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Tips on buying your first airplane


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Im looking at purchasing my first aircraft soon , im looking at a tecnam sierra, its been regularly used in reasonable condition with full books.

My wife and i looking at using it for visiting her stepson im Makay (well marian) as well as just enjoying the air. Myself , my wife 20kg luggage ( we toured europe last year with just 15kg combined for 6 weeks) and full fuel we still have 10kg spare.

The owner is selling it at the end of the year it will still have around 1,000 hoirs on its engine. He is getting out of flying due to work commitments he is having to move offshore.

He has been letting me fly it so i have got to know the aircraft and enjoy it hence the purcase offer.

I cant wait to be able to enjoy it 

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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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1 hour ago, RFguy said:

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....

Yes exactly my thoughts too. Yeah the Jabiru looks clean and tidy on photos but going to go and see it in real next week 

 

BH

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1 hour ago, Squidget said:

Im looking at purchasing my first aircraft soon , im looking at a tecnam sierra, its been regularly used in reasonable condition with full books.

..........................................................................................

I cant wait to be able to enjoy it 

Tecnam make excellent aircraft BUT remember they are predominantly metal and metal corrodes /fatigues.

Despite your familiarity with this aircraft, get a third party (ex[pert in Tecnam Sierra maintenance) to do an in depth check befor you purchase AND with his assistance do a pessimistic annual maintenance budget for the future upkeep.  

The Rotax 912, that motivate them, is easy and relativly cheap to maintain and will have the same demands whatever the aircraft it is fitted to, so from a maintenance/operating perspective, the distinguishing aspect is the airframe construction material - metal aircraft will almost always have a higher on going maintenance cost that a similar type of composite aircraft.

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1 hour ago, RFguy said:

Why buy a Tecnam Sierra  when you can buy an a high end RV for similar money ? 

 

No comparison in my book...

 

There are plenty of RVs for sale between 70k and 110 k. 

 

In fact - why not buy a Brumby 600 ? there are a few around for sale 60k-80k. Suggest for touring, only consider the later 600kg version due to more useful  CoG position.

 

 

I have always lusted after an RV 8 BUT having now flown RAA class aircraft for about 11-12 years I would not go back to GA (unless I suddenly had an unforeseen need for more pax/higher pay load) WHY ? you may ask:

 

  • Well I like to fly,  up there with the Gods, so the trip time in not so important.
  • Over the years the demand for seats on the aircraft I fly has dwindled from having a waiting list (when I flew GA) to a rare passenger. So having  extra capacity is unnecessary.
  • The cost of operating a GA aircraft is generally (there are a very few exceptions) much higher than for RAA types
  • RAA aircraft are comparatively, to most GA,  quiet (in & out), bettered only by gliders, a feature I have come to like very much.
  • RAA aircraft are supposed to have a stall speed max of 45 knots (mine is about 30 knots) this is a very important safety feature that will allow most pilot/pax to survive any controlled forced landing.
  • Personally I like the simplicity of a near basic instrument panel - most GA will be far more complex. Sure you can spend the big $$ for a more sophisticated set up but it is in the realms of personal choice.
  • Etc

 

Rather than look to GA, I would suggest broadening your search to composite aircraft - to my mind vastly superior aircraft building/construction material to metal.

 

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21 minutes ago, skippydiesel said:

I have always lusted after an RV 8 BUT having now flown RAA class aircraft for about 11-12 years I would not go back to GA (unless I suddenly had an unforeseen need for more pax/higher pay load) WHY ? you may ask:

 

  • Well I like to fly,  up there with the Gods, so the trip time in not so important.
  • Over the years the demand for seats on the aircraft I fly has dwindled from having a waiting list (when I flew GA) to a rare passenger. So having  extra capacity is unnecessary.
  • The cost of operating a GA aircraft is generally (there are a very few exceptions) much higher than for RAA types
  • RAA aircraft are comparatively, to most GA,  quiet (in & out), bettered only by gliders, a feature I have come to like very much.
  • RAA aircraft are supposed to have a stall speed max of 45 knots (mine is about 30 knots) this is a very important safety feature that will allow most pilot/pax to survive any controlled forced landing.
  • Personally I like the simplicity of a near basic instrument panel - most GA will be far more complex. Sure you can spend the big $$ for a more sophisticated set up but it is in the realms of personal choice.
  • Etc

 

Rather than look to GA, I would suggest broadening your search to composite aircraft - to my mind vastly superior aircraft building/construction material to metal.

