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380 mile commute. What is the best Mooney for $125,000 purchase price?


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Hello,

I’m a new member but I’ve been reading the great info on MooneySpace for a while and I’m looking for advice on my first airplane purchase.

I‘m a corporate pilot based in Oakland but I live in Carlsbad (actually Encinitas) and I’m looking for a good commute plane that I can also use for a few family getaways each year. I would say 80% of my flight time will be solo, 20% with my family of four. ( me, wife , two young lightweight kids) Total weight currently 430lb. Kids will eventually grow heavier but not for a while. 9 and 7 yrs old.

Based on preliminary research, the J and K seem to be the best models in my price range but I know the Mx costs are different. The J seems like a much simpler 4 cylinder with more proven history of making TBO while the K (with the LB engine, intercooler, Merlin) could prove to be a sweet deal on performance as long as nothing goes too terribly wrong with Mx costs. 
 

The trip to and from Carlsbad to Oakland is 377 miles on an IFR route. I used ForeFlight and selected what I think are the correct models and performance profiles and the J will do the round trip in 4hr51min burning 58.1 gallons and the K will do it in 4hrs even burning 51.5 gallons. This is using 12,000’ going up and 11,000’ coming home. 
 

I currently make this commute on SWA on average 40 times a year. My plan is fly myself 20 times a year and take SWA 20 times a year based mostly off of weather. This is  80- 100 hrs a year depending on J or K model just on commute. I anticipate another 30-40 hours of other flying.
 

A couple other notes:

I can park in my work hangar in Oakland but would be paying for a tie down in Carlsbad do to high hangar rent. Fuel $5 gallon self serve in Carlsbad but $6.50 gallon in OAK so would try to tanker fuel. There are a couple airports such as French Valley and Bakersfield that are on the way for $3.50. If I get good at this route I could fly it more and take SWA less. My total travel time Door to door regardless of SWA or me flying about the same. 

I guess my questions are.

1. do these foreflight numbers seem correct?
2. Should I fly the K higher for better performance and go on O2?
3. Are there models with longer range tanks that could get me round trip with reserves so I could avoid gas in Oakland?
4. What are cost differences on annuals and routine Mx ?

5. does anyone make it to TBO on a K?

6. What else am I missing?

7. Has anyone done this or similar commute and can share some insight?

8. I am open to other models as well. I mention J and K because those seem most prevalent and in the budget.

 

Budget for purchase is $125,000 

 

Thanks for reading! And appreciate any knowledge you can share.
 

Will

 

 


 

 

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Indeed- being sensitive to your earlier post and being clear its not directed to the OP - but show me one thread at 5 pages or more than EVER stuck to the original point of the thread. Sorry, but ALL 

This is not what you want to hear, but for consistency of dispatch your choice of J would be out of the question for me on the route.  I like feeling good when I arrive at my destination and able to f

I assume the cost of storage in CA drive the cost to some extent, but operating an IO 360 powered Mooney 100-120 hours per year doesn’t cost me anywhere near $20k. Get a decent 201.  Fly it.  If

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53 minutes ago, Willie said:

Hello,

I’m a new member but I’ve been reading the great info on MooneySpace for a while and I’m looking for advice on my first airplane purchase.

I‘m a corporate pilot based in Oakland but I live in Carlsbad (actually Encinitas) and I’m looking for a good commute plane that I can also use for a few family getaways each year. I would say 80% of my flight time will be solo, 20% with my family of four. ( me, wife , two young lightweight kids) Total weight currently 430lb. Kids will eventually grow heavier but not for a while. 9 and 7 yrs old.

Based on preliminary research, the J and K seem to be the best models in my price range but I know the Mx costs are different. The J seems like a much simpler 4 cylinder with more proven history of making TBO while the K (with the LB engine, intercooler, Merlin) could prove to be a sweet deal on performance as long as nothing goes too terribly wrong with Mx costs. 
 

The trip to and from Carlsbad to Oakland is 377 miles on an IFR route. I used ForeFlight and selected what I think are the correct models and performance profiles and the J will do the round trip in 4hr51min burning 58.1 gallons and the K will do it in 4hrs even burning 51.5 gallons. This is using 12,000’ going up and 11,000’ coming home. 
 

