How to 'buy and fly' cheap in 2022?

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

speedracer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
390
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.
I don't believe there's any rule or law that says you have to have any insurance at all. For 33 years I've carried liability only (one mil.) on two different Long EZ's through Avemco. This year the policy was $260.00. No claims ever but of course I didn't mention the 6 (six) forced landings I've had. Two while flying other people's airplanes. How much money has it saved me not carrying hull insurance? Don't know, but I sure wish I'd put that money in the bank. I did fly uninsured for one year to see if it would make me a more careful pilot. It didn't.
 

jedi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Messages
3,500
Location
Sahuarita Arizona, Renton Washington, USA
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.

Upkeep is expensive. Long wings = expensive hanger or outdoor storage.
Outdoor storage = fiberglass deterioration or expensive wing covers.
Feathering prop = additional expense
Aerodynamic clean instillation of an automotive engine = difficulty with routine auto maintenance issues.

I understand some minor engine work requires removal of the engine on some instillations.

Low volume and no longer in production = difficult (expensive) to find some parts.

As noted A&Ps are not familiar. The one in FL mentioned earlier had a required AD note that went unaddressed for a long period of time although there was a known solution.
 

n45bm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Messages
190
Location
Seguin
Certified only one choice 65-67 Cessna 150 (not sure which two years) rear window, manual flaps, straight tail. Need to rework the wonky starter boden wire. Get the most expensive one you can afford as someone else has done all the work.

Why do you want to insure it?

EAB has lots more choices, advantages and disadvantages. More bang for the buck. There are a few I would cross of the list. Move the CX-5 to the top of the list, Zenith down a notch.

In the end what you can find relatively close to home at the right price is what is best.
The number of flying Thatcher CX5's are only a small hand full. Good luck trying to find one.
 

fretman_2

Active Member
Joined
May 19, 2021
Messages
31
If you want to keep your insurance rates and cost per hour down...fly! Fly more than 30 hours a year. The cheapest certified flying you'll do is a Cessna 150...that is if you own it...and actually fly it a lot. Your total cost per hour goes down the more you fly it. I'm fortunate to own my 172. If I fly it 10 hours or 100 hours it's mine and I deal with the cost. I strive to hit around 70 hours per year. I flew 65 hours in 2021. When I started looking at owning, I figured I'd have to fly around 70-80 hours a year to get the cost per hour down to where the lowest local rental price is. Other than looking at that, I don't keep up with hourly cost as I fly to enjoy and as long as I can afford it...I don't care what it cost. My airplane has the STC for auto fuel which I use religiously and that helps with the cost.

Now...my wife likes flying with me and I have to have an aircraft that'll hold both of us, and our overnight gear...plus a dog or two. The 150 we owned was just barely adequate for that. The 172 does that with lots of room and useful load to spare. When discussing the kind of airplane you should get, some people ask you what your mission is...I just told you mine. Buy the airplane for your mission.

If it were only me flying...I'd own an experimental or ultralight. I just want a lazy morning or late afternoon low and slow flight. My mission is different in this case. I just bought plans for the Affordaplane so I can exercise the lazy flying mission when not in the 172. Ultralights are back to basics, but you still have to know what you're doing. The result of a stall/spin accident in a 172 or an ultralight is the same.

I would also recommend getting into your local EAA chapter. I'm a member of both of our local chapters. Those guys are connected and they know how to get the most flying bang for the buck...whether experimental or certified. You can get just about anything through your chapter...mechanics, flight instruction, help with maintenance...you name it.
 

ProfJ

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
6
Different airframes of motor glider keep popping up for sale under 30k, like this one. Most of them have the Limbach engine from what I can gather on the internet they are modified VW engines for aircraft. As you can expect for a 50 foot wingspan they ain't fast.

Anything with a Limbach/Hoffman combo is unlikely to make TBO, and be very expensive when it doesn't. Which is frequently why they are on the market. On the plus size, they are very manageable for tailwheel a/c and if you have a glider license you don't need a tailwheel endorsement to fly them.
 

