Making the move to multi

Discussions about buying and owning your own plane.
Traveler
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:51 pm

Making the move to multi

Postby Traveler » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:11 am

I have rudely failed to introduce myself for some time but I have been enjoying this forum and the podcast.

My name is Eliot, I live in Northern Virginia and am based a KJYO (Leesburg, VA).

I am currently the very proud owner of a Grumman AA5 which I adore. Life requirements, and business changes have me looking seriously a making the move to a multi-engine aircraft, primarily for redundancy overwater and mountains.

Im curious what feedback folks have on the difficulty of making the transition. I have already hammered out the insurance stuff, I am more concerned with the practical differences.

Looking at either a Baby Baron (55) or a Twin Comanche

...finally, if anyone is interested in a really stunning and VERY low time IFR Grumman let me know.

Jeb
Posts: 179
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:18 pm

Re: Making the move to multi

Postby Jeb » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:41 am

Eliot:

Welcome!

I think the biggest problem you'll have in the transition, after paying the bills :D , will be staying ahead of the airplane. Sometimes, you'll be moving twice as fast; most of the time at least half again as fast. Thinking far enough ahead to manage weather, descents and approaches will be the greatest initial challenge. After a few hours, though, you'll be an old pro.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

Jeb

Traveler
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: Making the move to multi

Postby Traveler » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:39 am

Jeb -
Thanks. Any thoughts between the Baron and the Twinkie?

Jeb
Posts: 179
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:18 pm

Re: Making the move to multi

Postby Jeb » Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:00 pm

Of those two choices, Baron. Hands down...

The Twinkie has bullet-proof engines but is long out of production. Don't know about parts availability/interchangeability. Or ADs. It's smaller and more efficient, but also slower, has less ground clearance and, I'd guess, similar SE performance at gross. Maybe worse. And a Baron will carry more.

The 58 Baron is still in production (if barely...) and there are a lot of 55s out there.

Don't overlook the C303/310, or the Beech Travelair (also bullet-proof engines). And while we're on the topic of efficient twins (an oxymoron, of course), there's the Cougar (might be an easier transition from the AA5). I'd stay away from 337s -- problematic wings, noisy and expensive to work on. Its engines aren't the best, either.

55 Barons come in 470/520/550 (STC'd) flavors, and with a wide range of time/equipment.

And if you really want it to get interesting, check out the 56 Baron, Navajo/Chieftain and 400-series Cessnas.

One of my favorite stories from working the line at my local airport involved a local company operating a Twinkie. I knew the pilot. One day, someone said, "Hey did you hear about so-and-so? They lost all the electrics going into Miami last week" "What did they do?" I asked.

"Bought a Baron" was the answer...

Jeb

Traveler
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: Making the move to multi

Postby Traveler » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:29 pm

Thanks Jeb -
I am moving in the direction of a Baron too.

Know any good Beech mechanics in the NC area (plane is based there right now).

Anyone want to buy a Grumman?

Jeb
Posts: 179
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:18 pm

Re: Making the move to multi

Postby Jeb » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:47 pm

Eliot:

Best guy for a pre-buy of any Beech piston I know is in DC, Adrian Eichhorn, who formerly based his pristine P35 at JYO; it's now at HEF. Logistics might be an issue...

In NC, Stevens Aviation (RDU?/CLT?/GSO?) is a long-time Beech dealer. Dunno if they do pre-buys...

Let me know if you need Eichhorn's contact info...

Jeb

Traveler
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: Making the move to multi

Postby Traveler » Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:43 pm

Jeb -
Contact information would be most helpful.

Since you are a former DC-ite do you have a suggestion for a regular shop for Beech stuff? I know Tracy but other than that?

Also, in the process I am going to re-base to HEF - anything worth knowing?

Thanks

AdamFrisch
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:54 am

Re: Making the move to multi

Postby AdamFrisch » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:51 am

I'm a pretty low time pilot and I moved straight into twin ownership (I not even instrument rated yet). It wasn't planned that way, but then an old Aero Commander came along and got on my good side ;). Everyone thought I was nuts for buying a twin as a first aircraft, but why not?

Was it a handful in the beginning? Yes, a little. And so big! But I was surprised at how quickly one adapts to the higher workload, faster pace and size. After about 3hrs, I got the hang of it. But it took about 20 hrs to get truly comfortable. Now she feels simpler to fly than a C172 - it's amazing how quickly you adapt. It also helps that her systems are dead easy (no fiddling with tanks or mixtures etc), so the workload is actually less than it would be in a CS high end single. It's a great aircraft, she combines backcountry, rugged, bush-flying with cabin class travelling. I can go where most other twins would not - grass, gravel, doesn't matter.

So Twin ownership has been great for me, as I'm basically a nervous flier. I've done numerous long xcountries with it and all of a sudden daytime mountain flying doesn't warrant huge detours - now I can go direct :D . That said, I flew back from Chicago to LA just last month, and had to complete the last hr in darkness over the Sierras. That was not very pleasant and I was very nervous (I'll try to avoid mountain flying at night in the future, thanks). When the lights of Palm Springs finally appeared in front of me, I felt like I had been born again!

Obviously, twins are not the cheapest way to get around, but manageable on my income. First year, as you know, you always have a higher bill as you iron out kinks and take care of stuff. I've spent $22K this year, including the annual. So prepare yourself mentally for something similar should you buy an older twin that has had journeyman maintenance. Hopefully be less. Just got the call yesterday that my little broken stiffener in the front wheel well cost another $3800 to fix... But I'm hoping that next year will cost no more than $10K, and that I can live with quite happily. Thankfully, parts are pretty cheap for these old birds (except the engines - they're trouble).

Now, I'm biased of course. But if you can afford an Aero Commander 500A, B, or U (Shrike), you are hard pressed to find a better, more reliable and rugged aircraft. Cabin class 170-180kts long range cruise, roomy, and can still get into tight grass or dirt fields. You simply can't do that with ay other twin except maybe the 337. I would highly recommend them.

Good luck!


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