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Looking to buy a first airplane Cessna FR 182 RG. Would appreciate advice. Also N-reg versus G-reg.

Dan wrote:

and it also is interest dependant… I know of quite a few owners of certified aircraft having absolutely no interest in maintaining anything themselves

I am firmly in this camp. Zero, zilch, nada interest in getting my hands dirty. That, however, doesn’t equate to ‘no interest’. During my time on the board of a flying club I was (and sometimes still am) deeply involved with mx issues of our fleet and learned a lot about these machines in conversations with the various mechanics. Same for the Barons I now mostly fly.

I like your approach. You appear to be going into this ownership game eyes wide open with – IMO – a pretty realistic budget. Assuming the engine is ok now, given your expectation of 100hrs/year, it should be good for another 5-6 years. While it’s hard to predict the engine o/h prices then, your budget sounds on target to me. Go for it!

I know no owners at all who take the credit card maintenance approach. It’s too expensive and too annoying in terms of the ‘politics’ involved.

Silvaire wrote:

I know no owners at all who take the credit card maintenance approach.

You do now. Well, pretty much. While I take a vivid interest, I am not too good with my hands and have little mechanical skills, even though I am getting better in my old age. Whereas the airplane is concerned, I have not much choice in the matter as it is CAMO controlled due to the fact that it’s being used as rental and school airplane. For the same reason, I can do very little myself and on top of that, I got a top maintenance shop where I know the people very well and they do know me for now more than 13 years. No, I don’t write a blanc cheque but we are openly communicating whenever issues turn up which are out of the ordinary. I can help if I am available and there are works I can do, which happens infrequently.

Yes, it is not cheap like this but it is pretty much the only way.

With cars it turns out more or less that most people do this as the newer cars are not really very tinkerfriendly, Youtube Channels like Samcrac and similar nonwithstanding.

LSZH, Switzerland

@Mooney_Driver and @Dan A Swiss guy who works for me has made the same point to about Switzerland, and car maintenance. Few people here work on new cars either although anybody who has any interest in cars etc has a second car or motorcycle (or several) and usually works on it. It surprises me however that new car ownership practice would carry over to old individually owned planes. Planes are not new cars, you don’t use them up and throw them away and plane owners in my experience want to maintain close control over them under A&P supervision. FAA regs support owner involvement and this may be the difference.

Fleet owned aircraft and pilots who fly them might well be different here too, and I wouldn’t know because I’ve never had much to do with flying clubs and rental planes. I have known fleet owners to employ their own A&P mechanic to avoid the credit card approach.

The e.g. $5K numbers that some people throw around for Annual Inspections on simple planes are amazing to me, even if the work done is actually more repairs than inspections. The most I’ve so far spent on aircraft maintenance and inspections in a year, over 20 years and all items combined, is something on the order of $2K, and that includes having prop work done in a year that was otherwise inexpensive. The same level as you might expect for a older car. In 2019 I also installed a new GTX335 transponder which probably cost about $2500 installed including A&P labor but I’ve forgotten the exact number. Maybe someday I’ll do a top or major engine overhaul but so far I haven’t had that need. And sometime in the future I’ll drop $15K on paint but that’s more of a capital improvement than maintenance

By far the biggest expense I face in aircraft ownership is my hangar at around $5500 a year. Overall with hangar, fuel, insurance etc I figure on $1000 a month.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 02 Mar 22:51

172driver wrote:

I am firmly in this camp. Zero, zilch, nada interest in getting my hands dirty.

Well… That’s okay, and an honest assessment of your preferences is wise. That said, for me, a good understanding of aircraft maintenance has got me out of a lot of jams. It is easy around here to be a long way from help, so “do it yourself” may be about the only way home, unless you’re going to have the maintenance capability flown to the broken plane. My personal record was overnight camping at a fly in lake, where I was pretty certain that there was not another person nor road within 93 miles of me. You can be certain I’d taken lots of maintenance capability in with me!

While ferrying a 182 RG home to Toronto for a friend from California, my [passenger] wife was getting tired. My love, we can stop for the night wherever you like, and continue tomorrow. Saturday night landing in Broken Bow, Nebraska. Secure to plane for the night, nice relaxing walk to town for dinner and a hotel room. 8AM Sunday morning, back at the plane, all to continue to trip home, turn the key – nothing! Hmmm…. It started fine yesterday! The 182 RG has excellent cowls for just taking off a top side panel. Access to the firewall, short across the starter contactor with my Swiss Army knife, engine kicks. Okay, it’s a fault between the key switch and the starter contactor. I look under the panel. The plane had been a former US Drug Enforcement Agency chase plane, so a bundle of wire under there the size of my wrist – I’m not diving into that Sunday morning with my wife watching, and my pocket knife! And, I really don’t want to be seen repairing a US airplane on the fuel apron Sunday morning! A few feet of cast off extension cord wire, poked through the firewall near the glove box, connect to the starter contactor, bare and short the end in the cockpit, and I have starter! ’Got it running fine, cut the stripped ends of the wire off so they could not contact in flight, and home we came. When I landed in Toronto, I parked in the customs circle with that cowl away from the terminal. Cowl off, wire from contactor removed and pulled through, cowl back on, customs agent appears – cleared into my homeland! I told the owner it might need some wiring checking, but the plane was otherwise excellent! Faulty key switch found.

