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Purchasing 1969 M20C- possible Red flags?


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I am new to the group and new to GA and have a question about a 1969 Mooney M20C I am looking to purchase. First of all, let me preface by stating my mission is to haul myself and fellow young air force pilots on short cross country trips on the weekends. With that in mind, looking for something that can travel in the max 400-500 mile range,  that's relatively fast, budget friendly, and has a decent useful load. 

I have found a mooney m20c and am working with the seller to close on it but had some questions about the aircraft logs that I figured I'd ask on here about to try and get some good answers to. It's being offered for 54k, has a Garmin gns 400 and dual VORs, 749 hours SMOH and prop OH in 2003, annual was completed In Feb 2021.

I've gone through all the logs and two questions come to mind that effect the price point and decision to buy the aircraft itself:

1.  There is a gap between 2009-2016 where there are no entries. Seems like the aircraft wasn't flown at all. Then starting in 2017 it picks back up and all the proper inspections and annual were completed. What are the risks associated with this gap in flying? Should the value of the aircraft decrease because of this and if so, how much more?

2. There was an off airport landing in 1973 and some of the gear system and some of the body were replaced. Flown a ton since then. Should this be a red flag that I should step away from this airplane immediately?

I appreciate any input to these questions. Thank you in advance and I look forward to being in this forum for a great many years!

 

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If the hiatus was before the engine overhaul, it's not an issue.

Gear-ups are generally not a big issue as long as properly repaired...the impact on price is dependent on how proper the repair.

How are the wing tanks?

Has the tubular inspection SB (209?) been done recently?

Where are you based?

Edited by Mooneymite
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A 69 is an electric geared, electric flap plane.  The gear motor if it is dukes has an ad against it for lubrications and periodic inspections. If it has 20:1 gears it cycles extremely fast and will wear out eventually.  It is expensive to repair.  I think $2500.00.   If the gears fail, back up system will not work.  
electric flaps helps reduce the chance of rear spar cracks.  
 

get a good ppi inspection at an mse.  Do not use the last mechanic that was looked at the plane.  Some exceptions may apply. 
 

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It's hard to say, since can't see the plane and am not an A&P/IA, but have learned a lot assisting one as a part time job and owning a C model.  I cannot stress enough the importance of a solid pre-purchase inspection by someone very familiar with Mooney.  The engine overhaul is approaching the calendar recommended TBO, not so much the hours.  Which would be my first concern point, it has not flown much in 18 years.  Then add to that the seven year question period, why did it not fly?  How was the plane stored and prepped for the hiatus?  Look at the log, what did they do to it for that first flight after 7 years.  How regular has it flown since 2016?  If 50 or less hours, yup, I'm concerned if 300hrs and trouble free, I'm a little less concerned.  If it's flown regular, I would do a pre-purchase inspection, cut open the oil filter and have a sample sent for analysis.  If owner doesn't agree to that, then walk away, he already knows something.  The gear up 48 years ago not a huge concern at this point, it's made it this long and a good AP/IA can verify the work.  In looking at the logs especially since 2016, are they pretty detailed and specify parts and work performed, or they handwritten pretty short, "performed 100 hr inspection per Mooney Service Manual, packed wheel bearing, changed oil, plane is airworthy", type deal (called pencil whipping the logs).  I've seen an IA come to the local airport with his truck and trailer and annual two C-172s and a piper arrow in one day.  The owners brag of a $600 annual and nothing wrong, but I have never seen a gear swing test done without jacks, but somehow he did. hmmm  That's the stuff you want to stay away from, their deferment becomes your detriment costly in $ and potentially life.  

Does it have ADSB?  Static system check and IFR certified?  I know the market is more volatile today than when I bought my C 2 years ago, but I only paid a couple grand more and got WAAS, ADSB transponder, two G5s, new prop, all AD's complied with and SB's, no corrosion, etc.  If you belong to AOPA, you can use Vref for free and get an estimate on value, to give you a ballpark.  I'm not an expert but price seems steep for what you are getting and the number of question marks.