I currently make this commute on SWA on average 40 times a year. My plan is fly myself 20 times a year and take SWA 20 times a year based mostly off of weather. This is  80- 100 hrs a year depending on J or K model just on commute. I anticipate another 30-40 hours of other flying.
 

A couple other notes:

I can park in my work hangar in Oakland but would be paying for a tie down in Carlsbad do to high hangar rent. Fuel $5 gallon self serve in Carlsbad but $6.50 gallon in OAK so would try to tanker fuel. There are a couple airports such as French Valley and Bakersfield that are on the way for $3.50. If I get good at this route I could fly it more and take SWA less. My total travel time Door to door regardless of SWA or me flying about the same. 

I guess my questions are.

1. do these foreflight numbers seem correct?
2. Should I fly the K higher for better performance and go on O2?
3. Are there models with longer range tanks that could get me round trip with reserves so I could avoid gas in Oakland?
4. What are cost differences on annuals and routine Mx ?

5. does anyone make it to TBO on a K?

6. What else am I missing?

7. Has anyone done this or similar commute and can share some insight?

8. I am open to other models as well. I mention J and K because those seem most prevalent and in the budget.

 

Budget for purchase is $125,000 

 

Thanks for reading! And appreciate any knowledge you can share.
 

Will

 

 


 

 

This is not what you want to hear, but for consistency of dispatch your choice of J would be out of the question for me on the route.  I like feeling good when I arrive at my destination and able to function 100% the rest of the day.  To me that requires O2 above about 7,000 feet for more than 2 hours of flight time.  Also, as you know, forget about flying in California from December to May on a consistent basis above 6,000 feet in clouds due to icing in an NA airplane with no deicing.  Needing the plane for commute to work demands a more capable airplane than the J Model.  I just can't see how it would be considered reliable transportation very often during that time of year.

For me the best Mooney for that job would be either the 252 or the Bravo.  Only the Bravo is certified for FIKI, and that is what you need for consistent commute transportation.  If you look hard, you can probably find one with a mid time engine for around 165,000.  It is the most undervalued, unappreciated great buy in the Mooney arena today.

French Valley (F70) in Southern California and either Byron (C83) or Tracy (KTCY) would be the best places to buy fuel for your airports.  The Bravo burns about 18 gal/hr and your trip generally takes about 90 gallons round trip assuming no great headwinds.  The fastest I have made the trip in my Bravo KSJC to KCRQ is 1.7 hours with a good tailwind and the longest 3.2 hours with a 60 knot headwind.  Average time is 2 hours each way.  I would generally fly 15,000 to 17,000 feet down and 16,000 back.  When my Father lived in Carlsbad I did that trip often.  I don't have TKS, so I had to plan more carefully in the wintertime.  With TKS it would normally be a no brainer and you could do most of your trips without SWA.

With the J you'd be sweating almost every trip in the wintertime and flying over the Tehachapis below 12,000 feet anytime would just be too uncomfortable for me even going up V459.

BTW my first airplane purchase was my airplane, 28 years ago.  After flying and teaching in almost every Model Mooney over the past 26 year, I would make the same decision today.

 

N9148W.jpg

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Like Don, I used to fly from the SF Bay Area to south of LA to visit my parents.  I’ve made the trip hundreds of times in my Mooney and later in the T210.
And like Don I feel FIKI is going to be important for staying on your schedule.  I can confirm that V459 is no fun at 10,000 over Gorman inside moist orographically-lifted clouds.  

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If you’re adding up exact fuel prices and round trip costs to compare between SWA and a GA airplane, you’ll be very disappointed with GA in the long run.  You won’t beat the airline on cost.  You buy a GA airplane because you love it, not because it saves $$.  It won’t.  Especially tied down outside.  
 

Not trying to be a jerk, just making sure you go in eyes wide open.  
 

A J will cost about $20k/year to operate 100 hours/year all in.  

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I'll take Willie at his word that if icing is a factor he'll take Southwest.

