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Tips on buying your first airplane


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RF - Remember wear and tear does not just happen to engines.

 

In theory training aircraft go through many more "cycles" than privately owned ones. This suggests more rapid wear of parts subject to heating & cooling and stressed components like undercarriage & brakes.

 

Most of us know that engines are designed to be used, so hanger queens are not a good thing but then the other aircraft systems will be in great condition (not if its metal and lives by the sea)

 

Seems to me that the best bet (if you can find one) is a well used, privately owned aircraft, that had a comprehensive log book.

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In the hands of a weekend pilot a $40-50k Piper or Cessna will not be more expensive to run than an RAA type, unless poor selection or  plain bad luck. I should add ...I use a LAME to do the main

we'll see. good so far. have my South Australian entry permit now.

I bought an old GA aircraft which fits within your criteria minus rotax. Consumption 34lit/hr according to POH, but when flying at lower rpm range and mixture leaned rich of peak, it drops to 23lit/hr

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I wrote an article in Sport Pilot a number of years ago. After doing all the maths with hours,fuel etc it was probably affordable.

BUT, factor in the cost of a hangar @ 35 to 50k, plus site lease and insurance, turned out it was far cheaper to hire a club plane.

It wasn't so bad if you are at it for 20 years.

 

Back of pie wrapper maths---30h/year @ $180hr x 20 years =$108k hire.

Own it...30h/y @ $75hr x 20years = 45k, add 50k for reasonable plane, 45k for a hangar =$140k insurance and site lease included.

 

I know you may say that you will fly 100 hrs a year to reduce the fixed cost per hour, BUT most pilots I know started at 100 in their first year and tapered off rapidly to less than 20. And most quit altogether after 5 years.

 

If I remember correctly RAAus say we fly 30 hrs average across pilots, but that doesn't take into account students who quickly rack up the hours inflating the average.

 

Also factor in the lost interest on the $100k for the plane and hangar at 5% over 20 years ...WAIT for it....$170k!

All in today's rates. This will allow you 47 hr per year and you still have your $100k principal. So you are well in front.

 

This was explored on this site last year by members. I don't have my original article electronically any more, just the hard copy.

 

Ken

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Further to the above, you could say that if you decide to sell after a few years you will get your money back. I can hear most of us laughing already.

Example, my perfect condition plane lost HALF its value in a few weeks, after CASA decided that my Jab motor was going to kill me. I'm sure the other jab jockeys would agree about this!

Ken

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I knew that putting the Pie Chaser to bed would be the killer. It seems that the only time a plane can compete on economic terms with a ground hugger is if you have land on the boundary of an airport, or the airport is on your land. Then you can erect a minimalist cover for protection without the cost of renting airport space.

 

I know you may say that you will fly 100 hrs a year to reduce the fixed cost per hour, BUT most pilots I know started at 100 in their first year and tapered off rapidly to less than 20. And most quit altogether after 5 years.

 

That's the lamentable truth. I bet it applies to people who by trailerable boats, too. They'd be forking out big bucks for their activities.

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So observations so far :

1) Aircraft that can be put to work in a flight school  have their value held up, because I guess they can make some money, or at least 'support' an aviation interest.

 

like Jabiru J170s etc  Well maintained  J170s often command J230 like money.

 

2) 19- aircraft are very hard to sell,  and frequently, owners hope to get far more money than they are ever likely to get.  So you'd have to consider it a life purchase unless you can get it for a low price otherwise you'll have little chance  selling it. 

 

 

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RF- you have found that pilots will pay a slight to heavy premium for a 23, 24, 32 and even a 55, while a 10, 19, 28 (I've only seen two of these, Jab 470 If I remember, and SK) are cheaper. With a 19 etc you are better if you know the builder.

Ken

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5 hours ago, RFguy said:

So observations so far :

1) Aircraft that can be put to work in a flight school  have their value held up, because I guess they can make some money, or at least 'support' an aviation interest.

 

like Jabiru J170s etc  Well maintained  J170s often command J230 like money.

 

2) 19- aircraft are very hard to sell,  and frequently, owners hope to get far more money than they are ever likely to get.  So you'd have to consider it a life purchase unless you can get it for a low price otherwise you'll have little chance  selling it. 

