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Vintage Mooney v. Comanche 180


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Hey all-

A friend of mine is highly considering purchasing either a Pre-J Mooney or a Comanche 180. 

I’m trying to help give her some information to support her decision, but I’ve never even sat in a Comanche so I don’t really have a good point of comparison. 

Does anyone have experience in a Comanche and know how it might compare to a Mooney? Looking at the numbers seems to suggest a Comanche 180 is nearly identical to my M20G in terms of performance, purchase price, cost of ownership, etc (though the Comanche has a better UL). 

What are some considerations that might drive someone to purchase one over the other, if any?

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12 minutes ago, 3914N said:

Does anyone have experience in a Comanche and know how it might compare to a Mooney? Looking at the numbers seems to suggest a Comanche 180 is nearly identical to my M20G in terms of performance, purchase price, cost of ownership, etc (though the Comanche has a better UL). 

The G is the slowest and possibly the least efficient Mooney made. Does she need the extra space of the F/G/J+ or will a C/E do ? The C is of course the best bang for the buck, if it fits her needs. How much useful load is enough ? How much speed is enough ? I would still have my 231 if the useful load were greater.

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My dad owned a 180 which I learned to fly in.  Buy the Mooney.  A 250 Comanche is a good airplane.  250 is the same speed as a E Mooney, same rate of climb and much more room and fuel consumption.

The 180 is under powered and should be respected as so. 

 

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32 minutes ago, ELT said:

The 180 is under powered and should be respected as so. 

I guess perhaps the 180 and my G are equally under powered?

It seems like, compared to a C or E, a Comanche 180 would be roomier but relatively underpowered. Making it a size v. speed trade off?

 

 

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I got my first complex experience in a 180 hp Comanche. It was OK; certainly more airplane than the 172 that I was spending most of my time in. Although there's 3 decades between the two experiences I'm sure it couldn't keep up with my E model Mooney. I don't recall feeling the pleasure in flying it that I do with the Mooney.  The Comanches jump up to a lot more horsepower to be an interesting plane to fly, something like 250 hp (not sure) and I think I've even heard of 400 hp in one. Sounds insane. So many will count the 180 hp version as under-powered. Although to give it due credit Max Conrad did some amazing flights with both 180 hp and 250 hp. 

Vintage Mooneys are great deals and I can't imagine anyone familiar with both choosing a Comanche over a Mooney.

 

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There are two advantages that the Comanche provides.

One is that the entire airframe was zinc chromated at the factory which greatly reduces the possibility of losing the airplane to corrosion. Mooney provided partial corrosion protection and from other’s feedback, the amount of protection was inconsistent over time.

The second advantage is that the cowling halves open easily, three latches per side, permitting easy access for pre-flight inspections of the engine compartment and maintenance as well.

The Mooney is clearly a superior airframe with fewer reports of structural failures historically but corrosion issues may alter that as time goes by.

The Comanche is roomier in the cabin and has a nice, large baggage compartment door.

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There are two types of pilots on ComancheSpace...

(Two) Pilots that like...

1) Speed, Efficiency, Safety, good looks, and modern capabilities... and..

2) That guy with the Horizontal 8 powered Comanche that really likes Mooneys... knows everything about them, spends a dozen hours a day working on them...

3) those really efficient laminar wings... Al Mooney delivered that, personally, for the Comanche team...

Too bad ComancheSpace is a figment of That guy’s imagination... he spends his free hour of time on MS instead...

So... tell your friend... to fly like a Mooney (speed and efficiency) get a Mooney...

If efficiency needs to be traded out for carrying the mother lode... Go Comanche... but know the H8 is going to eat your fuel budget like two Mooneys...

Hey wait... an eight cylinder Lycoming engine IS like having two four cylinder Lycoming engines in parallel...

Speed and efficiency are perfect reasons to buy a plane...

Pick how big the back seat needs to be, and how high you want to fly...

Know that If you only have 180hp... you need a Mooney... or tandem seating and fabric wings... and a shorter distances to travel...

That reminds me... A Piper makes a nice seaplane... AOPA was showing a video of it this weekend... great for hopping lake to lake....

Friends don’t let friends select lesser machinery... then go around telling them... ‘I have the slow Mooney... my G is faster than your Brand P’...at every opportunity...

Or dash their hopes... by reminding them of the fuel burn that is required to fly at Mooney speeds... each time you see them...

Be nice to your fellow aviator... point them in the direction of the Mooney... let them know why we got what we got... and why we come back for more... Some start with an O360... then move on to...

  • IO360
  • TSIO520
  • TSIO540
  • IO550
  • TNIO550

We all have to start somewhere... where you go with it is up to you...

