What is your airplane of choice to own, and why?

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What is your airplane of choice to own, and why?

Posted by Paul Lilly on Jun 4, 2017 2:09 pm

We all have our favorites! But why do we choose them? Is it the utility that matches your mission; is it the ramp appeal; was it the model your father owned; or does it just happen to be the one that is available at your local airport? Our paths to our passion likely help influence our choice.

I would like to know! Let's share how we got to where we are today.

I'll start!

I have a V Tail Bonanza as my choice to own. It has the capability of getting me quickly to places my wife and I like to go to, and with the tip tanks, non stop. Of course all Bonanzas do that, but I picked the V Tail model because of it's unique look. I had always been partial be Beech because I trained at a Beech Aero Center in Sundowners and Sierras. The center always had Bonanzas available although I did not fly them during training, I loved to look at them and see them fly. Shortly after my training the Beech Aero Centers closed, but many of the schools kept the planes on leaseback and continued to operate, and I rented them until I could afford my own. My favorite plane to own today, has a lot to do "brand-wise" with where I started a long time ago. Then within that brand finding the model that fit my mission and style.

So what is your favorite airplane to own and why?  Your turn to share!


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Re: What is your airplane of choice to own, and why?

Posted by James Ratichek on Dec 11, 2017 12:05 pm

I gotta say that the Grumman and Cardinal people seem to have this thread =) And it makes sense! I still dont understand why the 172 won out over those two!  I believe in the 80/20 rule - you buy a plane for your 80% use case.  I see a lot of people buying more airplane than they need, or buying a cross country cruiser to fly locally, etc.  I bought a experimental 2-seater, because that fits my 80% use case, and its been a very economical, fast, long-distance, IFR, efficient cruiser and fun as well! I can rent or borrow a 4 or 6 seater when I need that, but mine is so much lower cost and faster that it is well worth it.

Re: What is your airplane of choice to own, and why?

Posted by David Pafford on Dec 11, 2017 12:43 pm

While I agree in principle with most of what James has said in the previous post, that "80/20" thing only works if you live in an area where higher performance rentals are readily available. It is a 75 minute drive from where I live to ANY place that even rents a couple of Warriors, so I pretty much have to own what I'm going to fly with any regularity. As GA sadly becomes more and more of an "old man's sport," it is also becoming less and less accessible across the board. Unless you live in a major metropolitan area, it is quite likely that you'll have to own whatever it is you plan to fly. In that case, owning what you need becomes more like the question of whether or not you should buy a 4 wheel drive - you may only need it twice a year, but when you need it, you need it. 
Finances, of course dictate all. So I, too, have a Grumman Tiger, which is IMO the best of the simple singles in terms of performance, visibility, economy, and just plain fun. And I can fill the seats if I fuel to the tabs. But I can't get my family of 8 in there, and can't afford anything that would haul them all. I do love flying the Tiger, though. I have also owned a Tri-Pacer, and an M20E. The Tri-Pacer was all I could afford when I bought it, and had great fun flying it from Winterhaven, FL to North Pole, AK. I loved the Mooney, and flew it all over the CONUS before I had any kids. And I'm truly enjoying the Tiger now, just with a couple of kids at a time!

Re: What is your airplane of choice to own, and why?

Posted by Dane Skelton on Dec 11, 2017 3:01 pm

James Ratichek:
I gotta say that the Grumman and Cardinal people seem to have this thread =) And it makes sense! I still dont understand why the 172 won out over those two!  I believe in the 80/20 rule - you buy a plane for your 80% use case.  I see a lot of people buying more airplane than they need, or buying a cross country cruiser to fly locally, etc.  I bought a experimental 2-seater, because that fits my 80% use case, and its been a very economical, fast, long-distance, IFR, efficient cruiser and fun as well! I can rent or borrow a 4 or 6 seater when I need that, but mine is so much lower cost and faster that it is well worth it.

I'm a student pilot (at 57!) and have been dreaming the Grumman dream for some time now. Can't wait to actually fly one. Question: Is entry and egress ever an issue for you?
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Re: What is your airplane of choice to own, and why?

Posted by Peter Kuhns on Dec 11, 2017 5:52 pm

Dane: Entry and egress is cake. Granted, it's a low wing so you have to climb up and I highly recommend a folding step-stool for the hangar just to make exiting the wing easier, but it's still pretty easy to get into a Grumman. MUCH easier than sliding across a co-pilot's seat... 

Re: What is your airplane of choice to own, and why?

Posted by David Pafford on Dec 12, 2017 12:55 pm

Hi Dane,
To me, the Tiger is easier to get into and out of than other airplanes I've owned (Tri-Pacer and Mooney). The low wing is pretty low, and then once you're on the wing, you can just step down onto the seat area. I took my 94 year old grandpa up a couple of weeks back. I gave him a steadying hand, but he got in and out OK. The only danger I saw was that there are a lot of places you aren't supposed to step. So you have to avoid those - that's as much a problem for the young kids as grandpa, though!  
As I'm sure others have pointed out, if you have to get in in the rain, you might get wet.
David