DGMorgan79

Newbie here looking for advice...

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I come from a family of aviators. One of my uncles owns a Bonanza (P35) and the other a Mooney (M20c). I've spent time in both in the co-pilot seat. I've always had the itch to fly and get my own plane but I've spent most of my adulthood building a business and raising a family. A couple of months ago after years of thinking about it I started lessons and have began my search for an aircraft to own after I get my license. I travel some and a plane would be nice luxury for some of the trips I make. Plus my wife's family and all of my brother's kids live 8+ hours away by car so it would be nice for us to get to see them more than we do now. 

I've been training in a 172 but I've been in a 182 and a Dakota recently. I like the useful load of both but I preferred the Dakota for whatever reason. My dad had a gear up landing in a Bonanza one time in the 80s and I remember riding to the airport to pick him up with my mom and the plane was on the runway with no wheels under it so that's always stuck in the back of my mind. Therefore the fixed gear planes have been on my radar.

That being said I will likely be a cash buyer of the airplane I purchase and I wanted to stay between 70-90k. The 235 hp Dakota's are not in that price range although the 201 Turbo's are but I've been told to stay away from that engine by some friends who know a whole lot more than me. My search has lead me to the M20F or a cheaper M20J. Lately I've been considering buying one of these planes and leaving it in the hangar while I finish in the 172 rental. And then do my complex in my own aircraft and then do the IFR in my own plane vs a rental. Am I crazy to think that I can fly these planes after I get my PPL with additional transition training or should I go the route of a simpler fixed gear Cherokee or Cessna until I get a couple hundred hours under my belt? 

Most of my missions would be 400nm or less. I am not a big guy 5'9 165 and my wife weighs about 120 (she doesn't know I'm on here :)) so the useful load of the F and J is more than enough for us. Anyway I am rambling but I decided to join the site after months of stalking on here. Thanks for any advice you may have.  

 

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1 minute ago, ExpressJetter said:

If you're gonna leave it in a hangar while u fly something else, what is the rush to buy?  

 

What state are you in?

I should finish up in the next couple of months so I thought it would take me that long to find one and complete the transaction. Located in Georgia. 

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4 minutes ago, DGMorgan79 said:

I should finish up in the next couple of months so I thought it would take me that long to find one and complete the transaction. Located in Georgia. 

Gotcha.  The "Lately I've been considering buying one of these planes and leaving it in the hangar while I finish in the 172 rental. "  made me think it'll sit for 6 months before you fly it

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@DGMorgan79, I got my license flying two 172s--one with 150hp and 40° flaps, one with 160 hp and 30° flaps. Five weeks later, with a whopping 62 hours in my logbook entirely in these two Cessnas, I bought my Mooney. It's been a great 12 years since! (OMG!! 12 years???) Others have done the same. It's all about your attitude, your willingness to learn and getting a good Mooney-experienced CFI for your transition training.

Getting IFR in your own plane, with avionics that you know well before starting, and that are the same on every flight, is a good thing!

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I went through a nearly identical process with nearly identical hours.  With sufficient transition training you will be fine.  If you really want to stick to your budget I'd look at F models.  I tried to find a J I was willing to buy for your budget and couldn't so I spent more.  I have absolutely no regrets but would be fine with an F.  

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P.S.--even in my little C, flying time is generally a third of the drive time, less when comparing against driving across Atlanta. Just went to see family ~360 miles up I-85; the drive is usually 6 hours "plus Atlanta traffic" plus construction delays--this spring during annual it was 6-1/2 hours up and over 7 hours home.

Last week, my C took 2:15 from the fuel pump here to the tie down there, and 2:04 coming home two days later. Sure, a J could probably have saved ~10 minutes each way at double the purchase price, but the runway is uphill, 2770 x 30 and in rough shape (little original asphalt left, the patched areas are either patched again or crumbling).

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+1 with Hanks experience... mine sorta mirrors his...

Got my PPL... rented a plane... then realized I needed to buy a plane... to do what I wanted to do... M20C was an excellent choice...

I feel bad about the uncle with the odd plane...

When two of you have Mooneys... the third guy is going to look funny...   :)

 

Quickly Moving up the ladder to higher performance planes isn’t a good idea for everyone.... it can take a lot of resources...time, money, studying... flying often...

I took it to be a two step process... the second step took me a decade... much longer than I expected... you can’t rush greatness?

The M20R takes a lot of resources...

When it all comes Together... if you bought two planes instead of one... that extra expense is small in the big picture you are pursuing...