Go Mooney!  :)

Best regards,

-a-

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Having owned a 180 Comanche, 2 E model Mooneys, and now a 400 Comanche and being a 35 year maintainerer I can offer some insight.

I don’t know where underpowered comes from?  Both have the same 180 HP Lycoming engine,  a C model Mooney has a 2575 gross, the Comanche has 2550,  wing area is essentially the same.  

Comanche cabin is larger so it loses a little in efficiency to the Mooney but gains comfort.

The Comanche has fuel bladders from birth, that any maintainer can replace in a morning without the need to travel to a specialist.

The Comanche as noted is fully primed at manufacture, I’ve never heard of one being scrapped due to spar corrosion.  Piper aluminum of the same vintage (early 1960’s) doesn’t seem to corrode like Mooney aluminum.

The Comanche doesn’t have a steel gage to rot out like a Mooney.

The Comanche uses 2 quarts of hydraulic oil and half a dozen O rings for the landing gear, Mooney uses $1500 shock discs and needs special tools to change.

Both models are blessed with AD’s, the Comanche has a recurring 1000 hour gear inspection, and a recurring 5-10 year AD on the stabilator horn.

Both airframes require a maintainer that knows the airframe.  

Both are well supported by the aftermarket.

The 180 Comanche is the lightest flying of all the models, comparable to a light Mooney.

A careful PPI is required for both.

There isn’t a Comanchespace, the group certainly isn’t as active as this group, but they are just a passionate about their airplanes.

Clarence

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The Comanche has a cavernous interior.  If that's your thing (or perhaps you're a bit wide in the beam) I would go for it happily.  They're nice airplanes.  I myself wanted the speed and efficiency of the Mooney.

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I have a friend with a Comanche 260.  It is a very capable airplane.  It makes my J look anemic in a climb but we are pretty comparable at cruise.  I assume he could outrun me if he ran it at full power but that would cost a lot in fuel.  I seem to have better range, although I've never looked closely at how he runs his engine.  The Comanche cabin is generally more spacious but not in terms of legroom.  I actually have trouble flying it because with my feet on the pedals my knees interfere with the yoke.

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2 hours ago, bluehighwayflyer said:

Commanches are like mopeds.  They are fun to ride.  Just don’t let your friends see you doing it!  :D

The same can be said for fat girls :lol:

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I have anecdotal experience with to Comanches, a 250 and a 180.  The 180 was beautifully restored example that was a reasonable XC machine. Years ago we flew on station during July 4th fireworks and I could have lapped him with my F.  That 180 was a 130kt+ airplane.  It could have been mis-rigged after paint but the engine was not tired and the airframe was super clean. 

My friend and hangar neighb as a 250. Cruise speed is near as identical to my F as makes no difference. We'd have to race them side by side to see who would be a smidge faster.  The math would suggest his 250 should best my F in a race though it would take 25 to 30% more fuel to do it.

Edited by Shadrach
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With all this discussion regarding passengers maybe it’s time to step up to a TBM... :D

Obviously I understand that asking about Comanches on MooneySpace was going to result in biased responses. We all are emotionally and financially invested in the fact that a Mooney is the superior aircraft of choice!

Despite that, thank you to those who took the time to respond objectively. That does help me pass some good info on. 

I suppose the summary so far is that, compared to the pre-J Mooney line, a Comanche 180 offers...

1.  Superior cabin space

2. Slightly reduced performance (5-15 knots slower, depending on model)

3. Potentially lower ownership costs (corrosion, fuel bladders)

I’ll assume that 3 is somewhat negligible, so really what this comes down to is: as long as you’re okay with the cabin size of a Mooney, why would you even give a Comanche a second thought??

Edited by 3914N
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19 minutes ago, 3914N said:

With all this discussion regarding passengers maybe it’s time to step up to a TBM... :D

Obviously I understand that asking about Comanches on MooneySpace was going to result in biased responses. We all are emotionally and financially invested in the fact that a Mooney is the superior aircraft of choice!

Despite that, thank you to those who took the time to respond objectively. That does help me pass some good info on. 

I suppose the summary so far is that, compared to the pre-J Mooney line, a Comanche 180 offers...

1.  Superior cabin space

2. Slightly reduced performance (5-15 knots slower, depending on model)

3. Potentially lower ownership costs (corrosion, fuel bladders)

I’ll assume that 3 is somewhat negligible, so really what this comes down to is: as long as you’re okay with the cabin size of a Mooney, why would you even give a Comanche a second thought??

Let’s say that on item 3, you have a greater chance of owning a corroded Mooney than a corroded Comanche.  On #2 a well rigged C model won’t be 15 knots faster than a well rigged Comanche 180, 5 knots would be closer based on posts around here.

Clarence

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