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Best Mooney for new pilot?


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#1 benpilot

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:02 AM

I am looking for a nice Mooney for under 100k so that rules out the newer Ovations and Acclaims.

 

Looking to buy a Mooney to finish instrument and commercial ratings and want a fast plane to travel between bay area and southern California.

Do you recommend something like a Mooney TLS or Bravo or would an older model like 201J/252K better suit me?

 

 

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#2 bumper

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:31 AM

Good choice, Mooneys are just solid, fast, efficient, and look good too.

 

I haven't looked much at market prices lately, but sub 100K is not likely to fetch a TLS or Bravo in anything resembling reasonable condition and with much time left before engine TBO. Also, even the "slowest" Mooney should do your commute in 2 hours and change ("slowest" being an oxymoron when talking Mooneys :) - - figuring a 325 nm trip at 201 cruise speeds of over 155 kts. Even a slower model won't add more than 15 or 20 minutes on that run.

 

I purchased my 87 201J in '91 before getting my private and with only 25 hours in C152. Then finished my private and instrument in the Mooney. In retrospect this added a lot more work at times trying to keep up with the speed and complexity, especially early on. Mooneys are fine instrument platforms, however hours of slow flying ROP doing instrument approaches in the Bay Area, where airports are on top of each other, leaves little time for the plane to stretch its legs - what Mooneys do best. This was not so easy on the engine. By the end of it all, it was burning a quart of oil every 2 hours with coked up rings. Running LOP, as many do nowadays, would have doubtless been kinder to Mr. Motor.

 

Most of your flying is out and into sea level airports, so a normally aspirated ship would be a good fit. I had essentially the same trip as you, between Napa, CA and LA or SD when shopping for my J. Now based at Minden, NV (4750' with density altitudes of 9K in the summer) a turbo would be welcome sometimes. Still, the 201 really does handle the Sierra part of my milk run to and from the Bay Area fine. The PowerFlow exhaust helps.

 

bumper



#3 Awful_Charlie

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:50 AM

I have no idea how you're getting on with your training, but if you were anything like me, going from training to a Bravo would be one big jump, it has a number of 'complex' systems that you are going to need to learn all about. (not just wobbly prop and retract, think turbo with dual pressure controllers, dual alternators, TKS, cowl flaps, speed brakes, oxygen etc - you need to know how all of these work and fail, as well as fly the aircraft)

 

I would be wary about looking for a TLS/Bravo for under 100k too - if you do find one at that price point it's going to need some, or maybe plenty, of TLC (which would be one way to learn about some of the systems!) but that requires plenty of time in the hangar and not flying.

 

Good luck with the commercial and instrument


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#4 gwcolwell

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:39 AM

I have no idea how you're getting on with your training, but if you were anything like me, going from training to a Bravo would be one big jump, it has a number of 'complex' systems that you are going to need to learn all about. (not just wobbly prop and retract, think turbo with dual pressure controllers, dual alternators, TKS, cowl flaps, speed brakes, oxygen etc - you need to know how all of these work and fail, as well as fly the aircraft)

 

I would be wary about looking for a TLS/Bravo for under 100k too - if you do find one at that price point it's going to need some, or maybe plenty, of TLC (which would be one way to learn about some of the systems!) but that requires plenty of time in the hangar and not flying.

 

Good luck with the commercial and instrument

Would agree. I too learned in a 152 and jumped into an M20F Exec after about 150 hours in the Cessna. Bought N862HL for $75k 5 years ago, 3400 air frame hours,  1100 eng hours. Am presently spending $30 - $35k to overhaul the engine propeller and reseal the tanks(doing the tanks myself with the help of of I/A). Spent a good amount of time getting my instrument.  Finally got it Nov 2012. 

 

Point is for the price point you describe, your going to buy a Vintage 180-200 hp version that can be flown for a while before spending $$ on it, or a turbo version that you can spend money on in a relitively short period of time. 

