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Need help on deciding about purchasing a Mooney.


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I know there are tons of threads out there on pre-purchase advice on Mooneys. But every instance is different so please forgive me for starting a new one.

I got my PPL in April of this year. I really wanted to buy a plane so I wouldn't be at the whim of my greedy flight school for rentals.

But the market was pretty close to peaking in the spring of 2022 so I couldn't find the plane for me.

Doing research I fell in love with the Mooney's efficiency and speed.

In the meantime, I joined a flying club where I have access to a 172 and a 182. I am currently working on my IFR training in the 172, after that is finished my plan is to get an HP endorsement on the 182 and then use it for trips.

Now the market seems to have peaked. Having said that, I do think I am happy, for at least the next year, with my current option.

But, maybe waiting six months, for prices to come down more, then having a year to turn a diamond in the rough into my perfect Mooney might make sense.

So, if I was to start looking what information can you give me that helps?

I currently am able to fit two foldable bikes in the backseat of the 172. I would like to be able to do that, so a backseat at least as big as a 172s. Are they all? Or just the stretch models.

I am on the east coast so a turbo isn't a necessity. My kids live in Washington state though, so a flight to them would be helped by a turbo. 

Most of my flying would be within 300 miles. Having said that, my mother is in Florida so being able to travel at 155 kts would be great for a couple of long trips a year. Faster obviously would be icing on the cake

Oh yeah budget. I would really like to be sub-$200K, the subber the better :) . As I said, it could be spent on an upgraded plane or I think I have time to spend it on upgrades myself. If I spent $200K I would want a low-hour engine as my budget would be maxed out.
 

Thanks,

 

Edited by thundermustard
typo
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Dunno if you're right about prices coming down.  I'm selling mine (it will be for sale at Oshkosh) and looking for comparisons there were only about 3 C's for sale in the whole country.  Supply and demand, if the supply stays low and the demand remains prices go up.

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Just now, steingar said:

Dunno if you're right about prices coming down.  I'm selling mine (it will be for sale at Oshkosh) and looking for comparisons there were only about 3 C's for sale in the whole country.  Supply and demand, if the supply stays low and the demand remains prices go up.

That is of course subject to debate and like the stock market, no one knows for sure.
Still love to get guidance on the Mooney for me.

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40 minutes ago, thundermustard said:

I really wanted to buy a plane so I wouldn't be at the whim of my greedy flight school for rentals.

I think you'll be surprised at the costs of ownership. You'll be looking back at that greedy flight school hourly rate and wish for it again.

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1 hour ago, thundermustard said:

But, maybe waiting six months, for prices to come down more, then having a year to turn a diamond in the rough into my perfect Mooney might make sense.

 

I currently am able to fit two foldable bikes in the backseat of the 172. I would like to be able to do that, so a backseat at least as big as a 172s. Are they all? Or just the stretch models.

 

I'm not a believer that there are "diamonds in the rough" to be found, unless you are talking about one that might not have the nicest interior and marginal paint but has been flying regularly. Make a list of the "must haves" for your plane and then the "nice to haves" and find the one that checks most of those boxes, but the number one box needs to be that it is flying regularly.

For folding bikes we have a couple Citizen 20" e-bikes. One fits in the baggage and one in the backseat of a short body. I wrote about a 4th of July trip with them.

July 4th – Santa Paula – Breakfast and a Bike Ride

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Start with the assumption that owning your own plane is rarely (never) cost-effective or practical.  You're doing it because you want to, and you want to do it safely.  Once you do, it widens your options a heck of a lot.  Plane too slow?  Who cares, it's all slower than commercial.  If you had a Cessna 150, you could fly it to the West Coast, it would just take time and force you to enjoy it. 

Cargo space can be an issue.  It's trickier loading the rear because of the single door and the top-down baggage door.  That being said, those with fold-down rear seats have tons of actual volume if there are no rear passengers.

Useful load can be an issue.  That being said, with its fuel efficiency, you can add an extra 100 lbs with less fuel and go the same distance as other planes.

J's and K's tend to run in the same ballpark in price.  J's seem consistently overvalued, and many argue a modded F is a better deal.

Check @jgarrison at G-Max aircraft, he resells and brokers more Mooney's than anyone out there, and his listings are a good representation of what solid listings should look like

Edited by jaylw314
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Owning is more for convenience vs saving money. 
 

$200 per hr wet for a Mooney F was what I based mine on 100 hrs a year.

My Cs cost:

385 x 12 (hanger) $4620

fuel based on 10 gallons per hr, $7 per gallon $7000

insurance $3000

base annual $2500

Oil Change @25 hrs (me doing it with analysis) $125

so $17,620 to operate

that is without any issues or upgrades…

-Don

 

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1 hour ago, thundermustard said:

I know there are tons of threads out there on pre-purchase advice on Mooneys. But every instance is different so please forgive me for starting a new one.

