Thinking about plane purchase

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matt17
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Thinking about plane purchase

#1 Post by matt17 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:49 pm

I am hoping that over the next 2-3 weeks I will be completing my RPP on floats. I passed my preflight and written last summer but ran out of time to complete my flight test (was a little disappointing but gave me a reason to force me to do some flying this year). I am hoping that a week or so of flying will get me back up to speed to redo my preflight and be ready for my flight test. Once complete I will be looking to purchase a plane as renting is not a possibility in my location (small town Northern Ontario).

I have been reading and researching and think I have narrowed down my search to a 170/172 on floats, hopefully also with wheel gear as I would like to have that option as well. My goal is to have a good plane (on floats) for 2 people plus some fishing gear for local flights or 2 people and fuel for short (1-200mile) cross countries. I like that the idea of an all metal plane as there is no option for storing in a hanger.

Long term I would love the idea of a 180 as the extra speed/range would open up the possibility of larger loads/longer cross countries but am concerned about the up front costs and increased operating costs of the larger plane/engine.

I am looking for any advice that people would be willing to give as I begin my hopeful path towards plane ownership.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#2 Post by FL007 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:25 pm

matt17 wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:49 pm
I am hoping that over the next 2-3 weeks I will be completing my RPP on floats. I passed my preflight and written last summer but ran out of time to complete my flight test (was a little disappointing but gave me a reason to force me to do some flying this year). I am hoping that a week or so of flying will get me back up to speed to redo my preflight and be ready for my flight test. Once complete I will be looking to purchase a plane as renting is not a possibility in my location (small town Northern Ontario).

I have been reading and researching and think I have narrowed down my search to a 170/172 on floats, hopefully also with wheel gear as I would like to have that option as well. My goal is to have a good plane (on floats) for 2 people plus some fishing gear for local flights or 2 people and fuel for short (1-200mile) cross countries. I like that the idea of an all metal plane as there is no option for storing in a hanger.

Long term I would love the idea of a 180 as the extra speed/range would open up the possibility of larger loads/longer cross countries but am concerned about the up front costs and increased operating costs of the larger plane/engine.

I am looking for any advice that people would be willing to give as I begin my hopeful path towards plane ownership.
Sounds like a great plan. My opinion on a 172 on floats is that you're paying for 4 seats in the sale yet you'll never ever fill the 4th seat, the useful load isn't there.

Did you want to bring 2 people + pilot or 2 total?
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#3 Post by AR705 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:11 pm

Sounds like you're in the same place I was a couple years ago. I ended up getting a reasonably priced 172 on floats/wheels to finish my flight training. Did primary training on wheels then onto floats for rating. I also frequently dream about a larger plane like a 180 for more versatility... And have posted questions on this forum about 172 vs 180/185 etc... I've also run the numbers to death and let me just say that a 180/185 class of plane is much more expensive to run than a 170/172, no matter what anyone says!! It's at least 1/3 more expensive to operate and the deferred costs like engines and props on the 180/185s are very high (of course depends on how much money you have to throw at flying... I never believed people when they said a 180/185 is $20k every year just to look at!! But it sure can be very easily unless you can buy outright and not finance.

I'll make a case for 172s on floats, based on my experience. Most will say can't take any load and not worth the cost, especially if you want to start upgrading, at least compared to an early 180. And for some reason they sure get a bad rep on floats. The comment that has been useful to me is "buy a plane for 90% of your planned flying missions" and figure out ways to deal with the other 10% of flying you want to do (renting isn't an option, so maybe taking two planes or making multiple trips). For me that's a 172, covers more than 90% frankly and it has been a great all-around plane for me. BUT, as with most float flying for those of us without a ton of money to throw around, what you can do with it all comes down to weight.