Go make some strides!

have you seen any Mooneys for sale yet?

Want to see some up close all in one place?

Look up all American aircraft in TX... this is their specialty...

Good news... or great news... you already have the memorable experience of a GU landing!

That memory, and proper use of a checklist..... no GU landing.... :)

Some people don’t have that illogical fear...

Checklists are for ordinary and extraordinary Pilots.... some people memorize them... I have to read mine out loud...

except during the landing phase... I have that one memorized... GUMPS, Gumps, gumps....

It has worked for about 19 years so far...

Best regards,

-a-

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Whatever you decide on, I would keep $10,000 in reserve for possible unseen expenses in the first year of ownership. Could be maintenance or you decide you really want/need an upgrade of some kind.



Tom

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I think all the above advice is on the money.  I remember transitioning from an Archer (which is, for all practical purposes, a low-wing 172) to a Mooney.  I learned a few differences, which I'll share with you to hopefully speed along your learning curve.

1)  Mooneys love to fly.  Flying them is easy.  Landing is a little trickier.  In a 172 you can be 10 miles from the airport and 8000 feet above field elevation--just point your nose at the runway numbers, cut power a bit and you'll be fine.  Don't try this in a Mooney.  It won't work.  Plan you landings way out (I use 6 miles per 1000 feet of altitude loss as a quick rule of thumb) and plan to be at pattern altitude about 4 miles out, terrain permitting.   Make sure your transition training includes a cross country at reasonable cruise altitude (6000-8000 feet).

2)  If you fly too fast, Mooneys really do NOT want to land.  If you fly them by the numbers, (for the J about 72kts on short final) they aren't that different than a 172.  But if you fly 10-15 knots quicker than this (maybe less) and try to put 'er down before you run out of runway, you will quickly find out the Mooney flies nothing like a 172.  Set reasonable runway length limits to start and then shorten them.  I just landed at KBID, 2500 ft, a few days ago.   No problem, turned off early.  But don't try this until you have a lot of Mooney hours under your belt.

So FLY THE NUMBERS and NEVER HESITATE TO GO AROUND.

Very few accidents occur because of a timely go-around.  Several occur because pilots didn't execute a timely go-around.  

One of the corollaries of this is that before you solo a Mooney, make sure you are proficient in go-arounds.  Fly with a CFI and practice several.  Have him surprise you with a "go-around" command.  Trust me, I've surprised myself with a go-around command many times.  

With a J there is a fair bit to do pretty quickly when executing a go-around--power, attitude, flaps (wing and cowl), then gear.  Not hard, but you want to practice.  Then keep practicing.  Then practice any time a landing doesn't feel right.

3) Stop by a few Mooney Service Centers.  Find a plane on jacks with a scraped up belly.  Promise yourself you will never do this.  It's easy when flying a standard pattern to check GUMPS.  Make sure you do the same when tower directs you to extend downwind 10 miles  because of an F-16 and Osprey on final, then you have to do a 360 on base to avoid a flock of vultures and then your alternator dies on final.  

Just my two cents.  Find a good CFI to get transition training and it will be doable.

 

Good luck.

 

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Of course, the other thought is to get the Mooney, and instead of parking it while you learn in the Skyhawk just do your lessons in the Mooney.  You'll want a CFI who has lots of time in Mooneys, especially to keep you from pranging your new airplane.  But why learn in a Skyhawk when that's not what you want to fly?  Yeah, you'll probably spend a little more time as a student, but then again you'll need transition training once you get the thing.  Says me it'll probably be a wash.

If you've got spawn I'd go for one of the mid bodies, like an F or a J.  Kids have this horrid habit of growing up.

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for that range you are in a nice F or a less than nice J.  So go with the F.    If you find one then just finish your training in it.   I would say it takes 75 hours for most people to get really good in a Mooney.  Might as well start when you get a chance.

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2 hours ago, epsalant said:

I think all the above advice is on the money.  I remember transitioning from an Archer (which is, for all practical purposes, a low-wing 172) to a Mooney.  I learned a few differences, which I'll share with you to hopefully speed along your learning curve.

1)  Mooneys love to fly.  Flying them is easy.  Landing is a little trickier.  In a 172 you can be 10 miles from the airport and 8000 feet above field elevation--just point your nose at the runway numbers, cut power a bit and you'll be fine.  Don't try this in a Mooney.  It won't work.  Plan you landings way out (I use 6 miles per 1000 feet of altitude loss as a quick rule of thumb) and plan to be at pattern altitude about 4 miles out, terrain permitting.   Make sure your transition training includes a cross country at reasonable cruise altitude (6000-8000 feet).