I'd get the J unless you can find a smoking deal on a K.  With you solo and even with full tanks, you will have a pretty nice climb rate in the J.  Probably average 700 to 800 ft/min up to 10,000.

Before you buy any Mooney, always ask about the useful load.  I've seen J's as low as the low 800's and as high as a bit over 1000 lbs.  K's are no better and maybe worse.  Our J is 1003 lbs.  With that said, using your numbers, for my J I would figure as follows.

At 11,000', LOP, I'd figure on about 150 KTAS on about 8.5 GPH.  At 12,000' I'd figure 150 KTAS on about 8.2 GPH.

I think your K calculations must be off.  While it might be a few minutes quicker because of the higher average climb rate and cruise speed, there is no way it can do that while burning less fuel than the J.  On a 377 mile trip I wouldn't think the K would be no more than about 10 or 15 minutes quicker but burn a few extra gallons to do that.

Looking at SkyVector, and using the route: CWARD2 SLI V459 LHS T259 AVE PXN6, that's  397 miles (20 miles further than you planned) and the highest MEA is 8800' so you could legally fly at 9000' and 10,000' (8500 and 9500 VFR).  That would let you spend less time climbing and cruise a little faster.  I'd figure 157 KTAS on 9.3 GPH.  SkyVector (with my airplane's numbers) says that would take 2+37 (no wind) and burn 25.6 gallons.  That includes 10 minutes and .5 gallons of padding I build into the assumptions.  Assume the return trip would be similar that's 51.2 gallons and 5+14 round trip.  Since the plane holds 64 gallons you could do the round trip and land at home with about 1+15 of fuel on board.

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6 hours ago, donkaye said:

This is not what you want to hear, but for consistency of dispatch your choice of J would be out of the question for me on the route.  I like feeling good when I arrive at my destination and able to function 100% the rest of the day.  To me that requires O2 above about 7,000 feet for more than 2 hours of flight time.  Also, as you know, forget about flying in California from December to May on a consistent basis above 6,000 feet in clouds due to icing in an NA airplane with no deicing.  Needing the plane for commute to work demands a more capable airplane than the J Model.  I just can't see how it would be considered reliable transportation very often during that time of year.

For me the best Mooney for that job would be either the 252 or the Bravo.  Only the Bravo is certified for FIKI, and that is what you need for consistent commute transportation.  If you look hard, you can probably find one with a mid time engine for around 165,000.  It is the most undervalued, unappreciated great buy in the Mooney arena today.

French Valley (F70) in Southern California and either Byron (C83) or Tracy (KTCY) would be the best places to buy fuel for your airports.  The Bravo burns about 18 gal/hr and your trip generally takes about 90 gallons round trip assuming no great headwinds.  The fastest I have made the trip in my Bravo KSJC to KCRQ is 1.7 hours with a good tailwind and the longest 3.2 hours with a 60 knot headwind.  Average time is 2 hours each way.  I would generally fly 15,000 to 17,000 feet down and 16,000 back.  When my Father lived in Carlsbad I did that trip often.  I don't have TKS, so I had to plan more carefully in the wintertime.  With TKS it would normally be a no brainer and you could do most of your trips without SWA.

With the J you'd be sweating almost every trip in the wintertime and flying over the Tehachapis below 12,000 feet anytime would just be too uncomfortable for me even going up V459.

BTW my first airplane purchase was my airplane, 28 years ago.  After flying and teaching in almost every Model Mooney over the past 26 year, I would make the same decision today.

 

N9148W.jpg

Thank you for sharing your experience Don. There is a Bravo listed at American Aircraft for $119,000 but the rest are out of my price range. The one listed looks nice but not sure what I should be looking for on a Bravo in terms of engine time etc?
 

Regarding winter ops, my work is slow between Thanksgiving and mid January so I don’t go to Oakland as often and my plan was to really only fly myself in good weather and take SWA any other time. A 60 Kt headwind would also be an example of me going on the airline.

