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Maximum TT and SMOH to buy 172N?

Sam Snead

Roger, Roger.
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Posts
151
Total Time
5000
I'm in the market for a 172N and I was wondering if anybody had recommendations for times I should not exceed on TT and SMOH if I want an airplane that isn't falling apart.

After my research, the average TT on for-sale planes was 5400 hours and the SMOH was 1020.

Thanks!
 

Vector4fun

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 25, 2003
Posts
796
Total Time
1700
I don't know that TT alone is real important. More important would be how it was flown and maintained. Avoid former trainers if possible. They get the worst abuse. Pipeline patrol = lots of hours in turbulence getting beat to death. We bought an "L" model last year with only 3100 TT and never a trainer, so they can be found.

As for engine time, stuff I've read says avoid "fresh" overhauls, unless you know the shop that did the work well and exactly what was done to it. Some "overhauls" only last a few hundred hours, as they weren't done properly or completely. A mid-time engine around 1000 hrs is a generally a good bet, especially if it's been flown regularly. Avoid planes that have been sitting a lot the past couple years. High time is OK if you can buy cheap enough to allow for your own overhaul soon of course. But remember to budget for accessories too, mags, carbs, hoses, etc.
 

Vector4fun

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 25, 2003
Posts
796
Total Time
1700
Part II; (and forgive me if I'm being too "basic" here)


Be cautious about airplanes in coastal areas. Anything from FL with new paint ought to be a red flag for example. What's the new paint covering??? Ask to see ALL the log books. The airplane should have all logs since new. So you're not a mechanic, so what, sit down for an hour and go through page by page and just judge by how complete the records seem. Any big gaps in dates? Is the maint well documented with individual items repaired/replaced listed? Is the AD history complete and documented? Ours had a printed list of all ADs through 2003 or so with a notation beside each whether the AD was applicable and/or complied with. That's nice to have. Better if you have an A/I friend to go over this with you, but you can do it yourself given some time. If the seller keeps trying to distract/hurry/BS you while examining the logs, beware.

Ours was a Midwest plane with original paint. It may hae a few chips and only be a "6-7" on a 1-10 scale, but we also knew there wasn't any hidden corrosion. It actually still looks pretty good after waxing from 20'. Having been hangared most of it's life was important too of course. Check carefully for any hail dings on the upper wing surface.

If the systems all work well, I really don't think radios are all that important to the deal, though they do affect prices. So many people are upgrading to fancy GPS gear, there seems to be a lot of good, used stuff available for a "reasonable" price. Although 12V nav-coms are actually more expensive than 24V it seems. If you can scrounge, you can find good 5 yr old radios and GPS units to replace any old Cessna/ARC gear in the plane. The Cessna radios are difficult to get/keep in shape. Bendix/King stuff can be installed/fixed almost anywhere, and parts are easy for radios less than 20 yrs old. Narco and some others require you send back to an authorised service/repair center.
 
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