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What Would You Buy For A First Plane.  
User currently offlineAirfoilsguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 28874 times:

I am thinking about getting a pilots license in the near future. I plan to go up to instrument rating with twin engines in the distant future. My question is should I buy a plane first and learn on it or rent first until it get certified? What would you buy if you had the choice? What is a good plane to start out on but one I will not soon out grow. Would you recommend any resources to help in my decision (books web sites clubs) I plane to buy new unless there is a compelling reason to buy used. Are there waiting lists for new planes like there are for some exotic cars. Thanks in advance for your advice

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 28859 times:

A cessna 172? you can use it for PPL, instrument and others i think also it has four seats so you can take friends/mates around and stuff.

Rgds --James--



You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
User currently offlineFly2hmo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 28847 times:

A 172 would be my choice. But one of the new models, with 180hp. I'm not too fond of the early models, then again, those are cheaper to buy. More than enough for getting your instrument rating or for a random pleasure flight.

You could join a flying club that has recent model C172s. I've seen a few that even have them with the G1000 avionics.

Also, do you want to make a living out of flying, or you just want to fly for the heck of it?


User currently offlineAirfoilsguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 28843 times:

Quoting Fly2hmo (Reply 2):
Also, do you want to make a living out of flying, or you just want to fly for the heck of it?

Just for recreation. Its on my check list to do before I take the big dirt nap.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6411 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 28839 times:

Quoting Fly2hmo (Reply 2):
A 172 would be my choice. But one of the new models, with 180hp. I'm not too fond of the early models, then again, those are cheaper to buy.

If you buy one of the "old" (pre-1996) models with the Air Planes STC (180 HP Lycoming O-360-A1A), you end up with a fabulous performer (172 with 182 performance Big grin ).

Personally, the best non-complex GA plane I've flown (apart from it's funky castoring nose wheel steering) is the Grumman AA-5B Tiger. The thing is an absolute hoot to fly. I love the canopy that you can open in flight and stick your hands in the slipstream  Smile It handles like an airborne sports car-think "turn" and the plane does it. I'm sure that with a Lycoming O-360, the maintenance costs wouldn't be much more than a 172...although a mechanic friend has advised me that one of the "gotchas" of the Grumman AA-X series aircraft is hidden corrosion inside the tubular spar (definitely something to have inspected before buying).



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 28829 times:

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 3):
Just for recreation.

In that case, depending how big your wallet is, I'd buy one first, or join a flying club and learn to fly one one of the club's planes.


User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 28825 times:

Quoting Jamesbuk (Reply 1):
A cessna 172? you can use it for PPL, instrument and others i think also it has four seats so you can take friends/mates around and stuff.



Quoting Fly2hmo (Reply 2):
A 172 would be my choice. But one of the new models, with 180hp.

You should take a hard look at the numbers before you throw 4 people and full fuel into a Skyhawk SP. The last one I flew had an empty weight of 1671 and a gross of 2550, leaving 879lbs for useful load. It holds 53 gallons of fuel, and at 6lbs a gallon, that reduces useful load to a mere 561lbs. I don't know how much your friends weigh, but I'd have a hard time just getting myself and two others, sans baggage, into that plane.

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 4):
If you buy one of the "old" (pre-1996) models with the Air Planes STC (180 HP Lycoming O-360-A1A), you end up with a fabulous performer (172 with 182 performance Big grin ).

I wouldn't call it 182 performance, but it's a lot better. I took my private checkride in a 1978 172-N with the 180HP STC. It's U/L is 1063lbs and it only holds 240lbs of fuel, leaving almost the entire useful load of the 172SP for myself and my friends. It doesn't look as nice, though, and no leather seats.

Now, to the OP: Unless you can fly all the time, it's going to be far, far more expensive to buy, maintain, and insure your own plane. But, if money is no concern...buy yourself a Turbo Stationair with the G1000 panel!



Position and hold
User currently offlineCopter808 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1109 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 28778 times:

Unless your normal usage is for more than a few days at a time, I would look at flying clubs and rent a plane. Let the other members pay a share of the fixed costs. Find a non-profit flying club. This would generally be one where you OWN a share of the airplane and pay a share of the expenses.

If you plan to buy, you need to spend serious time finding out what the costs will be. You will need to spend some time with a good mechanic who can tell you about the service history of particular makes and models.

If you are in your position (wanting to get a PPL) and asking the question about buying vs. renting, you are NOT ready to buy.

Good luck, you'll love it.


User currently offlineBrons2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3015 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 28717 times:

Rule of thumb learned from these here boards:

If it flies, floats or f***s, rent it!

:D



Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
User currently offlineFlyMatt2Bermud From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 563 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 28695 times:

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Thread starter):
should I buy a plane first and learn on it or rent first until it get certified?

