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Buying first plane

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Buying first plane

Old 21st Apr 2014, 17:59
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Pirke

Buy what you like that fits your needs, what you can afford, get a good pre-purchase inspection done by a mech experienced on type and enjoy the burgers.

I followed my advice and have enjoyed the same airplane for 14 years.
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Old 21st Apr 2014, 18:29
  #22 (permalink)  
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I only have the option to hangar @ 4k/year (includes unlimited landing fees), no tie downs as far as I know.
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Old 22nd Apr 2014, 02:00
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Piper cub, Maule, Citabria are all good planes for 630m grass, need hangarage and are relatively cheap to run and good fun to fly, they will long survive after the others have gotten boring.

As for your point on Experimental, there is nothing preventing you paying for an engineer to do the work for you, what you do not have to pay for is the CAMO or the signature or the other paperwork bull. You also do not have to buy certified parts which makes them orders of magnitude cheaper... The money you save flying experimental will be far, far more than you will earn from renting to a school or club - who will not treat your plane well and will always want it on the days you want to fly.

My main tip for ownership is to keep it all as simple as possible and avoid stretching it so that if something else happens you wont be in a situation where you need to sell it in a hurry or even worse, stop flying and maintaining it.
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Old 22nd Apr 2014, 05:15
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Experimental Route

The owners of LAA aircraft are very quick on these pages to tell you how cheap the LAA way of doing things is, in some cases it is cheaper but with this lack of expense comes a lack of flexibility in the way the aircraft can be operated.

To some this is not a problem, to me it is so I don't own an LAA type because the cheap LAA aircraft are lacking in technical ability and the technically able LAA aircraft are not much cheaper than one with a C of A making the small price saving a poor investment for me due to the lack of operational flexibility.

Last edited by A and C; 22nd Apr 2014 at 05:39.
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Old 22nd Apr 2014, 06:54
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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To find a well maintained plane, get in contact with the maintenance shop of your choice. Usually they have a couple of owners willing to part from their plane, but unwilling to dig though the mud of weird replies on advertising their machine. In most cases they will just pass you to the old guy at the corner without charging for the contact - mostly because by this they keep the plane on their maintenance ...

Don't look for the asking price on most internet portals, they are with no contact to reality. Look at the interesting plans and then decide what they are worth. I rarely hear planes changing owner on asking price ;-).

If you want to go for a ready SID'ed 172, look at the hungarian and czech ads. They have some pretty good mechanics over there and currently they buy cheap, do the SID on their low hourly rates and sell ok. There are some 172 in the 35 region advertised right now. A 172 does have the advantage of being the most common. Cups, Maule, Citabria are quite nice planes, but not as common and especially the Cup is darn slow.
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Old 22nd Apr 2014, 09:28
  #26 (permalink)  
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Experimental might be cheaper, but if I rent it out I'm a commercial business. I get VAT back and the fixed yearly costs are tax deductible from my personal income (at least where I come from, might be different in other countries). Of course when I fly, I have to bill myself as well for the hourly cost, but I can "rent" my own plane at a much greater discount then what I would charge for others. So in the end, I still think certified is cheaper, and better for the local flying economy here. I'd rather sponsor them instead of the government with taxes They just throw it away anyway.

As for the DR400, I've done some reading on them and they seem like very nice planes. Everybody seems to love them. I've also seen there are many versions. From 110hp effective 2 seaters to 200hp beasts. The O-320 and O-360 can also be flown slow for greater economy when time to get there is not important. A 10% reduction in speed saves 20% fuel or so, resulting in similar economy as the O-235 at similar speeds. They don't reach the ATL 13 liters mogas/hour, but they are a much more capable plane. Can all DR400s use mogas?

Wood doesn't have corrosion, so no expensive SID program to keep corrosion in check (except for the bolts here and there). I suspect rotting can be an issue when not hangared properly. I would be terrified for passengers to misstep on the wing and damage the fabric though.

How does the maintenance of wood/fabric compare to metal?

What's the difference between a -140B and a -160? Both seem to have the same engine.
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Old 22nd Apr 2014, 13:31
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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A and C is correct, although I was responding to the mission as opposed to waving the LAA flag. Day VFR, 2 seat, easy to own and find parts for, fun to fly. The only thing I was suggesting is that you look again at the experimental thing because largely the aircraft you are looking at, are not that cheap or easy to run and are of limited fun.

You are right, you can recoup costs as a VAT registered business but hassle comes associated with renting and hassle removes fun. I was merely trying to point out that doing so changes the focus of ownership to commercial rather than fun and as such removes not a small amount of the fun from owning. I've owned 6 aircraft, only one of them experimental the most fun, easiest and cheapest was the experimental and I am suggesting as an experienced owner that you keep things simple as your first purchase

Incidentally, I was given the same advice as I just gave you with the same needs, I have seen it in other first time owners and also thought the same as you, I turned out to be wrong. Keep your options open and whatever you do, keep it simple but you, like me, will ignore such advice and convince yourself that you are right .

