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First Aircraft Purchase

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First Aircraft Purchase

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Old 4th Nov 2018, 20:47
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First Aircraft Purchase

Hi all.

I have recently obtained my EASA PPL, and intend on buying an aircraft, perhaps jointly with a friend. We both intend to obtain an IR(r) relatively quickly, perhaps followed by an IR in due course.

I would prefer to have something with at least 6 seats, an excellent avionics package, and a reasonable amount of comfort.

I travel around the UK and parts of Europe regularly on business, so I would like something which is reasonably quick and has a decent range.

As I learnt to fly in a PA28, I have mainly been looking at Piper Saratogas so far, but have also looked at the Piper Malibu. The budget will extend to around $300,000, although there may be a little room for an increase if required.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what would be most suitable, or alternative suggestions or observations?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 21:05
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Some more questions:
* do you want oxygen, from bottles and a breathing piece, or even a pressurised cabin?
* will you consider a turboprop?
* what runway do you have available? length? surface? There is a Saratoga based at my homefield, but the 600m grass runway is barely long enough for it.
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 21:36
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Take a good look at a Cessna 210, it fits your question and is a damn nice aircraft if you can find a good one.
Who are you going to put in those 6 seats, Very few aircraft will allow you to carry 6 adults and full fuel so
there will always be a compromise between load and range.
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 22:44
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If you're a recent PPL it would be wise to consider your aircraft aspirations in terms of stepping stones. Stepping right into a continental performing six seat aircraft may be expecting a bit much of yourself. Asking for a quote to be insured on such and aircraft could be a helpful indicator of this. Certainly the responsibility you take when you take five passengers is big. Five more people each with their expectations and agenda can put a lot of pressure on you as a pilot to undertake or continue a flight which may be pushing your skills. You and two passengers should be your early piloting objective. Consider a decent four seat aircraft first, and build your experience for a few hundred hours, and a few distant trips first. A Cessna 182, or Piper Dakota could be good choices.
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 06:34
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There is a reason in the USA they call some high performance types Doctor killers, wealthy high achievers with more money than piloting skill buy these aircraft and get into situations that their skill level can’t get them out of.

Take the advice of 9 lives that is written above and buy an aircraft that you can build your experience and piloting skills and then step up to the next level.
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 12:47
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FG Saratoga handles/flies almost identically to any PA28 with wobbly prop and no gear to leave up.

Six seats, 150+kts, job done. You'll get a lot of change from $300K as well...
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 12:51
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The "doctor killer" factor might be quite relevant, yes. Perhaps best to do some trips with a rented plane, first? That will allow you to hone your skills AND to make sure that this is really what you (and a partner, perhaps?) really want.

Also, be careful about sharing the plane with someone else. Even if good company for an evening out, that doesn't necessarily mean good company for spending several hours together, in a rather confined space.
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 13:15
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Are the 6 seats for family or employees?
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 14:44
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Six seats, 150+kts, job done.
Yes, in the hands of an experienced pilot. At 150 knots, things happen fast for a new pilot, and those other five people can be very distracting. As new pilots practice longer flights in less demanding circumstances, the basic skills will develop and the demands of flying the plane will take less of the total available attention of the pilot, allowing that pilot to divert the needed attention to passengers, new geographical areas, and then the abnormal situation which occurs from time to time.

I can remember one of my first flights flying the Cessna 310 with four passengers, husband, wife, daughter and friend. Conditions were ideal for the flight. At 180 knots, things happened faster than I expected and (long before the days of GPS) I arrived much sooner than I expected to my destination, so there I was at 6500 feet, doing 180 knots, entering the control zone - I errantly left myself a lot of getting down to do! - My poor planning. So, my descent was a bit more rapid than I should have undertaken. I was okay with it, and husband toughed it out, but the 500+FPM descent (entirely my fault to need to do) was misery for the three ladies in the back. There were "ows" and tears from ears popping, and the sense of speed. It was no bug deal for an experienced aviator, but I had overlooked the fact that not everyone who boards your aircraft is as experienced as they, or you think. Ultimately, no harm done, but I felt unprofessional. The passengers distracted me terribly on the way down, while I reminded myself to focus on arrival checklists. It was the entry point to a stupid accident. I prevented the stupid accident with nearly adequate airmanship, and the whole event was very memorable for me.

Walk before you run....
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 14:53
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Whilst not nullifying your comments, three pax can be as distracting as five - and 150kts is likely to be only 20-30kts faster than the four seat they might otherwise buy. Your 180kts example is a considerably more significant (50%) increase on 120kts...

You should also be careful about buying something you might 'grow out of' very quickly.

