I'm looking at buying an inexpensive plane like a Piper Colt or Tripacer to have for scouting or weekend trips to OK, MO, or SD. I don't think a Piper Colt will be big enough to hold my big lab or deer quarters but I'm not sure. Does anyone on here use these planes for hunting? I figure the guys in Alaska would definitely have some info on this.
I'm not a fan of either especially for long cross country flights, anything more than about an hour... but if you are set on one, I would choose the Tri pacer. The Tri pacer has better performance. Pretty sure the Colt was just a stripped down version of the Tri Pacer with a smaller engine.
My dad flew a Super Cub and/or a Christen Husky for most of his flying career of over 45 years.(for a living, not "necessarily" for fun.) In SD fwiw. I flew with him some and cant imagine doing long cross country flights in one. We had a Bonanza available that we could use for that and at that from the black hills to tulsa it was 3.5 hours minimum. Can't imagine(well I can imagine) doing that trip in a cub. They are pretty tight size wise, but he had a basket that was fabbed that sat underneath the cockpit and we also strapped stuff to the wing struts.
Hi Jason, I'm a pilot and fly mostly ultralights and sport planes although I have float plane and even helicopter training. To get started, I'd say buy a Quicksilver Sprint single seater which you can find for around $5000 used. They fly as slow as 25 mph. Obviously you want to get one in good condition preferably very low hours. Your first step would be to go to a good ultralight school of which there are quite a few, but you may need to go out of state. You would need to take a long vacation of about 2 or 3 weeks to get say 25 hrs. of training (typically flying 2 hrs./day). This would get you very well oriented on the basics of flying and then with your own plane, after you rack up another 50 hrs. (about a years worth of flying for most people) you should be fairly competent in flying basics aside from x-country travel and related radio communications. It's a process. The Quicksilver sprint would just be good for local flights typically within a 25 mile range although you could go much farther with planning. After a year or a few years of this, then consider something like a used Zenith 701 for interstate flights yet with STOL (short take off and landing capabilities). Or for longer flights but less slow an low flying, a used C172 and be had for under 30K. Barnstormers.com is a good source for used planes.
Anyway, I recommend starting with ultralights because it is the least expensive training and really gets you oriented on the basics of airmanship. Get a lot of training, become competent!
Youtube is a good research tool...but going to the larger airshows, is most helpful because you can see all types of planes from trikes to gyrocopters and many types of sport aviation planes including many types of bush planes. The best is Oshkosh but it is so big, it is nuts! My favorite is Sun n' Fun in Florida usually in April. Get a motel rental car and stay 3 days or for the whole show. You will learn more in a few days than daydreaming for years...you can also get trial rides in many types of planes. https://www.flysnf.org/. A smaller airshow but closer to home for you is the MidWest aero show: https://www.midwestlsaexpo.com which I think is typically in Sept.
I probably have between 1500-1700hrs flying as a FM or aircrewman in the back of various CG aircraft...mostly helos. Got a little bit of "stick time" keeping the pilot company in the helo's. I did play with a C-130 and a HU-25 for a spell. Anyway...that is not alot of flt hours actually but ya get a good feel for what's going on with flying in various conditions....IFR, VFR, day/night, approaches, EP's, flt planning, weather checks, comms, etc and some of the traps you can fall into.
I might suggest joining an aviation website and ask those guys. The below is the Warbirds website. Alot of the guys are pilots/owners of F/W aircraft of all types and can offer good insight on the in's/out's of aircraft ownership and type. Good luck...
Elk Yinzer- I have a friend that owns 5,000 acres in OK and I can land on his front yard. Family has a grass strip on the the Missouri farm, and SD has a lot of small airports. I'd have to lease a car or use the free airport car in SD.
David, I'm fairly familiar with the planes you mentioned but I need something a bit bigger. The 172 is a good choice, but the Tripacers are usually cheaper. My sister has several planes, of which I've flown the Cessna 182. I also have the opportunity to purchase a Aeronica Champ, but the owner says it flys really slow and isn't any faster than a cat if there's a headwind.
Be sure you know the "fly and hunt" restrictions for each state. Often you can't hunt the day you fly. AK and MT for sure. Even communicating what you see with guys on the ground who then hunt is illegal.
Jason, if your budget is 20K, something like a used Pacer would be about the limit (other than ultralights). You could put bigger tires on it and maybe VGs (vortex generators) on the wings for adding a bit of safety. With a Pacer you could go interstate and do some aerial scouting although ultralights are better for that.
You could also use the Pacer for flight training. Should be some instructors in Kansas for sure. What's more important than the plane is instruction, IMO...some guys just want to rush through it. I was more interested in mastery or let's say high competence. Lots of insightful information on YouTube. Learn from other people's mistakes and really think about how you can make yourself nearly bulletproof, so to speak. Of course, having a safe plane is part of that, so be careful in buying used and I strongly suggest having a certified mechanic give you a thorough report on a used plane purchase (preferably before the sale!).
