View Poll Results: Better Floatplane Investment ?

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  • Cessna 182 Converted to a Floatplane

    0 0%
  • Cessna 185 Factory Floatplane

    6 85.71%
  • Other?

    1 14.29%
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Thread: Which floatplane is the better "investment": Converted C182 or C185?

  1. #1
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question Which floatplane is the better "investment": Converted C182 or C185?

    Due to lack of tail-wheel experience (= more insurance $$$), I've been shopping for a Cessna 182 that's been converted to a floatplane. While there are some nice converted C182's available For Sale, the conversion process is expensive, so, the asking prices of these C182 floatplanes is in the same range as a nice C185 factory floatplane. Since every airplane will eventually be re-sold, I'm beginning to wonder which model would be the better "investment" after about a decade of ownership?

    On the one hand, Cessna isn't building any more Skywagons, and a few more are removed from the registration list every year.

    On the other hand, there are fewer pilots with tail-wheel experience / comfort level, as time goes by . . . .

    So, given a converted C182 and a C185 factory floatplane of equal current value (both of late-1970's or early-1980's vintage); which floatplane will be more marketable / valuable in the year 2030?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    As you know, there were never any factory C-182 Seaplanes. So as you stated the 182 seaplanes that do exist are a result of somebodies STC conversion. Not all of those STCs are the same. So in the future I would say it would be harder to sell a converted C-182. The value would probably still be there, but you would have a harder time finding a buyer, as compared to a C-185 factory seaplane.
    The C-185 will be much more desirable for commercial operators, as well as private users.
    So while the value on both would probably be retained, the ability to actually sell the plane goes to the C-185 if you are in Alaska. In the lesser 48, it might go the other way.

    Now as for trying to beat the tail-wheel insurance premiums:
    Besides a C-172 with a 180 horse and a Air Plains gross weight increase, there is another nose-wheel option.... A C-206 factory seaplane.
    The fuel burn is the same as a C-185, they have more room and the insurance company thinks of them as a nose wheel. On big wheels and with a big nose fork they will go LOTs of places... And , they are a wide body like the later C-182s...
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  3. #3
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    After almost 200 views . . . . it's unanimous !!!

    Thanx Float Pilot! You're advice is sound (as usual), and it looks like everyone agrees

    I was afraid that you (or someone else) would bring up the C206 factory floatplane option. I had started leaning that way myself. Which led to the discovery that because C206's have six seats, the insurance folks charge that airframe the same rate as a C185, at least on floats. Here are the annual rates that Avemco quoted for aircraft valued at $120K on floats and $100K on wheels:

    A/C​: Floats - Wheels
    C182 $7,664 $2,439
    C185 $11,537 $6,749
    C206 $11,537 $3,450

    Thanx again FP, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  4. #4
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    AVEMCO is often not the best deal in town. But other brokers will not want to waste time on you since you do not own a plane yet and thus will be seen as a tire-kicking Lookie-Lou.

    Also, you do not have to insure all the potential seats.
    I ran a C-172 for awhile with only two front seats insured. In fact I removed the back seat for most of the flights and made more cargo room. LOTs of private C-206 owners remove the two rear seats for cargo room. It takes about a minute.
    ( The same with Cherokee Six owners)

    I do not know your experience level, but if it is fairly low, the insurance folks go nuts when you start taking about High Performance Planes.

    Also beware that AIG, which underwrote many policies just decided to pretty much pull out of Alaska. So the premiums have jumped since last year.

    You can see why some folks go out and buy a beater plane, and then fly the crap out of it without any insurance.

    For 12 years I only carried liability insurance on my old ($42,000) PA-11 on floats. It saved me $1,600 a year,,, or $19,200 over the 12 year period.
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    185 and 206 will eat your lunch in maintenance costs. I’ve operated both. C182 isn’t as bad. Seems like it should make a heck of a float plane on straight floats.

    The words “airplane” and “good investment” don’t go together

  6. #6
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    The words “airplane” and “good investment” don’t go together
    Well, sure sometimes you have to give up things like food, furniture, paying bills and other little things here and there to support the aviation addiction.

    Around my house you can hardly tell.....
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  7. #7
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    My buddy down the road used to do almost all of his flying with me in my CUBs, 150/150, 172 or in CAP planes. He kept putting off a buy himself because he thought he needed a big plane for his family. Finally is did end up with a big fuel injected monster. But by then his kids did not want to hang out with him anymore and his wife really never like flying to begin with.... ( she was just blowing smoke ) .... Anyway his fuel injected 6 seater sat at the airport corroding, while he continued to fly my plane or the CAPs plane. After years of corroding out on the ramp he finally sold it for a huge loss.

