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Good, cheap plane for weekend fun?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by 40Cal, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. 40Cal

    40Cal Modurbator

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    I've been toying with the idea of picking up something to tool around on the weekends. My only criteria would be that it be IFR equipped and preferrably 4-seats. Anyone have any ideas as to what can be had for pretty cheap? I'd mainly just use it for tooling around FL, maybe cruising down to the Keys on weekends sometimes.

    I came across a site with a lot of Piper Tomahawks for like $20,000. I know about their reputation for spinning and they only have 2 seats but this seems like one hell of a deal for what I'm looking to do with it. Especially since it burns like 6 or 7 GPH if I remember right.

    Any input would be great!

    Also, if anyone knows of partnership owners looking for a partner in the Tampa Bay area, that would be great too.
     
  2. hapuna

    hapuna Trusted Member

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    Cessna 172 would be the perfect plane for that. Many are IFR equipped(which makes the cost a lot higher) and they haul pretty good.:)
     

  3. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    Oh, man, that opens a whole can of worms.

    If you’re actively looking (as opposed to waiting to chance upon a bargain), I’d suggest you concentrate on just the C-172 and the PA-28 (Cherokee/Archer). They naturally will be the most widely available and, by limiting your choices, it’ll be easier to fix the value of the plane.

    If I say one is a better plane than the other, it’s bound to start a fight (no matter which one I side with), so pick your poison. If you already have a preference you could always narrow it even further to just the one brand.

    The danger of the ‘Traumahawk’ is much overstated. Like every other airplane, if you don’t stall it, it won’t spin. I like the little Piper (I prefer low-wings in general) but on a typical Florida summer day (read: high density altitude), it will be a pee-eye-gee pig.

    Buying an airplane is always a case of “pay me now or pay me later.” If the price seems high, it’s probably in good cosmetic condition, all its avionics work and it’s just out of an engine rebuild. If it sounds too cheap to be true, it’s probably down on compression on three cylinders, needs tires, brakes, paint, upholstery, a new HSI and the transponder only works in standby. So you’re either going to pay a lot to buy it or pay a lot to keep it flying. Go look at one of those $20,000 Tomahawks, then go look at one priced at $50,000. It probably would be no trouble to tell which was which just looking at them sitting next to each other on the ramp.

    It is cheaper to fly your own plane but, depending on how much you fly, it might not be cheaper to own it. You have to fly enough to offset the cost of repair, maintenance and upkeep: hangar fees, insurance, oil changes and spark plugs, inspections and engine rebuilds. I last owned an airplane – a Piper Archer PA-28-181 - in the early 90s. It was a mid-time airframe (500 hrs TTSN) with nothing broken or worn out. With my average total cost of ownership versus the cost of renting a similar aircraft, I’d have had to fly 120 hours a year to break even. IMO, that’s a pretty aggressive flying schedule for one ‘hobby’ pilot.

    My insurance was pretty reasonable because I was high time, had commercial ratings and substantial time in that airframe. If you’re low time or have limited experience in that airframe, your rates (and your break-even point) will go up accordingly.

    I’d suggest you buddy up to someone who owns a plane to discuss the realities of owning one of your own. There’s a ton of variables that probably would never occur to you unless you’ve found out through experience. Around here, for instance, the waiting list for hangar space at municipal airports is years long. Years. If you buy a bright, shiny new Skyhawk and don’t cotton to leaving it sit in year-round weather, that’s another consideration that isn’t likely to occur to a first-time owner.

    After all that bad news, I have to say I’ve not found much to make me beam with ‘bust my buttons’ pride more than keying the mike and speaking the call sign of my airplane. My airplane. Hard to put a dollar figure on that.

    You probably can tell I'd love to prattle on all night but I'll shut up now and give the guys with more experience than me a chance.
     
  4. hapuna

    hapuna Trusted Member

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    I’d suggest you buddy up to someone who owns a plane to discuss the realities of owning one of your own. There’s a ton of variables that probably would never occur to you unless you’ve found out through experience. Around here, for instance, the waiting list for hangar space at municipal airports is years long. Years. If you buy a bright, shiny new Skyhawk and don’t cotton to leaving it sit in year-round weather, that’s another consideration that isn’t likely to occur to a first-time owner.


    Tslim tells the truth however you might find someone that is willing to be a partner(or 2 or 3) in the plane which really mitigates the cost and usually avaiability is not a problem as the are usually very underused assets.:)
     
  5. nu2carry

    nu2carry

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    The first aircraft I bought was a 1969 C-172K basic IFR and STOL kit with STC for auto gas. I paid $23,000 for it in 1994 the paint was original as was the interior. It had 3100 TT and the engine was 1000 Hr SMOH with a 2000 TBO. I flew that plane for 5 years and replaced the radios all electrical and replaced the interior.

    I was getting ready to paint it when I came across my Mooney and fell in love. Sold the C-172 for $40,000 and never looked back. Point is you can find really good deals on used C-172’s in Trade-A-Plane and on line. I had to pay for annuals, hanger rent, insurance, fuel and incidentals over 5 years and if I recall my monthly was around $500 for aforementioned. Now if you have to make payments on the AC as well you could get up around $1,000 a month. If you have an engine go your looking at anywhere from $8,000 to $18,000 depending on various routes you could take.

    Owning is real freedom but comes at a cost. You can do quite a bit of flying of rental aircraft for that kind of money and walk away with out the responsibility of owning.
    There were some good suggestions here and you just have to weigh them out. If I did not use mine for work and deduct a significant portion on my taxes I would probably rent since I could fly different AC when I wanted.

    There really isn’t a cheap plane to own. They are just degrees of expense.
     
  6. 40Cal

    40Cal Modurbator

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    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    Right now I'm not really sure if it's even something I want to consider, I just started thinking about how nice it would be to be able to pick up and go that easily. I'm going to keep bouncing it around and who knows what'll happen.

    I guess I really need to figure out if I'd use it enough to justify it. I think I would because it would be fun and it would be a good way to build my total time in the process.

    Thanks again for the replies!
     
  7. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    40Cal, here's a pretty good article on co-ownership and a breakdown of the typical ownership/operational expenses:

    forums.flightinfo.com/showthread.php?threadid=14879&highlight=typical+cost+aircraft+insurance#post129669

    If the board wraps the URL (I think it will) you'll need to put the pieces in back together in the address line of your browser.
     
  8. 40Cal

    40Cal Modurbator

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    Great info, thanks for the link! ;c ;c
     
  9. flyandscuba

    flyandscuba

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    40cal,

    I understand your desires exactly. With the others, I recommend the 172. Mine is IFR equipped (dual CDI/GS, GPS, ADF, Autopilot, back-up Vac system, etc.), but it wasn't really cheap in price -- a good value for what I have though.

    I burns 7-7.5 gph (yep Auto STC -- I burn Amoco Ultimate when at home) -- cruises at 110 kts IAS at 2350 rpm, and made it from Kissimmee back to Pensacola yesterday in 3 hours.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. BillCola

    BillCola Supreme Cmdr ®

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    Nice Skyhawk, flyandscuba!!

    Two thoughts, 40Cal,

    First. a guy I worked for, in 1985, offered to sell me his 1977 TT400 IFR Skyhawk for $19,000.00. I passed. Had I bought it, I would have parlayed it into a P210 by now. ;1 ;1 ;1 Airplanes haven't been the stupidest place in the world to park money.

    Second, I've been flying for 28 years now, and had no earthly idea that ownership was a separate, and rewarding hobby as is flying itself. The hangar has turned out to be my middle-aged tree fort.

    Good luck!