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Old 06-05-2013, 12:06 PM   #1
Apxgrndr OP
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Buying into a Cessna 150?

So I am getting back into it, looking at a share in a 150(cheapest way to stay current for me). I know there are a bunch of pilots lurking around here.
What should I look for before buying in? Any very important questions I should not miss?
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:55 PM   #2
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Buying in is cheap; getting out ain't.

Our family had a mid 1970 Cherokee for about 35 years. I never actually owned it, just had custody of it. Few items: can you get/afford insurance. Where is it going to be hangared, controlled field or grass strip. Big difference in hassles before you get in the air. Partners; can they really(also you)afford this luxury and what happens when budget, divorce ,job change/relocation, accident occur to one of the partners. You should have an attorney put the agreement together; entry and exit requirements. Spouses will want new paint job, interior, headsets/intercomms installed on POS airplane or else they are not going to beach, ballgame, etc. because it stinks, looks like dodo, or the seat is uncomfortable and noisy. Friend in our flight dept. got involved with long time friends in airplane and seems every month a new expense cropped up. Finally got to the point they were spending way more than expected and that left little of the money to actually buy fuel and use the airplane as they had dreamed. Took him several years to get out of the parternship and he ran away poorer and wiser. Are you going to have an escrow for when it really hits the fan and needs major money to be/stay airworthy? I soloed in 1967. I ran the last shut down checklist and walked down the stairs in 2011. Never saw anything cheap in aviation. Just poor people trying to get in or get out.
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:57 PM   #3
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If it floats, flies or fucks, it's cheaper to rent.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:26 PM   #4
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Good advice above. Buying it is cheap, but keeping not so much. The insurance on a 150 is no big deal, 800 year for a qualified pilot. I work for a major underwriter. The maintenance will kill you. Plus a C150 is a useless airplane unless you want to fly 75 miles for breakfast. The novelty wears off quick and if there are partners there are problems. An overhaul on an O200 is 15k from a decent shop. GA is in a pretty bad spot, and will probably disappear in my lifetime.. I'm 36.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:37 PM   #5
Beemer Bob
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My flying buddy just picked up a nice 150 for $15,500. Low time engine and airframe. IFR certified last fall. 2 KX155's one with GS. Garmin audio panel....Needs paint badly. I flew it back from Indy and it was good. Good deals are out there. If you are good with a wrench and know you r A&P/IA you could do an owner assisted annual......Car gas and an open T-hangar. Plan on 6 gallon an hour......Do it. You ain't getting any younger.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:41 PM   #6
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With a little spreadsheet work you can calculate the rent -vs- own break point. Years ago, it was around 50 hours per year.
Once (long ago) I calculated the cost per hour including maintenance, hangar, insurance, fuel, blah, blah - I have never fully recovered and will never do that again. I don't need to thinking this flight costed x dollars.
Good advise above about ins, outs, legalities etc.
I will add
- I'm a small guy and a C150 is small.
- Do it for you and only you. I've seen many a pilot get a plane thinking they will fly the country with their SOs, spouses etc - rarely happens.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
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Tough to find one that doesn't have bazillion hours and was used as a trainer at one time (multiple landings with each try). If you find one that's been in private hands most of it's life and decently maintained...jump on it.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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Flying is amazing fun. I'd second Beemer Bob. Maint isn't cheap but isn't a complete killer either, especially on a simple plane like a 150 (fixed gear, fixed prop, 4 small cyls to keep alive, etc.). I'm not sure the cost savings is worth partnership on something like a 150 unless hanger space is really pricy in your area. I don't own and have only flown a little (brit glider rating, the odd spin in powered stuff stateside). One other direction is experimental. You can generally do much more of your own maint. work and greatly reduce cost (assuming you are mechanically inclined in this direction).

I haven't flown a 150 but have flown 172s, aero commander 100s, 182s, some funny little low-wing french plane (great fun) and several others. I'd worry that a 150 would be awfully small if you think you might want to take someone else along regularly. Often less-common brand planes will get you more plane with fewer hours for less money. For example there's an IFR Aero Commander Lark 180 on Barnstormers for $23k with <2k hours. I've flown one before, almost indistinguishable from a 172. Maybe a couple mph slower and a smidge more room inside.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:43 PM   #9
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Probably an important question is, current at what? 90 day T/O and Ldngs, hauling pax,BFR(or whatever they call it now), IFR currency, FAR 61.58 PIC? Are you trying to stay proficient or current? Two entirely different beasts. Two entirely different methods to solution.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:46 PM   #10
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I've never done a partnership, heard way too many horror stories. But I did belong to a flying club in FL where you had the option to pay certain tiered fees that would bring down your hourly rate. I never paid in, just rented at a slight discount for being a local student.

That was in Daytona Beach, which has a huge number of flight students. I have no idea where you live but if you're close to an airport with a lot of training activities going on you might find a similar flight club, the people involved in them are more into building time than going on $100 Hamburger runs. So you're not going to have as much of the Momma wants the plane to look nice drama going on.

LSA or Experimental would be another way to go cheap as BikePilot said. The 150 isn't too far off from a LSA so if you're happy with the 150 that might be a route to consider. It's such a shame that the costs of flying got so out of control after 9/11 and now with the fuel being so pricey it's even worse.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:01 PM   #11
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Aeronca Champ can be LSA and I think so is a Taylorcraft. I put that out there because if you're going to be cramped (like you will in a 150) these are more fun, and probably not any more to maintain (if the skin is fresh). I find 150's a fun plane to fly if: The combined weight of the two aboard (and "baggage") is less than 275 pounds, and the flight is less than 40 minutes. Kinda limiting. I know people fly them IFR too. That could get...interesting.