Great advice David. My nephew is an A&P mechanic for a living and his dad travels internationally for Cessna as an engineer and A&P. Both are pilots, and both can (and have) build a small plane from the ground up.
I've owned a Cessna 150 for 25 years and it has served me well with no regrets. Just yesterday I flew it to a conference and gave a presentation and mixed in a little aerial scouting on the way home. My flight time was 3.7 hours (including the scouting) and it would have taken me 7 hours to drive there round trip and I wouldn't have been able to do the scouting.
I always figured I would buy a bigger plane after a few years but with limited time to fly I couldn't justify it. I'll retire in 2 months and I'm hoping to buy a Cessna 180, Piper Super Cub or maybe a Cessna 182. I've done some creative things with my 150, like taking 2 bicycles apart and stuffing them in the back so my girlfriend and I could bike around Madeline Island out in Lake Superior.
Personally if you are just starting out, I would skip the ultralight route and just go with something like a Cessna 150. With something like a 150 you might not be in as much of a hurry to trade up. I think it has better resale too because it may appeal to wider range of buyers. If you start with an ultralight you might not get your money back and you might be money ahead by buying something you know you'll keep for a while.
I owned and flew a Cessna Skylane which I used for my hunting trips. Great way to go as getting to hunting country was only a one day flight. However you need to be IFR to really make it work well. Me and all my gear and 80 gallons of fuel and a big bull elk in the back seat area (seats removed) and a cruise speed around 160 mph. It was a ball! allot easier than driving the distance a couple of years!!
I got my pilots license 45 yrs. ago in a Cesna 150 and ultralight training 15 yrs. ago. I really think ultralight training gives the best training for the least expense at least in regard to basic flight. Great for scouting, but not good for long range flying, but that could come later along with radio training and navigation. It can be a bit much for a beginning student pilot with limited time. If you buy an ultralight for 5000, put 100 hrs on it and then ressell it (but why, there will continue to be fun and unbeatable for local scouting), you will have gotten a tremendous value in training.
I wouldn't waste a dime on Ultralight training unless that's what you're planning on flying and all you're interested in doing is boring holes in the air close to the airport. You won't get any real cross country time and little valuable instrument training. You may never become IFR rated but it's still good to have some proficiency with a scan and procedures.
Yes the Cessna 182 Skylane is a great all around plane and that's one of the reasons I'm considering one for my next plane. But that being said, a 182 is way above the price range the OP is considering...
Pacer is a highly underrated bush plane, especially for the price. Lots of STC'd mods for them too.
If you're a bit handy and mechanical, experimental opens up a great deal of options. Highlanders, SuperStol and Kitfox, etc. are great off airport performers. Right now experimental is blowing the doors off certified craft in performance..... upgrades and mods are wide open and half the cost. You can do all your own work and annuals are a snap. Just can't do commercial flying with it.
Certified planes are expensive.... even if they're just sitting on the ground doing nothing.....
I've had a J3 Cub, Super Cub with the 150hp up front, both on floats, learned on the 150's and 152's wheeled aircraft, flown plenty of float hours in the 180 with a 230hp, 185 300hp on floats and Beavers on floats. The smaller Cessna's are lower maintenance compared to a fabric airframe and I'd love a Cub again if I could be guaranteed no headwind. The Super Cub gave me just over 100hp where the J3 only 60hp.
There was a period of time when most of the flying I did was at night. I was flying charter flights. It was generally film for the covers of Time Magazine, Newsweek etc. it was being delivered to the various printers. The flight would leave from CT, go to Long Island NY a couple of airports in PA, then to Buffalo NY and Toronto Canada and back to CT. It was about a 6 hour round trip. Usually left about 6 pm or so Generally did that in a Piper PA 32-R-300. Occasionally in a Cessna 182. I used to like night flying.
I do not fly but was reading your thread out of curiosity. Check out the 'Trade a Plane' web site for models and pricing. Looks like to spend $20,000 one might have to purchase a plane, with some get up and go and some extra space for dogs, models going back to the 1970s.
Thorton, I fly about 70-100 hrs/year. Often times to our family farm in MO, from my home in N IL. You need to clearly define your "mission". There are more choices than you can count and you need to decide what is important to you, i.e. Payload (total weight to carry), # passengers, speed, stability, landing surfaces (grass strips or paved), distance traveled, etc.
These decisions will define your primary mission (what you will do 80% of the time), then you can choose a plane that fits the bill. For instance, I am currently flying a PA28-200 Piper arrow. This is a "cross country" plane that has a great payload. My mission has changed a bit and this plane is a bit of overkill for my mission.
