Any Pilots here?

Discussion in 'Luxury and Lifestyle' started by nursebee, Aug 27, 2020.

  1. nursebee


    5 hours into PPL, big guy, cramped up in a C172. Big guy potential partner, looking at C 177 Cardinals. Spouse might be ok with buying, VERY concerned about other ongoing expenses. What have you found to be a good budget? Did you fly as much as you thought?
  2. Sig


    I've owned a plane and was a professional pilot for 20 years in the military. Also owned a boat and of course a few cars. My advice on owning a plane is to take what you think a particular piece should cost for a car and multiply it by 10, or a piece for a boat and multiply it by 5, and you've got about what it costs for an airplane. As an example, I remember being appalled 20 years ago at having to pay $250 each for 4 exhaust risers which was at the time a big expense for me but also ridiculous because they were simply 2" diameter, 6" long stainless steel pipes that would have cost less than $25 if they didn't have to be certified for aviation use.

    I definitely recommend going in with a partner if only so that you can amortize your fixed costs because you won't end up flying as much as you think you will. You also can split those annual fix-it's that come up; I dreaded hearing from my mechanic every annual.

    That said I'm about to buy another airplane because the benefits are huge over just renting one. The ability to go fly a few hundred miles away for the weekend whenever you want is another thing entirely from the $100 hamburger you're restricted to when you rent. It opens up a huge new area you can explore, even in a 177 you're going close to 150 mph in a straight line with no traffic so a 200 mile trip is no big deal, where as it would be painful in a car and not really viable for a 3 day weekend because you'd be driving more than you'd be enjoying yourself. And the ability to do a cross-country literally across the country or at least down to FL in the winter if you live up north or maybe to Colorado to ski if you live anywhere in the country is really something you can only get if you have your own plane.

    So basically, it's a great club to be in, but the cost of admission is high and probably even higher than you think it is. Only you will know if it's worth it and you can convince your spouse to go along.

    BTW, while I prefer the flight characteristics of a Piper or Mooney, if you're a big guy the 177 is a great choice with pretty good performance and a lot more room than an Arrow or M20.
  3. tango29


    I have all the ratings, but haven't flown in about 20 years now. I hit the industry at one of the crap times, excuse me, one of the zillion crap times. Also, the wife kept going back to school and we had kids, so the budget was getting pounded. I am in the process of getting back to flying as we have only one left in college now.
    Personally I loved the C-182 for capacity and space up front, plus good cruise numbers. I would suggest forming a club with 3 or 4 people to split costs. I have a friend who is a partner with 6 others in an Archer and so far no problems. They had the experience of why partnership can pay off when an engine went bad and they had to replace it early. The cost on your own would be painful, but split among partners it sucked, but less so.
    The cost of having that FAA certified label on parts is ridiculous, but you know this going into it.
    Personally I am debating a build while I am getting current. In reality the cost will be about the same as buying a used plane, but I'm thinking of a retirement challenge to keep me moving.
  4. Sig


    I'd agree that a 182 is even better than a 177 but a step up in price so you might need a 4 person partnership to make it work as you suggested.
  5. I took a single lesson 15 years ago or so. All I wanted to do was gain altitude, so decided maybe it wasn't a good fit. Just curious, how do the costs compare when buying/maintaining a small aircraft vs. using a charter service on an as-needed basis?
  6. nursebee


    182 not as wide as a 177
  7. Sig


    All depends on your use case. Generally you don't buy a plane as a sound financial transaction, you buy it because you really like to fly and having a plane is a good excuse. But, the problem with any kind of fractional or charter is that unless you're only going somewhere for a couple hours, you have to pay for both the flight you took and the empty leg to fly the plane back to where it came from, then do the reverse on the way back. So every flight costs the charter company twice as much as if you had your own plane and could fly in there, leave it, and fly back. Of course there's a lot of benefits to higher capacity factors that the charter company is getting on the capital cost of the asset and they amortize their fixed costs better, but at the end of the day the whole flying twice as far thing always makes it more expensive.
    jtrader33 likes this.
  8. tango29


    Would not have thought a 177 was roomier than a 182, but most of my time in a 182 was flying jumpers, so seats out but mine. I was checked out in a 182 with seats and it sure felt spacious, but I only flew a 177 twice I think.
  9. LCK2000


    I cant speak to plane selection, but I feel your pain as a bigger guy in a 172. I got my PPL in 2015 and then went on to get my instrument rating in 2016. Love flying, very rewarding to learn a skill set that not many people have and just to be able to fly.

    That said, you asked if people used it much. I pretty much haven't. At this point I'd be out of compliance with hours etc. It was weird, I enjoyed the learning process almost more than just flying around. Once I had my license I flew a few places, but then the cost was an issue. I could justify spending $1,000's for instructor/rental while learning. Once it became just my own personal fun, it was tough to swallow paying $600 for example to rent a plane for a few hours that doesn't really get me places that much faster than if I drove in that time.

    I forget the actually term, not "certified" but approved I guess, to use the Cirrus SR22 also. Such a better experience over a 172. More space, faster, love the side joystick, just more what I envisioned flying to be before I started. In the future I think I'll take up flying again, but at a point when its like money doesn't matter and its purely just for fun, and I'd only go with something SR22 or equivalent, the 1970's 172's used for trainers just won't cut it anymore. I've sinced moved so there's new areas to explore.
  10. nursebee


    Have you piloted an SR22?
    #10     Sep 2, 2020