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Buying my first SE airplane... Opinions, please.

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Buying my first SE airplane... Opinions, please.

Old 17th Sep 2003, 09:16
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Question Buying my first SE airplane... Opinions, please.

Hello everyone,
I'm listing a series of details and maybe next year I'll buy a 4-seater SE airplane... So, I'd appreciate if someone could give information about C182 N and P, listing AD's, tips for pre-purchase inspection, etc.
Second, for you guys is there any kind of comparison between Cessna Skylaine and Piper Dakota, concerning performance, operational costs, etc?
For a first airplane owner is it a good deal to buy a C182 or I should start with a Cherokee Arrow 200 in terms of operational costs?
Regards,
Bkmk
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Old 17th Sep 2003, 11:08
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I have spent the last two years in a flying club that has a Cessna 172 and a Piper Archer - and I've flown each of them a lot. There is no question in my mind that if I were to buy one I'd go for the Piper - it has something of the thoroughbred about it that the Cessna lacks.
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Old 17th Sep 2003, 13:34
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What's your budget? Consider a TB20! www.socata.com Nothing comes close at the price.
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Old 17th Sep 2003, 14:00
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I have to agree with IO540 but then I am biased!

NAP
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Old 18th Sep 2003, 02:20
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GRP
 
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3 years into this ownership game I would advise anybody buying an aircraft to ensure that whatever they buy has the avionics on board that they will be happy with until they sell the aircraft and that it all works. FM immune nav radios is a fairly useful place to start and if you want a GPS in the panel, buy an aircraft that has one in already!! The costs involved in upgrading this stuff make the day to day maintenance costs look a bit incidental.

If I were buying another second-hand aircraft now I would also be quite attracted to a high time engine in a lowish time airframe and to get the engine replaced or overhauled early on. Mine was a mid-time engine so it had had around 1200 hours of who knows what sort of use. Although it checked out fine on the pre-purchase inspection it started 'making metal' after no more than 100 hours and I had to have it replaced. I'm not sure I'd be that impressed with a very low time engine either since you would have no idea how well it was run in.

Mine is an Arrow so if you want to talk further about the real running costs do get in touch.
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Old 18th Sep 2003, 02:42
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It really depends on your mission and your budget. If you want to fly into farm strips then a 182 might be better then a Dakota. I have never flown a Dakota so I don’t know what makes it better then an Archer. You have to ask yourself how much faster you will fly, how far can you go in it and how much you can lift. Arrows are nice aircraft but under-power, you can not go 4 up and full tanks, also, they are over priced to my opinion but will be easy to sell. Add to your list another type of aircraft, PA24 250 or PA24-260B. These aircraft are not short field machines, yet they are very reliable, fast, relatively comfortable, will lift anything and will go very far.
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Old 18th Sep 2003, 02:58
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The truth is that he hasn't said anything at all about the mission, or the budget, and without that one cannot even begin to say anything useful (didn't stop me though)
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Old 18th Sep 2003, 04:56
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Friend of mine's just been through the same process and opted for the Robin DR400. Long legs, comfort, great visibility. The thing that sold him on it was the 130kt cruise.
However, it really needs to be kept indoors, which might be a major factor for you.
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Old 18th Sep 2003, 05:37
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Folks, thank you very much for your replies.
You're right IO540, and I'll try to explain my objectives:
- A used airplane – Pipers or Cessnas from 1972 until 1980 models, with a balanced cost of operation (not against Trinidads, Bonanzas, etc. but they’re really beyond my budget).
- To fly 400-mile trips but sometimes locally to destination with paved and gravel runways but always good ones.
- Engine power – 180 to 235hp (well, I’d like to keep a Cherokee 6/300 on my list but its IO540 is unfortunately out of my fuel consumption limits.)
- To carry 3 adults and baggage - not more than 40kg.
Regards,
Bkmk
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Old 18th Sep 2003, 17:33
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Bokomoko

I guess your budget is about £40k, yes? That in turn basically means VFR only. In that case others here will be much better placed than me to offer suggestions. There is an awful lot on the used market.

Re fuel consumption, some planes are more slippery than others. I get 11GPH (measured within 2%) at 137KT IAS. This is about 60-65% power. I think you will find this compares rather well with any PA28! Anyway at 45% power I am doing 8GPH and 115KT IAS. But these flow rates do require adequate engine instrumentation (EDM700) and preferably matched fuel injectors (GAMI); they can't be done safely with a single EGT gauge.

I would never suggest buying a Bonanza A36; a great way to burn up £500k or so, with double the operating cost of a TB20, just to get a bit more room inside.
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Old 19th Sep 2003, 01:19
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You really need to be as precise as you can about your "needs" profile. Then look at performance and operating cost, etc.

The PA28-235 isn't all that fast, but doesn't half burn a lot of fuel, for example. But I understand (I've not read the POH of one) that you can fill it with fuel and people and be within MTWA. Can't do that with an Arrow.

I'm in my third group, and for my "profile" the Arrow III is perfect - usually 3 up, never more; IFR capability required; cruising speed of 130 knots is adequate. I'm very happy with it - it's a delightful, forgiving, comfortable tourer. Not aerobatic, not for very short fields, and beware miuddy grass getting stuck in the gear warning microswitches. After ten years, I wouldn't change - there's nothing comes close to it for the cost.

Cost to buy: a good one, about £55k including the money to replace the "used" portion of the engine - I reckon on the engine costing £15k, so a new-engined one is £55k, a time-expired is £40k. That also assumes good, FM-immune IFR avionics.

To keep it in flying condition, insured, parked etc, an average of £8,000 a year. Then about £55 an hour for fuel and oil, plus whatever you decide for the engine replacement fund.

If you don't want wobbly wheels and prop, an Archer will save a chunk on that but cruise speed is lower and payload less.

The TB series aircraft are very nice, a bit dearer, and have that strange gull-wing door that slams on your hand when the wind blows.

The C172/182 family and the C177 are broadly similar, but not everyone's ideal. I don't like high-wing singles when crossing water: I've had one engine failure over the channel in a C177RG (made it to land) and won't risk that again.

If I had the spare cash, my ideal would be a Rockwell Commander 114 (or whatever they call it these days). The extra 60HP make a world of difference. An Arrow with the PA28-235 engine would be nice, but I've never come across one.
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Old 19th Sep 2003, 01:41
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The C182 is a superb allrounder-STOL capability, 1000 mile range and a true 4 seats/full fuel/baggage aeroplane. I've owned one(G-BHIB) for the last 6 years so I have an accurate knowledge of the true opperating costs-not as steep as you may think for 6 cylinders/wobbly prop. Send PM for further info.
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Old 20th Sep 2003, 09:27
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Once again, thank you for your replies ....

GRP & snchater please check your PM.

Bkmk
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