My friend does a similar commute in a B-55 from KCRQ to KSJC and he goes up over LAX VTU and then up over Santa Maria and up the valley avoiding Lake Hughes Gorman area. He admits ATC will try to get you to go over Lake Hughs but he’s generally able to get his routing.

Ive never spent much time with a tube in my nose. I do remember it drying me out a bit. Maybe that’s something I just need to become accustomed to?? 
 

Thank you for your insight. I will study up on Bravos and see what I can learn.

 

Cool photo! I like that racing green color.

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I agree with Don and would probably go with a Bravo. However, don’t be fooled into thinking a cheap bravo is a money saving adventure. An overhaul all in could be in the 40-80k region although even a K could set you back 30-50k. 

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4 hours ago, ArtVandelay said:

If there’s icing above 6000’, can’t you just stay lower by going up the coast?


Tom

Not really. I need to get above LAX Bravo and some mountains are almost unavoidable. It’s possible to do but not a great plan.  I lived in Florida for a year so I know that highest natural terrain of 700’ must be pretty comfortable for you. I envy you for that and no state income tax!

 Thanks for your reply 

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This is not what you want to hear, but for consistency of dispatch your choice of J would be out of the question for me on the route.  I like feeling good when I arrive at my destination and able to function 100% the rest of the day.  To me that requires O2 above about 7,000 feet for more than 2 hours of flight time.  Also, as you know, forget about flying in California from December to May on a consistent basis above 6,000 feet in clouds due to icing in an NA airplane with no deicing.  Needing the plane for commute to work demands a more capable airplane than the J Model.  I just can't see how it would be considered reliable transportation very often during that time of year.
For me the best Mooney for that job would be either the 252 or the Bravo.  Only the Bravo is certified for FIKI, and that is what you need for consistent commute transportation.  If you look hard, you can probably find one with a mid time engine for around 165,000.  It is the most undervalued, unappreciated great buy in the Mooney arena today.
French Valley (F70) in Southern California and either Byron (C83) or Tracy (KTCY) would be the best places to buy fuel for your airports.  The Bravo burns about 18 gal/hr and your trip generally takes about 90 gallons round trip assuming no great headwinds.  The fastest I have made the trip in my Bravo KSJC to KCRQ is 1.7 hours with a good tailwind and the longest 3.2 hours with a 60 knot headwind.  Average time is 2 hours each way.  I would generally fly 15,000 to 17,000 feet down and 16,000 back.  When my Father lived in Carlsbad I did that trip often.  I don't have TKS, so I had to plan more carefully in the wintertime.  With TKS it would normally be a no brainer and you could do most of your trips without SWA.
With the J you'd be sweating almost every trip in the wintertime and flying over the Tehachapis below 12,000 feet anytime would just be too uncomfortable for me even going up V459.
BTW my first airplane purchase was my airplane, 28 years ago.  After flying and teaching in almost every Model Mooney over the past 26 year, I would make the same decision today.
 
N9148W.thumb.jpg.bb315ad55a9ebbaefed33464c9e6d888.jpg
Don,

Isn't a 252 with dual alternators eligible for FIKI? I know an Encore is. Either way getting a FIKI equipped Mooney for 125k is going to be tough.

OP, Unless you see yourself going east over the mountains often your best bet would be a J. If there's ice either fly the coast like mentioned above or take SWA. That is a tough recommendation for me to give because I have seen first-hand how much more capable a K is but there's no question a J would be cheaper to own.
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1 hour ago, Ragsf15e said:

If you’re adding up exact fuel prices and round trip costs to compare between SWA and a GA airplane, you’ll be very disappointed with GA in the long run.  You won’t beat the airline on cost.  You buy a GA airplane because you love it, not because it saves $$.  It won’t.  Especially tied down outside.  
 

Not trying to be a jerk, just making sure you go in eyes wide open.  
 

A J will cost about $20k/year to operate 100 hours/year all in.  

Thanks for your reply. SWA is certainly a lot cheaper. That’s part of the decision to fly commercial half and fly myself half. I’m just trying to find the best airplane for me for the times I do fly myself.

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1 hour ago, Bob - S50 said:

I'll take Willie at his word that if icing is a factor he'll take Southwest.