 

 

Yea, I have a 10 year old J170C with only 155 hours TTIS. It still has the brand new smell about it. Always hangered, always maintained, no prangs etc. and all the mandatory crap. I'd sell for $55K but nobody's interested. Instead they waste my time with stupid questions.

IMG_4383 b.jpg

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Hi Jab 72252, I have private messages you... please call  /msg  me

cheers Glen.

 

Edited by RFguy
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I hope we congratulate both buyer and seller on successful business and see some test flights 🙂

 

Many people will say if you are buying an aircraft for any kind of business venture, then forget about profit.

 

However if it's for hobby/pleasure, then there's no need for calculations. 

 

Enjoy your bird!

 

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On 12/09/2020 at 10:01 PM, blackhawk799 said:

 

 

The aircraft is located in NT , I am in SA. No border restrictions but 3000km is a bloody long way away!

 

Can you please post the link for RAAus L2 listings as I cant find it , thanks

G'day Blackhawk 

 

A first purchase is always an exciting time, but be sure you dont let your heart get ahead of your head!  This is probably a great time to be buying a used aircraft and there are some great ones around  If your 3000km  from an aircraft in the NT, then I'm guessing its in the Top End.   Flick me a PM,  I might be able to help... 

 

Alan   

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16 hours ago, RFguy said:

Hi NTS.

thanks for the offer- nope not in the NT- thanks for the offer of help- cheers-glen.

RFguy I was refering to the original poster on this thread. 

 

Good luck with your own purchase.

 

Alan

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On 29/09/2020 at 5:21 PM, NT5224 said:

G'day Blackhawk 

 

A first purchase is always an exciting time, but be sure you dont let your heart get ahead of your head!  This is probably a great time to be buying a used aircraft and there are some great ones around  If your 3000km  from an aircraft in the NT, then I'm guessing its in the Top End.   Flick me a PM,  I might be able to help... 

 

Alan   

Hi Alan , just saw your post , thanks for the offer. But I am no longer purchasing this plane in NT as the seller has backed out for reasons unknown to me . So I am back to square one looking for my first plane again! Cheers for the offer 

 

BH

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On 05/10/2020 at 3:18 PM, blackhawk799 said:

Hi Alan , just saw your post , thanks for the offer. But I am no longer purchasing this plane in NT as the seller has backed out for reasons unknown to me . So I am back to square one looking for my first plane again! Cheers for the offer 

 

BH

Do you have:

 

A purchase price range ? 

"Mission" objective ?

 

The above will limit/guide your search eg (very rough)

 

Fast glass is likely to be $60K + in pre loved and $120 K + in new kit and $140K + in factory build

Mission - STOL mostly "rag & tube" as low as $20K in pre loved

 

There are Jabs grazing in the long grass or hiding in a dusty corner of a shed, on nearly every RAA airfield - make some enquiries and you might just pick up a reno for a song

 

 

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6 hours ago, skippydiesel said:

Do you have:

 

A purchase price range ? 

"Mission" objective ?

 

The above will limit/guide your search eg (very rough)

 

Fast glass is likely to be $60K + in pre loved and $120 K + in new kit and $140K + in factory build

Mission - STOL mostly "rag & tube" as low as $20K in pre loved

 

There are Jabs grazing in the long grass or hiding in a dusty corner of a shed, on nearly every RAA airfield - make some enquiries and you might just pick up a reno for a song

 

 

I want to be able to tour around Australia so has to have a reasonable range and endurance , preferably cruise at 90KIAS at least (dont want to be anything under 85) . Preferably Rotax powered. Price range is upto 40k but willing to go up to 50k for the right plane. I know I'm asking too much right?

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1 hour ago, blackhawk799 said:

I want to be able to tour around Australia so has to have a reasonable range and endurance , preferably cruise at 90KIAS at least (dont want to be anything under 85) . Preferably Rotax powered. Price range is upto 40k but willing to go up to 50k for the right plane. I know I'm asking too much right?

Right!

 

But on the bright side there really are aircraft at almost every airfield that have not been flown for (in some cases) years. Just walk in and make some enquiries and you may get a name or two to follow up.

 

Don't get too excited nearly every aircraft owner thinks his/her plane (even one that is sitting unloved in he long grass) is worth much more than what the market will give them but persistence pays off in the end.