It’s up to each owner how much they want to delve into maintenance, and their personal limits, but if you’re away on a trip, have a plan for something to go unserviceable, maybe some DIY, to keep the minor problems from becoming an expensive delay. In my pilot buddy group, we have all done our share of flying in parts or help to a remote place to one of us out.

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

Pilot_DAR wrote:

The 182 RG has excellent cowls for just taking off a top side panel.

Which has been (on topic) a mandatory item for me when buying a plane.

Well @Silvaire, as you know, there are many differences between Europe and the US… in the US a GA aircraft has always been, and still is considered as a tool and used as a means of transportation by the mainstream.
Over here, airplanes are mainly regarded as toys for the rich, and as such, the game has been laid out completely differently, at basically all levels. The mere fact of Europe being divided into several entities with each having their own ideas, NAAs, etc, etc, makes things far more complicated and expensive.

Now talking about Switzerland, thinking higher average income might explain that more owners bring their airplane into an approved maintenance facility. Usually linked to those high incomes are long working days, so those owners just don’t have the time… OTOH there just isn’t much choice here. Pilot maintenance on a certified aircraft barely allows you to replace the oil and service the plugs, and one can basically forget work under supervision, or “helping” the shop for the annual… the maintenance shops are very protective and usually refuse to oblige.
Acquiring an A&P (licensed mechanic or engineer) is a very lengthy and complicated process, and can basically only be done if working full-time in a maintenance shop as a starter, the snake biting its own tail off…
The last option we have is a maintenance authorisation… these are getting more difficult to get by the day, but basically allow the entitled to perform all necessary inspections on one specific tail number aircraft. To obtain such an authorisation, one has to pass exams, and meet specific requirements.

All the above to say that yes, one of the thing we Europeans envy is the dream world of US aviation, nothing new here

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

Dan wrote:

Usually linked to those high incomes are long working days, so those owners just don’t have the time

Other than the other valid factors you mention, this one struck me as interesting. A substantial proportion of the people here who spend time ‘with their planes’ so to speak are retired from work. They more than likely had very good high paying jobs or businesses once upon a time, the savings from which now funds all these aeronautical fun and games, but the operative work is ‘had’, past tense. I’ve got some time to go before reaching that point, but I invested the time to get into the local community before I was married, and the investment lasts. I still spend a lot of time at the airport or flying, a full day on most weekends and a couple of visits during the week.

Weather is another factor – we don’t need heated hangars at any time of the year.

The description of ‘maintenance authorization’ being required for a specific tail number gives me a headache. I assume that is only if you don’t have a mechanic’s license? It’s like somebody is actually trying to make things hard by making up absurd regulations. Cooperative A&Ps for owner assisted work are not too hard to find in my area, although I must say I’m down to two from my previous four and only one of them has an IA. He makes a living using his A&P but is very busy and lets me do as much as I want under supervision, with him doing the Annual and anything else we agree on. He’s become a good friend of the family.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 02 Mar 23:32

Silvaire wrote:

The e.g. $5K numbers that some people throw around for Annual Inspections on simple planes are amazing to me, even if the work done is actually more repairs than inspections.

For the record, the list price for a 100 hrs check/annual for my M20C is somewhere around 2400 CHF, so half of that. If additional work comes to it, it will go up, my average being somewhere around 3-3.5 over the last 10 years. If I have to do a 50 hr check in between, add about 1000 to it.

With a 60 year old airplane it is rarely a simple annual. Many of us face larger problems, my plane needs a repaint and possibly some corrosion treatment as the long parking waiting for the prop has done damage. These things can be existential as they go into really high prices.

The rest, Dan has said it all. I might add that a lot of folks here go to Eastern Europe to get stuff like repaints e.t.c. done, as it is much less expensive there. I am looking at that right now. I hope to get a hangar too very soon, moving to LSZK as ZRH is no longer an option due to outpricing from January 24.

LSZH, Switzerland

Silvaire wrote:

The e.g. $5K numbers that some people throw around for Annual Inspections on simple planes are amazing to me, even if the work done is actually more repairs than inspections.

Consider yourself a lucky man then @Silvaire. I wouldn’t even inflate a tire. The tip I’d give any prospective airplane buyer is make a realistic budget: double it. Always have 20k at hand to dump in your airplane at any given moment. If you can make this all add up, you’ll have a great time. I mean this, there is great joy in the knowledge one can drive up to the airport and ones plane is there all fueled up and ready to go to the South of France. I’m now a member of a flying club and I enjoy 90% of the same flying for 25% of the money, the feeling is note quite the same but still pretty good for the money.

Last Edited by Bobo at 03 Mar 08:05
EHTE, Netherlands
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