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Hello everyone. 

                           I am sure this subject has been flogged to death in the past however, does anyone have any practical experience with owning an older piper cherokee or Arrow or similar and any usefull input on costs and possible pros & cons, I am leaning toward purchasing an old plane to do my PPL in and it seems a toss up between an old Cesna 172 and a piper, i see there is quite a lot of other second hand planes at cheap price points however i think the brand seem obscure and probably for a reason and i cant be sure but the recent input i have is to steer clear of jabiru.

 

any helpfull information is appreciated.

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Do you HAVE to buy your OWN aeroplane? It's a very UNKNOWN cost item with OLDER planes but potentially  way above what you would pay an organisation to use theirs  in normal circumstances.  Nev

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I owned a 1967 Cherokee 180 for about 10 years in the 90’s and have operated a 1977 Archer II for about the last 10 years.  Neither aeroplane gave me an ounce of trouble in all that time.  I also flew a Commander 114 for about 5 years before the Archer.

The 180 was based in the bush on my farm strip and the Commander and Archer are based on the coast.

Plenty of older aeroplanes will give good service if they have been looked after.  None of the three were ever used for training and all had/have around 4000 Hrs TTIS.

 

Look for a good airframe first and look at the engine second.  You can always replace or overhaul an engine but, if the airframe is a dog, it will eat up money at a huge rate and never be any good.

 

The right aeroplane may be able to run on Mogas with an STC.  My Gliding club has run two Pawnee 235’s on Premium 98 for more than 10 years (thousands of hours) with a significant saving in costs.  My Cherokee 180 did over 300 hours on mogas.  She ran cooler, smoother, and didn’t even look like fouling a spark plug.  Something she did a lot of when running on avgas.

 

I wouldn’t go for an Arrow or similar,  maintenance costs rise to ridiculous levels when you add retractable undercarriage and constant speed props to the equation.  The Archer costs less than half to maintain than the Commander 114 that she replaced doing about the same number of hours each year.

 

I think it is worth owning your own aeroplane if you are going to be doing a fair bit of flying.  If you don’t do at least 70 odd hours or more a year, it will probably be cheaper to rent.

 

Piper or Cessna?

 

You say potayto, I say patarto!   You can sit under the wing of a 172 in the shade.  You can see out of a Cherokee when you are turning.  A little of column A, a little of column B.

 

Robert

 

 

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All of that. My Archer has 6500 hours or so and has been very reliable. I should say I have flown the Piper family for nearly 50 years without any dramas.

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11 hours ago, Rastus said:

I owned a 1967 Cherokee 180 for about 10 years in the 90’s and have operated a 1977 Archer II for about the last 10 years.  Neither aeroplane gave me an ounce of trouble in all that time.  I also flew a Commander 114 for about 5 years before the Archer.

The 180 was based in the bush on my farm strip and the Commander and Archer are based on the coast.

Plenty of older aeroplanes will give good service if they have been looked after.  None of the three were ever used for training and all had/have around 4000 Hrs TTIS.

 

Look for a good airframe first and look at the engine second.  You can always replace or overhaul an engine but, if the airframe is a dog, it will eat up money at a huge rate and never be any good.

 

The right aeroplane may be able to run on Mogas with an STC.  My Gliding club has run two Pawnee 235’s on Premium 98 for more than 10 years (thousands of hours) with a significant saving in costs.  My Cherokee 180 did over 300 hours on mogas.  She ran cooler, smoother, and didn’t even look like fouling a spark plug.  Something she did a lot of when running on avgas.

 

I wouldn’t go for an Arrow or similar,  maintenance costs rise to ridiculous levels when you add retractable undercarriage and constant speed props to the equation.  The Archer costs less than half to maintain than the Commander 114 that she replaced doing about the same number of hours each year.

 

I think it is worth owning your own aeroplane if you are going to be doing a fair bit of flying.  If you don’t do at least 70 odd hours or more a year, it will probably be cheaper to rent.

 

Piper or Cessna?

 

You say potayto, I say patarto!   You can sit under the wing of a 172 in the shade.  You can see out of a Cherokee when you are turning.  A little of column A, a little of column B.

 

Robert

 

 

great advice thanks.

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Holden, Ford; BMW, Mercedes; Toyota, Mitsubishi; Piper, Cessna - each as good as the other. 

