was renting, but it was what I could afford and most important - it was mine! Took it to 2400 nm round trip to OSH with a pilot friend and a week of camping gear, twice. Flew it 300 hours, then had enough money to move up to a Cherokee 180, Arrow, Dakota and then the Aztec. Don't regret any of them. Now I've come all the way around to a 2-seat rag-and-tube Husky. That'll probably be the plane that sees me out to the end of my flying days. Pure fun.

    I don't think you can go wrong with something like a 160 or 180 hp Cherokee, they don't seem to have gone completely stupid in price compared to the 172/182s. Or maybe an older taildragger like the Cessna 170B with the Lycoming 180 hp a friend of mine bought this past winter.
     
  6. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Line Up and Wait

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    For me, I was looking to buy just one plane that would fit my needs when I bought it, and as I got more experienced. Since I got into flying later in life (58), I knew I wasn’t going to run through a series of “starter” planes to end up with the one I wanted. I briefly toyed with the idea of a Cessna 180/185 but realized it was beyond my means, particularly since I expected to retire within 5 years. As it turns out, it was only 3 more. I looked at a number of retractables - Cardinal RG’s and Commander 112’s. I finally ended up buying a Grumman Tiger. 180 hp, fixed gear and fixed pitched prop. Simple to fix and maintain and very easy to fly, if you have a light hand and watch your speeds on approach. I do wish for a CS prop and I can have one put on the Tiger - I just can’t get past the $17K+ price tag. Probably 80% of my flying is solo, 15% with my spouse and the remainder with grandchildren or others. At 10 gph and 130+ knots, it’s pretty economical.
     
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  7. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I never understood the “you’ll be alone 90% of the time so buy a two seater” philosophy. If that made any sense, everyone would be driving around on motorcycles. You can fly just fine with 3 seats empty, but it’s a bit harder to fly with two people sitting out on the wing.
     
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  8. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    otoh - if you have access to a rental capable of carrying 3 paxs, why double (or more) your expense by buying bigger/faster?

    kind of like one approach to electric cars. Most of my driving is less than 100 miles per day. I could get an EV for almost all my driving and rent a suitable vehicle for the other times.
     
  9. Doctor Bob

    Doctor Bob Pre-Flight

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    First, I need to compliment your wife for asking a series of extremely intelligent questions. Second, I went the whole 172, 182, now LSA route. Had the 172 and loved it. Out grew it with our two kids and bought the 182. While it would haul us all, that rarely happened. Be honest with your mission. Most of the time you’re flying with family you will need a car when you arrive. Then, if it is a beach trip you might want bikes, beach chairs, umbrella, coolers, etc. You will have to forgo or rent. It really is not as convenient as you think. It works if you are visiting family that is far enough to fly and everything you need is already there including an extra car.

    The fuel burn is one thing, but that looming $50k rebuild, expensive annuals, and keeping an antique in the air adds up really fast. It sucks the fun out of flying for me. You’ll no longer fly for the heck of it at $75/hr and it will be too fast or too high to really site see.

    I went the LSA route and I love it. My kids were always involved in sports or other plans so it has never cramped our plans. I have done day trips with a kid here and there, and one overnight with the wife. We arrived 20 minutes later than my 182, but only burned 13 gallons of gas each way and I was totally relaxed as a good GPS driven AP is amazing. I fly mostly myself or with friends for fun. Fuel or overhaul costs are never in the back of my mind. I flew yesterday for over an hour and burned less than 5 gallons of auto gas = $15.

    When the time comes for retirement, I see lots of trips with my wife and I. I can still carry 34 gallons of fuel, 110 lbs of baggage and travel in comfort with the safety of an airframe parachute. I miss pushing in the throttle of that big old 0-470, but nothing else. Carb heat, mixture, prop pitch, priming, will it start after I refill, etc are gone.

    I have a thread on the 172 forum title Diary of a 172M. It chronicles my ownership of all three planes. It should give your wife and you some good insight.