I suggest you have fun during your training and fly whatever interests you and you can get your hands on with your instructor. Fly the Beechcraft, Cessnas, Cirrus, Pipers and a Gruman Tiger as suggested if you can find one to help determine what you prefer to fly. Like exotic cars all aircraft models have their individual advantages. You might prefer a high wing in the way it handles or the view it affords of the ground. A low wing might suit you better or an aircraft with a canopy.

If you plan to fly alot and travel you should pay attention to cruise speed capability. Time is money and 40 knots over the cruise speed of a C172 might save you a couple of hours a weekend in getting to and from places you intend to visit.

I am surprised the single engine Cirrus models haven't been mentioned. The Beechcraft Bonanza is also a magnificent aircraft. You should find one and go fly it.

Single vs Multi. Truth is S/E aircraft are safe and their engines remarkably reliable. If money is not a problem you might consider a turbine single, but your costs per mile will increase significantly and it will be a long while before you will be able to purchase an insurance policy that will endorse you as the sole pilot aboard.

There are two primary reasons to purchase a used aircraft. First the cost of new single engine aircraft is off the meter in most peoples budget. Second, there are several good S/E aircraft available that are not manufactured anymore, i.e. Cessna 210. I'm not sure about Mooney aircraft 201 or 231. As I said there are several out there.

If you purchase a used aircraft take it to a reputable repair station for a thorough prepurchase inspection before you commit to buy. This is usually a condition of sale and that is o.k. as long as it is understood. Typically the buyer pays for the inspection and the seller pays for any discrepancies. I recommend you request the inspection meet the requirements for a sign off as an annual inspection.

Oshkosh just finished up so perhaps if you can get to Lakeland, Florida's Sun-N-Fun in April next year you could have the opportunity see, touch and talk about nearly every single engine aircraft ever built.

There are pro's & con's to multi engine ownership and the turbine offerings can be debated as well. What are your thoughts from here AirFoilsGuy?



"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward" Leonardo Da Vinci
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 28688 times:

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Thread starter):
My question is should I buy a plane first and learn on it or rent first until it get certified

If you have that much cash  Smile

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My suggestion would be Cessna 172.Alternatively spend on a good training school.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 28671 times:

First one that my parents bought was a Cessna P210. We did a bit of long distance flying and for the first few years, that sufficed. Got a bit cramped though and the second plane they bought was a C414. P210s have a great usable payload weight and are good for pilots who want to transition to a higher performance aircraft. Max certified altitude in the P210 is FL250.


"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 28655 times:

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 6):
You should take a hard look at the numbers before you throw 4 people and full fuel into a Skyhawk SP. The last one I flew had an empty weight of 1671 and a gross of 2550, leaving 879lbs for useful load. It holds 53 gallons of fuel, and at 6lbs a gallon, that reduces useful load to a mere 561lbs. I don't know how much your friends weigh, but I'd have a hard time just getting myself and two others, sans baggage, into that plane.

Our flying club has a 172 and the other day we had a flyout to france, we took 2 152's a seneca and a 172, in the 172 there was a large man (20 stone easily) another big man (13 stone) a woman (about 12 stone) and a baby (2 stone) plus luggage baby seat and fueled for 3 hours flying. thats pretty impressive if you ask me!!

Rgds --James--



You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
User currently offlineAirfoilsguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 28579 times:

Quoting FlyMatt2Bermud (Reply 9):
What are your thoughts from here AirFoilsGuy?

Every ones advice sounds great. I think I will rent for the first year and tour the plane shows. That way I can get a feel for what is out there and be sure what I buy is what I will be happy with. Nothing feels worse then buying something and meeting someone else with something that you didn't know was out there that you wish you had bought instead.


User currently offlineAccess-Air From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1939 posts, RR: 13
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 28492 times:

If I was a pilot I love either the Piper Cherokee Six or the Lance....both with the Hershey bar wings....I just love those planes....I dunno why....

Access-Air



Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 28450 times:

Quoting Jamesbuk (Reply 12):
Our flying club has a 172 and the other day we had a flyout to france, we took 2 152's a seneca and a 172, in the 172 there was a large man (20 stone easily) another big man (13 stone) a woman (about 12 stone) and a baby (2 stone) plus luggage baby seat and fueled for 3 hours flying. thats pretty impressive if you ask me!!

The weights of the people you give work out to about 660lbs, and at 10 gal/hr you'd need a minimum of 180 lbs, not counting start, taxi, takeoff, and climb fuel, or any baggage.

At 840 lbs of payload, that's overweight for a 172S. It must have been a different model?



Position and hold
User currently offlineArch89U From United States of America, joined May 2001, 188 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 28446 times:

840 lbs of payload is not overweight for MOST Skyhawks. It is right at gross weight, but if the aircraft is not equipped with a/c and "heavy" avionics and modifications, 840 lbs is not an issue.

The 150 hp Skyhawks I am familiar with range from 800-850 lbs for useful load.