My 172M came with CAP2000 floats and a factory 160hp. Not super light (dual coms, exd range tanks, articulating seats etc) but nice options. Great setup for training because it's not very forgiving in certain conditions, definitely not heavy! Whoever thought that the CAPs (and the EDO 2000s) were a good standard float for 172s was very mistaken. They perform well under ideal conditions but the buoyancy just isn't there. So I upgraded to AQUA2200 floats. There are other options out there but bigger floats for 172s are hard to come by and relatively expensive. However, there is no comparison to the CAPs, the aquas are SO much better, it's a different plane. Biggest difference is the on-water handling, especially in the wind or rough water. Having the extra buoyancy is huge!! You get the 2300 lb gross back instead of 2220 gross on CAPS or EDOs. Fully loaded they are on step much easier too... Landing in rough water is much much better and the seemingly small difference of flat tops and hatches is fantastic.

I generally fly with the back seat out. Sure I'm paying for a 4 person plane but without the seat you have a huge rear cargo area. No way I could carry what I do in a cub type plane. You can bulk-out pretty quickly with some of those. And the float hatches help keeping the weight forward. Some day I'll get a Lake-vue or Atlee Dodge rear folding seat and be perfectly happy with a 3 person plane. If going somewhere with lighter people (children too), no problem throwing the back seat back into the plane either. You can run with 4 people on floats, just need them to be very light!! My useful load on Aquas is just shy of 700 lbs. If my plane was an "N" and not an "M" (even though there is no real difference), with my factory 160hp (D2J) engine, a piece of paper (STC from a couple places) would give me 2400lb gross and 800 lb legal useful load. Don't feel like spending the money to get an LSTC for my "M" so 700 lb useful it is. I burn pretty reliably 8 gallons an hour or ~50 lbs an hour and cruise at ~100 mph. Wind makes huge difference so I plan for 9 gph at 90 mph average to be a bit conservative. I'm around 200 lbs so for a 200 mile trip (I like at least a 75-90 mile reserve depending on where I'm going) that leaves me with around 350 lbs for passengers and gear (after fuel+reserve and me), which has proven more than enough for another person and ample fishing/camping gear (including inflatable boat). But again, that's most of my missions. Frankly, most of my missions are within 45 min of home with another person and maybe 100 lbs of gear, or the family and day gear, so often comfortably flying under gross. Know of others who cache fuel or equipment as well to make things easier. When more people want to go, I can shuttle, and I can also do gear only flights and take up to 300 lbs of gear on a 3+ hour flight. So lots of options.. Mine has STC to run mogas so more options of getting gas at marinas etc. Where 172s aren't great is really the cruise speed and needing a useful beyond 700-800 lbs. However, if you can find a light(er) one with a 180hp engine, you can be pushing 900 lb useful load, but not much more speed.

So, I recommend the 170/172 class if you can live with the load range, speed etc. that I've outlined. I'm happy with 160hp but a 180hp would be that much better in terms of takeoff distances and load capacity. Doing the conversion is very expensive, but get one already done and save the $$. Then you get up-gross of 250 lbs with 180hp, maybe around 200 lbs more useful. While rare, try and get one that already has bigger floats. But nothing wrong with starting off with CAPS/EDOs for learning etc and keep an eye for EDO2130, Wipline 2100 (2350 if you have 180hp), PK2300s, Aqua2200, (or if you're rich, the aerocet 2200s - heard they're working on STC for 172s). Or get an older one, you have the option to go owner maintenance, and get non-cert floats like Peck Aero 2250s, and even other things like running a longer prop like many do.

I've researched and run numbers on 172s and bigger planes to death and I just can't currently justify the large extra cost just for more load. Flying is expensive enough! Maybe some day I'll get an early 180 or something like that... But it will be a purchase on a whim and not based on economics or logic - for my flying needs at least! Don't care what anyone says, 172s are great all-around float planes, just know the limits and see if it works for you!

Not sure where you are in Northern Ont (I'm in Northeastern Ont), but PM me if you want to discuss more than what I've ranted about here!!
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#4 Post by PilotDAR » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:37 am

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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#5 Post by HiFlyChick » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:52 am

Got my float rating quite a few years ago, but haven't flown in quite a few years. After getting the rating, I rented a 170 on floats.... once. On the medium size lake it was based on, it was pretty scary - it took forever to get on the step and climbed like an absolute pig. That was with two of us in it (I can't recall fuel load). Pick carefully
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#6 Post by tps8903 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:45 am

matt17 wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:49 pm
I am hoping that over the next 2-3 weeks I will be completing my RPP on floats. I passed my preflight and written last summer but ran out of time to complete my flight test (was a little disappointing but gave me a reason to force me to do some flying this year). I am hoping that a week or so of flying will get me back up to speed to redo my preflight and be ready for my flight test. Once complete I will be looking to purchase a plane as renting is not a possibility in my location (small town Northern Ontario).

