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Mid 60's Mooney or Mid 50's Vtail...


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I am in the market for a low wing x/c plane and have been looking at mid 60's Mooney's for a while now. Is there anyone here that has flown or owned both Mooney and vintage Bonanza's and would share their pros and cons on either? I have a small family (myself and two young children at 9 and 6 years old). We are not tall giants either as I am 5'6". I have a friend that just purchased a 57 Bonanza and it was nice and roomy but finding one that has the O-470 conversion is difficult. I will be making several trips from the Seattle are to Bigfork, MT as my parents and other family members have moved there and driving 7+ hours to visit them sucks! I have been flying a two seater now for 6 years and enough is enough... Any advice would be great and thank you in advance for the input. 

 

Chris

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Two size options for Mooney...a short body (C or E models) or a mid body (F or G) in the 60s. The mids got +5" each in back seat legroom and baggage area. I grew up in the back of a C model and we outgrew it for family tips by ages 12 and 9 or so with my brother and me. I would aim for an F model if I were you. +20 hp over a C or G would be helpful in your area.

I've got 10 or so hours long ago in a V tail and liked it. You have to check CG and W&B with and without fuel...it can be a challenge. They are wonderful planes, but not without nits. Ruddervators are a huge concern right now too.

Do more research and then go try to bum rides in any models you can find. You'll quickly figure it out.

Sent from my LM-V450 using Tapatalk

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7 hours ago, C.Marshall said:

I am in the market for a low wing x/c plane and have been looking at mid 60's Mooney's for a while now. Is there anyone here that has flown or owned both Mooney and vintage Bonanza's and would share their pros and cons on either? I have a small family (myself and two young children at 9 and 6 years old). We are not tall giants either as I am 5'6". I have a friend that just purchased a 57 Bonanza and it was nice and roomy but finding one that has the O-470 conversion is difficult. I will be making several trips from the Seattle are to Bigfork, MT as my parents and other family members have moved there and driving 7+ hours to visit them sucks! I have been flying a two seater now for 6 years and enough is enough... Any advice would be great and thank you in advance for the input. 

 

Chris

Personally I’d avoid the Beech, and consider a Mooney or a Comanche.

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I’ve had/have both. Not sure what constructive remarks to make. The Bonanza is probably the greater maintenance/expense challenge. It gives the illusion of spaciousness, probably mostly by the ease of entry/egress. Reliable but arcane electric prop, pressure carb and manual fuel pump on the early models. But I am quite at peace with my M20. Economical, a bit less complex. 

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I have owned both. The J model (58') Bonanza is the first year with heavy spar and fuel injection. That would be the earliest model I would consider. Once a Bonanza is in good shape it's not too bad on maintenance. It's on par with any heavy single. However, getting one into that condition can be hazardous on your wallet. The engine TBO is less than a vintage Mooney. It is roomy, easy to fly and land.

I currently have a short body E. It's fast and a little less maintenance. I don't have a dash to place anything on. I have to slide the seat all the way forward to reach the rudder pedals and thereby I have the yoke and panel in my chest. This makes it difficult to have charts on my lap or a portable GPS somewhere that doesn't block out other instruments. Finding a mechanic that wants to work on a Mooney can be a challenge also. 

For just a few pennies more I would buy an older twin Commanche. Two 160hp fuel injected, 2000hr TBO engines. Pushing the throttles to the stops will give you +1200fpm climb. If you fly at 65% (21 square) power you will burn 14gph@200 mph. Get one with tip tanks and you have 120 gallons, those are long legs or a lot of non-stop cross-country flights. 

Lastly, call an insurance company to see what the rates are between what you are looking for. Fixed costs are fixed costs and that does play into the decision over a decade of aircraft ownership.

With all airplanes, if you find one that has been properly maintaned you will pay a primium for it. But you get to enjoy it sooner and a lot longer before the big-ticket items are due or need to be replaced. I have owned all three for at least 10 years...so I know.

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In searching for my plane my order of preference was Bonanza, Comanche, and then Mooney.  The market of what I could find and afford drove my decision.  I enjoy the Mooney for sure but like the other 2 better for the room.  

