Jill Tallman

Time to buy

September 14, 2011 by Jill W. Tallman, Associate Editor

Amy Carpenter and her Piper Dakota

My article on finding and buying a Piper Cherokee 140 brought me a nice tide of letters from our members. I expectedto hear from the Piper crowd, and I did, all of whom welcomed me to the fold. I got an invite to join next year’s Cherokees 2 Osh event. Flying my own airplane into AirVenture is definitely on my to-do list, so that’s an intriguing notion!

Shar Roos plans to learn to fly in this 140.

I also heard from a few puzzled Ercoupe lovers–what do I have against Ercoupes and why did I not buy one? Nothing against Ercoupes, Alons, Air Coupes, or any of the breed, I promise. My reasons were primarily based on payload and space considerations. I want to do animal rescues, and while I could probably plop a dog in the right seat, I’d rather he have a backseat of his own.

Mark Walker's excellent Ercoupe

Mark Walker of Phoenix, Ariz., kindly sent a photo of this beautiful robin’s-egg-blue Ercoupe that he bought with a friend after years of wanting an airplane. “We fly every weekend, weather permitting, and love every minute.” That sounds like an ideal situation to me–an airplane and a good buddy to fly places with. A super-cool footnote: Mark’s Ercoupe was the one Jessica Cox used to become the world’s first armless sport pilot.

I also heard from vintage airplane owners like John Sand, whose 1955 Cessna 170B is all the airplane he wants and needs. “It’s ‘stone simple’ so there isn’t much to go wrong,” he says. “I’ve found that if I keep it clean and change the oil once in awhile it’s like the old Timex watch.” He’s owned it 21 years and doesn’t plan to part with it any time soon.

John Sand's Cessna 170B

Probably most exciting were letters from people who said my story has prompted them to take another look at ownership and the possibilities that exist with purchasing an older airplane. For those of you who still want or need something newer and faster–or if you’re not financially able to purchase an entire airplane–please don’t forget AOPA’s Aircraft Partnership Program. It’s free to register if you are looking for a partnership, and costs $10 per aircraft per month to list a share. And owners: I’m hearing through the grapevine that there are lots of people out there who are interested in buying shares but not as many folks who’ve listed their airplanes. So what are you waiting for, and why are you letting that airplane sit idle if somebody could be helping you to split the costs and fly it?


4 Responses to “Time to buy”

  1. Cheryl Berry Says:

    Welcome to the airplane ownership community. We purchased our 1975 Cessna 150M in 1990 and are still enjoying it. My husband has been a pilot since the 60’s and I got my license four years after purchasing the plane. We are not large people, and have done week long cross countrys together, with adequate gear, and kept it well under gross. It is economical to operate at 4.8 gals per hour, lean cruise. We participate in the annual inspection and do as much maintenance as the regs allow ourselves. The Cessna 150-152 Club is a great source of help and activity suggestions.

  2. Jill Tallman Says:

    Cheryl, sounds like a great airplane and glad to hear you and your husband are enjoying it! Thanks for your comment. –Jill

  3. Cary Alburn Says:

    Jill, I noticed in the article that you were considering adding shoulder harnesses. I highly recommend the BAS inertial reel harnesses with the standard buckle–http://www.basinc-aeromod.com/. That is what I had installed in my 1963 Cessna P172D. Their benefit, especially with manual flaps, is that leaning forward to grab the first notch of flaps is not impeded in any way, but the harnesses will keep you in place if necessary. They’re a bit pricey compared to other harness systems, but you’re paying for the added convenience of the inertial reel system, which in my book is well worth it.

    I like the standard buckle, because it’s less cumbersome to buckle than the “utility” version (which I’m told is primarily for seaplanes for panic egress), and the rotary buckle seems awfully pricey without much benefit.

    Good luck on your “new” airplane!


  4. Jill Tallman Says:

    Cary, thank you for your recommendation. You’re not the only person who has mentioned B.A.S. system and they seem like a fine solution. I do appreciate your points on the buckle and the fact that the harness does not impede the use of flaps.

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