Buy the higher performance aircraft, and invest in a 'bring along instructor' (or indeed any experienced pilot) for the first few long trips. I guarantee they'll charge little to nothing if it's a fun trip...
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 15:29
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Location Ayr? would that be the small island north of Scotland? And question, exactly how many hours altogether have you flown? Starting with a big expensive aircraft, and little experience or qualification, means that it will NOT save you money. Nor will it get you places in bad weather. Flying by yourself, OK. taking any pax at all, they may be impressed with the fancy machine, but the bottom line is your experience. With important business at your destination, would you turn back if weather was unsuitable? Especially if passengers are aboard!
Not equipped to fly at airline altitudes, better to be alone in the aircraft, with no serious business tempting you to carry on. I flew in rented aircraft in the US, and my own PA18 (with a towhook) in the UK. And an instrument rating. And the experience to realise when it might be a very good idea to change the plan and go by road. Now 85, I started flying at 50, and flew over 3,000 hours, never hurt an aircraft or a passenger.

O yes. Have you passed your aviation medical?
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 19:12
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Start with a Piper Cherokee 6/6X. Get your IR(R) on that. Couple of years time when you've got some more time behind you think about a Saratoga, C210 or Bonanza.

You'll progress quicker and your insurer will love you.
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 21:14
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Thanks for all the advice everyone. It is appreciated.

I understand the concerns raised regarding developing my aviation skills suitably before jumping into an aircraft like this. As such, I would be happy taking along a safety pilot for the first few long trips to become comfortable with flying the aircraft.

I have a family of 6, and whilst it would be rare for the six seats to be occupied, it would certainly allow that to happen on occasion. I also feel that it would be a more comfortable experience when there were only 3/4 pax on trips with friends or business colleagues.

As a result of this, I am conscious that I do not want to outgrow my first aircraft too quickly. I don't really fancy buying, and then trying to sell and upgrade a year or so later. So an aircraft that gives me room to develop my skills and allows me to do more when I have become a more proficient aviator would be ideal. At that time I suppose oxygen becomes more of an issue, therefore I would be happy to consider these options now.

I'm flying out of Prestwick, so plenty of runway to work with. If there were an option to rent, or share, a nice suitable aircraft in the meantime, I would be happy to do so. But I haven't so far seen anything in the area that ticks the boxes, or appears to be available.
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 21:27
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Have you passed your aviation medical?
I have learned to expect the unexpected, in UK aviation, but this question seems to suggest it is possible in UK to gain an EASA PPL without having passed the aviation medical - my imagination feels challenged.

From the opening message:
I have recently obtained my EASA PPL
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 04:45
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I have a family of 6
Me too, (though also two grandchildren and their dads now too). I have often had the use of six seat planes, though I have never taken all of my family flying at once, that has been my choice. More recently, I've been very happy to take just one family member with me.
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 10:46
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You have a family of 6? Then it is time to evaluate.

A 6 seater means filling the 6 seats at reduced fuel load. => 6 people + luggage means you have to reduce fuel load dramatically, and range reduces to a hop to the next town..

Plus: 6 people in a 6 seater + minimal luggage => means very precise Center of Gravity calculations at take off, but also when the fuel is burned off for landing.

For all practical, and safety reasons, if you want to fly 6 people, with luggage over any distance? You need the load capacity, and center of gravity margins of a 10 seater.
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 10:52
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Andrew Devlin has built a very nice hangar at Cumbernauld and has a very very nice Cirrus.

He started flying about seven years ago and now takes his aircraft all over Europe in all sorts of weather.

Might be worth having a word with him about your ideas and how to achieve them. (He also might have hangar space too!)

I think he has gone through many of the processes you will have to!

(most instructors, indeed most flying schools, don't own aircraft - for example!)
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 11:14
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You have a family of six, you should buy (at least) a six-seater.

@Vilters' post about fuel/load etc. is very valuable, but you have some options.

I'm guessing by your age that some of the gang are small/very small, it may also be that you're not planning on flying all of them long distances.

Our FG Saratoga can take 6 adults (no fatties and no luggage) 400nm. It's old, as they get newer they carry less. Or, I can take four adults and luggage almost 1000nm...

Cheers, Sam.
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 12:23
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not planning on flying all of them long distances.
... Is the phrase I like. We had a super family holiday many years back, a combination of fly and drive. I flew the mighty Cessna 150, taking one family member with me, as we progressed along the route, we'd meet at airports and change passengers. Everyone got a portion f the flight. When I happened upon a pod of whales near the ocean, We stopped for a family picnic at the airport, and I took each person out to see the whales.

Consider taking a smaller plane for your family trip, and having some family members travel by another means, meeting you along the way, or at your destination.
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 12:25
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Maybe it's just me.

If you have a family of four, get at least a four seat plane. Six, at least six. Eight, well, you get the idea...

But maybe it's just me.
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