I got my PPL in April of this year. I really wanted to buy a plane so I wouldn't be at the whim of my greedy flight school for rentals.

But the market was pretty close to peaking in the spring of 2022 so I couldn't find the plane for me.

Doing research I fell in love with the Mooney's efficiency and speed.

In the meantime, I joined a flying club where I have access to a 172 and a 182. I am currently working on my IFR training in the 172, after that is finished my plan is to get an HP endorsement on the 182 and then use it for trips.

Now the market seems to have peaked. Having said that, I do think I am happy, for at least the next year, with my current option.

But, maybe waiting six months, for prices to come down more, then having a year to turn a diamond in the rough into my perfect Mooney might make sense.

So, if I was to start looking what information can you give me that helps?

I currently am able to fit two foldable bikes in the backseat of the 172. I would like to be able to do that, so a backseat at least as big as a 172s. Are they all? Or just the stretch models.

I am on the east coast so a turbo isn't a necessity. My kids live in Washington state though, so a flight to them would be helped by a turbo. 

Most of my flying would be within 300 miles. Having said that, my mother is in Florida so being able to travel at 155 kts would be great for a couple of long trips a year. Faster obviously would be icing on the cake

Oh yeah budget. I would really like to be sub-$200K, the subber the better :) . As I said, it could be spent on an upgraded plane or I think I have time to spend it on upgrades myself. If I spent $200K I would want a low-hour engine as my budget would be maxed out.
 

Thanks,

 

I suggest you look at a couple of Mooney's and go up in one.  I am not sure where you are based, but I am in Fredericksburg, VA.  I rented a 201 in NJ before I bought My 1974C.

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I often carry two non-folding 29" mountain bikes in back, for mountain biking vacations, but I have the ability to fold down the rear seats flat to provide much more room. The rear folding seats were introduced about '85. I fly a mid-body and the long bodies will offer more baggage area room. 

Generally speaking, renting is always cheaper than what owning will cost you per hour. So purchasing to reduce hourly cost isn't a good plan. Reasons to purchase a plane though are varied and include enjoying unrestricted 7x24 access to your bird with no scheduling hassles, no restrictions on where and for how long and how far you can take it; such as across international borders. Then the freedom to make it however you like with upgrades to avionics, paint and interior. And the big one for many of us to maintain it to your personal standards. All of this comes with the recognition you're going to budget somewhere from $25 to 40+K* annually for annual flying budget.

*I really don't know the low end on annual budgets and I am constantly improving mine. But the main point is that annual budget after a few years will quickly dwarf your acquisition cost.  So its in your best interest to to purchase the best airplane you can afford with as many of the upgrades as you want already there since it'll cost you near twice as much to add upgrades your self. 

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I think you'll be surprised at the costs of ownership. You'll be looking back at that greedy flight school hourly rate and wish for it again.

Amen brother. I have owned my Mooney for 31 years and have meticulously tracked annual expenses. When I was preparing for retirement, I calculated that I could have retired 4 years earlier if I hadn’t spent it on my airplane!

What I get amazed at is how people thinking about ownership fail to understand all aspects of the costs associated with owning an airplane. If you didn’t own a plane, you wouldn’t have tie down or hangar rent, you wouldn’t be paying for database updates, you might have rental insurance but you wouldn’t bear the full brunt of ownership insurance and you certainly wouldn’t be able to throw the keys on the FBO counter and say “something is broken and needs to get fixed.”

My annual expenses run typically between 20 AMU & 28 AMU depending on how much I fly. I also factor the cost of the engine reserve in the hourly rate. Granted, if you flip planes, you may never see an overhaul, but if you are unlucky you might get straddled with one. There have been years where my hourly rate have been over .4 AMU/hr. Of course, all of this detail is between us owners - not to be shared with significant others for fear of your membership be expunged from the roles of Cheap Bast$#d Club.


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Owning is more for convenience vs saving money. 
 
$200 per hr wet for a Mooney F was what I based mine on 100 hrs a year.
My Cs cost:
385 x 12 (hanger) $4620
fuel based on 10 gallons per hr, $7 per gallon $7000
insurance $3000
base annual $2500
Oil Change @25 hrs (me doing it with analysis) $125
so $17,620 to operate
that is without any issues or upgrades…
-Don
 

Pretty comprehensive list. Don’t forget about the database updates for the navigators and your annual subscription to your favorite aviation app.

My 20 AMU to 28 AMU lines up with your costs. Like Paul, I am always tweaking, updating or adding new stuff. I am also a believer in preventative maintenance to stay ahead of the unexpected expenses.


