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Old 17th Aug 2006, 10:53   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Posts: 49
Socata Reviews ?

Hi all,

I am looking to buy my first airplane and would like an entry four-seater with as few bells and whistles as possible to keep maintenance cost down while I build hours before buying the Bonanza (!). In principle, I'm definitely thinking fixed gear & fixed prop but probably IFR equipped since I am planning to go for that in the short- to mid-term.

PA-28, C172 and Socata Tampico seem to be the options.

Any place I can find reliable reviews to help make my choice, in particular regarding the Socata (the idea of owning a European a/c is appealling). I'm thinking about flight characteristics, consumption, maintenance costs, reliability, etc...

For the record, I have been trained on a Beech Skipper which I find truly excellent (wish it came with four seats).

Thx for all tips and good landings,

L
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 12:00   #2 (permalink)
 
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Flown them all, the Tampico gets my vote. Much more roomy than PA28 & I'd say better built. Instrument panel is also a good modular design which (If I remember correctly)doesn't involve removing absolutely everything to sort one instrument. It's also got two doors (100% up on PA28!) and is more comfrotable that the Cessna.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 12:13   #3 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for your quick reply, aluminium.

Do you know of any detailed reviews of the Tampico ?

I have heard that it is costly to maintain, gobbles lots of fuel, doesn't glide well and is not really a four-seater with its 160 HP... probably form militant Piper advocates (!).

L
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 12:18   #4 (permalink)
 
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I think a PA28 would go better with your epaulettes.
Safe (and conspicuous) flying
Cusco
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 12:44   #5 (permalink)
 
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Do National Flight Centre in Weston still have BYG, the Yellow TB9? Might be worth taking out for an hour to see if you like it?

I used to fly the other TB9 there, BSK, and loved it. Short field performance was never great though.....if you need to operate out of a short grass field, it may be an issue for you.

dp
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 13:00   #6 (permalink)
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How about a Grumman AA5-B

Thats a nice 4 seater with a 180hp up front. Burns about 40lph cruises about 115-120kts.

I have flown various PA28's and 172's.

The AA5-B is not as big as a PA28 inside, but it is lighter and faster with a bout the same fuel burn. It has a great canopy that gives a cracking view and look out. It glides well and I personally think it is one of my favorite aircraft to land.

The only bad thing is the nose wheel looks a bit flimsy and probably is compared to a 172 or PA28. But hey thats OK beacuase we all do lovely soft landings on our main gear don't we. I don't rate the brakes very much either. If you brake to hard they lock on then Mr Screwdriver and pliers is, plus an awkard upsidedown attitude in the left hand seat is required to free them up.

As much as i like it i still would rather have a PA32 300
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 13:19   #7 (permalink)
 
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I'd also consider a Robin (DR-400 or similar), Beech BE23 Musketeer - both nice 4-seat tourers, the former also meeting your European preference.

For that matter, not as fast, but better on short fields, what about a Moraine Saulnier MS220 Rallye? Loads about, usually cheap, French, great view out - just get the mainspar checked for corrosion before you buy.

G
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 13:37   #8 (permalink)
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I agree with the DR-400...great canaopy for site seeing.

Another cracker is a Maule MTX-7 180A superb STOL aircraft
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 13:49   #9 (permalink)
 
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I fly a TB20 and love it. If you offered me a TB20 or an SR22 I would choose the TB20 every time.

I would choose a TB10 over a TB9. Significant extra power. The TB9 is a fine plane, much nicer than the traditional spamcans you see everywhere, but a TB10 is significantly better.

Re IFR, you need to ask yourself whether you want to do "proper IFR" (with an IR, European touring) or "UK style IFR" (with an IMC Rating, popping in and out of clouds in Class G while dodging the base of the London TMA...). The equipment carriage requirements for the two are very different. Airways level equipment won't come cheap, especially if you also want to be legal

And it is usually cheaper to buy a plane with the required avionics already in, or mostly in, than to buy something cheaper, rip it all out (the stuff you rip out can barely be given away) and pay for new stuff.

I will send you a PM with more info.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 13:56   #10 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcolyer
Another cracker is a Maule MTX-7 180A superb STOL aircraft
Suitable for a low hour pilot?