 

It all comes down to:

  1. Sit in the shade while flying, or see what's beside you in a turn.
  2. A door on each side, or only on the passenger's side.
  3. Step on the seats getting in, or not.
  4. Stand on the ground to refuel, or climb a ladder.
  5. A lot of ground effect at flare, or little.
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The main concern is with the airframe. They were never really built to last 50 years especially when many are not hangared for long periods or have been operated near the coast. Much/any corrosion is death to the project. Get it exhaustively inspected by someone familiar with the type. Also if you aren't doing a lot of hours the fixed costs make it financially prohibitive. Your first 100 hourly could cost more than the purchase price.  140 HP is not enough to lift 4 people The Cessna flap helps if you must try. Ground effect is a mixed blessing. If you rely on it, it may not work always and sometimes extra float doesn't help on a short strip. 2 doors are better than one if you wish to get out quickly..  Nev

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1 hour ago, facthunter said:

The main concern is with the airframe. They were never really built to last 50 years

Of course these aircraft weren't expected to last a lifetime. The industrial economy requires that any product only has a short useful life and has to be replaced. Couple that with a small population and we miss out on economies of scale that populous countries like the USA enjoy.

 

In the mid-70's I used to fly a PA-28 Cherokee out of Dubbo. That same plane is still flying out of Camden.  What percentage of the Australian private vehicle fleet are  HJ Holdens or XB Falcons? Compare that to the number of Pipers and Cessnas from the same period in the aviation fleet.

 

That the aircraft is still airworthy after more than 40 years (and probably closer to more than 50 years) just shows how regular maintenance can preserve any machine, but I wonder how the cumulative total of regular maintenance costs for 40 - 50 years would compare to a program of replacing the aircraft every five years or so. 

Edited by old man emu

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The Beech 23 is also worth considering, they are beautifully built. This is what my 56 year old looks like on the inside, not many of the parts were painted internally back then. If you see any amount of corrosion in any aircraft pass.

 

20190724_144814.jpg

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On 11/11/2019 at 4:46 PM, adrian1970 said:

Hello everyone. 

                           I am sure this subject has been flogged to death in the past however, does anyone have any practical experience with owning an older piper cherokee or Arrow or similar and any usefull input on costs and possible pros & cons, I am leaning toward purchasing an old plane to do my PPL in and it seems a toss up between an old Cesna 172 and a piper, i see there is quite a lot of other second hand planes at cheap price points however i think the brand seem obscure and probably for a reason and i cant be sure but the recent input i have is to steer clear of jabiru.

 

any helpfull information is appreciated.

First I - I support Nev's comment "Do you HAVE to buy your OWN aeroplane? It's a very UNKNOWN cost item with OLDER planes but potentially  way above what you would pay an organisation to use theirs  in normal circumstances.  Nev"

Second - If you must purchase an aircraft, why not look at RAA types.  I see you have something against Jabiru but there are so many other brands/models out there. As a general observation - you will purchase & operate cheaper.  You will develop much broader flying skills, compared with flying the  gentle, predictable "old iron". When the time comes to sell you will probably find a more active market. If you can't actually find  4 pax - hire a cessna/piper for the job. 

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PLENTY of people wash out from PPL training deciding that for whatever reason, flying isn't for them.

 

Older aircraft are not like older cars. Generally the older they get, the benefit of the lower cost is offset by the much higher cost of Unscheduled Maintenance.  A person new to flying is unlikely to get up to speed fast enough with how all the costs come together. Just Hangar rental cost could put you out of the ballpark.

 

The Instructors and Testers may be very scarce when you ask them to fly in it for training/testing.

 

Local Flying Schools already struggle for critical mass to keep costs down, so need every hour they can get on their own aircraft, so you'll have less instructors available to you, and you'll soon learn if you fly regularly that just when you need an instructor, he/she will often be tied up on a Navex etc, so you are limiting your options to an annoying degree.

 

My advice is to go to a flying club and take advantage of their aircraft, leaving any cost-shock impacts to them.

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Ah Jeez.jpg

 

 

Adrian is suffering from that well-known disorder, Newbie Lust. Typically, this lust is displayed by the novice at the beginning of their aviation life. They see their future through rose-coloured glasses, flying off hither, thither and yon at a whim, with no concept of the harsh financial realities of aircraft ownership. Newbie Lust is comparable to Puppy Love. At the start, it's all exciting and wonderful. Then the excitement and wonder start to fade as reality sets in, until the Newbie is like the eunuch at the urinal - just looking down on the unemployed. Just have a look at the number of big boats sitting idle on trailers in peoples' front yards and you'll see another example of Newbie Lust.

 

There should be a big warning notice posted at all flying schools saying "If you can't afford to pay for your training up front, you can't afford your own plane either."