Next insurance.  I don't know your experience and flight times, but check that out upfront.  It's a rough market for new pilots and low retractable time pilots and if you can even get insurance, it will be steep, potentially north of $2500 per year.  The insurance may also give you an idea of hull value as well.  

Last, if you do proceed, insurance will require a checkout and a certain number of hours in type.  The less experience you have today, the more insurance will require.  Don't be in a hurry and skimp on who checks you out.  Find someone reputable with considerable and recent time in a C.  Mooneys are nice flying planes, they have a few nuances to know about that will make transition easier and knowing how to manage certain things properly will save you heartache and money.

Buying a plane is always a gamble.  Some argue you always lose, it's just how much or little determines a good day or not.  Either way, good luck and I look forward to learning how things progress for you.

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1 hour ago, AFpilot22 said:

I am new to the group and new to GA and have a question about a 1969 Mooney M20C I am looking to purchase. First of all, let me preface by stating my mission is to haul myself and fellow young air force pilots on short cross country trips on the weekends. With that in mind, looking for something that can travel in the max 400-500 mile range,  that's relatively fast, budget friendly, and has a decent useful load. 

I have found a mooney m20c and am working with the seller to close on it but had some questions about the aircraft logs that I figured I'd ask on here about to try and get some good answers to. It's being offered for 54k, has a Garmin gns 400 and dual VORs, 749 hours SMOH and prop OH in 2003, annual was completed In Feb 2021.

I've gone through all the logs and two questions come to mind that effect the price point and decision to buy the aircraft itself:

1.  There is a gap between 2009-2016 where there are no entries. Seems like the aircraft wasn't flown at all. Then starting in 2017 it picks back up and all the proper inspections and annual were completed. What are the risks associated with this gap in flying? Should the value of the aircraft decrease because of this and if so, how much more?

2. There was an off airport landing in 1973 and some of the gear system and some of the body were replaced. Flown a ton since then. Should this be a red flag that I should step away from this airplane immediately?

I appreciate any input to these questions. Thank you in advance and I look forward to being in this forum for a great many years!

 

1.  The documentation since 2017 merits close scrutiny, but if it's been well cared for during the last 3 years, I'm not sure there's a decrease in value.  One would expect a plane that sat that long to have needed fairly extensive work and a lot of replacement parts for the first couple of years after return to service - I would be suspicious if that wasn't the case in the logs.  But if it's been flown regularly  and had good maintenance, most serious problems should have shaken out by now I would think.  It merits the same close attention by a Mooney airframe expert at prebuy inspect as any other plane I would think.

2.  Not necessarily. It does merit close attention to the relevant portions of the airplane at prebuy by aforementioned Mooney airframe expert, as well as a discount from book value.  If the repair is good, that discount might actually be viewed as a plus.

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Thank for for all the quick replies and sharing the knowledge. I'm waiting to hear back from the seller about the missing years and lack of flying post overhaul. Will definitely follow up with a Mooney technician pre buy now with whatever aircraft we choose.

But, it sounds like I should be looking for an F model if our intent is to haul 4 young adults. 

To answer a few of the questions asked: 

We are based in MS. We all have at a minimum 100+ hours each in duel jet engine retractable gear aircraft and aingle engine turbo prop retractable gear aircraft. Some in GA single piston aircraft as well.

I guess the hunt continues...

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5 minutes ago, AFpilot22 said:

Thank for for all the quick replies and sharing the knowledge. I'm waiting to hear back from the seller about the missing years and lack of flying post overhaul. Will definitely follow up with a Mooney technician pre buy now with whatever aircraft we choose.

But, it sounds like I should be looking for an F model if our intent is to haul 4 young adults. 

To answer a few of the questions asked: 

We are based in MS. We all have at a minimum 100+ hours each in duel jet engine retractable gear aircraft and aingle engine turbo prop retractable gear aircraft. Some in GA single piston aircraft as well.

I guess the hunt continues...

An F or a G would probably be better for the rear legroom if you want to shove 4 FAIPs in there.  The backseat of a C will work for adults, but not so good with tall people in the front, and it’s much better with just 1 person in back so they can sit “side saddle”.  
 