G
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 14:08   #11 (permalink)
 
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Location: London, UK
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If you want reliable and thorough reviews, Aviation Consumer is well worth subscribing to. You get access to all the past reviews of aircraft, avionics etc. through their website.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 14:22   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer
Suitable for a low hour pilot?

G
I don't see why not. Very similar look, feel and size as a 172. No variable pitch, no retractable under carraige.

http://www.mauleairinc.com/Our_Plane...0a_comet_.html

Although i would not recommend the 550feet take off or 500 feet landing as a low hour pilot!
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 14:33   #13 (permalink)
 
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Fair enough, my mental picture was more http://www.mauleairinc.com/____Our_P..._and_260c.html

G
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 15:09   #14 (permalink)
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I would like to see a bush pilot stick some Tundra tires on that and have a competition with a Supercub pilot.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 15:09   #15 (permalink)
 
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Devil

Try here http://www.cardinalflyers.com/ for another option, one is listed for sale in the UK in the Classifed section, although it does have a wobbly prop.
The Cardinal.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 15:29   #16 (permalink)
 
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Come on everybody. You might say I am biased, but the original man asked for views on a Socata TB9. What does he get? A suggestion for just about every type of plane that's flying. You ask 20 pilots and you get 20 different answers - that's aviation; pilots are passionate about the planes they are used to. But it's not what he asked about.

I also don't think somebody who thinks a TB9 would deliver on their intended mission profile is going to want a Maule.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 15:55   #17 (permalink)
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True.

But you have to admit this would be fun

http://www.mauleairinc.com/____Our_P..._and_260c.html
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 16:15   #18 (permalink)
 
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Yes it would be, but what is the desired mission profile?

If you want something that gets airborne in about 100m, and can land in not a lot more than that, but can't go anywhere far, or anywhere fast, you have plenty of choice.

Similarly at the other end of the scale. Planes that will go 1000nm at 150kt TAS but need 1000m of tarmac.

Not a lot in the middle, because - short of a turboprop - it can't be done. The only way (unless as I say you have a light but very powerful powerplant, by which I mean 400-500HP) to get short field capability is to bring the stall speed way down and then you compromise cruise performance. You also compromise the ride quality because you get low wing loading which causes the plane to be chucked about all over the place.

I was in a Maule recently, as a passenger, and the pilot's wife was unfortunately a bit ill in the back, in what I would describe as light turbulence which in a TB9/10/20 would be fine but not in a type with such low wing loading. A typical English summer day, with little white fluffy clouds in the sky above. But it's obviously great for short strips - a lot of people living in the countryside would be able to operate a Maule from their garden.

A TB gives you a good ride, good range, sufficient performance for most of UK and European GA airfields, good fuel flow for the TAS, and is easy to fly with no quirks.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 16:23   #19 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Quote:
Re IFR, you need to ask yourself whether you want to do "proper IFR" (with an IR, European touring) or "UK style IFR" (with an IMC Rating, popping in and out of clouds in Class G while dodging the base of the London TMA...). The equipment carriage requirements for the two are very different. Airways level equipment won't come cheap, especially if you also want to be legal
Lowery gives his location as Dublin.

If their aircraft will be put on the EI register, or if they have an IAA issued licence, then the UK IMC rating will not be available to them. They will have to go for the full IR.

dp
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 20:09   #20 (permalink)
 
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Reading the original post again, I note the poster requested information on 3 types, not one, and his preamble suggested that list might not be complete.

What loewy should understand is, like a car, a boat, or any review of any product, the review will reflect the opinions, biases and preferences of the tester, and may not be objective.

Further, in General Aviation there are more ‘old wives tails’ that either no longer have any basis, or never had any basis, than in any other field I’ve ever encountered, never the less they are repeated and still believed.

In short loewy, my suggestion is look around, see what you like, what attracts you, then pay your money and take your choice. Regard renters opinions* with suspicion, don’t pick anything really out of the mainstream, and enjoy your purchase.

*(When looking for expert opinion, speak to owners not to renters; renters are wannabe’s who do not have the courage to put their money where their opinions are. England is so full of ‘experts’ who cannot afford to own what they are ‘expert’ in, it’s sickening. It’s like getting advice on marriage from someone who’s never been married!)

Fly safe,
The Cardinal.
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