I'd get the J unless you can find a smoking deal on a K.  With you solo and even with full tanks, you will have a pretty nice climb rate in the J.  Probably average 700 to 800 ft/min up to 10,000.

Before you buy any Mooney, always ask about the useful load.  I've seen J's as low as the low 800's and as high as a bit over 1000 lbs.  K's are no better and maybe worse.  Our J is 1003 lbs.  With that said, using your numbers, for my J I would figure as follows.

At 11,000', LOP, I'd figure on about 150 KTAS on about 8.5 GPH.  At 12,000' I'd figure 150 KTAS on about 8.2 GPH.

I think your K calculations must be off.  While it might be a few minutes quicker because of the higher average climb rate and cruise speed, there is no way it can do that while burning less fuel than the J.  On a 377 mile trip I wouldn't think the K would be no more than about 10 or 15 minutes quicker but burn a few extra gallons to do that.

Looking at SkyVector, and using the route: CWARD2 SLI V459 LHS T259 AVE PXN6, that's  397 miles (20 miles further than you planned) and the highest MEA is 8800' so you could legally fly at 9000' and 10,000' (8500 and 9500 VFR).  That would let you spend less time climbing and cruise a little faster.  I'd figure 157 KTAS on 9.3 GPH.  SkyVector (with my airplane's numbers) says that would take 2+37 (no wind) and burn 25.6 gallons.  That includes 10 minutes and .5 gallons of padding I build into the assumptions.  Assume the return trip would be similar that's 51.2 gallons and 5+14 round trip.  Since the plane holds 64 gallons you could do the round trip and land at home with about 1+15 of fuel on board.

I’m glad you dove into the numbers. I wasn’t sure I had good numbers out of foreflight. I think both my J and K numbers were too optimistic. There are some great prices on lower engine time K’s. I’m just not sure how scared I should be of Mx 

 

Thanks for your detailed reply!

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Before the shutdown, I was commuting in my J between KMYF and KSJC/KPAO.  Like you, I planned to take SWA if there was icing, convection, 0/0 conditions etc. and ended up on SWA maybe 30-40% of the time.  Each one way trip in the J on average took 2.5-2.7 and burned about 25 gal. I like the reliability of the IO360 on the J and never had to scrub a flight for a maintenance issue.  I am sure with a Bravo, FIKI, etc. I would have relied on SWA less but I am ok getting on a 737 when conditions are beyond the capability of the J.  

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Not really. I need to get above LAX Bravo and some mountains are almost unavoidable. It’s possible to do but not a great plan.  I lived in Florida for a year so I know that highest natural terrain of 700’ must be pretty comfortable for you. I envy you for that and no state income tax!
 Thanks for your reply 

Go via:
SXC GVO ROBIE SNS

Highest terrain is 3862’.

You would need a life raft. I guess it depends on how comfortable you are flying over water.
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I assume the cost of storage in CA drive the cost to some extent, but operating an IO 360 powered Mooney 100-120 hours per year doesn’t cost me anywhere near $20k.

Get a decent 201.  Fly it.  If you decide you want more capability later, sell it and go turbo.  The 201 will retain value well while not costing much to operate.

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I have not read all the responses, but I have 2 pennies fr the OP...

From a Fellow corporate pilot and Biased  Rocket Owner...    They can be found for 125k.  

One of my rockets has a 1050 lb useful load, the other has about 1100 lbs.  If you find one with the long range tanks, you can probably make the round trip without buying fuel.

As far as altitude goes... I regularly fly at FL190- FL210 on a O2 and it is great.  Get a Mountain high O2 system and some of their headset mounted boom cannulas and you will land feeling like you have been at Sea level the whole flight.  My partner flys one back and fourth from Houston to DAL and goes to 15000 for the 1 hour flight.  The rocket climbs at 1000FPM all the way up.

I true at 200 knots on 17 gph at FL160.  At fl 210  I do 210tas on the same fuel.   In tailwinds you can pull it back to 180 true and 14 gph.  In headwinds you can push it up a bit to negate the headwind.

With the altitude range I have been able to get out of any unexpected icing I have encountered.

