question about progressing to complex AC

jlowell

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Hi all,

I just started working on my PPL. Main reason is for biz. I'm a homebuilder in Houston and am spreading out to other cities. I want to be able to go check on jobsites and also look at land....not that I'm some bigtime developer. I'm just a little guy now reaching the point where I can do a few projects in other places.

I need to buy a plane to do what I want to do. If I make trips to various places ranging from 300 miles to maybe 1000 miles 2 or 3 times a month or more......I need to get out there and get back quickly. Spend a night along the way if necessary but get back fairly quickly. So not a leisurely cruise in a 172 type of deal. As I look at the time involved to get somewhere I'm thinking I need a plane that can cruise at 160 mph minimum. Really a bit faster would be better but I can live with 160.

So my question is this: Once I get my PPL and have flown nothing but a slow trainer how do I move up to faster and more complex planes? I know I need to get some hours behind me in the easy flyers first, but at some point I would like to go up in several different planes just to see how they feel, how noisy they are, how much vibration, responsiveness, etc. I know there are a lot of Arrows around as trainers so that is an easy one to find someone to take me up in. I might consider a Bonanza or Mooney 201, or maybe a Dakota if I could go up in them. I can hire someone to train me in a specific plane if I decide on one right??? But have to get up in them to start. ( BTW I don't plan on flying anything like that till a very qualified person tells me I am competent to do so. I like living and I also take the responsibility for any passenger in my plane very seriously. But i am planning ahead.)

So what do I do.....look around for planes I can hire demo rides in or get people with used planes for sale to take me up or what?

I plan on flying 4 or 5 days a week till I get my PPL, then get instrument rated immediately after that.

So I am trying to plan the most efficient route to my goal of a slightly faster plane than this 172 I'm in these days.

Advice and ideas appreciated.

Oh as I said....I originally decided to do this for business reasons. Then went up a couple of times, then a couple more, now I want it every day......it's like a drug problem disguised as something respectable. :eek:)

Cheers, Jim
 

Almerick07

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only flying a few times a month you should check into a partial ownership of a cirrus or the sort. After you decide what you are going to do about an airplane get an instructor to give you a few hours of instruction in it and a high performance/complex endorsement and you should be set. You may want to consider getting some training in a 172RG, still your nice little 172 but acts as a complex trainer, it may help grasping the basics while not feeling too behind the airplane at first. And why not do a little research on multiengine aircraft, safer the better right? (and faster)
 

jlowell

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actually I may have mis-stated.....I am looking at a couple of trips a week and the longer ones twice a month. Something like that. My father also has a ranch in Abilene which I would go up to a lot if I had a plane also.

I have no problem affording a plane and would rather not rent or share ownership. Just want to go up in a few to begin narrowing it down.


I suppose if I look around I will find people I can pay to take me up for demo rides or something.
 

JimNtexas

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Lots of people have gone from basic trainers to more complex airplanes in fairly short order. The key is to get good instruction every step of the way.

You'll want to get your instrument rating as soon as you can, you might as well use your own plane for that.

A Cirrus, Mooney, or a Cessna 182 would seem well suited for the kind of missions you're talking about. The Mooney is smallish, but will deliver the range and speed you're talking about if you want wheels that go up and down.
 

ePilot22

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Cirrus isn't cheap! But they are very fast and simple to fly (straight leg and intergated throttle and prop control). Don't know about Mooneys except I hear they are fast, but if you go the Cessna route and want a single engine, a 210 is comfortable and good for around 500 miles stop to stop, but they can be tricky to fuel.

JimNtexas said:
You'll want to get your instrument rating as soon as you can, you might as well use your own plane for that.

Good idea and it will lower your insurance cost as well.

Almerick07 said:
only flying a few times a month you should check into a partial ownership of a cirrus or the sort.

