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Thread: Trying to decide what to buy

  1. #1
    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Default Trying to decide what to buy

    If all goes well I will finally be in a good enough financial situation where I can finally realize a lifelong dream of owning my own airplane in the next 2 years. My ultimate dream plane is a cub or a PA 12 but that will be out of my budget and my family has grown to 4 so a two seat airplane will be out. I'm looking for your guys input on a good flying 4 seat plane that will be a decent Bush plane. Something I can learn in and not grow out of. I have thought of just buying a 152 to get my license in and build hours but I don't want to have to buy a different plane in a few years. I have been looking at the piper pacer 22/20's and like what I am reading on them. They seem to have a good amount of usable cargo load and they seem to be able to be an alright Bush plane. I have also looked at the 170's but I don't think it will have the performance I would like to have. I prefer to have it be a tail dragger.
    This will be the plane I get my license in and keep for a while.
    So for you pilots what are some suggestions for a good 4 seat tail dragger that will haul a little weight, be a good flying plane, something I can learn in and grow into, something that I can use for hunting and fishing. My budget would be maxed out at about 50k.
    Thanks in advance
    Tony

  2. #2
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I think you are on the right track with a pacer. A maule could also be a possibility
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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    I like the Maule but I think those are going to be a bit out of my budget. From what I can find a good one will run me about 60k plus.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with a good PACER. Troy here on this site flies his all over the place with a good load onboard.

    How big ( heavy) are your kids ??? You might be able to get by with a C-172 for a few years.

    Another great plane with lots of room in an AERONCA SEDAN..... The huge seats look like they came out of a 1949 Plymouth sedan.

    PS: I know a guy who bought a Cessna 210 so he could haul his family around, BUT nobody in his family ever wanted to go flying with him.
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    In my honest opinion:

    The inimitable Don Sheldon did a lot of bush flying in the Aeronca. Moved up to a Cessna 180 when finances allowed. I successfully operated a Cessna 170 in a LOT of bush flying (I've got more than 18,000 Alaska bush hours). As to the Maules, I never liked their limited visibility, though I've flown a few of them. And as for Piper's Pacer, I never liked the airplane for several reasons: huge wing chord but little span. It is pretty short in the fuselage, causing it to be a bit short of directional stability in turbulence. Pretty tiring after a long day in the air. Never liked the fact that the pilot had to use one hand for braking, and there was no individual braking. Personally, I'd start with a four-place Aeronca.

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    There is a Stinson for sale in Copper Center advertised on Alaska List. A very strong, stable nice flying airplane. With the engine this one has it should perform well.

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    So you have 50k and want a pa12? Get a pa12.

    Friend got one with cub tail/gear/etc and timed but good engine $30k. Ready to go. Just keep your eye open and cash accessible and act when you find it. A good 12 on a $50k budget is reasonable. Personally, I wouldn't pay much more for one. Better rigs for $60k+.

    Think resale when you buy "off brand". Cubs/12s/cessnas sell.

  8. #8

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    I think buying a plane to learn to fly in is a great plan, it is what I did. What you need first and foremost is a good IA. If you don't know one now is the time to find one near you. That is the person that will do your prebuy inspections and care for your plane. I was luck to find a great IA that is willing to teach pilots everything they wanted to know about there plane. I spent 6 mo looking at planes before we found one that fit the bill (it was a mighty pacer).
    I did not get insurance on the plane (paid 24,000 for it) figured if I bent it I would just suck it up. Liability insurance is not a bad ideal. Do you have a hanger? Metal planes are a lot easier to care for in the winter if you don't have a hanger. Lots of fabric guys flying in the winter without hangers, usually the tough broke pacer drivers.
    I know you don't want to buy and sell aircraft but if you are going to fly 4 people and gear you are looking at a cessna 180 or bigger. Big tire 182 can be had for a good price up here and will go to a lot of places. One thing to think about is how old are the kids and will they really want to fly with you? It is going to take a few years before you are stuffing a 4 seat airplane into some 600 ft bush strip. Will the kids be out of the house by than? AK HUNT was pretty much on the money. One thing to think about is a plane for you. 18/12 and partner up on a big tire 182 for hauling the family.
    If you end up with a starter/training airplane (pacer/170/ect) do not try to make it better, you will never recover any money you put into it just buy, fly, and sell in 3 years. if you get 300 hours at 100 dollars an hour rental you will be ahead 30,000. I am a big fan of fabric aircraft because they are easy to repair when you screw up and I have a hanger. A pacer will teach you more about tailwheel flying than any instructor ever could
    Before you look at any more planes look for that IA that will care for the plane and you. That is by far the most important part of flying up here!! There are lots of ways to skin the cat, pick on and go for it.
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    Straight tail C182 on big tires will fit your budget and haul your family.