I now own a lovely Piper Cub, 2 seat, fun, great for the expensive burger runs and you don't need a lot of space to have fun in it. It costs me £2000 a year to run plus maintenance time which is mostly free. It is, relatively hassle free and therefor fun

So long as you have a good maintainer who can do wood and fabric, the aircraft you buy is well maintained and has always been hangared and you get a really good inspection then wood is easy to maintain, no guarantees
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Old 22nd Apr 2014, 14:24
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Pirke

The DR400-140B & 160 are identical except for the fuel system both have the main take mounted in the centre section that holds 110 lt the 140B has another tank at the rear under the baggage bay that holds 50 lt. The 160 has in addition to the main tank two wing tanks that each hold 40 lt.

As to people stepping on the fabric, I have never had it in thirty years of DR400 ownership, the walkway structure extends a long way outside the anti- slip area as it does with most metal aircraft, step out side this area on any aircraft and you are into a repair that will probably cost more on a metal aircraft.

Maintenance of wood aircraft is less well known within the industry but the costs are usually slightly below metal aircraft.......... But not by much !
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 06:12
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Ok, you have a hangar available at home. An odd night or two on tiedowns won't be a problem, it's the continuous rain/sun/wind that will hurt an outside aircraft. The DR400 is a lovely aircraft, nice handling and good performance. All the Jodels are nice to fly, especially the tailwheel ones, but you would need to be more careful who you rented them to.
Speed does matter if you need to be somewhere by a given date.....I go touring at 75 kts TAS but I have less dispatch reliability than I wold have in a faster machine. I suspect I may also have more fun and make more friends. I take a tent
I have two seats. If I need four I can rent. You could also consider one of the faster microlights such as the Pioneer 200, or the 300 retractable. forget the tent, in that case....
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 07:44
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Whilst an LAA machine might not be much cheaper in engineering, parts mostly will as they do not need to be approved, this approval often multiplying the cost by 10! Beagle Pup brake pads, for example, used to cost 10x the Exact same cost as the (IIRC) Jaguar ones without the CAA stamp on, only difference was that stamp - even coming in the same box! Also, you do not get the problem some Robin owners are having ATM of approved parts just not being available for a simple switch - you just find a suitable alternative.
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 09:27
  #31 (permalink)  
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How does the Robin HR compare to the DR? Being all metal I would suspect similar performances to other all metal planes, but with a better view.
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 09:50
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Glad you're getting some useful commentary. As I mentioned before, I also like the DR400. I first flew one not long after getting my PPL 30 years ago and it seemed to defy what I'd come to expect in terms of the trade-off between stability and agility. It remains one of my favourite aircraft and I see that there are a few on the register here in WA, where a hangar no doubt prevents spontaneous structural combustion in high summer

One additional suggestion is to do a bit of polling of people who rent out their aircraft, perhaps comparing private and flying school arrangements. You mentioned control-freak tendencies, which many of us would surely relate to. Leaving aside the potential availability issues, it's not easy to stand by and watch what some people do to your aeroplane. I've never had anyone damage an aeroplane on cross-hire but, just the same, the endless list of small things can get annoying. Nowadays, my grumpiness is such that I object to anyone adjusting my seatbelt, and woe betide anyone who doesn't wipe their feet! I'm exaggerating for effect, but many of us do reach a point where we opt for a less favourable financial arrangement, just so the right level of TLC is maintained.

All that said, I have several friends who own a rental aircraft and are quite happy to see it as just another investment. But I note that the rental aircraft is usually not regarded as part of the family, whereas the RV (etc) in the back of the hangar enjoys full one on one affection!
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 13:19
  #33 (permalink)  
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Some background: I already started a company over a year ago, with the honest intention to try to make money in aviation (I had just started with the PPL training). By now I know what it takes to get an AOC, so rental is my only realistic alternative.

Because I was a company, I could buy a company car. As it's a luxury eco friendly car, I got about 30k euro cashback in tax and other benefits. If I would stop now, I have to pay back about 20k euro, and that's not something I want

So I'm honestly gonna try to make some money on a plane, and if after 4 or 5 years that's not feasible (my rental rate might be too much, too few customers, bad economy, etc), I can always stop trying and stop the company. By then I would no longer be obliged to pay back the environmental subsidy on my car, and it has deprecated for 95%.