Also a very good idea. Although partners can get complicated, especially when it comes to maintenance issues.
 

jlowell

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Jimntexas,
yes and I have a list of planes I want to go up in that I have researched and have been recommended to me....just don't know how to find them. So I am beginning to shake the bushes. :eek:) Don't want to fly them myself at this point.....or at least not take off and land. Just want to get up in some and narrow down the choices a little at a time as I do my other training.

And yes I have been looking at 182's and the one Mooney I looked at was frightningly small but old and I'd like to go up in a 10-12 yr old 201. I've heard good thing about them. I have been looking at the Cirrus and also there are some Bonanzas i would consider even though parts are expensive.

Finding training is the easy part.
 

USMCmech

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It sounds like you're on the right track. Definately plan on useing the instruction time while you are being trained on the bigger/faster aircraft to also work on your instrument rating (two birds with one stone).

Somepeople have learned in what others would consider "high performance/complex" from the start. I knew a CFI who was instructing a primary student in a Bonanza that he had inherted. He said it only took an extra couple of hours to solo. However since you have started in the C-172, then stick with it.

You might consider a Cherokee 6 with fixed gear. You'll give up a few knots of top speed, but they have a lot of room and carrying capacity. It's big and powerful, yet not too complex.

I don't have any experiance with the Cirrus, but everybody who has says good things about them.
 

erj-145mech

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You might also get a free lance flight instructor that can work with you one on one in the different airplanes to see which one would fill your needs best. Your insurance will most likely dictate that you have 25 hours or so dual instruction in make and model anyway. Insurance companies don't like newer pilots in complex airplanes, however, statistics show that lower time pilots don't have the oops factor that more experienced pilots traditionally do.
 

jlowell

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yeah good points and ideas guys. Thanks.

Any ideas on how ways I find a few of the planes I want to check out?

My list so far:

Mooney 201
Bonanza 33 & 35
Cherokee 6 and Dakota
Arrow
Archers have a 150 mph cruise so might consider that
C 182

The see the cessnas and Pipers around so no problem finding those. Maybe if I check with some of the local flying clubs I'll find some Mooneys and Bonanzas I could get a ride in. I have a feeling I may end up sticking with a fixed gear in the end but I have a while to ponder it.
 

erj-145mech

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Check out David Wayne Hooks airport in Tomball, sometimes there are for sale notes in the restaurant there. Somtimes there are aircraft listed in the Chronicle. Subscribe to Trade-A-Plane, its about $15/yr for one mailed issue per month, but that gives you access to the on-line edition too. Pick up an AeroTrader from the airport. When I was in COnroe, we got them all the time.
 

jlowell

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yes i've been looking at aerotrader, Trade a plane, and some other used plane sources.

Are you saying I can get demo rides via those sources?

Finding used planes is not difficult. I want to go up in some so I can make a decision.

thanks, jim
 

Vector4fun

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My advice would be to look at the C182s. You'll have less trouble getting insurance and likely a much lower rate than a retract in the same price range. I don't know what your budget is, but a nice C182 is going to cost $70-100K and up, insurance is going to be around $200/mo or so, and a hangar in the Houston area is going to add another $200-300/ month I suppose. Figure another $200/ month for maint if you're going to just drop it off at the shop and leave. You might do better, you might not.

If those figures don't make your eyes water, then you might consider an F33 Bonanza or Cessna 182RG, or perhaps even a Lance/Saratoga down the road. The best thing about a well kept C-182 is that you can move it quickly should you want to trade up. They are popular and relatively easy to maintain and insure. I keep hearing first hand horror stories about maintaining older V-tail Bonanzas and lately, older Centurions. Corrosion, gear saddle cracks, fuel bladders, burned valves, etc. I have a buddy with a '60 Bonanza, and his last 4 annuals have averaged over $10K each. Contrast to my Skyhawk averaging a tenth that, including parts so far.

You're going to need to stay up on the required maintenance, inspections, Airworthiness Directives, etc., or pay someone else to do it. Paying someone else can be expensive. It's not as simple as just an annual inspection, though if you buy a simple airplane and stay on top of things, it can be close to that.
 

jlowell

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hey guys...just realized.....If I contact sellers of used planes they would take me up if they see I am serious and if they actually want to sell the mofo...right?