    Insurance premium is staggering in AK for a new tailwheel pilot if you buy it. Get a couple hundred hours and move up to C180 if you still desire a tailwheel.

  10. #10

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    I just bought a J-3 to learn in, it has been great. As long as you are committed, I don't see any reason to rent. You get to really learn the plane while having an instructor to answer all your questions. Finding a good mechanic/IA is key. Like everything else, 1 plane won't do everything you want, so it will always be a compromise. I decided to go with something I would enjoy flying alone while I build hours.

    Only downside is you don't feel like you really own the plane until you solo!

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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Right now the kids are little (1 and 3) my oldest is into hunting and fishing and loves going anywhere with her daddy, at least for now. My wife and I both hunt and spend a lot of time outdoors so the next step for us is an airplane and we're looking forward to opening up areas we can get to with our boat. I'm hoping and planning that both my girls learn to enjoy the outdoors as much as my wife and I do. The more I can keep them into the outdoors the less likely they will be to get wrapped up into the kinds of trouble I see too many kids get into these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0321Tony View Post
    The more I can keep them into the outdoors the less likely they will be to get wrapped up into the kinds of trouble I see too many kids get into these days.
    Amen to that...!!!

    Until recently I had absolutely no idea as to how bad heroin addiction was here on the Kenai....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Yes, I am addicted to the white stuff, have been for years. I keep trying to kick the addiction, but I always fail. Seems like I would kill just to get a good solid hit, of vanilla flavored creamer.


    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Until recently I had absolutely no idea as to how bad heroin addiction was here on the Kenai....

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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Amen to that...!!!

    Until recently I had absolutely no idea as to how bad heroin addiction was here on the Kenai....
    Heroin and meth are really big issues here and hunting and fishing is what kept me out of trouble growing up. I have seen a lot of people messed up by getting into drugs and just a few days ago another person I went to school with over dosed and died. I will do anything I can to keep my kids straight and getting them interested in far better activities hopefully keeps them off drugs. My oldest is already all about the outdoors, hunting and fishing and asks me to take her hunting or on the boat all the time.
    I'll tell you what when my 3 yr old looks up at me and says "daddy will you take me hunting" it melts my heart.

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    I'm not clear on what you are looking for in an aircraft. On one hand you say you are looking for a PA12/18... You can access plenty of good hunting/fishing areas with those. If you are interested in using an aircraft to get out in the bush, you can't do that in an underpowered four place aircraft. Maybe you could clarify exactly what type of flying you are trying to accomplish...50K is not going to get you into a four place that will perform off-airport...

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    I'm not sure what pipercub means when he says "underpowered four place aircraft". I successfully guided for moose, black, brown, and grizzly bears, as well as caribou and plenty of great fishing, in a Cessna 170 with a "climb prop" and 8.50x6 gear. Yes, the C-180s, C-185s, and turbocharged C-206s are better, but it's pretty hard to start there. The Aeronca Sedans and Cessna 170s will do plenty of off-airport work for you, including mountain ridges, beaches, and sand or gravel bars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0321Tony View Post
    I'll tell you what when my 3 yr old looks up at me and says "daddy will you take me hunting" it melts my heart.
    Amen. My oldest just turned 4 and her desire to hunt is precious. Moose hunting. Bear hunting. I'm trying to get her excited about geese.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I'll tell you what when my 3 yr old looks up at me and says "daddy will you take me hunting" it melts my heart.
    Yeap I started mine young with outdoors activities. Hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing and flying. Five out of five...
    Although now I have to worry about my grand-kids since a couple of my now adult kids have become city dwellers.
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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    I'm not clear on what you are looking for in an aircraft. On one hand you say you are looking for a PA12/18... You can access plenty of good hunting/fishing areas with those. If you are interested in using an aircraft to get out in the bush, you can't do that in an underpowered four place aircraft. Maybe you could clarify exactly what type of flying you are trying to accomplish...50K is not going to get you into a four place that will perform off-airport...
    I said I would love to have a cub or a 12 but with having 4 in my family that's not going to happen so I'm looking for what's out there in the way of 4 seat planes that would be good off airport planes as well

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I have the airplane dream as well, but it's been tempered by the fact that any strip that can handle the kind of plane I can afford will already have a plane on it during hunting season. I simply don't foresee having the time to truly build up the skills to use a Cub off field anyway. I've backed off on the whole off airport thing and am probably headed for a C172 so I can just enjoy the view and get to some of my favorite towns without driving my truck.

    As a father of three almost grown children, I will give the advice that they get big fast. A 170 with two adults and two teenagers gets full really quick with not much gear. I realized, when my kids were small, that were were going to require a minimum of a 185/206 and that wasn't going to ever be in the financial cards.
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