ProfJ

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
6
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.
Those motorgliders depend a lot on their low drag to get by without much power. The effect is that they have low climb rates which can be scary if you aren't used to it. They are fun though (with 50ft wings and adverse yaw, those pedals aren't footrests...). The only real downside is that you can pretty much forget about using small hangars and some airports charge tiedown by wingspan. Limbach and Hoffman are still operational but any maintenance involving those companies is expensive.
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
11,406
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
I suspect his average $100 hamburger runs will be through or inside the veil (KWHP, KSZP, etc.) and there's more than enough choppy air around this area on a daily basis that his enjoyment/access to flying would be limited greatly in a floater style ultralight or very light LSA. Considering his proximity to the big yellow blob on the chart, I'd really rather see him droning along behind a 4 stroke engine. Certainly not my place to demand or insist, but in my opinion... a VW-based powerplant would be on the minimum end of the reliability spectrum for his use in this area. Something that was dragged along by an A-65 thru O-200 would be the sweet spot considering his fuel flow target.
 

Doran Jaffas

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
622
I want to make sure I'm not missing any good options here...

With plane prices continuing to rise, I'm trying to sort out the best equation for affordable "buy and fly" (and own and operate) options in today's market. I'm thinking LSA and/or EAB. Could go certified, but that's where the prices have soared the most.

Affordable to me means under 30K. 25K would be even better. Need two seats, and I need it to be affordable in every category beyond purchase price: storage, insurance, annual, fuel, and maintenance.

Based on my preliminary research, here's what I think are the best criteria:
- Cheap to insure
- Tricycle gear (cheaper insurance)
- Tie Down-able - so probably all metal or composite(?)
- Low fuel burn (max 5-6gph)
- Can burn auto fuel if needed (saves $1+ per gallon)

This is a "nice to have" that could save even more money:
- ELSA (or SLSA to convert to ELSA) so I can take the light sport course and do my own annual CI's - BUT, I'd still do the first one or two with experienced A&Ps...

All that said, here's what I've found to fit my criteria under 30K for EAB/LSA:
- Sonex/Waiex
- Zenith 601
- Jabiru J160/J170 Calypso
- Thatcher CX-5

In the certified world, all I've seen that fit my criteria are a couple Early C150s or an Ercoupe (with metalized wings)...

Are these my only options?

Please don't take this wrong but if you can't afford a hangar or at least a shared space in a hangar then you may not be able to afford the airplane. The money for a hangar in most cases anyway is the least expensive part but that being said it may not be cheap in your area that's why I suggested a shared space.

You are right to look at Tri gears if you are not endorsed for a conventional gear. There are many options out there in the experimental category that meet your needs. My aircraft is extremely cheap to operate and own. It also has some very good performance for the horsepower. However it is not what I would call short field capable. I do not fly into anything under 2500 feet with any kind of obstacles on each end.
There are many experimental aircraft out there in the two seat category with varying performance that you can get for under 30 and many under 20k that is.
Set the parameters for the type of performance you would like, and I mean realistic performance because we are all dreamers LOL then go from there. There are many people on here that will share their experiences with different types of airplanes and the true cost of ownership with them. The hard part is deciding which one.
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
16,082
Location
Port Townsend WA
The Limbach 1000 hour TBO seems low. But my Limbach only has about 1000 hrs in the 40 years since new (1981).
It gets to 3000 feet in minutes and the rest of the hour flight is engine off! Not much engine time.
Frequent cylinder head work is required about every five years, actually from a combination of lack of use and overheat. VW heads are cheap.
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
16,082
Location
Port Townsend WA
BB have you thought about a one-time STC or field approval for the 80HP Rotax 912? That would turn the Grob into quite a performer, reduce maintenance and fuel burn, etc. I believe some of the 80HP engines are certified.
Rotax is too light. The G109 is already too tail heavy a bit.
The previous owner and I looked at Continental O-200. But after flying it I like the Limbach. It just needs overhaul. I don't have time. I did the motor glider thing for decades. Moving to ultralights.
 