2)  If you fly too fast, Mooneys really do NOT want to land.  If you fly them by the numbers, (for the J about 72kts on short final) they aren't that different than a 172.  But if you fly 10-15 knots quicker than this (maybe less) and try to put 'er down before you run out of runway, you will quickly find out the Mooney flies nothing like a 172.  Set reasonable runway length limits to start and then shorten them.  I just landed at KBID, 2500 ft, a few days ago.   No problem, turned off early.  But don't try this until you have a lot of Mooney hours under your belt.

So FLY THE NUMBERS and NEVER HESITATE TO GO AROUND.

Very few accidents occur because of a timely go-around.  Several occur because pilots didn't execute a timely go-around.  

One of the corollaries of this is that before you solo a Mooney, make sure you are proficient in go-arounds.  Fly with a CFI and practice several.  Have him surprise you with a "go-around" command.  Trust me, I've surprised myself with a go-around command many times.  

With a J there is a fair bit to do pretty quickly when executing a go-around--power, attitude, flaps (wing and cowl), then gear.  Not hard, but you want to practice.  Then keep practicing.  Then practice any time a landing doesn't feel right.

3) Stop by a few Mooney Service Centers.  Find a plane on jacks with a scraped up belly.  Promise yourself you will never do this.  It's easy when flying a standard pattern to check GUMPS.  Make sure you do the same when tower directs you to extend downwind 10 miles  because of an F-16 and Osprey on final, then you have to do a 360 on base to avoid a flock of vultures and then your alternator dies on final.  

Just my two cents.  Find a good CFI to get transition training and it will be doable.

 

Good luck.

 

Throw trim in on that go around too, right?

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Throw trim in on that go around too, right?
Yes, a lot of trim !!! That's why you need to take lessons from a CFI and not just from armchair pilots on Mooneyspace !!!

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Just now, epsalant said:

Yes, a lot of trim !!! That's why you need to take lessons from a CFI and not just from armchair pilots on Mooneyspace !!!

To be fair, there are plenty of pilots here on MooneySpace I'd take instruction from quicker that a young, still wet behind the ears, CFI who doesn't have more than 100 hours outside of a 172.

Just like a Private certificate doesn't make one a skilled pilot, a CFI certificate doesn't automatically make one a good Mooney instructor. 

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2 hours ago, epsalant said:

I think all the above advice is on the money.  I remember transitioning from an Archer (which is, for all practical purposes, a low-wing 172) to a Mooney.  I learned a few differences, which I'll share with you to hopefully speed along your learning curve.

1)  Mooneys love to fly.  Flying them is easy.  Landing is a little trickier.  In a 172 you can be 10 miles from the airport and 8000 feet above field elevation--just point your nose at the runway numbers, cut power a bit and you'll be fine.  Don't try this in a Mooney.  It won't work.  Plan you landings way out (I use 6 miles per 1000 feet of altitude loss as a quick rule of thumb) and plan to be at pattern altitude about 4 miles out, terrain permitting.   Make sure your transition training includes a cross country at reasonable cruise altitude (6000-8000 feet).

2)  If you fly too fast, Mooneys really do NOT want to land.  If you fly them by the numbers, (for the J about 72kts on short final) they aren't that different than a 172.  But if you fly 10-15 knots quicker than this (maybe less) and try to put 'er down before you run out of runway, you will quickly find out the Mooney flies nothing like a 172.  Set reasonable runway length limits to start and then shorten them.  I just landed at KBID, 2500 ft, a few days ago.   No problem, turned off early.  But don't try this until you have a lot of Mooney hours under your belt.

So FLY THE NUMBERS and NEVER HESITATE TO GO AROUND.

Very few accidents occur because of a timely go-around.  Several occur because pilots didn't execute a timely go-around.  

One of the corollaries of this is that before you solo a Mooney, make sure you are proficient in go-arounds.  Fly with a CFI and practice several.  Have him surprise you with a "go-around" command.  Trust me, I've surprised myself with a go-around command many times.  

With a J there is a fair bit to do pretty quickly when executing a go-around--power, attitude, flaps (wing and cowl), then gear.  Not hard, but you want to practice.  Then keep practicing.  Then practice any time a landing doesn't feel right.

