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First GA Purchase - What to Get?

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First GA Purchase - What to Get?

Old 28th Aug 2018, 13:50
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First GA Purchase - What to Get?

All

I'm a PPL(H) and soaring pilot looking to move into the world of powered, fixed-wing GA flying.

I'd like to buy something that has character, is aerobatic and can take one or two passengers, and that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to run. I like the idea of a DHC Chipmunk, but understand they're pricey to maintain. Overall, I don't want to spend much more than about £40k to purchase something, and for that I'd expect it to be flyable!

So, does anyone have any suggestions?

TIA
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 14:21
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Wow. How long is a piece of string?!

But I'll bite anyway. PA28, C172, DR40... - sorry, just missed that you want aerobatic. AN2...

Buy the plane and the engine, not the shiny extras.

Safe flights, Sam.

Last edited by Sam Rutherford; 28th Aug 2018 at 15:11. Reason: Missed 'Aerobatic'!
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 14:26
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Q400........
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 14:27
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2 seats and aerobatic .. T67 Slingsby Firefly

Last edited by Dave Gittins; 30th Aug 2018 at 13:31.
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 14:50
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Originally Posted by Ewan Whosearmy View Post
I'd like to buy something that has character, is aerobatic and can take one or two passengers, and that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to run.
Unless you fly an experimental aircraft and you maintain it by yourself, each and every powered aircraft costs an arm and a leg to run.
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 15:41
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Originally Posted by 172510 View Post
Unless you fly an experimental aircraft and you maintain it by yourself, each and every powered aircraft costs an arm and a leg to run.
And if you do fly an experimental aircraft and maintain it by yourself, in addition to an arm and a leg it also costs blood, sweat and tears.
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 16:08
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Here you go Ewan..

https://www.ataviation.uk/listings/zlin-326/

I have no connection with the vendor and I'm not on commission - buy me a beer one day
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 16:15
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I think that there's a reasonable choice if you ditch the requirement for a second passenger, or ditch the aerobatic requirement.

Both? A very limited choice, and still less under £40k.

Maule 7? Ex-Swedish Bulldog with a back seat? Lycoming engined Auster?

I'd say ditch the second passenger requirement and stick to 2-seaters - you'll get far more aeroplane for your money, and can always rent a C172 or PA28 occasionally to take that second pax.

G
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 19:14
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Thanks, all!

ETOPS - I had seen that, thanks

Dave G - at the risk of opening a can of worms, I had discounted the Firefly on the grounds of safety concerns. I think the last one I saw that crashed was a couple of years ago, and it wouldn't come out of the a spin, IIRC. Two fatalities, both RAF student pilots.
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 19:14
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You should definitely consider a permit aircraft.

Your budget does not quite stretch to an RV (4) or a two seat Pitts but how about a Skybolt, Christen Eagle II, Acro Sport 2, Starduster Too or a Hiperbipe?

Or if you want lots of change and can accept more limited aerobatic capability, a Bolkow Junior?
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 19:15
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Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post
Maule 7? Ex-Swedish Bulldog with a back seat? Lycoming engined Auster?

I'd say ditch the second passenger requirement and stick to 2-seaters - you'll get far more aeroplane for your money, and can always rent a C172 or PA28 occasionally to take that second pax.

G
Thanks, G. Looks like I just missed out on an Auster sale... will check out the other types you mention.
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 19:16
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by Forfoxake View Post
You should definitely consider a permit aircraft.

Your budget does not quite stretch to an RV (4) or a two seat Pitts but how about a Skybolt, Christen Eagle II, Acro Sport 2, Starduster Too or a Hiperbipe?

Or if you want lots of change and can accept more limited aerobatic capability, a Bolkow Junior?
Great list to look into. Would you have a personal preference based on experience?
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 22:26
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Originally Posted by Ewan Whosearmy View Post
Great list to look into. Would you have a personal preference based on experience?
Not really. I have only flown a Bolkow Junior and a Vans RV-4 and not done aerobatics in either. However, the RV-4 is fast tourer too.

PS If you look at any permit aircraft, check that the particular aeroplane has been cleared for aerobatics.
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 23:40
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The Vans RV-4 is a great aircraft, simple to maintain, quite economical and very good performance. I've had 3 of them.
They are also not often on the market, so you would need to act quickly (and cautiously) to secure a deal.

As a sailplane pilot, it maybe worth looking for a Fournier RF5. Possibly less availability than the Vans, but combines motor-glider economy with aerobatic capability.

The Jodel D150 Mascaret is nominally aerobatic although most owners seem to respect the aging woodwork and use them just as tourers.

On the lighter side, there's the Rans S10 Sakota which should be well within your budget.

Most of the above should only be considered single seaters for aerobatics sorties. If you want dual aeros, find a partner or two and get an RV-8.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 00:47
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Originally Posted by Mark 1 View Post
The Vans RV-4 is a great aircraft, simple to maintain, quite economical and very good performance. I've had 3 of them.
They are also not often on the market, so you would need to act quickly (and cautiously) to secure a deal.

