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Buying my first aircraft. What do I need to know?

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Buying my first aircraft. What do I need to know?

Old 6th Feb 2013, 03:29
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 4
Buying my first aircraft. What do I need to know?

Hi all,

I hope I am posting in the correct Forum, apologies if not.

I am a new kid on the block en-route to getting a PPL (have completed about 15 hrs) and it struck me when there are aircraft as cheap as NZD 25000, why not learn in my own aircraft? Please help me understand what is involved in buying an aircraft, maintaining and hangaring it and the approximate costs involved...

Piper Arrow IV | Trade Me
Piper Tomahawk PA38 | Trade Me
Piper Tomahawk | Trade Me
Rallye MS880B | Trade Me

If I end up buying one, I am planning on hangaring it in Paraparaumu/Kapiti coast or Omaka. I live in Wellington, New Zealand.

Or if I buy this Thorp folding wing, could I take it home with me after flying? If so would it save me considerable cost?

Thorp S18t - Folding Wing | Trade Me

Thanks so much for all your kind assistance...
ngrk is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2013, 11:57
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Up North
Posts: 49
Folding AND swivelling wings on a home built Aircraft!!

Last edited by coldbuffer; 7th Feb 2013 at 12:00.
coldbuffer is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2013, 13:44
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Age: 60
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Your questions are fair, though appropriate answers would take pages and pages.

In short, definitely, owning the plane you will learn in is the very best thing to do. With the many appropriate cautions, go and buy one. It'll kep you motivated, give you excellent freedom, and keep you motivated.

I know the Thorpe T-18 very well. I believe that the S-18 is just a tricycle version of the same plane. It is a wonderful plane, (the wings are excellent), but it would not be the best airplane for a new pilot. It would make a very good second plane for you.

Tomahawks are super planes, provided that they have been well maintained, and the purchase price fairly reflects the airframe time and condition.

Arrows are great planes, though avoid the older ones. Not because they are not good, but because parts support from Piper could be a big problem. I also suggest that a retractable is adding a layer of complexity, expense, and insurance cost that you do not need for initial training.

What I have just told you is less than 1% of what you should know to be an informed purchaser, but I sure do encourage you take to plunge if it's where your heart is, just totally understand the costs to be fair to yourself and your finances.

You will probably find some good advice on the private flying forum of PPRuNe, these subjects are discussed all the time there. In particular, searches of threads about operating costs will help you, I know there have been a few. I expect that you should have more questions as you get further toward your goal....
Pilot DAR is offline  
Old 20th Feb 2013, 20:12
  #4 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 4
Thanks so much everyone Sorry for the delay in getting back, I was travelling around on my Job.

The reason why I choose to buy one and not rent one is, other than the maintenance costs, flying my own plane will cost me about NZD36-60 per hour, whereas renting one costs about $200 including fuel. This I believe is a good reason for me to buy one? (sorry, please correct me if I am wrong)

Pilot DAR - Could I ask why would a Thorp not be a good first plane? If I can get the Thorp, I believe I can save on the hangarage costs as well, and hence yield a lower TCO.

AND it can be my personal commuter no more having to drive to places, why drive when I can fly, eh
ngrk is offline  
Old 20th Feb 2013, 23:27
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Get it surveyed by a licenced engineer before parting with any cash it could save you a fortune.

Looking at the list, one Tomahawk does not show the airframe hours and they are lifted on the wings.
The other engine is past TBO but as said can be flown on, but that is an engine rebuild in waiting and that could cost you nearly as much as the aircraft, remember overhaul life is 12 years plus extension as with the hours.

The Arrow is also half share and as such you have to take into account his usage, they are expensive to maintain compared to a fixed gear none Autopilot aircraft..

The Rally has a RR engine in it which are getting difficult to get parts for, not sure on Continental compatibility, the 240 he mentions having you would struggle with parts.

Whilst I can see you saying its cheaper to run, if your in to this for the long haul then remember you need to factor in costs for the engine overhaul you will end up needing, and parts like mag overhauls every 500 hours (do not know NZ requirements) plus checks and any other parts.

Which brings me back to paragraph 1
NutLoose is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2013, 00:52
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Planet Claire
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Get a Cub.
AtomKraft is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2013, 01:52
  #7 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: New Zealand
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Thanks NutLoose... I will start working on it.

@AtomKraft - I somehow feel much more comfortable landing on a low wing compared to a high wing aircraft. It feels so much more easy and natural. I don't know whether others feel the same?
ngrk is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2013, 12:11
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Scotland, & Maryland, USA
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Are you a member of AOPA/AOPANZ? If not, it might be a good idea to sign up & take full advantage of all the guidelines they have for aircraft purchase.

AOPA Aircraft Buying Guide: Your blockbuster event--buying an aircraft

If you do decide to buy, buy the best aircraft you can get with your budget, do not try to get a bargain - it is highly unlikely to work out well in the end.

Buy something that is fairly common Cessna 150/152/172 or Piper Cherokee/Archer - that way you have a plane which is familiar to most mechanics and therefore should be pretty straightforward to maintain. It is also usually more common because it is very straightforward to fly.

You will be able to fly for your commute, but only on fair weather days. It is a great feeling, for sure.
fernytickles is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2013, 20:19
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: New Zealand
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Thanks very much 'fernytickles' and all others who've helped me with understanding of whats involved in buying an aircraft.

Where can I find more details like TAT, TSOH and such regulatory time frames for NZ?
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 11:34
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I would say on the Cessna front make sure the new SID's are done, they are a set of inspections that are quite involved.

Last edited by NutLoose; 2nd Mar 2013 at 11:34.
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