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Buying a family plane?

When you’re 2 seas away from the mainland, the aircraft definitely beats the car Cruise speed of 160 kts of a Mooney vs 22 kts for the WB Yeats isn’t a fair fight!

EIMH, Ireland

Well, particularly where @MedEwok lives, on the north coast of Germany, an airplane certainly has its destinations which are at the same time popular and accessible. The Frisian Islands, Sylt, Bornholm only to start, which are difficult or cumbersome to reach by car. Aeroskobing (or what it is calles) in Denmark, e.t.c.

And for the odd long trip, I never had a problem finding myself a rental car for few money via the internet. Even upon arrival in Croatia I had a car after a few minutes without calling ahead. But would I have driven to Rijeka from Switzerland for a weekend? Hell no. But a 3 hour flight in bright sunshine, yes sure.

Of course there are 100 reasons not to do something one loves, but there are also some good ones to do it. Otherwise, most of us would have rationalized away our planes a long time ago

You don’t get to see something like this from the motorway…

Last Edited by Mooney_Driver at 29 Apr 11:12
LSZH, Switzerland

Mooney_Driver wrote:

You don’t get to see something like this from the motorway…

True … but when I say this to my wife she likes to point out that turbulences ruin all the sceneries for her

I too used to (and still do) think of proper ‘family plane’. I think it is not a family plane if those passengers are not a part of decision making process. Speed and payload perhaps wouldn’t be a big factor for my wife, but she would prefer A36 in which she could sit with kids in the back. She finds turning backwards to attend to the kids quite annoying in the slim Mooney.

Günzburg EDMG

Arun wrote:

I think it is not a family plane if those passengers are not a part of decision making process

Absolutely!

Arun wrote:

she would prefer A36 in which she could sit with kids in the back.

Yes or in that case also a PA32 with club seating or a Seneca or similar. Club Seating is the best thing you can have for this kind of thing.

Arun wrote:

True … but when I say this to my wife she likes to point out that turbulences ruin all the sceneries for her

I agree that this is a major thing. My wife obviously knows turbulence from her airline days too and therefore while it is not very nice, she can cope with it (or at least could). But for many that will be a major putt off. Also with kids who can play with their seat belts and be loose when you least expect it, turbulence is a major hazard. Hence it should be a major consideration when planning trips.

I have to say, I’ve had very few turbulence encounters so far and I am trying to avoid them when I have passengers. The worst I ever had was not with the Mooney but overhead Split in a A321. Severe turbulence with massive loss of altitude. My wife who was sitting on the aisle seat managed to get hold of the trolley next to us and hold it in position while the FA behind it got trashed into an empty seat… that was very bad indeed. On the Mooney, worst I ever had was below some benign looking Cumulus…. but it helps that I know that Mooney have never yet broken up in turbulence and my wife knows this as well.

One bit I have learnt is to go on top whenever I can. We had two trips where this saved the day, both times between Slovenia and over Austria. Once at 12000 ft once at 15000 ft (which now with a 5 year old won’t work). Below it is a lot more choppy than above. Prettier too

Last Edited by Mooney_Driver at 29 Apr 12:19
LSZH, Switzerland

Thanks for all your input.

Buying the Cherokee 6 implies having the family’s approval. When you spend 20K per year to maintain it, you will need to do at least a dozen trips per year to justify it, which means your family loves to fly.
We had a discussion someday about buying a plane for 90% of your needs. Buying a plane which does 100% of your missions is overkill.
Consider the weekly currency/engine health flight. If 80% of your flights are you alone, the C6 probably doesn’t justify.

Thanks Snoopy to share with us how your vision shifted from the dream we all have to a down-to-earth solution. I hope it will bring a lot of fun to you and your family.

About the flying vs car debate, we are in a lockdown right now which is not really enforced but I don’t want to get a fine.
But it made us realize how great were the ‘simple’ day trips we had in an old cessna (even in a 152)
Whether it was eating a pizza in Reims LFQA or a picnic at Bagnoles LFAO, it really took us away from Paris to enjoy a day out of the craziness. Making the same trips by car would probably have been quicker and far cheaper but it wouldn’t be the experience it was.
Now I can’t wait to get back my “license to fly somewhere”. And I hope to keep it as long as I can, owning or renting.

Just my 2 cents.

LFPT, LFEH

Jujupilote wrote:

We had a discussion someday about buying a plane for 90% of your needs. Buying a plane which does 100% of your missions is overkill.