As a sailplane pilot, it maybe worth looking for a Fournier RF5. Possibly less availability than the Vans, but combines motor-glider economy with aerobatic capability.

The Jodel D150 Mascaret is nominally aerobatic although most owners seem to respect the aging woodwork and use them just as tourers.

On the lighter side, there's the Rans S10 Sakota which should be well within your budget.

Most of the above should only be considered single seaters for aerobatics sorties. If you want dual aeros, find a partner or two and get an RV-8.
I have been in a D150 doing a loop but imho it is not aerobatic although it is a wonderful tourer.

I flew in a S10 Sakota years ago and really hated it, although it is very cheap! I think most have two stroke engines too, which I no longer fancy!.

I have never flown a Fournier but presume that their aerobatic performance will be similar to a glider. But they are old and wooden too.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 02:39
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If you have £40k to spend, look for an aircraft in the £30k price range, so you'll have some extra money left over to feed and care for it. Every airplane is a compromise. Some do better than other at some things - no type is perfect. It's up to you to define your most common "mission" and buy to suit. Remember that the fact that you own a plane does not mean that you can't rent something else (more seats) if you need it from time to time. I loved flying the RV-4, agile, nicely harmonized, but they're not very roomy, so less than ideal for overnight touring with a passenger. Cessnas do what it says on the box - none of it particularly well, but easy and economical to maintain for a certified type. Similarly Piper PA-28 series, though I would be very cautious about parts availability for ongoing maintenance. Fabric aircraft can be charming, if the fabric is in good shape, and you can hangar it. Taildraggers will build your flying skills better and faster than flying tricycle.

Aerobatic is nice to aspire to, but most aerobatic planes are otherwise an compromise. The 150 Aerobat is a very modest aerobatic performer, though if you can fly decent aerobatics in it, you're a better than average aerobatic pilot! I would think a Citabria ("airbatic" backwards) is a nice choice, if the particular plane is in good shape. Otherwise, excluding loops, rolls, and spins, any type can be "maneuvered" for fun and proficiency. Steep turns, stalls and chandelles are fun.

Buy the plane you can really afford to operate - so you fly it lots! If you're worried about the operating cost, and not flying it, why'd you buy it? Airplanes are no longer an investment - buy them to fly them, your return for ownership is availability, and not paying someone else a profit on operating hours. Do not expect a plane to appreciate. It will never be worth nothing, but rationalize that your return was hundreds of fun flying hours, 'cause it won't be lots of money when you sell it!
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 04:35
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Others have mentioned the Bölkow Junior, but FWIW a Monsun would fit the requirement reasonably well and offer substantially better performance for both sport flying and cross countries.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 06:03
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Dave G - at the risk of opening a can of worms, I had discounted the Firefly on the grounds of safety concerns. I think the last one I saw that crashed was a couple of years ago, and it wouldn't come out of the a spin, IIRC. Two fatalities, both RAF student pilots.
Ewan,
I am going to politely open the can of worms. I would leap at buying a Firefly if I could afford one. The crash you refer to does the aircraft a disservice. The RAF student pilot who was flying it, had been given a very rudimentary checkout, which did not involve any spinning or aerobatics, and so he was not aware of the spin recovery technique. He only knew how to recover a Tucano from a spin, which has an unusual spin-recovery technique, very different from all light aircraft spin-recoveries that I am familiar with.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 10:02
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To the best of my knowledge, virtually all, possibly all of the UK fatals in T67s have been the smaller engine Mk.2 variants with the 160hp engine.The 200hp military variant is available on the G-reg, albeit more expensive, does not have the problematic safety record, and is a heck of a lot more fun to fly. (Ditto the 260hp version of course, but that might be a challenge under £40k).


Regarding I42's post above - whilst I'm not in the "there's no problem with Fireflies camp", I do agree that that particular accident had far more to do with the pilots than the aeroplane. Two young and doubtless enthusiastic military student pilots, used to a very different type, not trained in the CRM of two pilots in a cockpit - that wasn't a recipe for happiness unfortunately.

That said, with hours in both the T67 and the Bulldog, I'd take a Bulldog every time, which I think is a far nicer aeroplane to fly (albeit that there's a fatigue life issue with *some* airframes.) And there are a few Bulldogs with a back seat.

G
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 19:15
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The Bulldog seems a nice enough plane if you can find one with some hours left on the wing... but 110 kts cruise on 200 HP would be a factor for me.

Re the earlier mention of the Citabria. It could have been called the 'Aeronca Super Champ', in an analogy to the Piper Super Cub: Like a Champ I've found them to need a lot of muscle although spades make an improvement - I flew the same plane before and after. Citabrias are also slow for the power.
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