 

Looked seriously for a turbo powered plane with known ice before spending $$ on N862HL. More powerful planes (not necessarily Mooneys, but ones I didn't have to spend  $$ on imediately) were going for $150K and above.   



#5 Jamie

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:32 PM

This will no doubt be a very unpopular view, but:

 

Depending on what you think will happen with the economy, you might consider waiting. Deficit spending has allowed the current administration to "kick the can", but if/when that ends, things will get bad. If it doesn't end, gas will continue to go up, etc. Either way, expensive toys like Moonies will become less affordable for all but the truly wealthy (as the recent job survey thread on here shows, most of us aren't rich... we just have really good paying jobs).

 

Waiting would allow you to get more airplane for potentially less money as small biz owners and older pilots unload their planes into a soft market.  Toys are the first to go when you have bills to pay. :)

 

Why did I buy now instead of following my own advice? Aging parents, encroaching middle age, etc. But financially it was probably the wrong time.



#6 rbridges

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:47 PM

In the <$100k market, you could get a nice J model.  Unless you're wanting a turbo for high altitudes, I think the J is a great overall plane.



#7 aviatoreb

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:18 PM

This will no doubt be a very unpopular view, but:

 

Depending on what you think will happen with the economy, you might consider waiting. Deficit spending has allowed the current administration to "kick the can", but if/when that ends, things will get bad. If it doesn't end, gas will continue to go up, etc. Either way, expensive toys like Moonies will become less affordable for all but the truly wealthy (as the recent job survey thread on here shows, most of us aren't rich... we just have really good paying jobs).

 

Waiting would allow you to get more airplane for potentially less money as small biz owners and older pilots unload their planes into a soft market.  Toys are the first to go when you have bills to pay. :)

 

Why did I buy now instead of following my own advice? Aging parents, encroaching middle age, etc. But financially it was probably the wrong time.

 

Hi Jamie,  I think the financials of your advice are probably correct, but as you yourself said, it may run contrary to the principle of live now.  I piped in because your remark reminded me of a guy at my field, who is a financial planner, and for 4 years now he says he is going to buy a Cessna 182 (his dream plane) but the time is never financially perfect.  (He does have the means).  Meanwhile he is 4 years older and keeps renting - rarely rents though.


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#8 Hank

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:22 PM

Most anything in the C/E/F/J range in decent shape with good maintenance history should meet your needs. Some people will tell you to go for manual gear and hydraulic flaps on the pre-69 planes.

 

The important thing is to get a plane in good working condition that will not start costing $$ immediately, fixing things.

 

I bought my C with a still-damp temporary certificate; there's an article on the MAPA site about someone who jumped right into a turbo model. Part of it will be availability; part will be condition of what's available; part will be how much performance you actually need [turbos are best if you fly high often]; part will be how much more information you can absorb, and how much extra time you are willing to spend on the ground and in the air learning about the extra goodies.


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#9 astelmaszek

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:25 PM

This will no doubt be a very unpopular view, but:

 

Depending on what you think will happen with the economy, you might consider waiting. Deficit spending has allowed the current administration to "kick the can", but if/when that ends, things will get bad. If it doesn't end, gas will continue to go up, etc. Either way, expensive toys like Moonies will become less affordable for all but the truly wealthy (as the recent job survey thread on here shows, most of us aren't rich... we just have really good paying jobs).

 

Waiting would allow you to get more airplane for potentially less money as small biz owners and older pilots unload their planes into a soft market.  Toys are the first to go when you have bills to pay. :)

 

Why did I buy now instead of following my own advice? Aging parents, encroaching middle age, etc. But financially it was probably the wrong time.

 

One of my friend's from high school dad died young, about 45 or so. When he died, they found out they were worth over $100 million dollars. Nobody including the wife had any idea. Maybe if he lived a little, he'd still be alive. We could all be wiped out tomorrow if Yellowstone decides to go kaboom. We've had deficit spending since this country was founded so as long as we don't run out of cotton to print the dollar on, we're just fine. 