Daleandee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
1,908
Location
SC
I have had offers to sell my plane and it is for sale but the OP said "cheap" so I don't think mine qualifies. OK so it's not for sale but if you really want to buy it just keep on peeling off those FRNs with Franklin's photo on them and I'll let you know when to stop ... 🤗
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
11,512
Location
USA.
'64 was first yr of rear window
'65 was the last yr for manual flaps and straight tail
So those two yrs give you rear window, manual flaps and straight tail
In 1966 Cessna moved the main gear axle back a couple inches making it harder to keep the nose wheel off when landing. Another reason I like the 1965 and older better.
 

raytol

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2021
Messages
215
The Limbach 1000 hour TBO seems low. But my Limbach only has about 1000 hrs in the 40 years since new (1981).
It gets to 3000 feet in minutes and the rest of the hour flight is engine off! Not much engine time.
Frequent cylinder head work is required about every five years, actually from a combination of lack of use and overheat. VW heads are cheap.
I loved my Grob 109 that I bought cheap and did up better than new. I had some great touring flights from Sydney to the "Morning Glory" wave cloud in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Limbach never missed a beat except once when one carburetor diaphragm failed. Not a rocket in climb but patience and skill will eventually be rewarded with height! Very cheap to run and wings are a breeze to remove with it's special frame, wheels stay with the fuselage. I changed the oil cooler to a different position and solved the cooling issues and I had the heads re-conditioned with Limbach long life valves and softer seats. VW parts are cheap and lots of "greybeards" know how to work on them.
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
16,082
Location
Port Townsend WA
wave cloud in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Yep. I was exploring the Chugach mountains of Alaska at midnight and stumbled into wave. Of course, it was June, so still daylight at midnight. But who would ever arrange a tow and launch a glider at midnight? And climbing under power to 12,500 to fly along the side of Mount McKinley (Denali) that towered at 20,320 feet took a while. I did a 50 mile unpowered cross country in some open valley wave in an area no glider would venture. I didn’t have too much problem with overheating.
 
Last edited:

JayKoit

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
114
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Wow, lots of great responses here...

If that’s your primary goal, have you considered a part 103 craft? Lots of fun, especially in SoCal (as long as you aren’t in the class 3 veil). Some have folding wings and they are light enough to load up on a trailer. Definitely a fair weather flyer, but you have an abundance of that where you live.

I totally would consider part 103 - but my two sons would disown me if I bought a single seater that I can't take them up in :)

How to buy?
I sent a wanted to buy postcard to all 30 registered owners of the model. Got three replies.

I've actually thought about this, and it's good to know that some folks have had success with this method...I just didn't want it to come off as weird to any registered owners lol

If the goal is to fly cheap... There is that almost 103 class of aircraft too.

Challenger, titan tornado, rans s-12 etc.

Yes, however if I'm tying down outdoors the Titan may be the only reasonable choice. And I'm adding that to the list. It seems like the safety record of those planes is a little rough though, based on a quick glance at the accident statistics...

The number of flying Thatcher CX5's are only a small hand full. Good luck trying to find one.

Yeah - cool planes, not very many out there yet.

I suspect his average $100 hamburger runs will be through or inside the veil (KWHP, KSZP, etc.) and there's more than enough choppy air around this area on a daily basis that his enjoyment/access to flying would be limited greatly in a floater style ultralight or very light LSA. Considering his proximity to the big yellow blob on the chart, I'd really rather see him droning along behind a 4 stroke engine. Certainly not my place to demand or insist, but in my opinion... a VW-based powerplant would be on the minimum end of the reliability spectrum for his use in this area. Something that was dragged along by an A-65 thru O-200 would be the sweet spot considering his fuel flow target.

VB, you know me too well :) I agree, something too light out of KWHP would not be fun. The 150 I used to own and fly out of there was fine though, so if it's a 1320lb LSA I think that would suffice...
 
Top