    Meanwhile another local bloke just bought a beater 152, with the worlds ugliest paint job. For less than a used car.... He is teaching his daughter and son to fly in the darn thing,,,, one at a time of course... but the prop is turning and she generates lift...
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  8. #8
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbflyer View Post
    The words “airplane” and “good investment” don’t go together
    Understood, and that’s why I chose to use the word “better” instead of “good”. All things are relative, and sometimes even the difference between “bad” & “worse” is worth considering.

    Please remember to vote in the poll.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    Understood, and that’s why I chose to use the word “better” instead of “good”. All things are relative, and sometimes even the difference between “bad” & “worse” is worth considering.

    Please remember to vote in the poll.
    Hahahahaha I got ya.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    My buddy down the road used to do almost all of his flying with me in my CUBs, 150/150, 172 or in CAP planes. He kept putting off a buy himself because he thought he needed a big plane for his family. Finally is did end up with a big fuel injected monster. But by then his kids did not want to hang out with him anymore and his wife really never like flying to begin with.... ( she was just blowing smoke ) .... Anyway his fuel injected 6 seater sat at the airport corroding, while he continued to fly my plane or the CAPs plane. After years of corroding out on the ramp he finally sold it for a huge loss.

    Meanwhile another local bloke just bought a beater 152, with the worlds ugliest paint job. For less than a used car.... He is teaching his daughter and son to fly in the darn thing,,,, one at a time of course... but the prop is turning and she generates lift...
    Quoted for emphasis.

    There's an M4 on floats in Talkeetna right now for what seems like a good price. I don't know anything about it, but it's less than half what you'll have in a 180 on floats. They'll go the same places and haul the same loads. The C180 probably looks prettier.

    A plane you can actually afford to fly a LOT is the better airplane. The guy who flies his $30k pacer 200 hours a year has a better performing airplane than the $120k cub that flies 30 hours a year. Because the pilot is the limiting factor, not the airplane.

  11. #11
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    A plane you can actually afford to fly a LOT is the better airplane. The guy who flies his $30k pacer 200 hours a year has a better performing airplane than the $120k cub that flies 30 hours a year. Because the pilot is the limiting factor, not the airplane.

    YES ! what he said...
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  12. #12
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    I really appreciate the opinions offered by everyone, I really do. But, we're starting to drift off course, due to crosswinds.

    This poll is not about which aircraft would be more fun to fly. It is also not about which airplane will develop better flying "skills" in the owner/pilot. My question is about market forces and demographics. It is about which aircraft will retain more, or increase more, of its current purchase price by the year 2030?

    At this point in time, converted C182's floatplanes and factory C185's floatplanes (of equal vintage & quality) are selling for about the same price. But, which model will be more marketable (i.e. valuable) in another decade?

    The pilot population is getting grayer, fatter, and less experienced at flying tail-wheel aircraft every year. The era when many pilots learned to fly back on the farm in Daddy's old C120, or back during the war in a Gov't T-6, are pretty much over. At the same time, fewer old or young pilots are scrawny enough to fit comfortably side-by-side in a 39" wide cockpit anymore.

    But, on the other hand, less than 1600 of the original 4400 C185's manufactured by Cessna are still flying today! And nobody is building any more.

    So, which is the BETTER investment? The scarce and getting scarcer Skywagon, or the increasingly demographically friendly Skylane?

    Finally, this thread is also not about whether any of these changes are good or bad for aviation's future. It's strictly an "investment" question. If someone has the $$$ to buy either model now, and if they flew it for the same number of hours over the next decade. Which model will command the higher selling price on Trade-A-Plane in the year 2030?

    Thanx again, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  13. #13
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Buy a lucky eight ball, if you want to see the future. One reason only 3 people answered your poll is that nobody knows what will happen 10 years from now. Will a factory seaplane be worth more than a converted non-factory seaplane, ???? Who knows.... If we still have av-gas, it will depend onWho is buying...a chubby low time nosedragger, or whatever bush
    Pilots whom you might be left by then.
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  14. #14
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    a chubby low time nosedragger
    Just for the record, FP, were you describing a wide-body C182 or a future pilot?

    Anyway, it looks like a few more folks have responded to the Poll, and it's still nearly unanimous.
    Wonder what CapnMike's "Other" choice was? Thanx to everyone who voted!

    My question really isn't much different than similar requests for predictions made here on AOD, such as:
    What's gonna happen to future salmon returns? (or) Where can a certain caribou herd be found during hunting season?

    Hopefully, this thread has also provided some helpful insight for other airplane shoppers, besides me.

    Thanx again, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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