Additionally, you should be able to average 8 gph in a Skyhawk. 10 gph is VERY conservative, so you can pack a Skyhawk pretty heavily with a reduced fuel load. 3 hours of fuel is only 24 gallons.

Just don't expect it to climb well on a hot day.


User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1654 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 28440 times:

Don't buy an airplane for flight training and don't buy an airplane until you have a few hundred hours flight time.

Get all of those hard landings with side-loads on the mains, wheelbarrow nosewheel arrivals and engine-scorching low altitude hours in a rental. There is a reason that former trainers sell at a discount on the used airplane market.

I doubt that, as a 0-time owner, you are going to be able to buy insurance at anything but exhorbitant rates.

You need some time as a pilot before you make a decision regarding what airplane suits your needs. The 172 may be great for training but it is miserably slow and can't carry 4 people with full fuel and forget baggage completely.

The Bonanza is absurd; there is a reason that it was called the "forked-tail Doctor killer." It was designed in 1947, well before any GA pilots flew IFR, and is too unstable in pitch and roll for any low-time GA pilot to safely handle. It is a "slick" airplane and can work up dangerous attitudes and speeds quickly.


User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2565 posts, RR: 53
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 28409 times:

Also check out the Piper Cherokee line, probably a 160 or 180 horsepower version. They're rock solid, cheap to operate (relatively), and I've always thought they had a bit more room for the passengers than a 172.

That said, definitely rent while learning, then try out a variety of different models before you buy. Read everything you can in aviation magazines including old pilot reports - they're probably the best advice. Asking people (even on this board) will always bring out a bit of a person's bias based on what they've flown the most, not necessaraly which is the best. Good luck!

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineAlaska737 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1063 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 28404 times:

AVIAT HUSKEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

its like having an all terrain vehicle

you get more of a feel of flying, true stick and rudder none of this computer and glass cockpit crap

if you have a lot of money and time i would say an old piper super cub but with MX and reliablility the huskey is a better choice


User currently offlineNorthwestEWR From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 457 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 28322 times:

What are the costs of owning and operating a small GA plane like a C172 ?


ARJ 319 320 333 717 733 735 73G 738 739 742 752 753 762 772 CRJ CR9 ER3 ERJ FRJ J31 J41 D9S D94 D95 M81 M82 M88
User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 28316 times:

Quoting Arch89U (Reply 16):
840 lbs of payload is not overweight for MOST Skyhawks. It is right at gross weight, but if the aircraft is not equipped with a/c and "heavy" avionics and modifications, 840 lbs is not an issue.

The 150 hp Skyhawks I am familiar with range from 800-850 lbs for useful load.

Additionally, you should be able to average 8 gph in a Skyhawk. 10 gph is VERY conservative, so you can pack a Skyhawk pretty heavily with a reduced fuel load. 3 hours of fuel is only 24 gallons.

Just don't expect it to climb well on a hot day.

Make sure you pay attention to the details. I referred repeatedly to the S model (Skyhawk SP), which has a Lycoming O-360-L2A engine rated at 180BHP at sea level. I also gave exampled of a N model with over 1,000 lbs of payload. There are differences.



Position and hold
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6411 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 28260 times:

Quoting NorthwestEWR (Reply 20):
What are the costs of owning and operating a small GA plane like a C172 ?

Remember, but remember, an airplane flys not because of Bernoulli, or the Wright Brother's pioneering research, but rather because someone threw lots of money at the problem Big grin

Seriously: For a C-172: $50/flight hour is a pretty reasonable direct operating cost estimate (including putting away some dough towards the engine overhaul). That doesn't include a lot of other things, like:
1) A Tie-down at most airports will run you in the neighborhood of $75/month, and $250-300 will get you an enclosed hangar rental.
2) Then add on your insurance policy.
3) figure on about $1500 for an "average" annual inspection (assuming you remove the inspection plates and carpet yourself for the mechanic, and that no gotchas were found on the annual)

...and you get the idea. Not to mention the cost of the aircraft loan (assuming you didn't have around $50,000 handy to buy the plane...).

I'll wait until I win the lottery  Wink

Brent



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 28238 times:

my first, and so far only, airplane is 1/3 of a bonanza A36.... just hope that i get to keep it with my new job.


"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6073 posts, RR: 14
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 28224 times:

I'm thinking of going in this order:

I wouldn't have much money to invest at first, so I'd start out with good, low-time (low cost) single seater like this one.


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Then, after a while, I'd upgrade to a two seater, either glass or aluminum.


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Photo © Daniel Rybka
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After a long while with these, I'd buy a new one of these:


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Photo © Benjamin Fuerwitt



Finally, when I get near retirement, I'd pony up and buy one that would be able to nice cross-country, non-touring, self-lauinching sailplane like this:


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Photo © Brian Nicholas




Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
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