Why are Cessna Skymasters not liked? Or are they?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Chrisgoesflying, Sep 28, 2022.

  1. Chrisgoesflying

    Chrisgoesflying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    First of all, I am far from being ready to upgrade to a twin. My mighty little Cherokee will be fine for another 5 or so years. However, I still keep half an eye on the twin engine market just to stay informed and to imagine all the non-stop trips I will be able to make lol.

    One plane that keeps popping up super cheap is the Cessna Skymaster. Just saw one today again, mid time airframe, low time engines, 68 model for $50k and fresh annual. Most of the flyable examples I see are in the $50k to $100k region - much less than many of the conventional twins with similar useful load.

    I know it's slow compared to most conventional twins, that's a big negative but aside from that, why do these planes have a bad rep and sell for so cheap?

    Would love to hear your thoughts especially if you have any first hand experience with that type of plane.
     
  2. midcap

    midcap Cleared for Takeoff

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    rear engine issues with cooling is one thing I have heard. Also don't forget about the rear engine when on the take off roll
     
  3. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    Slow. Loud. Orphan.

    Head turner though.
     
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  4. Pinecone

    Pinecone Cleared for Takeoff

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    Get an O-2 and go to airshows as a show plane. Cheap warbird.
     
  5. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    Many people love them. There are some real practical advantages. If you're not on top of your game, there is a period of time when an engine loss might very well be troublesome. The vulnerability is different, and I think less in centerline thrust. There is no Vmc roll.

    My very first CFI flew one. He loved it, quirks and all. He was an outstanding guy and very smart.
     
  6. wheaties

    wheaties Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They cost a metric ton in maintenance. I asked around and was told you're not going to save any money long term with them even at that price delta.
     
  7. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've not had the chance to fly in one, but have talked to a couple of owners. Those who have them tend to be huge lovers of them. I do get the appeal if you want twin redundancy without the VMC risk. I think the issue is that they don't have enormous cabins and they have the fussy Cessna landing gear issues of the 210 182RG vintage as I understand it. Still, it's potentially a way to build retract twin time to be ensurable in something else and also to give you that "options when one engine quits over bad terrain" equation.
     
  8. TheFB

    TheFB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’ve always loved the look but never flown one. The push/pull is intriguing. I’ve talked with owners and they “of course” loved them. All said that training makes takeoff knowledge of the rear engine no sweat. They are loud and slow. There is some Riley Rocket upgrade on some that speeds them up a bit.
     
  9. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

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    I think they're awesome! Very STOL capable twin, I'd have one in a heartbeat.
     
  10. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Just up the road from me.. this one would be pretty cool. One of a very few riley rocket 337 out there.

    Folks here know I'm not a big high wing fan, but I'd be pretty happy with something like this... (so why don't you buy it then??) - good question! I'm chicken to carry that kind of responsibility

    https://www.trade-a-plane.com/searc...odel=T337G&listing_id=2408542&s-type=aircraft

    upload_2022-9-28_19-42-55.png
    Love the utilitarian look.. and with the wing mostly behind the pilot's head this one actually one have genuinely good visibility



    btw - I find those maintenance arguments to be silly. Unless you are buying a C-172 or PA-28 every plane is going to have it's maintenance challenges and headaches. Get over it.
     
  11. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I agree.

    I will say I have about 6-8 hours in a Sky Master, Riley Rocket conversion. It was sweet, except once when we lost electrical in IMC. We eventually got it back, and a hand held GPS (for hiking) kept us on track.
     
  12. Sierra_Hotel

    Sierra_Hotel Line Up and Wait

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    Was just looking at that one on TAP earlier after seeing this thread. Would definitely be a fun ride.
     
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  13. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pattern Altitude

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    Popular in Florida for overwater flights. I think the dudes from Miami who used to patrol for Cuban refugee boats had a fleet of them.
     
  14. RussR

    RussR En-Route

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    There's a reason the military used them as "Observation" planes - visibility must be incredible. High wing, but it's behind you, giving visibility down AND up. And I assume you can even see into the turn unlike other high wings.
     
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  15. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    I'm really loving this one.. I keep coming back to it. It really has everything I want.. two engines FIKI, AC, and as a bonus won't have the "but it's a twin, it'll kill you!" issue. Thing is proper bad ***

    Buy it for $150K and immediately drop another $10K for two G5s... or maybe GI-275. Otherwise it's perfect. I'm not impressed by glass. I'd put a good 200 hrs on it year one

    If only I had the cajones!!
     
  16. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    The C-119 Flying Boxcar is one of my favorite planes... this is like a mini-me distant cousin version of it
     
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  17. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    My only *real* concern is no real luggage space and four seats. We often fly with another couple or family member. A weekend trip for four adults might concern me.

    Anyone with some experience in one, @Zeldman ? Any recollection of what the realistic useful and luggage volume there is behind the rear seats?

    and yeah on the overwater flights, or winter night trips back from a day of skiing at Mammoth. Twin engines really help with the over water and night over mountains comfort.
     
  18. Chrisgoesflying

    Chrisgoesflying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    https://www.controller.com/listing/for-sale/194017531/1969-cessna-337-piston-twin-aircraft This one has cargo pods for luggage so apparently you can install that to relieve your concern.
     