Ballpark numbers for you... 400nm is about 3 hours in my F (145 kt cruise).  Comfortably 44 gallons including reserve.  That leaves roughly 750lbs of people/bags.  4 adults would have to be less than 185lbs each including clothes, bags, etc.  And personally I don’t load my 50 year old airplane to max gross.  I’m not saying it doesn’t work for 4 adults, just know what you’re getting.  A C or G or E will have less useful load too.  Shorter trips require less fuel so better chance for more folks.

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43 minutes ago, AFpilot22 said:

Thank for for all the quick replies and sharing the knowledge. I'm waiting to hear back from the seller about the missing years and lack of flying post overhaul. Will definitely follow up with a Mooney technician pre buy now with whatever aircraft we choose.

But, it sounds like I should be looking for an F model if our intent is to haul 4 young adults. 

To answer a few of the questions asked: 

We are based in MS. We all have at a minimum 100+ hours each in duel jet engine retractable gear aircraft and aingle engine turbo prop retractable gear aircraft. Some in GA single piston aircraft as well.

I guess the hunt continues...

Let's ask our insurance guru, @Parker_Woodruff.

4 FAA adults x 170 lb = 680 lb.

Full C fuel = 52 gal x 6 lb = 312 lb.

This load = 992 lb. My C is good for 970 lb., so I generally shave fuel when possible. I have fueled with dipstick in hand to predetermined levels in each tank (17 gal each for a 2 hour flight, so 2 hour reserves :D ).

Keep this in mind. Most GA planes can have all seats full, or all fuel tanks full, but rarely both at the same time . . . . . Welcome to our world!

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Neither the gap in use nor the '73 gear up worry me.

The CRUCIAL question is how much, and how consistently, has the plane been flown since 2017?

For four adults, I'd go with an 'F' over a 'C'

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Welcome aboard AF22, and thank you for your service!


The M20C is great for three adults and long X-countries... or...

Four adults and short cross-countries...

The M20F would make a great plane for a family of four... in the full size category...

Its tough being young and on a budget...  the M20C is better than any other plane in the price category...

Best regards,

-a-

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People get all wrapped around the axle about damage history, and most of the time they shouldn’t.

Don’t be afraid of what’s in the books, be afraid of what’s not. If it’s in the book, most likely it was done correctly by the right people and with correct parts.

What you want to look for is evidence of structural work with no corresponding book entries, and often, very often the books entries won’t have any explanation of why.

‘You may see an entry of replaced propellor and in the engine book you may see that the prop flange was check with a dial indicator, so there was a prop strike, but no entry saying that.

‘I have an old 1946 C-140, there is an entry in the log book that says replaced right wing, now do you think that maybe it was ground looped, or maybe they just needed practice changing out wings?

Almost all old airplanes have periods of low or no use, the owner gets old or maybe just disinterested and then one day finally gets tired of paying hanger rent or maybe wants a different toy and sells the airplane

Edited by A64Pilot
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On 3/30/2021 at 1:35 PM, Hank said:

.....

4 FAA adults x 170 lb = 680 lb.

Ha!  170 lb. adults exist only in the FAA world!  Real people probably have 170 pounds in their wallets, cell phones and loose pocket change.  Flying naked can be problematic.  :lol:

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On 3/30/2021 at 1:03 PM, Ragsf15e said:

An F or a G would probably be better for the rear legroom if you want to shove 4 FAIPs in there.  The backseat of a C will work for adults, but not so good with tall people in the front, and it’s much better with just 1 person in back so they can sit “side saddle”.  
 

Ballpark numbers for you... 400nm is about 3 hours in my F (145 kt cruise).  Comfortably 44 gallons including reserve.  That leaves roughly 750lbs of people/bags.  4 adults would have to be less than 185lbs each including clothes, bags, etc.  And personally I don’t load my 50 year old airplane to max gross.  I’m not saying it doesn’t work for 4 adults, just know what you’re getting.  A C or G or E will have less useful load too.  Shorter trips require less fuel so better chance for more folks.