The other think I would recommend is to seek a partnership or flying club that will let you keep the plane away from your home base for a period of time. Partnerships help to offset the costs.
$20K will limit the type of aircraft you fly, however that is not to say it will not fit your mission. Send me a PM with any questions.
"I wouldn't waste a dime on Ultralight training unless I wouldn't waste a dime on Ultralight training unless that's what you're planning on flying and all you're interested in doing is boring holes in the air close to the airport." Rather a narrow opinion. I have training in general aviation aircraft, sport pilot aircraft, weight shift trikes, 3 axis ultralights, float plane, tail dragger, gyrocopter and helicopter. IMO, ultra light training gives the best bang for the buck on flying the plane than anything else. For starters, you probably will get to do twice as many take off (if not more) and landings per hour of training simply because the pattern altitude is much lower and the landing and takeoff distances are so much less. It also gives invaluable experience in flying low and slow for those who eventually want to become something of a bush pilot.
Secondly, the very low price of ultralights allows many people to buy their first aircraft w/o undo expense or delay. Owning your own plane is a huge step in developing your skills and confidence assuming you fly fairly often.
Thirdly, I really think some of the Asian commercial air crashes stem in part because those pilots don't have much "seat of the pants" flying experience and when the plane's computer malfunctions, they are almost at a loss as how to actually fly an airplane. Training has often become too cerebral if that makes sense.
I agree, however, that ultralight training by itself is often lacking in longer cross country training and navigation even though some ultralights have been flown across the USA and even much longer distances. E.g. from South Africa to the tip of South America. Think about that route! I think a bit of cross country navigation skills were used...
Here's a pic of Norman Surplus, myself, and Aussie friend at the Angeles City Flying Club in the Philippines. He started in Ireland. Norman flew his little gyroplane (gyrocopter) completely around the world except for Russia where he was unable to get a permit. Perhaps getting off topic a bit, but little planes can do a lot...and go far...
Fun Racer in Arizona...gawd what a scouting tool...the thing is, it's almost impossible to spin a Fun Racer no matter how tight and steep your turn...that plus the extreme slow flight capability make the Racer arguably one of the safest planes ever made despite the "lawn chair" appearance. Do you know what has killed countless bush pilots while scouting? The dreaded moose stall/spin...don't know what that is? You should if you intend to use your plane for scouting...
My son is a commercial pilot for a large business. Fly's a Cessna CJ4 for a living and has many 1000's of hours. Most dangerous pilots out there are privates with 1000 hours. They know just enough to get themselves in trouble. Be careful out there.
For the OP's purpose, tri-state trips and scouting low & slow, the Colt or Tri-Pacer would be OK. I happen to have a Cessna 150, roughly similar to those Pipers, and its perfectly OK for such use, and not terrible for longer trips - just kinda slow (but faster than a car). It sure won't carry a moose carcass though. You can likely find a decent one for 20 K. However, I STRONGLY support the previous suggestion of going Experimental, even if you have no intention of doing maintenance yourself, this opens up tons of options for the owner/operator.
JusPassin, I think that's an unfair and somewhat arrogant statement. 1000 hours is a respectable number of hours. 1000 hours in a plane flying 100 mph is 100,000 miles which is enough to fly around the world 4 times. There would be a lot of takeoff and landings, biennial reviews, practice, etc in those 1000 hours. By the time a private pilot has accumulated 1000 hours he/she is pretty proficient and safe, assuming the pilot was a safe individual to start with. I'm not sure but I don't think a pilot even needs 1000 hours for some commercial operations. I'm sure somebody will correct me if I'm wrong.
I have a friend who is an Airbus Captain for Delta airlines he corroborated some of the statements above that a lot of the young commercial pilots don't do much actual flying, they're all about pushing buttons and letting the computer do the work rather than actually flying the plane. Some of that may have contributed to the recent Boeing 737 crashes. He said I have more hands-on flying when I'm flying my little 150.
Actually the Tri Pacer performance numbers are along the lines of the Cessna 172 and in many cases better performance with the 150 and 160 hp Lycomings. They are also a 4 place rather than the 150's 2 place and 100 HP
this is a cool thread,,,,, I do not fly buy my buddy does, and still flys a turbo prop for a private company, to customers that rent it for business trips etc. When we go out he has a Cessna, something like Cheeseheads, not sure what model,,,,,,
I thought about this one but discovered its payload is like 300lbs. The kitfox II or III holds more im told. Lots of stories about these things crashing. Apparently the snowmobile engine needs warmed up correctly or the expansion of metals in the cylinder,piston locks them up and you crash
The 532 is not the best engine...the Rotax 912 would be the engine of choice here and it's a very good engine, one of the best ever. The KitFoxes are safe planes but poor piloting is another matter. This one would be underpowered, IMO.