Don't listen to people that say the rocket has CG problems.. It does not.. It has the same envelope that the K has and you stay in that envelope and you are fine.  People say it is nose heavy... this is sort of true, but all it means is that if you fill up the fuel and put two large adults in the front seat, you will be 1 inch forward of CG.   I have actually flown a rocket 1 inch forward of the envelope... It flew fine.  It was a demo flight and I had hopped in with the owner.  It wasn't until I bought a Rocket and played with W&B numbers that i realized we had been out.  This all goes away with luggage or back seat passengers as both bring the CG back rearwards.  In short, aside from two large adults in the front seat and no baggage being an issue, put whatever you want in it and just mind the weight.

The TSIO520 is one of the smoothest engines out there... I fly with a Bose QC35 and UFLY mic and it is a VERY smooth and quiet ride.

Maintenance on our Rockets has not been bad at all.  Most of the money we have spent has been on WANT IT upgrades.  Doing the math, even for the reported 1600 TBO and a factory new engine at 65k that is 40.00 per hour for engine reserves.  We do our own oil changes... takes about 130 bucks and 2-3 hours of time every 25-30 flight hours.

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24 minutes ago, Austintatious said:

Don't listen to people that say the rocket has CG problems.. It does not.. It has the same envelope that the K has and you stay in that envelope and you are fine. 

It does not, as the files below show.  The Rocket is a good airplane, it climbs faster than the Bravo, but if you fly it legally, you really can't stay within the envelope with 3 people.

Rocket Weight and Balance.pdf wb Version 3.8 231.pdf

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If your plan is to only fly in reasonably good weather (you didn't mention if you are instrument rated, but I assume so), then the J would be fine.  That would probably mean flying commercial 1/3rd of the time (if we go by @elimansour's experience) but you do that now anyway so it doesn't sound like too much of a hardship. 

The tougher call for people who commute would be what to do if you flew to work, and then the weather was worse that predicted for the return trip--however, if you have a work hangar, you're not going to feel pressured to making a risky return flight.  Given that your budget is $125k, it's a bit disingenuous to be talking about a FIKI Bravo or 252.  If you have that option of leaving the plane at work and/or taking commercial, logic would dictate paying for FIKI and turbo would be unnecessary for your mission.  If you can find and afford it, sure, but not necessary 70% of the time, which for you is fine given the alternative.  That calculation may be different in different parts of the country (up here in Oregon, it would be more like 30% of the time).

$125k will be you a solidly equipped J or K.  I can only comment on the J, but I have not heard the maintenance on the K models is much higher.  Remember, your base cost yearly cost will include the cost of hangar/tiedown, insurance and annual inspection, so any additional maintenance costs need to be much higher before they become significant on a per year basis. That being said, getting the J up to 15k if necessary is not a huge problem, and you'll still get TAS's of 135 KIAS which might make you, what 15 minutes late at worst?

For oxygen, if you keep it below 16k, portable O2 would be adequate.  You'll find if you use the oxygen-conserving nasal cannula, they have much lower flow rates than standard cannula, so drying out due to high flow rates is much less of a problem.  Drying out due to high altitude in general, though, still is.

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2 hours ago, elimansour said:

Before the shutdown, I was commuting in my J between KMYF and KSJC/KPAO.  Like you, I planned to take SWA if there was icing, convection, 0/0 conditions etc. and ended up on SWA maybe 30-40% of the time.  Each one way trip in the J on average took 2.5-2.7 and burned about 25 gal. I like the reliability of the IO360 on the J and never had to scrub a flight for a maintenance issue.  I am sure with a Bravo, FIKI, etc. I would have relied on SWA less but I am ok getting on a 737 when conditions are beyond the capability of the J.  

I need to keep my points and companion pass on SWA so my wife and I can leave the kids with grandma and drink Margs in Cabo.

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I own and fly an M20K 252. I was looking at Bravo's and decided they were just out of my price range. BTW... the purchase price is trivial compared to running costs of anything in GA. So I'd be much less concerned about the budget of $125K and rather focus on the yearly operational budget. So for me, the Bravo was just outside of my fiscal comfort zone. The 252 was, however, fiscally comfortable for me. 