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I'd have most of those with either - except the gnc355 - that is an additional $500 so that puts it at $18,120. My break even is ~80 hours - with no issues ;o).

and my oil change is per ($125 x 4)

I fly (flight hours - startup to shutdown) about 125 to 150 hours a year -- tach hours of course vary.

Ditto on prevention.

BTW, when I do my oil change, I also do the 25 hour check list too. Found missing nuts or loose items that way. Clean engine at the same time...

Also, don't forget tools you'll need if you do your own maintenance-- that can run cost up there too...

Edit:

Forgot IFR cert every 2 years - $500 ($250 a year)

so now $18,620 and about 83 hours to just about break even... that's ~7 hours a month minimum of flying...

and my plane is paid for too...
not a cheap 'hobby'...

-Don

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Owning is more for convenience vs saving money. 
 
$200 per hr wet for a Mooney F was what I based mine on 100 hrs a year.

Don’t forget when you travel, the rental costs you a minimum of 3-4 hours per day sitting on the ramp. So if you plan on actually traveling and not doing $200 hamburger runs, you want to buy.
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1 hour ago, Marauder said:


Amen brother. I have owned my Mooney for 31 years and have meticulously tracked annual expenses. When I was preparing for retirement, I calculated that I could have retired 4 years earlier if I hadn’t spent it on my airplane!

What I get amazed at is how people thinking about ownership fail to understand all aspects of the costs associated with owning an airplane. If you didn’t own a plane, you wouldn’t have tie down or hangar rent, you wouldn’t be paying for database updates, you might have rental insurance but you wouldn’t bear the full brunt of ownership insurance and you certainly wouldn’t be able to throw the keys on the FBO counter and say “something is broken and needs to get fixed.”

My annual expenses run typically between 20 AMU & 28 AMU depending on how much I fly. I also factor the cost of the engine reserve in the hourly rate. Granted, if you flip planes, you may never see an overhaul, but if you are unlucky you might get straddled with one. There have been years where my hourly rate have been over .4 AMU/hr. Of course, all of this detail is between us owners - not to be shared with significant others for fear of your membership be expunged from the roles of Cheap Bast$#d Club.


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This is why I think that in the not too distant future we'll see a huge selloff from the recent artificial demand.  Once the new owners who couldn't spend their COVID money fast enough start to understand the real cost of ownership along with the lack of a real use case, we'll see things more like 2019.  Two kinds of owners, hobbyists and travelers, I don't think the number of travelers has really changed and it can be a really expensive hobby.

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Prices might come down as interest rates rise so people can't just borrow endless cash and all the stimulus money dries up. Some indication:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/rise-in-repossessions-could-be-troubling-sign-for-used-car-sales/ar-AAZCFjt

Or maybe aircraft (and boat and rv and other toys') prices will flat out but their real value will go down due to inflation.

Cost of flying rental vs own plane come flush if you fly 100-120 hrs a year. But then there's the "not having to put up with other people's bullshit" that is priceless. You never get the plane late, never have to rush home for the next guy, don't have to guarantee minimum hours if you keep the plane overnight and you know if there was a hard landing, but you pay to repair what you broke :unsure:

Honestly, if you have access to a C182 and can enjoy it without too many restrictions, I don't think you need a mooney but it's always nice to have a bigger Mooney family of people who fly their planes. So I secretly hope that people like you rescue hangar queens or fix otherwise-doomed-to-rot planes.

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To respond to the OP

I have no experience with folders, so I don't know if they will fit through the baggage door or not.  When I had my E, I almost never had the rear seat back installed.  Two full size bikes will fit in a short body with both wheels off.  Tight but doable and they go in through the passenger door.

Starting in late '82 the removable/folding rear seats were introduced on the J and K.  They are really nice giving you a pretty flat cargo area.  Also, as much as I loved my E, there are some nice improvements that came in with the J.  I miss the light weight of the E, but that's all.

I spent a lot of time flying over the western mountains in my E.  For an annual holiday trip to the NW you don't need a K.

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6 minutes ago, FlyingDude said:

 

Honestly, if you have access to a C182 and can enjoy it without too many restrictions, I don't think you need a mooney but it's always nice to have a bigger Mooney family of people who fly their planes. So I secretly hope that people like you rescue hangar queens or fix otherwise-doomed-to-rot planes.

wish I had access to a decent Skylane for all the places I don't think I could get the K (Miss Piggy) out of...

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2 hours ago, KLRDMD said:

I think you'll be surprised at the costs of ownership. You'll be looking back at that greedy flight school hourly rate and wish for it again.