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10 hours ago, Greg Ellis said:

@KLRDMD may be able to provide some insight here.  He has owned both Mooneys and a V-Tail Bonanza but I am unsure what year his V-Tail was.

I've owned four Mooneys; C, [turbo] F, K & M models and have flight time in C, E, F, G, J, K, M & R model Mooneys. Additionally I have owned three Beech products and am about to get my fourth next month (S35 Bonanza and two B55 Barons so far). While it won't be popular on MooneySpace, I believe the 33/35 model Bonanzas to be the finest single engine airplanes made. If you want to hear others echo that sentiment, head on over to BeechTalk :D

Yes, the Mooneys are generally more efficient and cheaper to maintain but the Bonanza is just so much more comfortable and an absolute joy to fly. Cabin widths are virtually identical. You can even measure to the armrest cutout in a Mooney and show the Mooney is wider but that's inconsequential. The cabin is much higher in a Bonanza and the huge windows make it seem to be very much larger inside the Bonanza than the Mooney. Early Mooneys sometimes feel like I'm in a tank looking out the tiny windows.

Gross weights, useful loads and true airspeeds are generally greater for the Bonanza. That comes at a cost of fuel consumption and a bit more engine maintenance. For the same hull value, insurance and airframe maintenance will be very similar.

You have to look very closely at one or two things with a Bonanza. The first is the empty CG. Bonanzas do shift CG rearward as fuel burns off but it isn't nearly the issue that some make it out to be. My rule is I will not look at a 33/35 series Bonanza with an empty CG above 80.0. The second is specific to the 35 series Bonanzas. Make sure the ruddervators are in good shape. Replacements are available but they are quite expensive.

Download the free Bonanza Performance App and play around with various configurations for W&B. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bonanza-performance/id910038344

Personally, I wouldn't look earlier than a J model Bonanza and only if it had an upgraded engine. You can put a -550 in a J or later Bonanza which transforms the airplane. At least get an IO-470 with a modern prop on any Bonanza.

Bottom line: They are both good airplanes with somewhat different strengths and weaknesses and they will appeal to a sightly different audience. You won't get a fair comparison here on MooneySpace. You also won't get a fair comparison on BeechTalk but ask questions on both sites and digest the information provided and see what's right for you.

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I’m across the mts in Spokane and will give you a ride in an F model Mooney if you’re around.  My wife and I have twin 6 year olds and fly all over the Northwest.  It works well in the summer, but you’ll find it hard to cross the cascades between October and April.  Icing in the northwest limits our reliable dispatch to the summer for trips.  Day trips across are possible on nice days in the winter.  Plan for ~144 kts, 10gph and carrying ~600lbs of people/bags ~500nm.  You won’t want to be in the airplane longer than that anyway.  Oregon coast trips are awesome in the Mooney too!

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I agree with what others are saying here. Mooney or Comanche 250-260. Flying over the mountains, I would definitely go with a little more horsepower. The Comanche was a load hauler, roomier, faster and had longer legs at the cost of a couple more gallons of fuel an hour. Being empty nesters now, our E model is a great two person, lots of bags plane. With a young family, you might want a little more plane to grow into. Bonanzas are great too but maintenance will be more.

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22 hours ago, C.Marshall said:

I am in the market for a low wing x/c plane and have been looking at mid 60's Mooney's for a while now. Is there anyone here that has flown or owned both Mooney and vintage Bonanza's and would share their pros and cons on either? I have a small family (myself and two young children at 9 and 6 years old). We are not tall giants either as I am 5'6". I have a friend that just purchased a 57 Bonanza and it was nice and roomy but finding one that has the O-470 conversion is difficult. I will be making several trips from the Seattle are to Bigfork, MT as my parents and other family members have moved there and driving 7+ hours to visit them sucks! I have been flying a two seater now for 6 years and enough is enough... Any advice would be great and thank you in advance for the input. 