It depends I’d say what the 10 % are. If we are talking of IFR capability (FIKI) or so with the possible consequences of cancellations e.t.c I’d say yes. When it comes to knowing we can get the family transported without undue discussions about baggage and it makes flying a fun thing for them, these would be more important to me than certain other bells and whistles. And obviously the airplane needs to be mission capable and it should be one which does not have an impact on the family budget to the extent that the other family members will feel deprived of things because of it. That is also a massive issue.

But sometimes it is also important to check out the possibilities. E.g. the non turbo PA32’’s have IO540 as well as the TB20 and the Piper 28-235 (which has the carburetted version), so very similar fuel flow and general engine characteristics. So their costs are not going to vary massively, yet the PA32 is a full blown 6 seater with the possibility of family friendly seating. And even if you consider basic twins: A Grumman Cougar or Twin Comanche has two O/IO320 engines, which are quite inexpensive to run and have a fuel flow about comparable to one of the big bore Lycosauri combined. Or the Seneca I with the IO360 engines (same as PARO e.t.c) which are a sight less expensive to run than turbocharged TSIO360’s. Sometimes if the mission fits,some of those planes can be a better solution than a SEP which will just about do.

As for 20k per year maintenance, that is huge. My average in the last few years has been about half that and I am in Switzerland…. Normally, with a 50 hour and Annual check, that should be feasible. And we have had unexpected stuff in between.

For me currently, the Mooney, even the short body one, does all these things, I’d call it about 80% capable of my needs. It lacks de icing and its range is about comparable to a Seneca I. With the 3 of us it will do very well, just like a trusty PA28-180 or Arrow but 30 kts faster. When I shopped at the time, I was looking at a PA28-140… but possibility got in the way. I never looked back and most probably it will stay my “forever” plane. If I had known about us having a kid then, I’d probably have gone in the direction of a Twin Commanche. Not because of the 6 seats but because of the 2nd engine and range.

LSZH, Switzerland

Mooney_Driver wrote:

It depends I’d say what the 10 % are. If we are talking of IFR capability (FIKI) or so with the possible consequences of cancellations e.t.c I’d say yes. When it comes to knowing we can get the family transported without undue discussions about baggage and it makes flying a fun thing for them, these would be more important to me than certain other bells and whistles. And obviously the airplane needs to be mission capable and it should be one which does not have an impact on the family budget to the extent that the other family members will feel deprived of things because of it. That is also a massive issue.

I think the issue of “weather capability” gets way exaggerated a lot when “flying for vacation”, unless people can’t move their “weather flying window” by 6h or 2 days or destination, one of the advantage of owning a GA aircraft, if you can’t go on weekend to Scotland you can re-plan Belgium with few clicks !

However, it’s a huge disadvantage when renting, visit family/friend, commute, business…

Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

MedEwok wrote:

Even the slow planes are easily twice as fast as the car. BUT let’s not forget that we need to get from our house to the airport and from the airport to our destination etc etc…
If you want to convince your spouse, use a less easy route, something that is not a straight line by car, something with obstacles (lakes and mountains).
For me it’s typically flying to Berlin. ESMK-EDAY is at most 2 straight lines with the plane (depending on VRP on the FIR border). 2 flight hours at PA28 speed, 15’ to walk to the train, 45’ later we are on Alexanderplatz. Even if you add 1h at each end to get to/from the plane, it cannot be beaten by anything.
ESMK, Sweden

Ibra wrote:

I think the issue of “weather capability” gets way exaggerated a lot when “flying for vacation”, unless people can’t move their “weather flying window” by 6h or 2 days or destination

Who can move their “window” 2 days? Who can move a destination… good luck finding suitable accommodation for 6 people on short notice. You’ll spend your vacation staring at your phone on the booking com app.

Airline/Mentor/Safety/Instructor - Pilot
Based Austria | Operating Worldwide

Ibra wrote:

I think the issue of “weather capability” gets way exaggerated a lot when “flying for vacation”, unless people can’t move their “weather flying window” by 6h or 2 days or destination, one of the advantage of owning a GA aircraft, if you can’t go on weekend to Scotland you can re-plan Belgium with few clicks !

It hugely depends where you are situated and where you wanna go fly. The worst is sitting near the Alps and wanting to go to the opposite end regularly. According to research, the long term reliability of being VFR through the Alps in a NA airplane is about 30%. However, in the flatlands it is (at least) 70%. Light IFR will increase that.

The main factor is flexibility. The less flexible you are, the more “day x” at which you “MUST” travel you have, the bigger the requirements for all weather ops.

However, it’s a huge disadvantage when renting, visit family/friend, commute, business…

See above. If you and your relations are flexible a tad, it will work most of the time after a fashion. If they wish to set the clock after your arrivals and departure, take the train (most of the time).

LSZH, Switzerland
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