 

What would you suggest as a low wing composite them around the 60k to 80k? 

 

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Recently advertised;

 

Carbon Sting - ex trainer with high hr motor but if you got it for the right price you may be able to put a new Rotax in and still stay well under the 80k

Pioneer 300's X 3 

 

The occasional ATEC Zephyr comes up but usually sold by word of mouth. 

There was an ATEC Faeta for sale - based in Gladstone but owned by a bloke in Narrabri

The existing Au Zephys have a 545kg Max TO but the Faeta has the full 600kg. The Faeta is currently configured for towing gliders  - if you want better all round performance you will need to get/ cost in the 2 blade ground adjust Fiti propeller.

 

 

 

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No low wing composite comes to mind.

high wing- J230

 

anyone else got some low wing composite touring ideas for RA ????

 

230 is I think best RA option for touring... Have you defined your mission ????

 

. has by far the best stowage options of anything in its class. i think.....that's because its a 4 seater without the rear seats.

you can buy a J430, remove the rear seats and turn it back into J230 for the RA reg

right price 55-75k there is a  500 hour J430 in victoria in Wangaratta with autopilot and all the stuff for $65k

they come up regularly enough.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, RFguy said:

No low wing composite comes to mind.

high wing- J230

 

anyone else got some low wing composite touring ideas for RA ????

 

230 is I think best RA option for touring... Have you defined your mission ????

 

. has by far the best stowage options of anything in its class. i think.....that's because its a 4 seater without the rear seats.

you can buy a J430, remove the rear seats and turn it back into J230 for the RA reg

right price 55-75k there is a  500 hour J430 in victoria in Wangaratta with autopilot and all the stuff for $65k

they come up regularly enough.

 

 

J 230 Good aircraft - you cant use all of its luggage (weight) capacity under RAA 600 kg - do the maths and you will find that its empty weight compromises its lifting potential - other aircraft have empty weight of 300 kg (+- either side) can lift more.

 

Just checked out Plane Sales Europa/Rotax for $38K - be hard to find a better cruiser

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On 08/10/2020 at 8:22 PM, 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?

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 (according to wood stick). It has Mogas stc, but I never put it in. You can expect higher cost of maintenance, but still lots of things you can DIY. Page 10 in the pdf below details what you can do with GA aircraft: 


https://www.casa.gov.au/files/maint-guide-owner-operatorspdf


However, the biggest challenge for me is finding a reasonably priced hangar east/south east of Melbourne, which is mandatory for all aircrafts with fabrics. Luckily Cessna is made of aluminium, but still a hangar would be highly desirable..

 

Alternatively, buying a Kitfox (or similar) with folding wings and a trailer is very good option, but hard to find these aircrafts in our neck of the wood.

 

Whatever you buy, either RAA or VH, you will be spending a lot of $. Regardless, taking your aircraft keys whenever you want and without asking anyone - priceless.

 

Enjoy the hobby/sport.

Cheers

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10 minutes ago, RFguy said:

There's a Kitfox (4- i think)  at Wangaratta for sale, always hangered... Same gentleman is selling his J430....

Thanks. Any link or approx $ ?

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It is in my diary which is at the factory.....

In was in Aviation Trader 6 weeks  ago, I spoke with the gentleman Keith, 

Actually it was Shepparton. Since nobody could get into Victoria, I think he was going to hold off further advertising.

In was obscure in the Aviation Trader- since it didnt come up in searches.

J430    VH-ZAL

and also a RV-6A    VH-SFL

and the Kitfox

I'll PM you when I find the phone number

 

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, skippydiesel said:

J 230 Good aircraft - you cant use all of its luggage (weight) capacity under RAA 600 kg - do the maths and you will find that its empty weight compromises its lifting potential - other aircraft have empty weight of 300 kg (+- either side) can lift more.