I guess that is customary isn't it??

Guess my ignorance is showing.
 

Vector4fun

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jlowell said:
hey guys...just realized.....If I contact sellers of used planes they would take me up if they see I am serious and if they actually want to sell the mofo...right?

I guess that is customary isn't it??

Guess my ignorance is showing.


J.,

Not to seem "preachy" in any way, but if you are serious about buying soon, your FIRST step should be to find a good maint shop you trust, and talk to them about doing the pre-buy inspection of the maintenance records and aircraft. Finding an airplane that looks and flys really cool, and then finding out a few months later that it needs $40K in maint and parts to pass an annual inspection is NOT uncommon in the more complex airframes. Somebody here on this forum said that used airplane dealers are worse than used car dealers, and that's true in some cases. Buying an airplane isn't at all like buying a used car or boat. If the maint records are screwed up or missing, you could face expensive inspections and or repairs to make the aircraft legal and safe to fly. You also need a complete title search to make sure there aren't any liens against the aircraft. Unless your flight instructor has a lot of years of experience about this, he may not be the person to give advice either. Seriously, this is a complex thing to do correctly.


[edit]

ERJMech,
I figure you might recommend a shop in the Houston area that he could trust for a pre-buy and records check? Also a price for same? I'm guessing around $800 for a thorough check on a C182???
 
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Almerick07

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Seriously, this is a complex thing to do correctly

Boy he isnt lying, I know a guy who got his A&P after he bought his first airplane. My dad swore off owning airplanes after 2 of them because of the headaches. But on the other hand basically the worst you will do assuming you dont crash it is break even with the airplane financially. C182 is a great starter, easy to fly and realtively simple. The more bells and whistles you have on your airplane is just more stuff that will break. I'm pretty good friends with a guy who was an airplane dealer back in the day and he was crazy about cherokee 6's. Appearantly he made quite a bit of money off of them and loved to fly them as well. What do you think about the prospect of a multi engine?
 

jlowell

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yes thanks for reminding me. I plan on having experienced pros go over both the records and the plane thoroughly. That is for sure.
 

jlowell

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I'm really a keep it simple kind of guy.....at least as much as possible. Seems like a multi engine is unnessary and would just be more expense to keep up.

I'm thinking of spending 100-150K or at least aim for that. If I have to spend more to avoid mx issues right off the bat then I could. I think I can fit my needs in that price range.
 

NYCPilot

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Have you considered buying new. Less maintence issues.....at least for a while.
 

Big Dog

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Get an instrument rating!

If your serious about making your trips same day and back for dinner, get your instrument rating as soon as you can after finishing your private. You'll be a safer, more knowledgeable, more insurable pilot that will have all the tools to use "the system" the best you can. Don't put it off! A good plan might be to get your plane and finish your instrument rating in the 'new to you' A/C before going on the insurance as the PIC.

As far as your A/C, it really depends on how much/how many people you want to carry with you. A 201 is great for speed vs. continuing cost with a lite mission. But not as many out there.

You can fill the seats and the tanks in a C182 and get there in reasonable speed. A great compromise A/C between speed and continuing costs. Plus lot's of them out there - easy to get somebody to work on them with parts available. Great IMC plane.

A Lance is great for speed and taking lot's of stuff with you. Also the simplest and cheapest to maintain "complex" A/C out there. A Cherokee 6 is a little slower if you can't pay to swing the gear.

I'd stay away from the archer, arrows, & dakotas. They're all great planes, but I don't think you'd be please with the speed vs. continuing costs.

Bonanzas are nice and fast but expensive in just about every category.

Good Luck
 

jlowell

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yeah I'm going to be looking closely at 182's. It really does seem to fit my needs and be a saner buy all in all.

And buying a plane that is not difficult to sell in the future is high on my list.

thanks for the thoughts.
 
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