  19. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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  20. Eldorado

    Eldorado Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Maintenance, landing gear, rear engine cooling, cont io360 not exactly bullet proof, not easy access to engine, unique systems. Should be taken to mechanic shop who specializes in them, not many.
     
  21. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    You should buy it and return it to it's former glory. Bring a weed eater.
     
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  22. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy En-Route PoA Supporter

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    There might be one at my field that is going to go on sale and it is tempting but possibly a lot of non a/p owner work done on it.
     
  23. The rogue

    The rogue Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I had the same thoughts about buying a 337 as the OP. It looked like a great deal, and had all kinds of new avionics, and twin engine redundancy.

    The seller of the one I was looking at talked me out of it, more or less. He said that annuals are 12-15k.

    A buddy of mine that flew them said that annuals were no so bad with lots of help and whatnot.

    So I called the local shop. The owner/mechanic said that the last one they did was around 16k and took six months waiting for a turbo.

    So I rent still.

    --Matt
     
  24. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Lots to take care of so lots of “HANGAR time…"
     
  25. Chrisgoesflying

    Chrisgoesflying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well, that would do it for me. $12k for a standard annual is a no-go, even for a twin.
     
  26. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Seeing as though I’ve never owned one, or even flown in one, I cannot speak from the brain.
    That said, speaking from the heart, I would absolutely love to own one. Probably my favorite GA airplane (within reason).

    Love the look, safety aspect, and that unique sound on throttle up !!
     
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  27. Sierra_Hotel

    Sierra_Hotel Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah that's pretty steep. I'm curious to know what a non-turbo unpressurized one costs for the annual.
     
  28. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Consulted with a few locals with 337 experience given that the one above is a stone's throw from me. Unfortunately the consensus seems to be that they're very maintenance heavy. Too bad
     
  29. Jim K

    Jim K En-Route

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    Speaking of 337s, posted to faceballs by KMTO this morning (they occasionally post pictures when something interesting shows up on the ramp):

    chemtrail 337.jpg

    Mosquito control. Uh-huh. More like Mind control. So much for "chemtrails aren't real".
     
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  30. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    It is one of the very few twins a 70+ pilot can own. At that age, no one wants to insure retracts, no matter how much TT or ratings you have. The early ones were fixed gear.
     
  31. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    I'd trade my 550 baron for a riley P-master. I think they're cool, and "12k average annual" sounds like most any twin if in honest company. :D
     
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  32. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Unfortunately the one I flew was over 20 years ago so I have no recollection of useful load or fuel planning. It had the rear seats removed so only a comfortable 4 place. The times I flew it was to take the owners wife somewhere when the regular pilot was not available. I remember placing her 2 or 3 bags behind the rear seats.

    One thing I do remember is this particular plane had some sort of recall or AD on the engines. The rear engine was affected and had to be pulled and either crank bearings replaced or crank replaced. Which I remember took all winter to get done.

    The checklist had the rear engine throttle advanced until rolling, then front engine throttle advanced.
     
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  33. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    I was reading that this was done after some people hadn't realized the rear engine wasn't running and attempted inadvertent single engine take off :eek:

    It's a cool plane for sure. I still wonder if maintenance truly is that bad


    and for some fun while we're here. Sorry this isn't media subforum!!!




    ...I still want one
     
  34. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    Hard to imagine anything else -- all of the "reliability and inexpense" of the cessna RG froglegs, coupled with the "reliability of legend because we're not high-strung at all" of the Conti Turbo 360s from the Senecas (without the nacelle room or access to cooling air for the aft engine)

    The rest is a chopped up P210 cabin and a pair of tail booms?

    :D I still likey for some reason though.
     
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  35. GaryM

    GaryM Pattern Altitude

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    I'd have guessed that the fans are additional cooling for the rear engine. :)
     
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  36. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    to that point it's almost like we need a hot / crazy scale for planes

    upload_2022-9-29_12-21-8.png
     
  37. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

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    Regarding the maintenance costs you have to take into account that the 336/337 range encompasses a LOT of different airplanes, and it's not apples to apples.
    • You can't be comparing a pressurized, turbocharged 337 to oh let's say a 310A, that would be more equitable to a P-baron, or 340 etc, of which a 16k annual WILL be routine, that's just the class of aircraft it is.
    • A 337 without a turbo or pressurization is far, far cheaper to maintain and will be on par with any other light twin (no light twins are "cheap" to maintain)
    • A 336 will be even cheaper still, with no complex Cessna RG to maintain, being fixed gear, but you'll eat up some more costs in fuel as they aren't exactly speed demons.

    So when someone is throwing out numbers for cost to maintain you need to bear in mind *which* Skymaster they're discussing and then equate it to a comparable class of aircraft. If you do that, then you'll see that no, Skymasters don't cost considerably more to own than other aircraft in their equivalent class.
     
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  38. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was about to purchase a 336 ,had trouble getting anyone to insure it. Got one quote for 4800 for 50k hull value.
     
  39. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    An interesting (and correct) postulation, but that begs the question: why choose one over a P-Baron or 340 and vice versa?
     
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  40. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

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    People's reasoning can be their own, but for me it would be for STOL performance, visibility, and history.
    It's always experience dependent, how much multi time do you have? Also after you have a 100 hours in type insurance usually drops off a cliff, so that's usually a "first year" only price that goes down subsequently.
     
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