 

Just checked out Plane Sales Europa/Rotax for $38K - be hard to find a better cruiser

Have seen the ad for the Europa monowheel. Looks nice but never seen a monowheel yet in real life , are they much different to nosewheel? What sort of extra training I'd be looking at ? 

The cruise speed is impressive 

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Are you guys serious?

 

I gave you leads on 4  low wing aircraft (as stipulated) all powered by Rotax 912 (as stipulated) - all under $80 k (as stipulated) all capable of economy cruising above 120 knots for a ULP consumption of 16-19L/h or so AND you start talking about high wing rag & tube that will be lucky to see 105 knots flat out.

 

Perfectly legitimate however me thinks your just having a fantasy 

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52 minutes ago, skippydiesel said:

Are you guys serious?

 

I gave you leads on 4  low wing aircraft (as stipulated) all powered by Rotax 912 (as stipulated) - all under $80 k (as stipulated) all capable of economy cruising above 120 knots for a ULP consumption of 16-19L/h or so AND you start talking about high wing rag & tube that will be lucky to see 105 knots flat out.

 

Perfectly legitimate however me thinks your just having a fantasy 

Hi Skippy I guess your reply is aimed at Bosi. 

 

Do you know much about the europa monowheel?

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There's  a a double requirement going on in this thread.

There is Blackhawk's, relatively inexperienced, for 1st plane which is a touring requirement at the low budget end. Budget J160 is a good option.

There is Squiget's, who is more experienced , a is similar requirement but more money to spend.

 

Squiget - what are you looking at paying for that Tecnam  you are looking at  ?

 

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11 hours ago, blackhawk799 said:

Do you know much about the europa monowheel?

On this particular aircraft ,not much more than is in the advert (I have a letter from the owner as well).

 

Europa Monowheel in general - I almost bought one recently. After months of truly exhaustive research on the mark, several hours static inspection of the aircraft itself, in my mind  was the owner, I went for a fly - came away very sick (CO poisoning) & disappointed.

 

Europa aircraft have been around for ages. Designed by Ivan Shaw (a Pom) as a trailerable, grass runway, high speed economical cruiser specifically designed for the Rotax 912/914 engines (others have been fitted) and CS propeller, blending glider and light aircraft composite/foam build technology. There was a later larger tricycle factory (certified) development of the airframe using a conventional aircraft engine

All are kit/home built, so scrutiny of build log and research into builder is a must (this one sounds good as won an award and built by LAIM).

A truly ground breaking concept.

Removable wings (needs two competent handlers for safe fast removal/assembly)

Tail dragger with retractable mono wheel & balancing outriggers. Flaps deploy at the same time /action as the wheels. (There are both conventional fixed main gear and nose wheel mods out there)

Specific to type TO/landing management must be learnt. You can down load the very comprehensive POH written by Ivan Shaw

By all accounts can be a handful on the ground (as with many tail wheel aircraft) but once airborne a delight to fly.

The fast cruise comes at the expense of a high stall, only just fitting into RAA specification of 45 knots. 

Fast and economical cruisers (the advertised one cruises at 120+ knots on 80 hp and I believe it)

Those that have them, love them. I know of one pilot who has two (Rotax 912 ULS & 914 powered)

 

This aircraft is the Classic. The later development is the XS. Main differences are lengthened tail wheel for better ground control (this aircraft has the upgrade) different engine cowling and spinner. The aircraft I nearly purchased was a Classic but had all the XS changes done during the build process.

 

There are not large numbers in Au but the group is strong & supportive. There is a Europa Club based in the UK that will answear many of your questions.

 

It seems to me that the CO problem is wide spread. The  problem seems to be when taxying and in most clears as soon as TO achieved. For sensitive types (like me) it may be fixable but most of the pilots I have spoken to, on this topic, just accept them the way they are. 

 

This particular aircraft is very well priced which may allow the purchaser to do a few upgrades eg fit the recommended Airmaster CS prop and/or a new 912ULS (100 hp) engine

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2 hours ago, skippydiesel said:

On this particular aircraft ,not much more than is in the advert (I have a letter from the owner as well).