    Bob
     
  10. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    It can make a lot of sense, if that "90%" situation actually applies, as it widens the range of airplanes that can be considered. As an example, there are a number of people here that have Cessna 140s, which I think is a tremendous, affordable, fun to fly option...if it fits the intended usage. Look at what @Huckster79 does with his. And who wouldn't want to show off @GeorgeC gorgeous example on the ramp?

    To be clear, up until my most recent purchase of the Husky I've always been of the same view as you, and probably still am since I refuse to sell the twin. I used the planes to go places, having at least 4 seats provides flexibility to carry a variety of passenger/baggage/fuel combinations on different trips. For folks like us that has value. Not everyone needs that though.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  11. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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  12. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    One factor you didn’t really mention was time in the air. For me, I don’t care if I’m flying in a 150. Flying is flying. My wife otoh wants to get there sooner than later. So when we fly together it’s in the club Tiger. Best speed for fuel option I have, and a Cherokee 180 is the second best option.
     
  13. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This joke of a discussion has been around long enough she fully understands a cheap plane with an old engine or avionics that need replaced isn't really a cheap plane.

    Honestly, had no idea a 172 forum existed, although it doesn't surprise me. I'll poke around in it to see if I can find the thread.
     
  14. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A PA-32 would be a dream plane for me, but I'm pretty sure I'll never find one in my budget unless I somehow stumble onto a seller at an airfield one day that doesn't have it listed online and I just happen to find the unicorn of a PA-32 that isn't run down, timed out, in need of expensive upgrades, and in my budget.
     
  15. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pattern Altitude

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    Did someone say Bonanza?
     
  16. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As we've always just rented a PA-28-140 and a Cessna 172 she hasn't experienced anything with speed yet and so far enjoys the flight. I will admit that with a rental most of our long flights are only an hour before we land. Usually it involves a short walk into town for a fast bite to eat or we'll pack a bag lunch and just have a picnic. I usually like the picnic option as we don't feel as rushed to get back before the next renter is scheduled.
     
  17. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Only took two days- that might be a new record for the longest for it to get mentioned. :)
     
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  18. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pattern Altitude

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    Yep ... I was wondering what the hold up was ... :rofl:
     
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  19. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    No. :p
     
  20. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    Something to consider. Not sure where you are but most routes are over highways here at least to an extent. She always looks down comparing our speed to the cars below. “Hey ... those cars are faster than us!” Yeah that’s true. Ummmm look at that cool lake there!! Hence the Tiger over a 172 or ... well I’m never taking her in the 150 again.
     
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  21. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    there's another aircraft type that I've been expecting....
     
  22. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pattern Altitude

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    Well I did! :D
     
  23. pburger

    pburger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    "Well it finally happened- almost!"

    Am I the only one who thought this was going to be about almost joining the Mile High Club?
     
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  24. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    Hold out for a Raptor. I hear it's going to be amazing.
     
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  25. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    While I'm not opposed to it I think I've got a better shot at buying an airplane.
     
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  26. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Too bad it won't be completed until my grandkids grandkids have graduated high school. But by then cryotech may be advanced enough that if I freeze my body they can bring me back just so I can see if it was worth the wait.
     
  27. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Me too. Kinda surprised it hasn't happened yet.
     
  28. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Seems like Tigers and Travelers are hard to find at this time. There are a couple up to win via a raffle system but other than that I don't really see any online for sale at the moment. I do like the sliding canopy of the Grumman though as it solves her issue with the single door of the Piper.
     
  29. Deelee

    Deelee Pattern Altitude

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    ... you did, so Bonanza as someone else already mentioned. I just got to this thread too late.

    Nope. Got the Arrow about a year ago and have not run into one situation where I wanted more plane. Fully IFR capable. Will fit four if it is a short trip. Usually (about 90% of the time) it's just me and the sky up there. No ragrets at all.
     
