How to 'buy and fly' cheap in 2022?

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rv7charlie

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The insurance thing really is a personal choice. Early in my 'career' (still a student pilot) I bought a Dragonfly that was still in its test time (didn't get insurance), and a CFI who was test flying it broke the canard on his 1st landing. I actually sold the wreck for the same amount that I paid for the plane. After I got my license, I bought a T-18 & didn't insure it, and lost it to a tornado. I was able to recover roughly half the purchase price by selling the engine and airframe separately. But in the interval from around 1990 (the Dragonfly) to about 3 years ago, I saved about $25,000 in hull premiums. I went into both a/c with my eyes wide open, knowing that if I lost them it would take me a year (or 3, or 4) to recover enough financially to buy another a/c. The decision worked for me; it may not work for you. Every person's financial situation is different, and everyone's risk tolerance is different, from a purely psychological standpoint.

edit: I should clarify that after the T-18 incident (ended up about 50-75 feet away from its tiedown spot), I did decide that liability was a good idea.

If all you care about is getting in the air, a lot of 'ultralite-like' a/c are available for well under your budget. The Kolb Twinstar Mk 3s with Rotax 912s would be worth a look. Wings fold so a trailer would be an option. There are many other 'really lite' 2 seaters out there, too.
 
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blane.c

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I never flew my own plane with any insurance. It wouldn't be allowed anymore anywhere now I am sure, I mean what if you run into someone's jet with your propeller on the ramp? Who is going to pay for that? But you'll never see what I saw either, because it is gone.
 

BBerson

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Context… it seems your comment might have been built on top of an earlier comment, but it’s hard to tell which one. Was your comment based on another, or was it meant as a means to solicit a sale once you have chosen a model you want to buy?
Yes. The thread title is asking “how to buy a cheap airplane“. I provided my method that worked for me.
When an owner receives an offer to buy a specific model by mail, it is a simple option for him to sell. You as the buyer can offer less because they have no other offers for the airplane. They could get more with significant sale effort but some just take a cut to get rid of it. Ask for the price on the first card. I picked the least cost airplane of the three (about half of the other two) because I do restoration.
 
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jedi

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I did. But it needs to be restored again after 30 years and I doubt I will do it again at my age. If I received a card in the mail I would sell it cheap.

If any of you are interested in BBerson's Grobe contact me and I will assist you in making the right decisions and getting flight instruction towards learning to fly it and obtaining your pilot certificate (assuming I can keep my CFI certificate).

A motorglider can be a good choice and if you are not in the Pacific Northwest I believe there is another Grobe in Florida that the post card thing may work on.

Finding the right CFI is a good portion of the equation. You want to avoid the setbacks as the following is just one of many examples.

Dragonfly that was still in its test time (didn't get insurance), and a CFI who was test flying it broke the canard on his 1st landing.

Anybody can become a pilot. Just ask and I can advise you on what is best way for you to succeed one step at a time.
 

Pops

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I sold my A152 to a man who sent me a first class letter that started with, “I want to buy your airplane.”


BJC
Reminds me of when I sold my 1959 restored C-172 to a museum in Germany. I get a phone call and first thing they said was, " I want to buy your airplane, how do you want to be paid". My answer was " let me send you some pictures, what is your email address". We went back and forwards with the same question and I sent pictures 3 times. He finally said we have Heritage Aircraft in Rockford , Ill ready to ship it to us. I called Heritage Aircraft and found out that my airplane was one of several the museum was wanting to buy Including some warbirds, so it was a big buck buy.
 
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blane.c

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I was hoping for a little more information on the old motorgliders as to like availability of parts and maintenance because they are attractive but I am ignorant of much about them. Many are two seat, have a Limbach engine and European airframe, they have similar performance to the post war Cubs, Airknockers, Tailercraft etc. but have airframes thirty or forty years newer generally. Most seem like they would have excellent visibility too.
 
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If you're tail-rated, insurance rate differences will converge as you build time. When I had about 25 hrs in trikes & about 250-300 in TW, an underwriter told me that my rates wouldn't be any cheaper for a trike than a TW, if both were RV-x. I agree about liability-only, if you can stand the 'big hit' risk. I flew with only liability for about 20 years, until I finally bought something that was expensive enough that I'd feel the financial pain if it were lost.

If you're willing to go TW, you could add several homebuilts. On the higher performance end, a Thorp T-18 could probably be found in your price range. Multiple Cub-like homebuilt designs, on the lower end of the spectrum.

Jedi is right; unless you get really lucky, you could buy another a/c for the travel expenses going cross-country to look at planes.
I second the T-18 recommendation - but it wont make LSA. A fantastic airplane that requires competency to fly but good mannered.
 

BBerson

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I was hoping for a little more information on the old motorgliders as to like availability of parts and maintenance because they are attractive but I am ignorant of much about them. Many are two seat, have a Limbach engine and European airframe, they have similar performance to the post war Cubs, Airknockers, Tailercraft etc. but have airframes thirty or forty years newer generally. Most seem like they would have excellent visibility too.
Yes, that's right. The doctor I bought it from recommended a VW mechanic, not A&P. He did his own work with VW parts and signed all the annuals himself.
 
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