 

if you do purchase a plane that has sat idle for a long period, budget for a complete strip down & rebuild.

 

Composite aircraft are likely to be the best bet - no airframe corrosion (metal), moisture damage (wood) UV deterioration (fabric) but the engine will almost certainly need a complete rebuild and any metal components inspected very closely for damage. Brakes may be seized and tyres perished, etc

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My guess is you might find something in your price range that can do the touring  and endurance (2pax +gear+large fuel)  with an older GA airplane, rather than a RA airplane. 

 

Do you want to tour around by yourself or with one other ?  That extra person, and gear and full fuel usually pushes you over the 600kg  RAaus limit (for all but the most carbon constructed aircraft)

 

There are plenty of old Cessnas and  maybe some Pipers in that price range.  IE VH registered. After you get your RAaus, Navs etc you can get a RPL easily enough and fly VH .  They wont be beautiful in that $ range but they will be functional if they're still flying. If they are not flying, skippy's comments apply !

 

If it is just you, then there are many RAaus options, weight will not be a problem, and many old Jabiru's in paddocks, heaps of LSA55s, SK etc 160s in that price range. There was a 160 that looked great on gumtree for 40 grand last week !. or consider something like a 19-savannah etc.... lots of options !!!! 

 

For RAaus 2 pax: I think J230 is a great option but ends up being overweight a little (but not dangerously for that aircraft)  for two person+gear+reasonable fuel configuration. You might not find a J230 in that $ range.

 

For an engine :

Suggest Lycoming/continental or Gen4 Jabiru rather than Rotax..... (Based on my experiences with a 912 Rotax sample of ONE)

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I agree that a GA purchase suits the flight mission better. However, be aware that ongoing maintenance costs are much higher than RAA  aircraft and this offsets the initial lower purchase price. But Id go an old certified GA everytime over a slightly newer but owner maintained RAA as a first purchase.

 

Alan 

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The GA advice might be a bit optimistic:

 

Most GA's will have much higher fuel consumption (old 172's & similar around 32 L/H of AvGas). This makes for higher fuel load requirement and consequently lower cargo/pax availability.

My Rotax 912 ULS Zephyr has the capacity to carry  nearly 300 kg fuel + pax + luggage at 100-110 knots for a ULP burn of 13-14 L/H

GA's in the sort of price range you seem to be hinting at, will likely be slower, use more fuel and have less luggage capacity at full fuel than many RAA types AND require a lot more maintenance/operating costs

 

"But Id go an old certified GA everytime over a slightly newer but owner maintained RAA as a first purchase." - Please expand on this rather sweeping statement

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In the hands of a weekend pilot a $40-50k Piper or Cessna will not be more expensive to run than an RAA type, unless poor selection or  plain bad luck.

I should add ...I use a LAME to do the maintenance either way. Have owned both options.

Edited by pmccarthy
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8 hours ago, NT5224 said:

But Id go an old certified GA everytime over a slightly newer but owner maintained RAA as a first purchase.

That would have to depend a lot on the skills of the person buying. GA's requirement for LAME maintenance and the requirement for factory made parts for LSA, I'd opt for a 19 rego anytime.

So much more option to maintain and modify and usually cheaper to purchase.

 

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Some interesting points 

 

RFGuy I have actually been negotiating the purchase of a Jabiru 160 . I think it might be the same one that you mention from gumtree.  I have considered the option of converting to RPL and I know eventually I will but right now I'm in that stage of my training where I am close to getting my RPC and you just can't resist the urge to buy your own plane ASAP and have the freedom to fly whenever you can. I'm sure most here have been through this. 

 

I have thought carefully about my options for the near future and a Jabiru  160 perhaps stands out. At 312kg empty and 540kg MAUW it can carry me and my wife (120kg combined) and 20kg of luggage(which I feel would be enough,  wife might disagree) we would still be able to carry enough fuel to have 6 hour+ endurance and cruise around 90Knots . Spares would be most easy to source and probably cheaper too. So it does tick all the boxes for me , for now. In time, as with everything else in life I'll probably want something faster and nicer so may move into GA as the wallet permits! 

 

BH

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i think that's a good idea. The 160 looked clean in the photos. It will help you understand what you need from your 2nd airplane....

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