My K has not been a maintenance hog, and I'll get to TBO with all the original cylinders and the turbo. I bought my 252 for $119K but they've risen in value in the last four years and you'd struggle to find a 252 within your budget. There are FIKI 252's out there but they are rare. BTW... the 231 version of the M20K can not be FIKI. 

Please don't go buy the cheapest copy of any model out there. They will cost much more in the long run. You'd be much better off buying a $125K M20J than a Bravo at the same price.

My 252 is not FIKI but will cruise comfortably at 190 knots burning 9.5 gph at FL250. I would guess most people aren't comfortable at that altitude in an unpressurized airplane, but I enjoy it. And it is cheap. I have a max fuel load of 76 gal and a useful load right at 900 lbs. I'll get the Encore conversion done in the next month or so and that will result in a useful load of just over 1100 lbs.

 

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1 hour ago, geoffb said:

I assume the cost of storage in CA drive the cost to some extent, but operating an IO 360 powered Mooney 100-120 hours per year doesn’t cost me anywhere near $20k.

Get a decent 201.  Fly it.  If you decide you want more capability later, sell it and go turbo.  The 201 will retain value well while not costing much to operate.

My calculations are about 14-16k with no loan. Higher with loan.

Tie down is $250, hangar too expensive for me, fuel can be reasonable if I plan it but not cheap at my two main airports.

 

I appreciate your advice! Thanks 

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1 hour ago, Austintatious said:

I have not read all the responses, but I have 2 pennies fr the OP...

From a Fellow corporate pilot and Biased  Rocket Owner...    They can be found for 125k.  

One of my rockets has a 1050 lb useful load, the other has about 1100 lbs.  If you find one with the long range tanks, you can probably make the round trip without buying fuel.

As far as altitude goes... I regularly fly at FL190- FL210 on a O2 and it is great.  Get a Mountain high O2 system and some of their headset mounted boom cannulas and you will land feeling like you have been at Sea level the whole flight.  My partner flys one back and fourth from Houston to DAL and goes to 15000 for the 1 hour flight.  The rocket climbs at 1000FPM all the way up.

I true at 200 knots on 17 gph at FL160.  At fl 210  I do 210tas on the same fuel.   In tailwinds you can pull it back to 180 true and 14 gph.  In headwinds you can push it up a bit to negate the headwind.

With the altitude range I have been able to get out of any unexpected icing I have encountered.

Don't listen to people that say the rocket has CG problems.. It does not.. It has the same envelope that the K has and you stay in that envelope and you are fine.  People say it is nose heavy... this is sort of true, but all it means is that if you fill up the fuel and put two large adults in the front seat, you will be 1 inch forward of CG.   I have actually flown a rocket 1 inch forward of the envelope... It flew fine.  It was a demo flight and I had hopped in with the owner.  It wasn't until I bought a Rocket and played with W&B numbers that i realized we had been out.  This all goes away with luggage or back seat passengers as both bring the CG back rearwards.  In short, aside from two large adults in the front seat and no baggage being an issue, put whatever you want in it and just mind the weight.

The TSIO520 is one of the smoothest engines out there... I fly with a Bose QC35 and UFLY mic and it is a VERY smooth and quiet ride.

Maintenance on our Rockets has not been bad at all.  Most of the money we have spent has been on WANT IT upgrades.  Doing the math, even for the reported 1600 TBO and a factory new engine at 65k that is 40.00 per hour for engine reserves.  We do our own oil changes... takes about 130 bucks and 2-3 hours of time every 25-30 flight hours.

Compelling numbers. Sounds like you really like the rocket. I will expand my search but don’t think I’ve seen many of those come up in my price range.

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1 hour ago, jaylw314 said:

If your plan is to only fly in reasonably good weather (you didn't mention if you are instrument rated, but I assume so), then the J would be fine.  That would probably mean flying commercial 1/3rd of the time (if we go by @elimansour's experience) but you do that now anyway so it doesn't sound like too much of a hardship. 