For now I myself will be the biggest renter of the plane, followed by my wife, friends and colleagues who I will happily be flying around for free (no monetary reward for acting as a pilot). They just rent the plane from a company, and I'm even gonna share 25% of the rental cost with them (for a 4 seater) from my personal wallet so there is no mistake that I'm not invalidating the PPL. As I expect to make about 100 hours myself, I'm already closing in on the break-even point from a business perspective, so the company isn't loosing too much money.

And who knows, there might be people at the airfield who see my lovely plane and want to fly in it. If I know and trust them, I'm happy to let them rent it. Planes should be in the air, not on the ground.

Sometimes the picture is bigger than only just the plane. Regarding TLC, I think that's covered
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 15:09
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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The OP suggested budgeting between £1,000 and £3,000 for insurance. As this looked quite high and covers a fair price span I thought it might be useful to give some more accurate premiums indications based on different scenarios.

1) A single, low hours (100) pilot, private use only in a 2 seater with a hull value of £20k and combined liability cover of £1m = £510

2)
A single, low hours (100) pilot, private use only in a 4 seater with a hull value of £40k and combined liability cover of £2m = £890

3)
Open pilot cover (PPL minimum) including rental use in a 2 seater with a hull value of £20k and combined liability cover of £1m = £1,050

4)
Open pilot cover (PPL minimum) including rental use in a 4 seater with a hull value of £40k and combined liability cover of £2m = £1,450

Iíve made a bunch of assumptions (UK based, claim free, hangared, EU territorial limits etc) but hopefully the above will give a better guide for budgeting purposes on the cost of ownership. Iím happy to churn out some other scenarios if that would be useful.

Cheers
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 15:24
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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with the honest intention to try to make money in aviation
And we all know the quote about how to make money in aviation!
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 17:48
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Hi Pirke,
Okay the mission is a bit different than what I read originally. the main aim of your aircraft is good rental machine, as everything else kind of comes with it.

Making money on an airframe requires finding the sweet spot in terms of usage, which should probably be 200-300 hours a year. Obviously running costs go up with usage but fixed costs are reduced by hour. For a rental machine check the hours on the engines and the airframe before you buy.

In this case, if the SIDs are taken care of a nice 172 or 182 will make an attractive make for a reliable rental machine. Relatively low purchase costs, easier and cheaper to buy and run than the equivalent Piper. Good parts availability and plenty of choice for maintenance, also easy to resell. Largely good to fly and capable. The 182 makes for an excellent machine and while more expensive to run you can offer something different to the local school, the school if renting from you would want a backup or the possibility add something totally different to the fleet, talk to them if they are in the picture but be aware they have their own interests at heart. 2 seat machines can be a bit difficult to rent as schools quite often have sufficient to cover whereas the flexibility and comfort of a 4 seater makes it a bit more attractive. That said, purchase and insurance is quite a bit higher.

Robins are lovely machines to fly but potentially some pain in finding parts.

Pipers are all basically fine if a bit more limited than the equivalent cessna.

The main headache with low wing aircraft is the oleos on the main gear, the seals have a habit of rolling and can be a pain because they always fail on aFriday night .

Making money from light GA is hard, lots of competition around and for the return it is quite a lot of investment of time and money. If you expect to be able to cover the cost of your own flying I think you will be disappointed but as you say, I don't know the whole picture but I agree with Foxmoth making a little money from an airplane, usually starts with spending a lot

Good luck
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 18:15
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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As this looked quite high and covers a fair price span I thought it might be useful to give some more accurate premiums indications based on different scenarios.
Could you PM me with the name of your broker?

I have been in aircraft ownership for twenty years, no claims, and have yet to have a premium lower that 1450.00 quid.
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 18:24
  #38 (permalink)  
jxk
 
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How does the Robin HR compare to the DR? Being all metal I would suspect similar performances to other all metal planes, but with a better view.
Robin HR100's are good long range aircraft they have 4 X 25gal tanks and cruise at 120knts. The downside is that they can suffer from main spar corrosion, the 4 bladder tanks can develope leaks if they're left empty for long periods, the windscreens can develope cracks and parts can be a problem. On the plus side they are stable, easy to maintain and have nice clear outside view.
The Robin factory isn't (wasn't) like a Boeing, Airbus factory but more akin to a large homebuilt workshop.
No SIDs!
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 18:30
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Robin.....

The DR400 is a masterpiece and is the mainstay of most French flying clubs so parts are normally not a problem.

The metal Robins are average aircraft and are unusual in French flying clubs

It won't take a rocket scientist to figure out were Robins parts supply is directed.

The truth is that Cessna parts are a little better than Robin parts for availability but the Robin parts are usually cheaper.

When it comes to structure the DR400 is much cheaper, you just go to an aviation wood merchant .
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Old 23rd Apr 2014, 21:00
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks Bob, will do. I have just renewed, but will check out the site.
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