Great points.  To give perspective on a C with upgraded panel, so some weight savings but it doesn't add inches.  As my wife describes the family, I and my 17 year old son are vertically enhanced and width limited (tall/skinny) and she and my daughter are, shall we say the opposite.  We took the C on a 430nm trip.  The actual for the day with headwind and healthy reserve 38 gallons was required for the slightly over 3 hour flight.  Our useful load is 1,028 lbs so virtually if you can fit it in a C you can haul it, less 228 lbs of fuel (38 gallons), we technically had 800 lbs of people and stuff we could haul.   We found putting shorter legs in the front and sliding seat way forward worked better than the opposite for some reason.  Yes it was a bit tight, but my son brought up a good point...... "We do this for 3 hours 2.5 hours to come home for a round trip of 5.5 hours.  When we drive it is almost 10 hours each way, fly commercial is 8 hours and then we have to drive an hour to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  In the Magic Mooney Carpet Ride saves us time and over $1,000, even more if you figure all of us are not losing an additional day of work, I will take this any day, unless there's icing conditions!!!"   My wife laughed and said, "I think Ethan's reasoning just made the Magic Mooney Family Time Machine bigger, LOL.  Trips like that for us are very rare.  It's usually just me or maybe my wife, so the back seat is almost irrelevant.  I've been considering the mod where you can fold down the rear seat.  Sure I can dream of a new Ovation with longer cabin, faster climb and cruise, latest avionics autopilot, and TWO DOORS, but have to realize the $$$ and diminishing return.  It's pretty cool to think that a 57 year old plane can still do what it was designed to and still do it VERY well.

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1 hour ago, Mooneymite said:

Ha!  170 lb. adults exist only in the FAA world!  Real people probably have 170 pounds in their wallets, cell phones and loose pocket change.  Flying naked can be problematic.  :lol:

Tru dat! But young air force pilots are likely closer to this than the rest of us . . . . My main goal was to point out Weight & Balance issues that they don't have in their Service planes.

Full seats? Check!

Full fuel? Check!

Full seats AND full fuel? Uhhhh . . . . No.

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1 hour ago, Hank said:

Tru dat! But young air force pilots are likely closer to this than the rest of us . . . . My main goal was to point out Weight & Balance issues that they don't have in their Service planes.

Yeah, this is thread drift.

But I wonder how many people use 170 pounds versus actual weights when doing W&B?  I know the airlines, for sure use standard weights!  I'm guessing the AF uses "standard weights" when if does fleet-wide W&B documents.

Interestingly, when I go for my 1st class physical, the doc makes me sit in a chair with all my stuff....clothes, shoes, watch, phone, keys, etc.  While I actually weigh 170 ponds (honest!) in my PJ's, my FAA physical weight is "significantly more".

The rumor is that the there's a 10% margin built into certification weights for aircraft, but I suspect those probably get pushed pretty hard in this day of super-sizing.  Good thing all women are so far below the 170 pound average, right?  :ph34r:

 

Edited by Mooneymite
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14 hours ago, A64Pilot said:

....‘I have an old 1946 C-140, there is an entry in the log book that says replaced right wing, now do you think that maybe it was ground looped, or maybe they just needed practice changing out wings?..

Maybe that right wing was changed out to match the new left wing that someone forgot to mention.  :rolleyes:

I remember a fellow taxiing his twin up an incline on a grass strip....both props hit the turf and came abruptly to a stop.  The maintenance action consisted of wiping the prop tips clean.

That airplane was sold years ago.  Someone is probably flying it today with no idea of the double prop strike history.

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Each of my Mooney's were gear-upped three times. But never by me. Neither worried me at all and it didn't bother the buyer when I sold the first one.

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I'm impressed with the amount of knowledge that gets disseminated and how fast it occurs! Im learning more on this forum then my weeks researching online myself.. Thanks again for all the feedback. 

I decided to hold off on the M20C and informed the seller, only due to the fact that we really should get an F to accomplish our mission after hearing from you all. 

I'll be posting on the classified section, but if anyone knows of a reasonably priced F model I'd be happy hear about it! 

 

 

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