 

Sure, if you have used part of your Powerball winnings to clear all your domestic debts, and don't have to work again, then buy yourself a plane, a boat and a mobile home and live worry-free. But if you are, or have been, a wage slave then hook up with an aero club, or a good flight school and use their aircraft as the urge takes you.

 

 

Edited by old man emu
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Cost per hr, simple to own and fly is why smaller Jabiru so popular as trainers

Likely straight after training you will want something different/faster/etc etc

and sometime after then your probably beginning to understand costs and maze that is owning an aircraft.

Use a rental for a start

 

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Thank you for the input and it is what i expected, in general mixed.

I have been renting and still do, i guess at some stage i will have to buy something as the wife and I would like to fly around Qld in a few years time to see what it's all about and eventually if we so desire we will do a trip around Oz, well that's the plan & the question had been asked to me how that could be done with a rental.

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You will be able to rent a plane when you have quite a lot of prang free hours. Imagine YOU are doing the renting, rather than seeking to rent . What would you do? The insurance for this is pretty high. The insurance companies hate insuring a pilot on a tailwheel plane, (as an example) who doesn't have quite a few hours on that type. The longer you muck around planes and talk to the right people, the better your eventual decisions will be.

 There ARE advantages in owning your own plane but saving money isn't a strong point. You may end up paying multiples of the hire costs at certain times of low use and big expenses. Purchasing  a plane is the easy part. There's plenty out there advertised often repainted and looking tempting.  You first annual may cost more than you paid for the plane and it may not stop there. Repair costs aren't based on the current value, which may be 1/10th of the new cost. $35K on the engine easily and plenty on a C/S prop or even an ordinary one.and them there's the AIRFRAME. radios instruments. The REAL world of Aviation.. Nev

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46 minutes ago, adrian1970 said:

Thank you for the input and it is what i expected, in general mixed.

I have been renting and still do, i guess at some stage i will have to buy something as the wife and I would like to fly around Qld in a few years time to see what it's all about and eventually if we so desire we will do a trip around Oz, well that's the plan & the question had been asked to me how that could be done with a rental.

Hi Adrian, don't  let the nay sayers put you off. I get a lot of satisfaction from owning. I know it would be more economical to rent and now live in an area with plenty of choice only 50 km away, it used to be 200.  

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1 hour ago, Thruster88 said:

Hi Adrian, don't  let the nay sayers put you off. I get a lot of satisfaction from owning. I know it would be more economical to rent and now live in an area with plenty of choice only 50 km away, it used to be 200.  

Hi Thruster, Thanks & yes  i assume a lot of what is payed for is satisfaction of owning, it prob a bit like any toy as in it may not be purchased based on economical reasons.

 

Thank you for you response. Cheers☺️

 

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Adrian I enjoy owning and can afford it. Not as big as you might think, with initial purchase and upgrades including paint remediation my Archer probably owes me $55k. Plenty of hours left on engine and prop. Operating cost is another thing, but not that great either. When I was a young bloke I dreamed of owning one but couldn’t. In those days I had to find three cost-sharing friends to go on a trip. now I can just jump in and go, it is a good feeling. Hire a club plane for sure, but don’t be put off ownership when you can.

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On 12/11/2019 at 5:22 PM, Thruster88 said:

The Beech 23 is also worth considering, they are beautifully built. This is what my 56 year old looks like on the inside, not many of the parts were painted internally back then. If you see any amount of corrosion in any aircraft pass.

 

20190724_144814.jpg

yes that looks brand new.

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At the CASA seminar in Longreach, someone mentioned that SIDS was being scrapped... Was that just hopeful thinking... or is it happening?

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The earlier Pipers (Commanche's) are the best corrosion proofed planes  but after the factory was destroyed (by flooding) the later aircraft didn't get as much attention in that department. If you haven't applied  the correct paint/treatment  in the laps and rivet holes you are going to have trouble later on, especially if paint stripper residue gets in there or your plane operates near salt or is left outside, mostly. You wouldn't do that to your lawnmower  but people do it to their planes and expect them to still be worth something. Nev

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Another consideration is do you really need 4 seats? If not you will be able to purchase a modern RA registered aircraft with equal or better performance than the old C172 or PA28 although with less payload and space. A J230 though has a heap of space as the 2 seats of the J430 model are not there. Maintenance is likely to be considerably cheaper & if you have & maintain your PPL & the aircraft is fitted with a Transponder you can fly in controlled airspace. The cheapest part of buying an old GA aircraft is the purchase price by a county mile.

Edited by kgwilson
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Some of the 4 seaters won't lift 4 people as well as full fuel. Just having the seats there doesn't mean you can fill them with sumo wrestlers and some luggage and fly away at 45 degrees C.  Nev

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