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Operating and Flying a 1970 Piper Arrow, and operating costs discussion

Silvaire wrote:

In some cases it might be better that they never touched the plane and just signed off the logs!

Yes that thought has crossed my mind………Anyway Santa has arrived, IMC onto the roof. Have a Good Xmas..

Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow

It appears to me Patrick has been very brave. He offers his experience of what it costs him to run an early Piper Arrow and everyone just rips into him with a whole load of opinions and not a lot of facts.
Like some on here I sort of turned a blind eye to the costs of running a Piper Seminole ( twin engined Arrow )and a Seneca 2. Looking back and doing a little totting up both roughly averaged the same per annum for 150hrs with a few of those hours being used for MEP training.
Whatever happened each year the overall bills averaged between €40,000 and €45,000. Each was operated over a 5 year period. This included the overhaul of 2 engines on the PA44, plus the need for a mode S transponder and to go 8.33. Hangarage at LFBH was €135 per month but later a tax fonciere (property tax) was added bringing it up to €150 per month. Hangarage at LFFK was €138 per month total. There was no restriction on owner maintenance in the hangars at either field, and there are several unattached Part66 engineers at both, although we used a maintenance facility at LFFK. Both maintenance facilities there have so much work they are happy for someone to come along and do some.of the work on their own plane under supervision once they build a rapport between them. The management of one of the facilites has changed over the last year or so and this might have changed things. I rent now so have no experience of the new management.
Insurance on the PA44 and worked out at just under €4000 per annum with a hull insurance of €100,000 and no excess, including tuition and flight tests and five people were named on the policy, all with more than 200 hours MEP time. Included in those 5 was a IRI/IRE and one who flew on an FAA licence under a derogation from the DGAC. IIRC the insurance on the Seneca 2 was about the same.
The PA44 used 72 litres an hour and the Seneca 80 litres an hour. This was worked out by recording block block time and dividing it into fuel used, or vice versa and recorded each time the aircraft was refuelled. This was constantly recorded over the time at which we owned the aircraft so was a pretty accurate basis for fuel planning.Fuel costs at that time averaged €2 per litre.
I would say the average cost per hour over those 2 × 5 year periods was around €300 per hour wirhe the Seneca being slightly more exoensive than the Seminole.
I cannot remember all details as it is a few years ago now.
Thankyou Patrick, you have confirmed to me that at present renting is my best option.


Peter wrote:

Hence my Q above. Not just “on the high side”; there is something very deeply wrong going on here.

Not necessarily. 70 hrs is not a lot and if you have bad or good luck, the hourly cost may be very high or very low. You need a couple of hundred hours to average over before you can say anything conclusive.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

everyone just rips into him with a whole load of opinions and not a lot of facts.

I don’t agree about “ripping into”. Some stuff was questioned, and numbers were posted afterwards.

Who do you think did “ripping”?

Anybody who posts numbers is taking a bit of a risk, because their maint. company might be reading EuroGA (almost certainly is). But nothing here paints the company (whose identity is unknown anyway) in a bad light.

The numbers posted are quite normal, although as I said they are high, although the reasons they are high are again “standard”.

Suggestions on how to reduce costs are also a reasonable thing, even if the particular person is unable to implement them.

If I had numbers for my TB20 I would post them, but I haven’t. The maint cost of mine is not a significant expense; avgas comes to about much more.

Happy Xmas everyone

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I don’t post the $ numbers, other than the Infrequent big ones that I do remember, because they’re in the noise relative to the rest of my life’s cash flow. The same is true for the cost of Inspection labor. The only record of odds and ends $XX or $XXX expenses on my plane is a stack of receipts in the file.

That aside, every couple of decades somebody again floats the idea that for planes that are flown but aren’t flown a great deal, say 25-75 hrs annually, it would be better if the ‘Annual’ were instead every two years. I’m pretty sure this would be better for my plane – it would be less shop worn over 50 years as a result.

Working with an individual A&P, especially one that knows you and the plane, and talking about it regardless, is one way to achieve the same end. One year you might do a ‘deeper’ Annual than the next. I think that is definitely the kind of thing @Patrick and partner need to be looking for time goes on with a new-to-them plane.

In the world of private ownership, with detailed caring and knowledge of the plane, versus lockstep adherence to money taking/making procedure on a fleet owned plane, I think that’s often how it goes. It’s better to take care of your stuff in the way it actually requires, in real time, preferably with people who aren’t motivated to be your adversary working on it with you – often because their boats are being floated by a high tide elsewhere, not a series of coercive deals on over regulated puddle jumper maintenance.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 25 Dec 00:35

I just remembered that in couple of days, an A&P friend is coming by for Rouladen (he’s a German immigrant), and that he’s had Cherokees etc lined up on the ramp outside his hangar for wing attach inspection. He seems to have it down to an art, practice makes perfect, and does them in collaboration with an independent ultrasonic crack inspection guy who shows up at the appointed hour in his truck. I’ll ask the A&P how much he gets for the inspection and follow up with more specific data

Last Edited by Silvaire at 25 Dec 02:00

I too applaud @Patrick for the OP.
I find them realistic numbers.
I don’t hung you”get what you pay for” in aviation maintenance. That may or may not be the case. There are many different ways of solving problems. Not only good or bad ways, also good ways at wildly different costs.
The main cost drivers, in my view are whether
-The owner is involved in all decision making
-The owner performs a significant amount of owner assisted maintenance
- N-reg vs EASA
-The maintenance scene close to your base.
-The availability of a hangar for maintenance

LESB, Spain

One example from real-life: Legacy two-axis autopilot in high-end SEP or MEP acting up:

1- After many man hours of troubleshooting (t/s) at local mechanic, a couple component replacements from used market still acting up.
2-After many man hours of troubleshooting at local mechanic, a couple component replacements from certified shop still acting up.
3- Ferrying aircraft to distant expert shop. After troubleshooting, repaired some components, fixed.
4- Remove all components, send to reputable OH shop, reinstall, still acting up.
5- Remove all components, send to reputable OH shop, reinstall, fixed
6- After medium amount of man hours t/s under expert guidance, identify faulty part, replace faulty (capacitor, relay, resistor, fuse…) , fixed
7- After any of the bad fixes above, adjust aircraft rigging, few mh, fixed
8- After any of the bad fixes above, show pilot how to operate a/p, fixed
9- After any of the bad fixes above, replace autopilot with new Genesis or Garmin, fixed.

The above range from 500 to 40000 EUR solutions for similar problems.

Last Edited by Antonio at 25 Dec 08:27
LESB, Spain

Peter wrote:

I don’t agree about “ripping into”. Some stuff was questioned, and numbers were posted afterwards.

I also didn’t perceive it that way. I was surprised by the amount of discussion, but didn’t find the questions etc. offensive.

Merry Christmas!

Hungriger Wolf (EDHF), Germany

My remark was simply down to the reactions of “that’s expensive etc” as if you should have done more to get it cheaper @Patrick.
Some perceive the written word in different ways
I’m glad you were not offended.
Happy New Year.

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