 

I hate all this doom and gloom. Airplanes were always a wealthy person's game, nothing has changed over last 70 years. And most professionals with good jobs actually get paid considerably more than we used to. It's just that peoples priorities have changed. Everybody now wants a giant house and a Range Rover.

 

We actually don't have a deficit spending at all because we borrow in our own currency. We just have an additional tax, it's called inflation. You all looking at it wrong. Our currency is one of our greatest exports ;-) If people all over the world are essentially willing to accept real negative return to park their money over here, we'd be dumb not to take them. Otherwise, the only choice are higher tax rates. Lower levels of service will simply not happen.

 

As to getting a turbo as your first airplane, I wouldn't. Especially for training. These engines have to be babied. Any Bravo below $200K will require a ton of work to get it to top shape. I spent about $85K making mine 'whole' but I knew what I was getting into.

 

And you don't buy a turbo to fly high as some have stated, you fly high because you have a turbo so it makes no sense to stay low. 


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#10 skeptic

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 03:12 PM

I have been shopping for 201's and 252's, and I do not think you will find a nice 252 for less than $130K.  In fact, most of the really nice 252's are in the $150K+ range.

 

Prices for 201's are all over the place depending upon age, condition, avionics, etc.  A decent 201 can be found for $80K or so.  You can alsos spend up to $150K on a late model MSE if you are so inclined.  Lots of choices for a potential 201 buyer.

 

For someone of your experience, I think that a 201 would be a better choice.



#11 Jamie

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 03:24 PM

We actually don't have a deficit spending at all because we borrow in our own currency. We just have an additional tax, it's called inflation. You all looking at it wrong. Our currency is one of our greatest exports ;-)


Heh. The rest of the world is catching on to this. -Everyone- is now trying to export inflation. As far as borrowing in your own currency not being a problem... Robert Mugabe might agree with you, the rest of Zimbabwe, probably not.

Plane prices have been falling for years. They do not appear to have benefited from the inflation the Federal Reserve is desperately trying to ignite. This is actually a good thing for the patient buyer with cash. My plane would have been 30% or more than I paid if I'd bought it in '05. (Maybe more.)

#12 astelmaszek

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:41 PM

Heh. The rest of the world is catching on to this. -Everyone- is now trying to export inflation. As far as borrowing in your own currency not being a problem... Robert Mugabe might agree with you, the rest of Zimbabwe, probably not.

Plane prices have been falling for years. They do not appear to have benefited from the inflation the Federal Reserve is desperately trying to ignite. This is actually a good thing for the patient buyer with cash. My plane would have been 30% or more than I paid if I'd bought it in '05. (Maybe more.)

 

Used airplane prices have nothing to do with doom and gloom. There were none or almost none made in the 1980s so in the 1990s there was a shortage of good used airframes. Now with 5000+ used Cirruses available, the used prices dropped to where they belong. It was a 15 year fluke when used aircraft was an actual appreciating asset.

 

As to Zimbabwe, I would good old US of A is a long ways away from that. The rest of the world can be catching onto whatever they want to catch onto, but with the Euro where its at, there is only one reserve currency/reserve market and that's us.



#13 Joe Zuffoletto

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:09 PM

Napa to Orange County used to be my milk route when I lived in Northern CA. I had a K model (Encore) and only needed the turbo to get above weather on rare occasions. I nice J will do the job, especially VFR.

 

@astelmaszek, who said, "And you don't buy a turbo to fly high as some have stated, you fly high because you have a turbo so it makes no sense to stay low." Maybe, unless you live in Denver and often fly to points west.