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  30. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    I'm "that" guy. Bought and flew the Tiger for 11 years, my son would travel with me but the wife wanted to ride Southwest on anything more than an hour in the Tiger. He's been at college and I was flying solo in the Tiger for a few years. Sold it and switched to the RV increasing from 145-150 MPH to 200 MPH and a climb rate like a cat on fire. Had no second thoughts in Telluride. My stats in 11 years:

    All 4 seats filled exactly ONCE! (Fuel to tabs to make W&B
    Three seats on two occasions.
    Single passenger maybe 5%
    Solo at least 90-94%
     
  31. idahoflier

    idahoflier Cleared for Takeoff

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    I purchased a C172N with an O-360 almost four years ago and haven't regretted it. The back seat is empty for about 90% of my flying but on those rare occasions when the seats are full it performs. If you have to have an aircraft that will comfortably fly four, then you really need to look at something with 180HP or more.

    I was going to agree that PA28's probably offer more value in the current market, but after looking it appears to me they have caught up with Skyhawks. Right now an Arrow looks like the best value, but it will be more expensive to insure...

    Good Luck in your search!

    Edit: Two more thoughts. If you can find an A&P that performs conditional inspections, look at the EAB market. Also it may be beneficial finding an aircraft that burns auto fuel or has an auto fuel STC. Who knows what will happen to 100LL in the coming years...
     
  32. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We had a bunch of fun in our C-172 for a few years, but we found out that what we really liked about having a plane was being able to go far, fast.
    So we sold the c-172 and bought a Bonanza.

    But sometimes I miss the useful load of the C-172 w 180 conversion. We really could put 4 adults and luggage in it, as long as it would fit. Over 1,000# useful load and over 800# with full fuel (40 gallons).
     
  33. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Line Up and Wait

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    PA28-140 is about the last certified aircraft left that can be had at a reasonable price. For everything else, the market is insane. Insane. Only a matter of time before the 28-140 catches up, so grab it now.
     
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  34. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    I think you are on the right track. I think there’s a danger in overbuying... my local mechanic told me when I was looking to buy a plane, “buy one you can afford not just buy but fly a lot. I’ve seen it a lot in my 40years here, guy gets “starter” plane and flies the wings off of it, then decides to upgrade... and with the increased cost and complexity flies less n less n less till I’m doing annuals with 8-12hrs...

    Most pilots don’t need much in avionics in reality. A string on the windshield and ForeFlight and ya could cross the nation with little issue...

    I bought a little Cessna 140 and maintain my membership in a 12 person club with a nice 180hp 172. I barely use the club plane as it’s just not as fun as my little vintage gal... that lil gal has hauled me all over across the US now...

    So I’m not saying my exact set up is for everyone, but the concept is valid- don’t overbuy.
     
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  35. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Talks about the Raptor and the Mile High Club, given its current weight and time limitations, I think that would be “self certifying”. :)
     
  36. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As a coffee cup I got recently says, "I want to buy an airplane, but my wife Cess Na!"
     
  37. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, I want to be able to afford to fly for fun with minimal thought on how it will impact my wallet. As a realist I also understand a Cherokee 140 will fit my needs most of the time. I don't need speed, I just want something fun so I can enjoy the sky.
     
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  38. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    But I was the one that was saying Cess-na for a while as it didn't make sense with a pending military move. She's the one driving this bus I'm just researching the heck out of whats available now and the more I research the more she asks if I've found anything I like that will work for us. Sure, but she also wants to buy a plane thats close-ish to our location and if its something we've never been in I'm hesitant to recommend it until I have a chance to take a look in person. Something tells me we're about to have a few days of hitting up the local airports to and facebook groups to see if we can get anyone to let us poke around at a Grumman or other similarly sized/priced aircraft.
     
  39. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    that would be a good one to check out too. I’m not a Grumman driver but I’ve never met one that didn’t think it was a great ship and a good value.
     
  40. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pattern Altitude

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    @SixPapaCharlie might know a guy selling a nice one...