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Hopefully I am not overstepping any boundaries here as I am not a pilot(yet). However, I would truly appreciate your advice here on a unique opportunity. Eight years ago I started ground school in preparation for obtaining my private pilot's license. Shortly after I started, my mother passed away unexpectedly and from that point until now I've had the usual share of distractions that kept me from pursuing my license again. I have recently started shopping around for a good flight school or flying club nearby to take lessons (taking note of how much the prices have increased since 2000!) As luck would have it, I have the opportunity to acquire a 1969 Piper Cherokee 6 with about 8000 hours on it for what seems to be a very good price. The plane has suffered from neglect over the past 2 years or so. A mechanic says it needs an engine overhaul, new prop and various other repairs. The plane is owned by a company my retired father has a 1/3 interest in and is in the process of liquidating it's assets. Thus, I have perfect knowledge about the seller, the plane, the former owner and intentions so there is no risk here from that standpoint. I basically have two questions: 1) Is this a good plane for a beginner? Since I would be looking at spending several thousand on rental fees to get my license, does it make sense to learn in this plane instead? Is it a difficult plane for a beginner to learn? 2) What are your thoughts/experiences about purchasing a 40 year old plane with 8000 hours in need of some significant repairs? The former owner flew the plane often for business and recreational purposes primarily across the western US. Passengers only, no cargo. Looking on the open market, it appears I can acquire the plane ridiculously below the lowest asking prices I have seen. Family friends are pilots and retired mechanics so I will be able to get high quality advice on what should be repaired/replaced. The plane is getting a routine annual now, and will be flown to another airport for storage so it is safe to operate. What would you think is a reasonable amount to spend on repairing this plane? What concerns might you have about safety, reliability, longevity, etc? Is this just a harebrained idea from some wanna-be pilot? :D Again, apologies if this is a bit much to ask. I figure a forum like this of experts is the best place to get a set of honest opinions. Thanks for your time and patience, your honest responses are greatly appreciated.
You can buy the plane but I would first learn in something a bit less complex. Getting insured for something like a Cherokee Six as a student pilot would be prohibitively expensive if not impossible. I bought a wrecked T-210 and rebuilt it. I had just recently got my high performance sign-off but the insurance just about killed me in cost. And that was in 1980. I am not saying you couldn't learn to fly in it but it might prove to be impossible to solo in it.
You need to start flying a very very basic aircraft, something that is slow, has very good handling characteristics and is not going to be a costly venture for you given the ever increasing cost associated with aviation ........................ Think about this, step back from it and take a deep breath ............................... The previous response is right on with the Insurance companies expectations, and they are something to be reckoned with.
It's a big step, that's for sure. I had a student of mine buy a Cherokee Six 300 and we got him his private license in it. His insurance required him to get, I believe, at least 20 hrs of dual instruction before he was covered to solo. Of course, this was back in about 1987. From what I remember, he had a few hours in a C172 before getting the Cherokee, but he progressed at about the same pace as my other students who were flying C152/172's. I'd check carefully with your insurance carrier before making a decision. That and have the airplane thoroughly checked out by a good A&P.
OLD PRO Good Lord! Why not buy a F16! I would rent or buy a Cessna 150, Cherokee 140 ,0r a Cessna 172 to start out with. By the time you get your license you will know what you like. I had a student that started out in Cessna172 and got his instrument rating. He bought a Piper Cherokee six with 300HP. He has invested in glass avionics, GPS's, engine monitors ,and he has more money in it than it's worth. He has had to have engine work(New Cylinders) wing crack repaired, painted,and new lights added. It looks great, but shopping around would of been less costly. These old planes have many AD's (required maintenance) and can really add up at annual. Look at the latest Comanche service bulletins! Get a good and experienced IA to look at your prospective purchase. Costs to note: annuals, insurance,hanger,fuel, AD's and operating cost. Hope this helped
If all your assumptions are correct I don't see anything wrong with your idea. If the plane needs everything you say it does, and you don't mention the paint or interior condition which could add 15K to your cost or the radio stack where the sky is the limit. Just what you say it needs would cost 40K from a major shop that you could assume to get to the 2000 TBO on. Sometimes it is better to buy a plane that has been more active from a motivated seller than trying to do a rehab project. As far as training in it goes if you fly your first 20 hours or so with the prop firewalled it doesn't fly much different than a 140 once you adjust to the faster pattern speeds and the planes slower reaction to control inputs. You don't say if you have any dual yet. If not I would go for a couple of hours in a 172 and a couple of hours in a PA28 somewhere before taking this project on. You may be a high wing guy and just don't realize it yet. With that said the key would be finding the right instructor to work with. Plenty of pilots learned to fly in their Dad's Bonanza or Comanche and it made sense because that was the plane they would be flying after their checkride. I bought a 140 to train in and moved up to a Six later but if you know the Six is what you want after you get your license I think you could train in it with the right instructor and be ok. Don't let anyone tell you that it is cheaper to own a plane than rent one. You will definitely pay a premium for that 24 hour access to a plane. The tradeoff is that after a few years you will know exactly what you are getting into when you fly and that peace of mind is worth something. Also with insurance as competitive as it is right now I don't think that your cost will be that big of a problem. Everybody thinks they will fly 200 hours a year but hardly anybody does so don't expect the math to ever work out on owning an airplane. We do it because we love it and we are willing to spend the money for the pleasure it gives us.
All true Lee, I started not too long ago, I was going to buy a Beech 36, low hours, recent engine and a fair panel, but my CFI put his foot down. You need to learn to fly first, you may have a slight advantage with your situation, but it is tough to sell a plane right now and it isn't going to change for a while, as we approach 2020, a lot more planes will be up for sale, and they will all need to be made current. If your plane has it's recent annual, it is OK until it either times out or breaks. All repairs are expensive and unless you own an airport, you need to park it and keep it up and that means cash. If you had bought it when you first started out, where would it be now? Get your ticket and get your instrument rating, THEN buy an airplane. Just like a Corvette is not a good car to learn in, a complex plane isn't the best to learn in either. You could learn in a P-51, but it might kill you as well, chances are good a C 172 probably will not. It also depends on your personal CFI, if he is a SIX guy your in, but find someone that really likes that type plane, your experience will be better. Most could probably teach you, but if they don't care for the plane it will be just what is necessary, good luck, oh yeah, I bought the Beech. I did not even fly it after it was delivered for a year, built up my time and then got the plane right. It is OK to be working on one and learning, IF you have the funds. Also, a hanger queen is a risk, a regularly used unit is less to make right than one that has sat, mine was owned by the same guy for 20 years, the logs are like a personal diary. That is what you want to work on!
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