 

Europa Monowheel in general - I almost bought one recently. After months of truly exhaustive research on the mark, several hours static inspection of the aircraft itself, in my mind  was the owner, I went for a fly - came away very sick (CO poisoning) & disappointed.

 

Europa aircraft have been around for ages. Designed by Ivan Shaw (a Pom) as a trailerable, grass runway, high speed economical cruiser specifically designed for the Rotax 912/914 engines (others have been fitted) and CS propeller, blending glider and light aircraft composite/foam build technology. There was a later larger tricycle factory (certified) development of the airframe using a conventional aircraft engine

All are kit/home built, so scrutiny of build log and research into builder is a must (this one sounds good as won an award and built by LAIM).

A truly ground breaking concept.

Removable wings (needs two competent handlers for safe fast removal/assembly)

Tail dragger with retractable mono wheel & balancing outriggers. Flaps deploy at the same time /action as the wheels. (There are both conventional fixed main gear and nose wheel mods out there)

Specific to type TO/landing management must be learnt. You can down load the very comprehensive POH written by Ivan Shaw

By all accounts can be a handful on the ground (as with many tail wheel aircraft) but once airborne a delight to fly.

The fast cruise comes at the expense of a high stall, only just fitting into RAA specification of 45 knots. 

Fast and economical cruisers (the advertised one cruises at 120+ knots on 80 hp and I believe it)

Those that have them, love them. I know of one pilot who has two (Rotax 912 ULS & 914 powered)

 

This aircraft is the Classic. The later development is the XS. Main differences are lengthened tail wheel for better ground control (this aircraft has the upgrade) different engine cowling and spinner. The aircraft I nearly purchased was a Classic but had all the XS changes done during the build process.

 

There are not large numbers in Au but the group is strong & supportive. There is a Europa Club based in the UK that will answear many of your questions.

 

It seems to me that the CO problem is wide spread. The  problem seems to be when taxying and in most clears as soon as TO achieved. For sensitive types (like me) it may be fixable but most of the pilots I have spoken to, on this topic, just accept them the way they are. 

 

This particular aircraft is very well priced which may allow the purchaser to do a few upgrades eg fit the recommended Airmaster CS prop and/or a new 912ULS (100 hp) engine

I know of a europa in maryborough qld for sale , want to go have a look at it , it looks quite roomy 

 

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5 hours ago, RFguy said:

There's  a a double requirement going on in this thread.

There is Blackhawk's, relatively inexperienced, for 1st plane which is a touring requirement at the low budget end. Budget J160 is a good option.

There is Squiget's, who is more experienced , a is similar requirement but more money to spend.

 

Squiget - what are you looking at paying for that Tecnam  you are looking at  ?

 

Its 80k , including the hangarage it has , for me thats a bonus 

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5 hours ago, RFguy said:

There's  a a double requirement going on in this thread.

There is Blackhawk's, relatively inexperienced, for 1st plane which is a touring requirement at the low budget end. Budget J160 is a good option.

There is Squiget's, who is more experienced , a is similar requirement but more money to spend.

 

Squiget - what are you looking at paying for that Tecnam  you are looking at  ?

 

Its also virtually identical to what i trained in , have flown other aircraft , savannah , high wing echo, and 230 and 170 jab . No offence to jab guys i didnt seem to settle especially the centre stick, i was the same with one of the savannas it was centre stick,  and i couldnt seem to get my arm to settle. 

Thats more just me too many motorcycle crashes when younger 

 

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Yes I didn't like Centre stick in the Victa either and I recall some interesting arm antics instructing in the 230, IF you have an arm injury you could probably fly the Jab from the RH seat. The feel of a Jab ( Push-pull cables) is a bit dead (surprised no one has mentioned it) but IT WORKS and is pretty safe as a mechanism.  Whatever you think about a Jab it's a successful concept all things considered and a lot easier to live with than a lot of other types. Some of the very THIN gauge alum sheet  won't have high airframe lives as rivets don't really suit thin sheet without bonding. In bigger stuff it's pretty repairable even when substantially damaged. (If it's worth repairing). Corrosion is the big show stopper, depending on the operating environment.  Nev

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