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Newer aircraft mx issues



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 3rd 05, 08:50 PM
SAC
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Default Newer aircraft mx issues

Hello,

I have a question for owners of newer aircraft (5 years or less).

We have a '76 Lance that our club purchased about 9 years ago and it appears
to have been somewhat of a lemon then. I don't think much thought went into
the purchase but I think the price what right. Over the last several years
we have run into some very expensive annuals. We put 250-300 hours/year on
it. Some of the items have been just due to use and worn-out parts that I
don't expect to replace again any time soon. And there are some of the
items that were due to age like belly corrosion, cracks and electrical
quirks. Plus we just has a cracked mount which was just one of those
things.

My question for you new aircraft owners is, what type of high dollar repairs
have you had to deal with even though age is not a factor for you. My
thought is that many of an aircraft's components are life limited and will
have to be addressed at regular intervals even on a new plane. I'm thinking
of items like, vacuum instruments and pumps, starters, alternators, gear
motors, and even radios have issues over time. So if you put the same
250-300 hours on a newer plane, you'll still have some expensive annuals.
(Warrantees excluded)

Am I right to think that? If so, what have you had to replace that
surprised you?

I'm trying to see what can be benefited by swapping out for a newer model
plane, if anything, given the extreme cost difference in price and what we
could get for ours. Not to mention the extreme amounts of money that we've
already put into fixing up what we have that we'll probably never see in a
sale. My gut tells me that aircraft ownership is expensed no matter the age
of your aircraft. I'm sure that our age based items will all be resolved
soon and annuals will be back to average...but when? But if not, just how
long and you justify putting money into an old airframe?

I am very interested in reading about some personal experiences.

Thanks in advance,

Tony


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  #2  
Old July 4th 05, 01:49 PM
Mike Spera
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Default

The missing piece of data on your Lance is its age and TT. You have a
complex retract so you can expect to get stung worse than a simple fixed
gear overall. But, if the airframe is higher time (say over 5000 hours)
or the plane is over 20 years old, stuff is going to be worn out. If you
look at the depreciation curve of a new similar airplane, I think that
number will usually be WAY higher than even your most expensive
annual(s). Sure, you may have fewer major repairs, but the monthly nut
is going to be a killer.

Many owners simply fly an airplane until the mechanic suggests or
insists that some worn or broken part is replaced. If there is a long
period of time with a lax mechanic (or succession of mechanics) that
just do "pencil whip" annuals, someone purchasing that airplane is
really in for some "surprises". To the credit of many mechanics, I
believe they try to get owners to do more than the bare necessities, but
owners won't budge. The bar for what constitutes "airworthiness" appears
pretty low. The concept of upgrading never occurs to many owners because
they don't have the money. They find the lowest priced overhaul for a
given item and think their airplane is "well maintained". Just because
nothing is listed as broken does not necessarily mean the airplane is in
good condition.

More and more I believe that the high price of repairs and upgrades are
driving owners of marginal means to simply "use up" airplanes and sell
them once the laundry list of worn out parts gets too high. Yes, you
have a prebuy done, but that usually does not reveal the many items worn
to the breaking point.

Sad truth is that there are so many inexperienced buyers, that the
airplane "users" always seen to have a ready market. There is a "real
estate" mentality I have observed with many. I would hear: "you buy that
airplane and fly it for xxx hours and you can sell it and get back every
penny you paid". Many count on appreciation to make up for their lack of
maintenance.



Good Luck,
Mike
Hello,

I have a question for owners of newer aircraft (5 years or less).

We have a '76 Lance that our club purchased about 9 years ago and it appears
to have been somewhat of a lemon then. I don't think much thought went into
the purchase but I think the price what right. Over the last several years
we have run into some very expensive annuals. We put 250-300 hours/year on
it. Some of the items have been just due to use and worn-out parts that I
don't expect to replace again any time soon. And there are some of the
items that were due to age like belly corrosion, cracks and electrical
quirks. Plus we just has a cracked mount which was just one of those
things.

My question for you new aircraft owners is, what type of high dollar repairs
have you had to deal with even though age is not a factor for you. My
thought is that many of an aircraft's components are life limited and will
have to be addressed at regular intervals even on a new plane. I'm thinking
of items like, vacuum instruments and pumps, starters, alternators, gear
motors, and even radios have issues over time. So if you put the same
250-300 hours on a newer plane, you'll still have some expensive annuals.
(Warrantees excluded)

Am I right to think that? If so, what have you had to replace that
surprised you?

I'm trying to see what can be benefited by swapping out for a newer model
plane, if anything, given the extreme cost difference in price and what we
could get for ours. Not to mention the extreme amounts of money that we've
already put into fixing up what we have that we'll probably never see in a
sale. My gut tells me that aircraft ownership is expensed no matter the age
of your aircraft. I'm sure that our age based items will all be resolved
soon and annuals will be back to average...but when? But if not, just how
long and you justify putting money into an old airframe?

I am very interested in reading about some personal experiences.

Thanks in advance,

Tony


  #3  
Old July 5th 05, 08:31 PM
Michael
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Posts: n/a
Default

Sad truth is that there are so many inexperienced buyers, that the
airplane "users" always seen to have a ready market.


Or the only market.

Selling a well-maintained airplane is a losing proposition - you've put
in time and money to do the maintenance, but the average buyer has no
clue. He's comparing your airplane to the one that has all sorts of
stuff worn out - and costs 15% less.

Unfortuantely, the way to come out ahead on your airplane is to plan
the sale two or three years in advance (here I'm assuming about 200
hours a year utilization). Get the cheapest repairs possible, do the
absolute minimum, save the money and use to to get a paint job/inerior.
That will sell your airplane and let you get the money out. If you
spent the money on good maintenance, you would never get it back.

Michael

  #4  
Old July 5th 05, 08:53 PM
Doug
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Posts: n/a
Default

If the plane fits your mission there is no sense in changing models.
You buy at retail and sell at wholesale and there are taxes involved in
purchasing. Now that you have fixed it up, keep it. OTOH, if you want
to buy a simpler less expensive plane or a more complicated faster one,
then trade. Like you say with old planes, everything is, on average,
half worn out. One place you can maybe save is to do your own oil
changes and simple maintenance. Also, if any avionics are not being
used or appreciated, take them out when they break instead of repairing
them. Other than that, it is luck and who you have as a mechanic. Right
now the small aircraft market is in a bit of a slump. So it's a good
time to buy, a bad time to sell.

  #5  
Old July 6th 05, 05:59 PM
Montblack
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Posts: n/a
Default

("Doug" wrote)
[snip]
Right now the small aircraft market is in a bit of a slump. So it's a good
time to buy, a bad time to sell.



Older Sport Pilot eligible models (Ercoupes for one) are enjoying a
noticable price hike, since even last summer.


Montblack

 




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