Problem with a flight school is getting the plane for more than a day. They don't like taking it off the flight line with all those student pilot dollars chasing hours.

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43 minutes ago, ArtVandelay said:


Don’t forget when you travel, the rental costs you a minimum of 3-4 hours per day sitting on the ramp. So if you plan on actually traveling and not doing $200 hamburger runs, you want to buy.

This is why I chose to buy. Trying to use a rental for anything other than same day trips wasn't practical. Each year the minimum fee went up

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17 minutes ago, geoffb said:

wish I had access to a decent Skylane for all the places I don't think I could get the K (Miss Piggy) out of...

I thought you wrote:

In the meantime, I joined a flying club where I have access to a 172 and a 182. 

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1 hour ago, jaylw314 said:

Plane too slow?  Who cares, it's all slower than commercial. 

 In flight, yes.  Door to door, many times not.

As I was starting my search for a plane, we went to SAT for a week for fun.  Closest airline airport is BWI.

Commercial was:

45 minute drive to the airport

15 minutes parking and shuttle to terminal

Check in 2 hours before flight.

1.5 hour flight.

1 hour connection

2 hour 42 minute flight

waiting for jetway, walking to baggage claim, waiting for bags, about 20 - 30 minutes.

Total time almost 9 hours from home to bags in hand.

Mooney would be:

5 minutes to the airport

30 minutes loading and pre-flight

6+49 flight time (can do it none stop with long range tanks)

5 minutes to deplane and grab bags

Total time 7 hours 19 minutes

Or 1 hour 40 minutes faster than commercial

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1 hour ago, hammdo said:

I'd have most of those with either - except the gnc355 - that is an additional $500 so that puts it at $18,120. My break even is ~80 hours - with no issues ;o).

and my oil change is per ($125 x 4)

I fly (flight hours - startup to shutdown) about 125 to 150 hours a year -- tach hours of course vary.

Ditto on prevention.

BTW, when I do my oil change, I also do the 25 hour check list too. Found missing nuts or loose items that way. Clean engine at the same time...

Also, don't forget tools you'll need if you do your own maintenance-- that can run cost up there too...

Edit:

Forgot IFR cert every 2 years - $500 ($250 a year)

so now $18,620 and about 83 hours to just about break even... that's ~7 hours a month minimum of flying...

and my plane is paid for too...
not a cheap 'hobby'...

-Don

Don, you should quit doing the math, each time you do your annual costs are going up....:lol:

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Having just gone through this, and bought a Mooney.....

As others have said, it is not going to save money.

But what made me buy one, was to do places.  Rental, it is difficult to take the plane for a weekend or a week or two weeks.  Especially if you want to fly somewhere in a few hours and then stay there for a week and fly back.  Rentals want high daily time.  Especially for trainers and also over weekends.

Availability is also a piece.  I can go fly anytime I want to do so.  I don't need to shift due to finding a slot in the schedule or not being able to get access at all on a given day.

I spent a lot of time on the phone and texting Byron Rodgers of Fly RPM here on Mooney Space.  If a plane was close enough, he was my choice to do the pre-buy.  Mine wan't, but it was close to the shop of the guy who trained Byron as an A&P. :)

Byron reviewed the logs on a few candidates, and found some serious questionable things on a couple of them.  And gave clean marks to the one I bought.  Yes this cost some money, but IMO, it was well worth it, and I learned a lot in the process.

In my search, I decided that the one big item that had to have no red flags was the engine.  You can drop a lot of money if there are engine issues.  Paint, interior, avionics can all be done over time.  But the plane does not fly with engine issues.

Expect to go down the path on several candidates (maybe not, but be prepared).   The first one for me had some serious red flags with the engine.  Another one, they required the pre-buy be done in their hangar and would not move it anywhere.   Another was great, all set up, a verbal agreement for the selling and buying, and the day it was to be delivered for the prebuy, the owner changed his mind and would not sell it (get the agreement IN WRITING).  A couple I could not get any reponses.

And finally the one I bought.  It checked most all the boxes.  And checked a few would be nice or even GREAT to have.  No serious red flags.  But more than I had planned on spending.   But I can afford it, and I am sure I will be happy.

Oh, as for the peak in prices, that may be true, but interest rates are going up.  I closed on mine the day before my rate would have jumped by around 1%.  On a  $150,000 airplane, that would have raised the payment by almost $100 per month.  OR, for the same monthly payment, you could have purchased a plane at $165,00.

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One more data point: I've owned my '70 M20F for 5 years.  Any given year has cost me, all in, including databases and ForeFlight, between $14K and $19K per year.  But, NO engine reserve!

I average around 70-80 hours per year.

I did NOT buy to save money:D  It's all the other reasons people have adequately covered above.

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