Bucket list advice

Sundancer

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I have an idea germinating - buying an airplane on the west coast and flying it back home to coastal NC. Preferable an inexpensive (by aviation standards) SEL aircraft. Once home I'll likely sell it - giving up on my intent to own my own - I'm in a club, and that'll have to do for now.

I don't have a tailwheel endorsement - but adding that really opens up the market, espeically at the low end. I have about a thousand hours and an intrument rating, but for this I don't even need an electrical system. Shoot holes in this idea? And reccomend some relatively benign-handling tail draggers?
 
Bad idea. Lot's of unintended consequences and unforeseen expenses. Only buy if you plan to keep an airplane for a long time.
 
The only thing I’d recommend is to spend some time at the departure location shaking down the plane and preparing for the journey.

I’d also start planning the journey using J-3 data to get an idea what to expect. Good luck.
 
I see all sorts of potential issues.... the plane wouldn't be set up how you'd want it...I mean little trivial comfort things...but also, even if airworthy, might be out of rig or have any number of known and/or unknown squawks... etc...
I think my preference personally would be to get something more local....have some time to fly it, learn it's little idiosyncrasies, sort out any issues and verify dependability in my own mind just to build a little confidence...then set out on a big loop round-robin...or I suppose fly it out then hand off to a broker to sell for me (if you didn't want to loop home and just wanted to sell it) ....
 
What exactly is the bucket list item? To make a coast-to-coast trip? If so, your time, money, and effort may be better spent taking a club plane and making it a round trip.
 
A flight of passage, huh?

I can say from experience that a long cross country in a just purchased airplane is a very stressful thing. In my case it was just 1000 miles (Memphis to CT) in an unfamiliar and demanding airplane, with mechanical problems (some undiagnosed until I got home), some bad weather, took 4 days and 3 nights camping under the wing. But yeah, an unforgettable experience.

Waiting for the fog to lift in PA, halfway home:
1700502522040.png
 
A cross country flight can be frustrating if your trying to keep a schedule ,weather is not your friend. The value of the airplane could decrease depending on the use or abuse the airplane suffers on the flight.
 
Also consider that there are some huge mountains between here and yonder and they are full of hungry bears ... :biggrin:
 
It sounds like a real adventure. I say do it. However, these things are also a consideration:
- once you find your target aircraft, you should go out there and fly it, pre buy, verify its as advertise. Hotels, airfare, car rentals, pre buy inspection costs can add up.
-insurance will have to be set up…will you have 10-20 hours in make/model? That may be a requirement.
- if you take a loan, closing costs, fees, the time to jump through all their hoops, adds up.
You probably won’t gain much if anything when you sell it, but it would be a lot of fun for someone who is pretty laid back.
 
Acquiring a new-to-you airplane comes with a lot of cost, both money and time. Sales/use tax (depending on which State you live in) and a thorough pre-buy inspection add up. Each airplane has certain squawks, hopefully mostly minor but you need to know what they are (which you won't until you fly it for a while). Taking ownership of a used airplane and then taking it on a long cross country flight right away, on a schedule no less, is not my idea of fun - there's just so much that can go wrong.

Is there maybe another club member who is interested in this, too? That way, each of you could do the trip one-way in a familiar airplane.

- Martin
 
Had the same general bucket list, except mine included building my own plane. Got to do it 2 years ago (VFR).

It was an adventure I will never forget. It was also way more stressful and complicated than I thought it would be. Weather delays seemed constant in my low and slow airplane.

I wrote a blog of my trip just so I could remember it. I'm so glad I did because I really enjoy going back and reading it. So many details I would have forgotten!

You can read about my trip here. Select the arrow to the left when you get to the bottom of the first post to continue following.
 
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I like the bucket list item flying coast-to-coast, but I think you'll get even more enjoyment if you rent.

Buying a plane for 1 trip, even an inexpensive plane, would be intensely stressful. I think the buying process and costs alone would sap a lot of the romanticism of the trip (prebuy inspection(s)/sales tax/any improvements to make it truly XC ready/insurance/etc). Doubly so if you know you're just going to land it and sell it -- so the emotional/$ investment of the purchase process is being amortized over a short trip.