I don't know where the OP is from, if you want local flights or slow cross country down low in low terrain then it might be a contender, its nice to have a high wing for shade and to look at the world go by at 1500 AGL.. I am thinking like SC to FL and into LA, that sort of terrain. They are very anemic out west around mountains/altitude, especially in any sort of higher than standard temps.
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Old 06-05-2013, 05:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by r77toy View Post
If it floats, flies or fucks, it's cheaper to rent.
Yup !

Been there done that !
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:25 PM   #13
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How many partners? When do they fly? If everyone wants it on the weekends it might be a pita. My father was in a club for several years, they had a 182, a Cherokee IIRC, and a Citabria. He later got into a partnership with 3 others in a 172. One partner only used it Monday thru Friday for work (he was a photographer), the other 2 guys almost never flew and my Dad had it pretty much every weekend. So I think scheduling / access is a factor to consider, lots of ways to set it up. This was back in the 70's so obviously things are different now.

A 150/152 is going to be pretty inexpensive (as flying goes) because your splitting the fixed costs with others (hanger, annual, insurance, engine reserve, avionics). But you all need to be on the same page. If everyone is cool with flying a safe reliable airplane and not worried about having the latest and greatest radios / navigators / paint and cosmetics, you will be able to fly as cheap as anyone. Find a shade hanger, find a good A&P / IA who will let you all help with the maintenance and annuals. Put a few bucks back for every hour flown into an engine kitty (for the next OH) and decide how you'll handle unexpected expenses, like a cracked cylinder, a dead radio, or a new AD (unlikely in that airplane).

Flying has never been cheap, but a low-tech VFR aircraft with a couple partners should be in the reach of many pilots. Especially if you're willing to get your hands dirty, and have someone to help you. And if you buy the right airplane, and keep it well maintained and don't get crazy with farkles, it's very likely you'll be able to get most of your money out of it when the time comes to sell.

A couple other things to consider are the cost of data and the future of Avgas. One of my biggest expenses is keeping the data bases up to date for my navigators (GPS) and weather for IFR flying. I have been using iPads for my charts and approach plates so I don't have my paper map subscriptions anymore, but keeping the GPS units updated is expensive. If you're flying strictly VFR then you won't have that concern. And whatever happens with Avgas, a 150/152 should be ok. Fuel is NOT the biggest expense when you own an airplane.

My first airplane was a P model 182, the most airplane I could afford at the time without having a partner. Back in 1990 when I bought it I was flying 300 hours a year, so I didn't want a partner. My next aircraft was a Piper Aztec, which I flew for 15 years. I recently sold that and am back in an S model 182. I've been very fortunate over the years that the "older " pilots at my airport took me under their wing and showed me the ropes of maintenance and repairs, overhauling engines, etc, and I've always had a good A&P and IA that supervised my work. Now that I'm not flying as much (about 100 hours a year) I'd love to have the right partner to share the costs and help with the airplane. But the more complex the airplane, the more compatible the partner(s) need to be.

Good luck, I say go for it!

Edit - a 150/152 can be a capable cross country aircraft. I have flown them to the Bahamas (from the west coast of FL), to NC and all over FL. Back when I was renting, and the trip was more important than the destination, I preferred to rent the 152's over the bigger and faster planes. I was building time anyway, and was never in a hurry to get where I'm going. Kinda like my moto trips. Then I went through a time in my life when I needed to be able to haul 4 - 5 passengers and cruise at 200 mph. Now I'm back to the "no hurry" mode. For years when I was flying my Aztec, I had access to a low time 150 that the owner didnt fly anymore - lost medical. I'd take that out on a trip at least once a month, and loved every minute of it.

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Old 06-05-2013, 06:54 PM   #14
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I've had four airplanes. Two solo, two in partnership. My partnerships were awesome. Remember a good understanding makes for a long friendship.
- Be honest with yourself on everything involving purchase
- Be realistic as to your mission
- AOPA has a new page concerning flying clubs
-- Lots of good info, go read it
--- All of it
- Put everything in writing
- Use realistic cost estimates
-- Then provide a cushion above that
- Train
-- Really
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:08 PM   #15
Manuel Garcia O'Kely
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Whatever you buy, I would be sure it was able to be certified for operation on auto Gas, that will save you bucks when you can get it.

The only downside I can think of is the limited load capacity of a 150/2 - Can you put two real people, baggage and full fuel into it? If not, then I suggest going up to a 172, not much more complicated if at all, but it comes at a higher fuel burn.

My dad and I had a Varga Kachina 180 HP two seater and we used it a lot - I flew it all over the western US, twice to Oshkosh. But when he started wanting to actually travel, he bought a Bonanza A36TC, then a Piper Malibu, Serial no. 12...I liked the Bonanza better but damn that Malibu was incredible. It cost a fortune to keep that in the air though.

I quit flying due to cost a couple decades ago. I sometimes miss it, but a few years ago got my ticket renewed and found that I'd lost my taste for it - perhaps it was the 1958 Piper Heap I was rented.
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