#14 benpilot

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:15 PM

Thanks folks,

 

I've saved the cash and do not want to take a massive 300k loan out to buy an airplane. I looked at Cirrus and Diamond but these planes are junk for what even used ones cost in comparison to better made older craft like Mooney, Beechcraft, and Socata. At this point, I will probably wait until late next year once I have 100+ hours and experience getting checked out in the local flying club Mooney and other planes. The 201J and 252K (turbo) look like good Mooney to get for a new pilot at decent price.


 

KPAO

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#15 kmyfm20s

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:16 PM

I have a 82 J and it will suit your purpose perfectly. When your training you will be burning a lot of fuel and the turbo will only increase that. As far as a great cruiser I recently flew home from KJAC to KMYF, my route was 739nm, it took me 4.9 hrs and I burned 42.3 gal of fuel non stop. Pretty good! I cross the Sierras when I going to Mammoth skiing and don't have a problem. I flight plan at 150kts and 10 g/hr and have always showed up early and have gas left over. If the winds are calm my plane is a 158kts cruiser.

#16 astelmaszek

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:26 AM

Napa to Orange County used to be my milk route when I lived in Northern CA. I had a K model (Encore) and only needed the turbo to get above weather on rare occasions. I nice J will do the job, especially VFR.

 

@astelmaszek, who said, "And you don't buy a turbo to fly high as some have stated, you fly high because you have a turbo so it makes no sense to stay low." Maybe, unless you live in Denver and often fly to points west.

 

But why in the world would anyone want to fly down low? So you had an Encore and stayed low unless the weather dictated? To me it's missing the point. I like it between 15,000 and FL220. Quiet, no changing frequencies with every class C, no traffic, no turbulence, almost no ice, for sure no SLD, about perfection as far as GA travel is concerned.

 

Oxygen is such minor deal and I've always worn it above 8,000 feet anyway just to feel fresher on landing.



#17 M016576

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 02:00 AM

But why in the world would anyone want to fly down low? So you had an Encore and stayed low unless the weather dictated? To me it's missing the point. I like it between 15,000 and FL220. Quiet, no changing frequencies with every class C, no traffic, no turbulence, almost no ice, for sure no SLD, about perfection as far as GA travel is concerned.

Oxygen is such minor deal and I've always worn it above 8,000 feet anyway just to feel fresher on landing.

I fly low to avoid strategic SAMs. Normally it's not a problem in North America ;)

Seriously though, my only gripe about being in the mid teens to low FL's is the mask, particularly with young kids and a dog on board.

#18 aviatoreb

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 02:57 AM

I fly low to avoid strategic SAMs. Normally it's not a problem in North America ;)
 

 

Thats a really good reason.


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#19 astelmaszek

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 03:28 AM

I fly low to avoid strategic SAMs. Normally it's not a problem in North America ;)
Seriously though, my only gripe about being in the mid teens to low FL's is the mask, particularly with young kids and a dog on board.

True, dogs don't seem to care though, I've had mine to fl220 to 2 hours, they just fall asleep and snap right back to it on landing. Might be because mine don't have any brains to start with, as to the mask, I'll let you in on a little secret, canullas work just fine to fl220, no mask needed, actually, they do just fine to about fl250, just bump up the flow.

#20 benpilot

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 03:32 AM

Well folks I am doing the legwork up front in advance to avoid expensive costs and mistakes later. From the used single piston aircraft for performance, Mooney offers the lowest entry compared to Beechcraft Bonanza and Socata TB20/21. I love these planes but unless I had 150k plus, it would be a challenge and then we are talking almost Bravo, Ovation, Acclaim territory. Yes, I could easily get a big fat loan but who wants to pay massive debt for 20 years? Not me. The only thing I've heard about Mooney is that they are tricky to land compared to other planes and smaller inside than the other planes. Can you get a second door installed? My father is disabled and cannot crawl through one door so if an option exists to retrofit a 201J with a second passenger door that would be awesome. I am training at Sundance in KPAO and plan to get checked out on their Mooney once I have my license this summer.


 

KPAO

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