Thornton, you seem to be pretty familiar with the aviation scene, but maybe some others reading along might consider that the initial cost of the airplane is just the tip of the iceberg. I've owned my little Cessna 7 years now, and the original 22K purchase price has been more or less lost in the financial "noise" of the ownership experience. There are actual operation costs, X dollars per hour, as well as the fixed costs, like hangar rent and insurance. Plus there are some other expenses like keeping the GPS database and iPad apps updated. Let alone the inevitable cost of upgrading stuff just because you want to. Anyway, the airplane will provide many more opportunities than just scouting for game, so get the fastest, biggest one you can possibly afford - in a few years, you will have forgotten about that extra ten or twenty grand you spent on that (first) plane.
Some of the kitfoxes, superstols etc. get balled up because they are much like a dirt bike with wings..... bought/built for that purpose and flown with that purpose. Big tires are for dirt, not pavement. I remember someone saying it cost them about $15 in tire wear every asphalt landing with their 35" AK bushwheels....they run about $2000.... per tire....
Depending on the build many of the kitfoxes, etc can have about a 700 lb payload. That's not too far behind a super cub at less than half the cost and maybe a 1/3 of the operating costs. I know more than a few that have flown out moose off a gravel bar. Just takes an extra trip or three. Most cubs will have to take an extra trip or two as well. No big deal, not like you're packing it out on your back or anything..... and not like anybody is charging them per flight.... just some time and fuel.
Dirt stabber- wise words. Multiple aviators in my family from a Cold War F4 Phantom pilot to several members that own Cessnas and Tsylorcrafts. That's why I've held off because I've watched and learned since I was a kid.My sister owns a large hangar on 160 acres and her husband and my nephew are A&P mechanics and engineers. If and when I buy, my annuals should be cheap.
great info,,,, my buddy who flies me around, I told him about this site...He just laughed and said, no one talks about MAINTENANCE AND THE COST.... He was trained in the Air Force, has kept us with it, and for him working on his Cessna, is like me working on my tundra........ It is the maintenance that keeps you in the air, and its a cost factor also, plus hanger rental.....
This summer he wants me, at 70 to learn how to fly,,,,, I told him I would,,, life is short
There is some sticker shock involved with airplane parts because almost every part has to be certified, which adds significantly to the cost.
That being said, I believe I'm on my 3rd mechanic who does my annual inspections on my plane. I've had great relationships with the last 2 mechanics which have spanned approximately the last 20 years. I'm very mechanical and restore old cars from the ground up including engine rebuilding, interior, drivetrain, bodywork, paint, etc. so there's not much I can't do with a wrench and my mechanic is aware of it. My current mechanic as well as the previous one have allowed me to assist with my annual inspections. We work side by side and disassemble the parts of the plane that need to be disassembled, I clean spark plugs, help with compression checks, remove the seats for inspection of the landing gear attachment points, change my ELT battery, change oil, open and close all inspection covers and panels, help with whatever else needs to be done, etc., etc. My annual inspections take about 4 hours and cost me about $300 if there is nothing wrong or nothing that needs to be replaced. I think my most expensive annual inspection in 25 years was about $1000. Again the money I spend on my plane is a lot less than what my buddy spends on a new turbo, etc. for his snowmobile. One of the benefits of assisting with maintenance of your plane is the increased understanding of the systems and mechanics of the plane, which could be useful in the event of a mechanical emergency or issue.
My hangar rent is $125/month in a big beautiful clean heated hangar. For years I got by with $50/month in crappy dirty hangar with no electricity, but it was cheap.
My insurance is less than $500 per year.
So my total fixed costs are about $2300 per year or close to $200 month. Personally I don't think that's a bad price for the pride, enjoyment, freedom and adventure of owning an airplane. I'm sure I spend more than that each year on hunting licenses and out of state tags...
Also, I bought my plane and got my license 25 years ago when my income was about 1/3 of what it is today. There were some tight times and some painful expenses but I have zero regrets.
Indecently, my very good friend who sold me my plane and provided me with the opportunity to become a pilot died a week ago of pancreatic cancer at the age of 66. Life is short guys... live!
Just need some larger tires and the landing areas are endless. I flew in one a few months ago. Very good workmanship and very impressive. With the new Rotax 915 engine, the combination should be impressive esp. at high altitudes. Many engine choices, actually.
Like they say, sex is a substitute for flying! I enjoyed the long crosscountry flights as much as the successful elk hunts that resulted. Some were quite exciting to put it mildly. Flying above the clouds at night quite the trip! (Commercial trained and instrument rated) By the way I knew of a Jim Ford who was a famous sheep hunter of the world! He would fly his super cub with tundra tires to Alaska and go straight to sheep country, land and hunt, maybe not the same day, but wow! unfortunately he flew into a granite cloud scouting sheep in Montana. Be careful!