I have been reading and researching and think I have narrowed down my search to a 170/172 on floats, hopefully also with wheel gear as I would like to have that option as well. My goal is to have a good plane (on floats) for 2 people plus some fishing gear for local flights or 2 people and fuel for short (1-200mile) cross countries. I like that the idea of an all metal plane as there is no option for storing in a hanger.

Long term I would love the idea of a 180 as the extra speed/range would open up the possibility of larger loads/longer cross countries but am concerned about the up front costs and increased operating costs of the larger plane/engine.

I am looking for any advice that people would be willing to give as I begin my hopeful path towards plane ownership.
Buy a homebuilt or OM taildragger on floats. It'll save you a lot of $$$, and you will learn a lot more about your plane. Best part is you are not tied to the ridiculous prices of the certified world. I say taildragger because it'll make you a better pilot, if you ever take it off of floats ;)

I did it, rebuilt a plane, got my licence on it, and have never looked back. Great decision. I ended up getting my CPL, SMELS. I sold my airplane recently. All in, about 20K for training. Less than half of what my buddies paid to do everything the conventional way. (I did multi engine stuff on a rented plane)
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#7 Post by TeePeeCreeper » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:43 pm

Been there, done that.

Get the 180 over a 172 (read ; dog) on floats.

It’s a hell of a good time to be looking to buy one too!


All the best,
TPC
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#8 Post by JasonE » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:50 pm

tps8903 wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:45 am
Buy a homebuilt or OM taildragger on floats. It'll save you a lot of $$$, and you will learn a lot more about your plane. Best part is you are not tied to the ridiculous prices of the certified world. I say taildragger because it'll make you a better pilot, if you ever take it off of floats ;)

I did it, rebuilt a plane, got my licence on it, and have never looked back. Great decision. I ended up getting my CPL, SMELS. I sold my airplane recently. All in, about 20K for training. Less than half of what my buddies paid to do everything the conventional way. (I did multi engine stuff on a rented plane)
This is not for everyone. You need to have a good mechanical understanding of the airplane and how repair/maintain things to an aviation standard. There are plenty of pilots out there that would scare me if they did their own maintenance. Also I don't think I could ever buy an O-M aircraft without either tearing it down or knowing the previous owner well.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#9 Post by matt17 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:56 am

tps8903 wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:45 am
Buy a homebuilt or OM taildragger on floats. It'll save you a lot of $$$, and you will learn a lot more about your plane. Best part is you are not tied to the ridiculous prices of the certified world. I say taildragger because it'll make you a better pilot, if you ever take it off of floats ;)

I did it, rebuilt a plane, got my licence on it, and have never looked back. Great decision. I ended up getting my CPL, SMELS. I sold my airplane recently. All in, about 20K for training. Less than half of what my buddies paid to do everything the conventional way. (I did multi engine stuff on a rented plane)
[/quote]

I have considered this route and have spent a lot of time researching kit built planes but at this point I would rather get something that I can fly right off the bat rather than spending a year or 2 building. OM planes are something I would consider and am fairly mechanically and would likely look to do some of my own work (oil changes and the like that are permitted on certified planes) or working with an AME if allowed. My bigger concern with some of the smaller cub/champ type taildraggers planes is first that most are fabric and I am worried about storing one outdoors long term, my second concern is that most are also tandem seating planes and my wife has expressed a strong preference for side by side seating.

TPC and AR705, it is interesting that you both come down on the 170/172 vs 180 on different sides. An early, well maintained, lower time 180 would be great, certainly much more speed, payload. However this also comes with additional costs, I have looked at the numbers and a 172 would be within the "budget" that is comfortable at this point. A 180, while I could probably budget the purchase price I am worried at this point I would then own a plane that either I couldn't afford to fly (increased insurance and fuel costs) as much as I want.