3) Stop by a few Mooney Service Centers.  Find a plane on jacks with a scraped up belly.  Promise yourself you will never do this.  It's easy when flying a standard pattern to check GUMPS.  Make sure you do the same when tower directs you to extend downwind 10 miles  because of an F-16 and Osprey on final, then you have to do a 360 on base to avoid a flock of vultures and then your alternator dies on final.  

Just my two cents.  Find a good CFI to get transition training and it will be doable.

 

Good luck.

 

You can promise yourself all day long and still lose your flow and have a gear up when real or simulated %^$# hits the fan.  A gear annunciator will be going into our new plane.  “It” happens.  Promises or not.

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13 minutes ago, gsxrpilot said:

To be fair, there are plenty of pilots here on MooneySpace I'd take instruction from quicker that a young, still wet behind the ears, CFI who doesn't have more than 100 hours outside of a 172.

Just like a Private certificate doesn't make one a skilled pilot, a CFI certificate doesn't automatically make one a good Mooney instructor. 

Please don't misunderstand me.  I was just trying to say that you need to work with someone in the airplane itself.  Reading about it is great, but you do need some real world experience in the actual plane.  Sorry if I wasn't clear.  Bunch of great guys here with oodles of knowledge and great flying skills !!!

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33 minutes ago, epsalant said:

Please don't misunderstand me.  I was just trying to say that you need to work with someone in the airplane itself.  Reading about it is great, but you do need some real world experience in the actual plane.  Sorry if I wasn't clear.  Bunch of great guys here with oodles of knowledge and great flying skills !!!

Got it. And you did say "armchair pilots" which are not the ones I'm referring to. I'm in complete agreement with you.

:)

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El Guapo: Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of piñatas?

Jefe: Oh yes, El Guapo You have a plethora.

El Guapo: Well, you just told me that I had a plethora, and I would just like to know if you know what it means to have a plethora.

Edited by Yetti
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2 hours ago, gsxrpilot said:

Just like a Private certificate doesn't make one a skilled pilot, a CFI certificate doesn't automatically make one a good Mooney instructor. 

100% true !!!

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for that range you are in a nice F or a less than nice J.  So go with the F.    If you find one then just finish your training in it.   I would say it takes 75 hours for most people to get really good in a Mooney.  Might as well start when you get a chance.

What if CFII has no Mooney experience? Then this be a case of the blind leading the blind.


Tom

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16 hours ago, DGMorgan79 said:

I come from a family of aviators...

I've been training in a 172 ...

I will likely be a cash buyer...

 

Most of my missions would be 400nm or less.

Anyway I am rambling.... 

Thanks for any advice you may have.  

 

Parsing the OP’s OP...

I cut back the rambling quite a bit....

And highlighted what seems to be the important part...

Had he mentioned that he was looking for a plane, designed and built for...

  • Speed
  • Efficiency
  • Safety

We could get to the next step...   

So... What brings you to MS?  :)

Best regards,

-a-

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1 hour ago, ArtVandelay said:


What if CFII has no Mooney experience? Then this be a case of the blind leading the blind.


Tom

What self respecting CFII has no Mooney experience.   Sheesh.

Or I could have gone another way.

Assuming the CFII is appropriately rated and well versed in a Mooney.  Proceed with training in the Mooney.   Closed driver on professional course, your mileage may be representative of past or future like or representative of like or similar securities. This is not representative of actual instruction as all training programs are different.  

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Thanks for all of the feedback guys. My CFI flies for a living with the Georgia Forestry Commission. He flies a 182 for patrol and one of those crazy 800hp taildragger rigs when they've got water or retardant to dump on a fire somewhere. He is a jam up guy and his son works for us so it was a good fit for me with familiarity and I felt comfortable knowing I am up with someone who flies patrol for a living with thousands upon thousands of hours in the air.  I talked to him about Mooneys and he told me they are slick, fast planes and speed control is extremely critical. He said in the past decade most of his complex training time has been with students in Bonanzas, Cessna 182s, and Pipers. He said he spent some time training in Mooneys in the 90s but not recently. I have really enjoyed the journey so far just trying to figure out where to go from here.  Thanks for all of the advice. 

 

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DG,

You are doing a great job of building suspense!

You have some strong writing and story telling experience.

 

How are you feeling about speed and/or efficiency?

Any one of these light your fire?

Have a preference for factory built machines?

Got use for all four seats?

Want to fly IFR or train for the IR?

PP thoughts only, not a plane sales guy...

Best regards,

-a-

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