But costs aside... The biggest issue I see is that you'll probably be apprehensive launching into the unknown in an unproven plane when you're far away from home. There are a lot of things that have to go right in order for the trip to work out like you're envisioning, and if you have even small mechanical trouble it can be an enormous headache (and expensive). Moreover it can ruin your confidence in the machine and deplete your motivation to complete the voyage.

For a trip like this I'd want a proven aircraft that I have some time in... a "known quantity" so to speak. It doesn't have to be perfect, but I want to know what I'm getting into. Not an aircraft that's brand new to me.
 
I bought a plane (a Maule Mx7-180C) in the Seattle area while living in Northern Virginia. I flew the plane back to Virginia and then realized the mountains on the West Coast were a better place to fly that plane. I wound up selling my house in Virginia and moving back to Washington State where a LOT of backcountry mountain flying is readily available. So, buying a plane on the west coast wound up being a LOT more expensive than I had originally planned. I'm still glad I did it though. The flight was magnificent in both directions, with different routes selected so I could see more of the country on each trip. Here's the video of my flight back to Washington:

The recommendation to do a round trip in a rental club plane makes a lot of sense if you don't plan to keep the plane you buy. Presumably, you wouldn't be solely responsible for any maintenance problems encountered with a club plane on the trip. You would be the only one holding the wallet if a plane you bought had problems along the way. Those unexpected issues can get very expensive very quickly. If you bought a plane to fly home, it is unlikely you would have had a chance to learn all of its quirks before making the trip. Insurance for a new plane will also likely require at least 10 hours of dual, so factor that cost in. Finally, you need to realize that insurance for tailwheel aircraft is considerably more expensive than for tricycle gear planes. The insurers have to worry about landing accidents more in taildraggers than in trikes.

So, the trip is a fun idea, but you need to understand the high costs associated with initial purchase of a new (to you) plane might wind up costing more than a round trip flight in a club plane.
 
Get a commercial rating, offer cross country transport and let someone else pay for your bucket list trip.
 
I have an idea germinating - buying an airplane on the west coast and flying it back home to coastal NC. Preferable an inexpensive (by aviation standards) SEL aircraft. Once home I'll likely sell it - giving up on my intent to own my own - I'm in a club, and that'll have to do for now.

I don't have a tailwheel endorsement - but adding that really opens up the market, espeically at the low end. I have about a thousand hours and an intrument rating, but for this I don't even need an electrical system. Shoot holes in this idea? And reccomend some relatively benign-handling tail draggers?

This is kinda like a riddle: How do I fly a long adventurous cross country with the least restrictions?

My suggestion is to discuss another plane with your Flying Club members.

You purchase the plane in the Flying Club's name and the members proceed to buy it back from you. Then each member now has the opportunity to do their own long cross country flight and if you decide to adventure again you have a plane to do it with. Just set the rules for the aircraft to favor two to ten weeks of continues use. Charge more of a daily fee and less of an hourly.

Example: $100/day or $35/hour which ever is higher. $1000/10 days includes 30 hours of flying.
 
Not done as a bucket list, a friend wanted a J-3, found one in San Diego and flew it home to FL. But he was retired. No schedule, just get there eventually.

But I would not buy a plane for a one way trip like that. A very expensive way to do it. Better would be arrange with the flying club to take a plane for an extended trip. Or find someone who will dry lease their plane.

Just too many expenses and time to buying a plane.
 
Yeah... buying a plane and flying it home can be an epic adventure, but remember that "adventure" is often "bad things happening to other people far away." The best outcome may be a boringly uneventful flight. You ferry a new plane home because it's the best option; I can't see buying a plane just for the ferry experience.

FWIW, the writeup on my flight is here:
 
The same guys telling you not to do it because it doesn’t make financial sense are the same ones spending 20k on a panel upgrade that only adds 5k to their planes value. Who cares if it costs money or if there are less expensive alternatives. If you wanted a cheap cross country flight you would just buy a ticket on a major airline. It’s about the experience and memories you will have forever. I say go for it and post details of the trip on here so we can all read in envy.
 
