Cessna 180 thoughts
I'm toying with the idea of upgrading to a 4 seat aircraft to be more family friendly. It seems that a Cessna 180 would probably be the best fit. I would be looking in the 60-80k price range. Any first hand info on the pro's and con's would be helpful. I'm just starting the process and in the gathering information stage. I've explored the maule alternative, but am leaning towards the 180 because it feels like a larger cabin.
-What should a guy watch out for when shopping around?
-Engine TBO? Prop TBO?
-Standard upgrades that give the most bang for the buck? brakes, vg's, prop, tires?
-What sort of airstrip lengths can the average well practiced pilot expect empty... as in quarter fuel, pilot, and 100 pounds of stuff.
-How heavy is a heavy 180? How light is a light 180? What's average?
-2 blade or 3 blade prop? Why?
-Are the STOL kits a must have on these aircraft?
Originally Posted by jrb
2) assume about 14gph
3) 1500 hours engine. Most will crap out before TBO because they don't get flown regularly enough. Valve guides are the common failure item. Prop TBO is ignored by most privateers.
4) Upgrade things you need. If you just feel like dropping an extra $35K do the Pponk 520 engine. Or another $10K for a true IO-520.
5) Hard to say. Lots of variables. Eliminate wind and obstacles and 400' is plenty. Wind and obstacles are everywhere, though.
6) Heavy newer ones approach the mid 1900# range. Light old ones around 1600#.
7) 2 or 3 blade depends on the motor. Most 180s you see with 3 blades have big motor mods.
8) No. I don't have one. But I don't need one for what I do and where I go.
Everything Mr. Pid said. For your price range you should find some nice planes if you don't need a float kit.
I too am looking at 180's. I think an argument can be presented for every model year as they are just great airplanes! The only thing that pretty much all advise is to stay away from the -A engine, as they're not being rebuilt by the factory anymore and the core is about worthless. I am looking at buying a '59 model which with a low time factory OH and basic VFR panel, Dodge rear seats, McCauley Prop. When funds are available, the Wing X-Stol kit will be added for the gross weight increase.
This link really gives you a lot of info on the 180/185 family:
The forums over at skywagons dot org are available for viewing and there is TONS of stuff to be found there.
Good luck in your search and hope to see pics of yours when you find it!
This'll give the years, models weights and engine.
Thanks for the web sites, i'll start reading. I just fly wheels and skis. How do you spot corrosion on cessna's? I'm more or less just looking at the 230hp animal.
Thanks for the info.
Find a good mechanic with knowledge of 180s and trust his advice. You can't see what experienced eyes will see. A 180 is a very expensive beast when it comes to major repairs. Don't buy somebody else's deferred maintenance.
Agree with MrPid ... buyers inspection with a good mechanic is absolutly necessary, just like realestate, condition is very everything. If there is no damage history stated in the log's you can do a yahoo search on the tail number and any NTSB reports will be there. I found out about that after I bought my 56, wrecked in 61 but whoever put her back together did a good job, flys stright. One dead give away to bad reconstruction after a wreck will be additional pieces of metal, tabs on the allerons, horizontal or vertical stabilizers. Look for working rivets in the gear box area, not good. If the aircraft has been on floats or ski's you need to look more closely. Guy I knew in the 90's got the "I got to have a c-180 fever" and bought a fixer-upper, after he spent a lot of money on his first annual I still had about 15 kts on him at cruise. If it can't do 130 kts at 75% power (23" mp and 2400 rpm) down low ... there is something wrong with it. I have upgraded to an IO-470 (260 hp) for the price of an overhaul and a new prop (Canadian STC, Nordland conversion) and I just smile when I firewall the throttle on take off with an initial climb out of 1500 fpm, I keep up with c-185's & c-206'S. They have a great reputation and one in good condition will not dissapoint you but remember "condition is everything"
I have always thought a 180 would be the perfect personal plane for me. I debated with myself for over 3 years on which was better, an affordable 180 or a more expensive 185. Because I use the plane for work, I went with the 185 mostly for the better useful load and the IO520. If it was just me and my wife and a couple friends every now and then I would have gotten a 180 all the way.
I agree with MrPid. Check out the gearboxes real close and the trim jack screws in the tail. I know of several 180s for sale for as little as $38k but you kind of get what you pay for.
Yes pay for an annual on the plane. Cheap Insurance. Call ard to the closest fields in the area. Get some recs on a good A&P or even a A&P/IA guy. Call them up after you get some good references for them. Have them go do the annual. If you can be there it wld be very instructive for you. I fnd out the annuals outside are less then here.
When my plane was flown up by the owner the A&P where I had it parked noticed the exhaust was gone. The baffles in the muffler were gone and that allowed the exhaust gases to eat the exhaust pipe. We looked and it needed new exhaust and mufflers. The guy knocked off $1100. When I looked at it in Cour D'Lane & talked to the A&P there it needed a seat rail. He knocked off $500 for that.
Point is you can save a heap of money and get new or better parts for the ones that are bad.
Go to this page;
Scroll down and enter the N-number. You'll see the reported accidents.
My plane had some but they were fixed well as it flies straight & true hands off.
Try and get one that is rigged/designed for floats and maybe skis like mine is. Also look for sportsman Stol Kit, Vg's and the P-Ponk Gear..
When I bought my 180 I went to the FAA web site and for I think it is 10 or 12 bucks get a CD with the maintenance history...good tool to start with...Faa.gov and you just put in the tail number...good luck...
Lot's of good advice here on learning the history, especially the damage history, of a plane before you buy. But even after all the research you can find no damage history, assume the plane has been damaged. I know several people who have bought planes here in Alaska and later found damage that had been repaired with no documentation, usually poorly repaired. Find a mechanic that assumes the plane has been damaged no matter what the log books or NTSB says. That mechanic (IA) may be the most expensive but it could be cheap at twice the price. Even if the plane has a fresh annual from the seller, have your mechanic sign off the plane with another annual inspection if you agree to go through with the purchase. Expect to have a squawk list at the end of the inspection, use that to negotiate the final price of the plane. After you buy the plane the IA can complete maintenance and sign off the annual. No matter what, never never never have a pre-purchase inspection or annual done by the mechanic that has been maintaining the plane for the seller. Even if you believe the seller and his/her mechanic are trustworthy, assume they are lying like lawyers and politicians! Also don't forget to do a title search. Good luck.