I have also considered an even smaller plane that on floats would only be for short local flights (chief, C124/140 or even a cub/champ) to keep for a period of time to build some time then try to sell to trade up for a 180, rather than trying to find a 172 that has more capability but not quite as much as I really want. But that adds an additional buy/sell transaction and they stresses associated with it.

Thanks to everyone for the thoughts please keep them coming.

TPC I did not receive a PM from you.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#10 Post by TeePeeCreeper » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:41 am

Sorry. It was in my outbox for some reason....
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#11 Post by tps8903 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:32 pm

matt17 wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:56 am
tps8903 wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:45 am
I have considered this route and have spent a lot of time researching kit built planes but at this point I would rather get something that I can fly right off the bat rather than spending a year or 2 building. OM planes are something I would consider and am fairly mechanically and would likely look to do some of my own work (oil changes and the like that are permitted on certified planes) or working with an AME if allowed. My bigger concern with some of the smaller cub/champ type taildraggers planes is first that most are fabric and I am worried about storing one outdoors long term, my second concern is that most are also tandem seating planes and my wife has expressed a strong preference for side by side seating.
Don't worry about storing a fabric airplane outside. Nonsense. Do the math on how many fabric planes live in Alaska/Yukon/NWT vs the number of hangars available. I'll give you a hint. Most 2 seat fabric planes live their entire life outdoors in the north. Not to mention all the floats planes that live outdoors in water all summer in the UV.

The new fabrics are awesome, and if you go homebuilt or OM you can replace it yourself for relatively cheap.

If your mechanically inclined, it's the best way to go.

If you like side by side and aluminum take a look. At a Sonex. You can get them for about $30K.

If you want easy storage get a Kitfox and buy a steel shipping container and fold the wings and put it in the container. Unlimited options.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#12 Post by oldncold » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:23 pm

A really good option to the 180 vs. 172 debate of this thread is 172xp. 195hp fuel injected (one less thing for a new pilot to worry about carb. Ice in the fall on floats)

Has bit more gusto. slightly better useful load good economics there are a few available on the controller and trade a plane sites. Give it some thought as a viable alternative
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#13 Post by peterdillon » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:27 pm

172 with 180 engine is a great place to get started. Easier to qualify for and cheaper insurance, no fuel bladders, 2000 TBO, less fuel, safer while gaining experience. Started my float career with a 180 and couldn't afford so switched back to 172. Half the overall annual cost in my case. Gained a lot of good experience and then went to 185. Quite a different skill level to fly a max gross 180 or 185 than what you will be doing in a 172.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#14 Post by Tanker299 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:31 am

A nicely equipped 172 with the right floats enngine and STCs will more then do the trick. Useful load on them can be 7-800 lbs. the 180 is maybe 900. If you want a year round plane you probably want a nose dragger too. Definitely cheaper on insurance. How often will you have 4 people in the plane? Are they all adults... plus of your annual utilization is low and your not going more then 100nm the second trip might be cheaper. That said lots of 172s on floats that cost a small fortune but I reckon that's because they are cheaper to own. I have flown some nice 172s that easily flew with 3 adults on floats.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#15 Post by Rooster69 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:58 am

I too am looking to purchase an airplane. My want has become a need.

I know I am not smart enough to inspect an airplane myself. Does anyone have any tips on inspecting an airplane that is located too far the bring an AME with me? Should I use the same AME that the current owner uses?


Are there any particular problems with a Lake Buccaneer that I should look out for. Mechanical wise?