The folks suggesting taking the club plane have it right. Even if it isn't in the general club rules many will make exceptions. Take a plane you are comfortable in and you know is well sorted. Evening buying a plane that is sold as well sorted, a cheap one won't be, there is a curve to getting things well sorted. Also buying and selling is a huge hassle.

That said, if doing it in your own plane is what will make it special, do it! Just make sure you have the budget ready to handle problems, possibly very costly ones. Every plane is possibly one flight away 10s of thousands in repairs/lost value.

The trip itself is easy. It's just flying and you need to budget plenty of time. If you haven't done mountain flying before have a chat with a CFI about that and take what they say very seriously.
 
A friend here in Florida passed his private checkride, and a couple weeks later took his CFI with him to California where they picked up a plane he’d just bought and flew it home. In the two years since then, he’s flown to all lower 48 states. Except for that first trip, all of it has been solo.
 
There are things I did just for the adventure and experience. I probably would have been better off not doing some of those things, but I did it and have some stories to tell, and a few stories I won't tell.

If I didn't do something because it didn't feel comfortable, I would have led a boring life.

Evel Knievel was once asked if he was scared before a jump. He said something like, ''You're darned tootin' I am scared.'' (ok, family oriented site so expletives deleted) ''but these people came here to see me jump and I am not going to disappoint them.''


It's not the destination, it's the journey. Sometimes, though, it's the mosquitoes.
 
If I didn't do something because it didn't feel comfortable, I would have led a boring life.
:yeahthat:

There's a big difference between a long cross country in a modern(ish) plane (especially a club plane you fly all the time any) and in an unfamiliar old simple plane. The risks are higher for the latter, but so are the rewards.
 
A friend here in Florida passed his private checkride, and a couple weeks later took his CFI with him to California where they picked up a plane he’d just bought and flew it home. In the two years since then, he’s flown to all lower 48 states. Except for that first trip, all of it has been solo.
No one has said to not buy a plane and fly it home. It is the buy the plane, fly it home, then SELL IT, that is causing the negative reaction.

A lot of hoops and expenses to do it this way. So most people are recommending to not do it. But no one said it can't be done, if the OP really wants to.

I bought my plane, went to Houston to pick it up from where the pre-buy was done. Did 5.5 hours with a transition instructor (insurance required 5 dual), then did a 3 hops 1137 nm trip bringing it home. Great fun. So I won't even say that buying a plane and flying it across the country is necessary a bad thing maintenance wise
 
Thanks all - and the benign tail-dragger? I'd see getting the endorsement ahead of time, this winter, then getting some dual in the airplane at the sales location before heading back. . .
 
Thanks all - and the benign tail-dragger? I'd see getting the endorsement ahead of time, this winter, then getting some dual in the airplane at the sales location before heading back. . .
Most of the classic taildraggers (Cub, Champ, T-Craft, Interstate, C-120/140, etc.) are pretty benign. Luscombe has a reputation for being a bit squirrelier but not too bad. Experimentals, especially the small biplanes, vary a lot more. My Hatz is as easy to land as a Cub; the Starduster (which I jumped into with no dual, as it had only one seat), not so much. A Pitts does exactly what you tell it to but it does it RIGHT NOW.
 
Thanks! I hadn't heard of Interstate - new one on me. I'd be looking for something with a metal wing/spar . .
 
Also consider that there are some huge mountains between here and yonder and they are full of hungry bears ... :biggrin:
Go in the winter, they are sleeping! Uh, but the wolves are not… hmmm.
 
I'd be looking for something with a metal wing/spar . .
Why? Nothing wrong with a wood spar, most of the classic light planes (Cub, T-Craft, Champ, etc.) had them. Hmmm, come to think of it, except for a couple of ultralights, I've never owned a plane that didn't have a wood spar.
 
The stress life of wood is INFINITE. The stress life of aluminum is FINITE. Steel, it depends…

of course nothing is that simple… but don’t be afraid of wood spars. They perform well and are absolutely inspectable.
 
They are some issues with wood spars in some aircraft. We pulled the covering off a 7KCAB and found one of the spars was stamped REJECTED.

While fatigue life is infinite, it doesn't mean there cannot be issues based on design and stress points. You can get areas that crush.
 
My dad always said getting a will was on his bucket list.
 
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