The tougher call for people who commute would be what to do if you flew to work, and then the weather was worse that predicted for the return trip--however, if you have a work hangar, you're not going to feel pressured to making a risky return flight.  Given that your budget is $125k, it's a bit disingenuous to be talking about a FIKI Bravo or 252.  If you have that option of leaving the plane at work and/or taking commercial, logic would dictate paying for FIKI and turbo would be unnecessary for your mission.  If you can find and afford it, sure, but not necessary 70% of the time, which for you is fine given the alternative.  That calculation may be different in different parts of the country (up here in Oregon, it would be more like 30% of the time).

$125k will be you a solidly equipped J or K.  I can only comment on the J, but I have not heard the maintenance on the K models is much higher.  Remember, your base cost yearly cost will include the cost of hangar/tiedown, insurance and annual inspection, so any additional maintenance costs need to be much higher before they become significant on a per year basis. That being said, getting the J up to 15k if necessary is not a huge problem, and you'll still get TAS's of 135 KIAS which might make you, what 15 minutes late at worst?

For oxygen, if you keep it below 16k, portable O2 would be adequate.  You'll find if you use the oxygen-conserving nasal cannula, they have much lower flow rates than standard cannula, so drying out due to high flow rates is much less of a problem.  Drying out due to high altitude in general, though, still is.

Thanks for your thoughts on this. Yes if weather was bad or I just was tired and didn’t feel like flying home from Oakland I can  keep my plane in the work hangar. I always have options of hotels, SWA. There should never be a time when I need to push the limits. I’ll have to read up on oxegyn. Sounds like mountain high has some good options.

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9 minutes ago, gsxrpilot said:

I own and fly an M20K 252. I was looking at Bravo's and decided they were just out of my price range. BTW... the purchase price is trivial compared to running costs of anything in GA. So I'd be much less concerned about the budget of $125K and rather focus on the yearly operational budget. So for me, the Bravo was just outside of my fiscal comfort zone. The 252 was, however, fiscally comfortable for me. 

My K has not been a maintenance hog, and I'll get to TBO with all the original cylinders and the turbo. I bought my 252 for $119K but they've risen in value in the last four years and you'd struggle to find a 252 within your budget. There are FIKI 252's out there but they are rare. BTW... the 231 version of the M20K can not be FIKI. 

Please don't go buy the cheapest copy of any model out there. They will cost much more in the long run. You'd be much better off buying a $125K M20J than a Bravo at the same price.

My 252 is not FIKI but will cruise comfortably at 190 knots burning 9.5 gph at FL250. I would guess most people aren't comfortable at that altitude in an unpressurized airplane, but I enjoy it. And it is cheap. I have a max fuel load of 76 gal and a useful load right at 900 lbs. I'll get the Encore conversion done in the next month or so and that will result in a useful load of just over 1100 lbs.

 

I think I would be looking at 231 with the appropriate mods in my price range. I understand purchase price isn’t everything but CA sucks and the tax I pay at purchase and annually are somewhat of a factor.

 Thanks for your input. I’ve read the 252 is a great plane with all the appropriate fixing from the 231

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Just now, donkaye said:

It does not, as the files below show.  The Rocket is a good airplane, it climbs faster than the Bravo, but if you fly it legally, you really can't stay within the envelope with 3 people.

Rocket Weight and Balance.pdf 152.41 kB · 2 downloads wb Version 3.8 231.pdf 64.51 kB · 2 downloads

I cant open those files, But I have run numerous w&B on the rocket and I have no problem carrying 3 people and bags. 4 people if large might be a problem.

 

Just by pure logic your contention makes no sense... How do you take a 231, put more weight in the nose and then make it more difficult to put weight behind the CG than in the original 231?

 

Here is a W& bal I did for 4 people, 230 for pilot (me) and 3 180lb people + 90 lbs bags and 30 gal of fuel.

Granted, Im only going 1 hour away with that fuel load (190 NM ish) , but this is a Useful load issue, not a CG one.

 

image.thumb.png.0b7631090ad298ae9bce3d9d908199ea.png

 

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