 

Chris

Have you flown in your friends Bonanza especially in light turbulence? We were partners with a neighbor in his v-tail and i was not a fan of the wig-wag going through the sky. Some people it doesn’t bother them and others felt like it was rocking them to sleep but not me, i got nauseous. Back then I wasn’t instrument rated and had a fear of the bonanza’s nickname doctor killers. While it is a safe plane in the speed envelope there is very little room for overspeed error causing flutter and v-tail failure. There was a mooney in Canada that lost both ADI’s in IMC conditions and got into some high speed dives and luckily popped out the bottom of the clouds without hitting the ground and landed. When they pulled the data for the flight the mooney had gone well past VNE and i thought yea if he had been in a v-tail he probably wouldn’t have made it. 

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Aviation was going through huge modernization steps post WWII….

Somewhere around the mid 60s…. Mooneys leaped into a very modern construction of their Wooden Winged M20A….

All things plastic and rubber lept forwards in those years… all things aluminum lept forwards in those years…

No matter the choice of plane… 65 or better would be my choice of construction date…

 

I wouldn’t want to go backwards in time to find a Beech I could afford vs. a more modern Mooney at the same price…

I made a similar comparison prior to buying my M20C… back in Y2K…

The V-tail looked very 57chevy inside and out… and was well known for raining aluminum all over…..

As a first time buyer… I needed a plane that was going to be easy to learn ownership skills… :)

 

For speed… efficiency… and a modern airframe…

Go Mooney!

Best regards,

-a-

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Note for OM…

Are you familiar with the rudder pedal extensions…?

They come in two sizes…

They are good for allowing a few more inches between your chest and the yoke…

Easy upgrade. Makes a perfect birthday present for yourself!   :)
 

PP thoughts only, I live in the short leg camp…. According to my Levi’s….

Best regards,

-a-

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Never never buy the first airplane of any type you look at- NEVER

ALWAYS have a planned purchase looked at for a prebuy inspection by someone familiar with that type airplane

NEVER TRUST WHAT ANYONE TELLS YOU ABOUT HOW GOOD ANY PLANE IS- ALWAYS CHECK EVERYTHING YOURSELF OR WITH A GOOD MECH

CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY BEFORE YOU PUT MONEY DOWN ON ANY AIRPLANE TO SEE IF THEY WILL INSURE YOU IN THAT AIRPLANE 

Lots of info here on MS about what to look for on Mooneys 

Comanches have a 1,000 hr landing gear AD that is a big one (watch out for it if you look at those)

A 3 year landing gear bungee replacement AD (not so big a deal) is required also

For Bonanza consideration watch this video    

 

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3 minutes ago, cliffy said:

Never never buy the first airplane of any type you look at- NEVER

ALWAYS have a planned purchase looked at for a prebuy inspection by someone familiar with that type airplane

NEVER TRUST WHAT ANYONE TELLS YOU ABOUT HOW GOOD ANY PLANE IS- ALWAYS CHECK EVERYTHING YOURSELF OR WITH A GOOD MECH

CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY BEFORE YOU PUT MONEY DOWN ON ANY AIRPLANE TO SEE IF THEY WILL INSURE YOU IN THAT AIRPLANE 

I have repeatedly violated every one of theses. Oh well, guess I don't know what I'm doing :rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, cliffy said:

Never never buy the first airplane of any type you look at- NEVER

ALWAYS have a planned purchase looked at for a prebuy inspection by someone familiar with that type airplane

NEVER TRUST WHAT ANYONE TELLS YOU ABOUT HOW GOOD ANY PLANE IS- ALWAYS CHECK EVERYTHING YOURSELF OR WITH A GOOD MECH

CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY BEFORE YOU PUT MONEY DOWN ON ANY AIRPLANE TO SEE IF THEY WILL INSURE YOU IN THAT AIRPLANE 

Lots of info here on MS about what to look for on Mooneys 

Comanches have a 1,000 hr landing gear AD that is a big one (watch out for it if you look at those)

A 3 year landing gear bungee replacement AD (not so big a deal) is required also

For Bonanza consideration watch this video    

 

I’d happily trade the 1000 hour gear AD, the bungee cord AD and my factory installed fuel bladders in my Comanche for the efficiency of a Mooney!

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1 hour ago, M20F said:

One thing to add on the older Bonanza.  The bench seat can suck depending on leg length of pilot versus copilot.  

Dear God, the Bonanza bench seat is in the front???

Also, the throwover yoke tends to cover up the bottom row of instruments / radios, even if it's "just" the transponder. 

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