Thanks
Mike
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#16 Post by 5x5 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:24 am

I'd recommend for anyone looking to buy an airplane should go to the type specific forum(s) associated with the particular model. There is a wealth of information available and other members who actually own and operate the model you're interested in. Most of the forums have active members and will be very forthcoming with advice, suggestions and information on both the good points and the bad. They don't exist to promote or sell the particular airplane but to support each other in living with the airplane once it's acquired. It will be time very well spent.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#17 Post by PilotDAR » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:13 pm

PM sent Rooster
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#18 Post by MrTurbine » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:22 pm

I’ve flown the C180 and the C172 on floats a bunch in the early days.
If you can pull it off, C180 hands down, no debate. I prefer it over the 185 as well. Buy a good condition aircraft Ofcourse, and it should last you a lifetime. Those airplanes are pretty much bulletproof. And the extra juice and space goes a long way.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#19 Post by matt17 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:50 pm

The more I look at the numbers as much as I want it to the numbers just don’t work on a 180 for me. Now that I have completed my license I am going to really start looking for a 172 on floats. 180hp preferred but may not be feasible. The lake I will be based on has lots of room and will just limit myself to bigger lakes. Would rather have a plane I can afford to fly than one I just have to look at.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#20 Post by waterdog » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:32 pm

Hi matt17, I recently went through the same process and am happy to help. I received a tremendous amount of help from talking over the phone with some great people on this board and am happy to pay it forward.
I too was looking for a float plane that was a reasonable cost and of course could haul as much as I needed. After a tremendous amount of research I purchased a Lake Buccaneer La4-200. There is no question that these planes have their haters, usually people who haven't been in one to be shown what they can do when properly flown. Although you can legally fly it with a float endorsement, I think that you need to consider the 25hr course mandatory for your budget to safely operate the plane. I have an 860lb useful load, with a max gross weight of 2690lbs, can carry 54 gallons of fuel, cruise at 110 mph at 8.4 gph and get off the water loaded, no wind and during this oppressively hot days in under 1500' I track all of my flights on cloud ahoy and have been surprised at the capabilities of these wonderful little planes. I fly the plane off a 2000' crappy asphalt strip, have been to all kinds of grass runways where I needed STOL characteristics and have constantly been amazed what the plane can do.
I have never personally flown a float plane so I certainly have a one sided opinion but with 160hrs on type over the last 15 months I have no regrets with the decision that I made.


If you want help, send me a pm and I am happy to walk you through my experience.

K.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#21 Post by C.W.E. » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:55 pm

For me it would be the Lake Buccaneer hands down.

If you have not flown a flying boat it is imperative you get proper training from someone that is qualified to teach on the lake....

..... flying boats are not float planes as they have vastly different handling qualities.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#22 Post by matt17 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:38 am

Thought I would come back to this thread as it provided a lot of good information previously. I have been keeping my eye out for planes and a few have piqued my interest. The more I look at things I would love to get a 172 with a 180hp engine and bigger floats (Larger than the CAP/EDO2000s) for the increased load. I have yet to come across one that would be in my budget (Not sure if it even would be in budget). However I have come across a few that have either the 180hp conversion or bigger floats. Does anyone feel willing to provide some thoughts on which of these would be more valuable (180hp vs larger than 2000 floats) all else being equal (knowing that no two planes will really ever be exactly the same).
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#23 Post by AR705 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:46 pm

Depends on what you want to do most of the time. Training and flying light with 2 ppl, you don’t need either. But if loaded weight goes up, you want bigger floats first, believe me!! As I said above, went from Cap2000s to aqua 2200s this year. A couple months since my last post and I can say with more authority that it was a good decision!! Plane handles rough water and turns in the wind soo much better. And gets on step right away, even at gross. I would not want 180hp without bigger floats. Won’t be able to use that extra load safely, not to mention the useful load will actually be less as the 180 conversion does add some weight. And floats are stuck at 2220 gross weight max. But, I reiterate, if just starting out and keeping it light, 2000 floats are fine. Get plane with The 180 ho conversion as that costs more than trading up floats. Takes awhile to find bigger floats but you’ll be flying in the meantime and in the end have a great plane! Oh and forgot, usually bigger floats to get you 2550 gross are only stc’d for 180hp. So check that if you go floats before engine.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#24 Post by sheephunter » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:45 pm

Matt17, where exactly is small town Northern Ontario located. Might help with peoples suggestions or options.
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Re: Thinking about plane purchase

#25 Post by oldncold » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:50 pm

have you considered cessna 175 there is a guy in fort mac that has one for sale on floats and there are a couple on the usual websites for sale. though older they have good useful load decent op cost and afforable to buy on tight budget //just my 2 cents, :?: good luck with search
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