News: Added Links For Twin Commander and Facebook Pages

Login  |  Register

Author Topic: How much longer realistically...  (Read 419 times)

Kzastrow1

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
How much longer realistically...
« on: February 17, 2019, 10:55:29 am »
....can the 500 be a viable, reliable IFR flying machine?  Having just sold our 421 Iím again looking at options.  I see several 500s for sale in the low $100,000 range.  Are these still viable airplanes?  Is it possible to safely and reliably operate one of these beasts for a similar cost per hour as say a Cessna 310R of equal hull value?  Can any of the legacy 50 year old airplanes still be considered viable without dumping a HUGE amount of $ into them?  I bought our 421 a year ago for 140k.  I just sold it for 140k.  I sold it because I want to simplify.  No more pressurization, no turbos, no fancy glass.  Just want stupid simple systems, reliable engines and a nice cabin that can do 170 knots give or take reliably.   Is that too much to ask for under 150k?  Maybe I should go back to my 112 Commander? 

Kirk

Adam Frisch

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1199
    • Adam Frisch FSF
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2019, 12:49:32 pm »
I think at the bottom end you're gonna have to put some money into them. But you might find one in good shape for $150K. If that translates into reliability, I'm not entirely sure, but ditching turbos and wastegates etc definitely helps. My only experience was with the first 520 model and once the gremlins were sorted out on that one (which took about a year), it was reasonably reliable. Are you planning on a  lot of hard IFR? If so, a de-iced airplane would perhaps be more suitable. 500's with the aftermarket de-iced wings are hard to find and they're almost always 500B's with turbos.
Slumming it in the turboprop world - so you don't have to.

Kzastrow1

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2019, 01:37:13 pm »
Not planning what Iíd call a lot of hard IFR, but I plan to use whatever I end up with to commute from Northern Wisconsin to Chicago once a week from May thru Oct to get to my Airbus driver job.  The rest of the year it will be based in sunny Florida for the occasional Bahamas weekend, etc.  Iíve followed your adventure with great interest Adam and have looked everywhichway to try and justify a 690 or a Mitts (I have lots of Garrett time) but Iím afraid Iím stuck in the piston world.  I flew an SR22 the other day for a couple of hours thinking the fancy panel would make up for all the other shortcomings.  It didnít.  Iíve been spoiled by the 310 and 421 Iíve owned.  Iím slowing coming to the realization that the day of the grand old legacy piston twin has passed.  (Without the willingness to dump vast amounts of money into them of course).  Itís sad really.  I grew up in the heyday of the piston twin.  Guess I just need to stop living in the past and get over it.   

Kirk

donv

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1811
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2019, 01:40:40 pm »
I think the 500 series can be viable for a long, long time. The engines are relatively simple and well supported (and should be for a long time), the airframe is well supported, the airplanes are simple, and unlike Cessna, the airframe manufacturer has no motivation to push you into a new airplane.

I think if the 500 serves your needs, go for it.

I do think about the viability of all the Commanders in the long term-- that's why it really hurts to see one crash or get parted out. But I think for at least the next 10-20 years, we should be fine-- and look at Glenn with his Twin Beech!

Bruce Byerly

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 561
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2019, 11:20:29 pm »
Kirk,

I know we spent a fair bit of time talking about planes previously but I think the planes have a long life ahead of them. But you canít expect to safely fly what would be a about $2MM, if made today, 40-60 year old complicated plane on a low dollar budget. Especially if the plane needs upgrades, which they all do for practical purposes. 

Itís the same situation with the entire aging fleet of GA aircraft. Only Iíd much rather deal with a good 500 and itís quirks than the same on a 310.  To keep any of them reliable requires aggressive maintenance and a fair chunk of change for surprises at inopportune moments. If you expect it, youíll  find it more tolerable. If you look closely at the average 310 that hasnít been carefully maintained, I suspect you wouldnít have much change left from $100,000 bill when you get done fixing the corrosion, loose rivets, gear issues, wear on the mounts, etc.  And this is why you donít see the twins on ramps like you used to. Very few owners are doing what it takes to maintain the older planes in my experience.  They are just consuming the last bit of life the planes have to give.  By the time they are willing to sell, thereís not much worth buying.

To your question; There are a couple $150,000 planes available that you can buy now. The planes are good values, current, cared for, and which will give the next owner great service and something to build on.  But they donít have fancy glass panels, etc.  I looked at another ď$150,000 planeĒ awhile back because thatís about all I too had to spend. But it would have taken another $150,000 out of pocket on day one before I would fly it.  I think someone paid $150k for it, likely not prepared for the inevitable.

Anyway, I fly mine IFR fairly regularly.  So far this year; about 25 flights, 40 hours, 2 magnetos, 30 quarts of oil, 1,100 gal avgas, 1 Aspen Synthetic vision upgrade, etc. 

Good times!

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N6224X/history/20190214/0000Z/KPIA/KGNV




 

   
 

Kzastrow1

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2019, 08:47:08 am »
Bruce,

Your B is definitely a head turner.  I guess the ďBĒ in the 500 stands for beautiful?  I have a long layover in KC Wednesday and Iím hoping to spend some time over at Central Air if the director of maintenance or chief pilot will have me.  Hoping to just spend some time looking at one of their 500Bs if they have one in the hangar opened up.   You donít happen to have a contact over there do you?

Kirk

Steve binnette

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 390
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2019, 12:11:13 pm »
I love the 500s.  They are a stout, simple traveling machine. Although they do need to be flown.   The ones at central air have the advantage of flying most nights.

As you know any twin will have twin costs.  Two of everything along with retractable gear, CS props will add cost no matter how reliable.

You also might find that the glass panel is a more reliable and a cheaper option to repair when  instruments fail.

My WAG to operate a clean 500 would be something like $30,000 to $40,000 per year based on a 100 hrs of use.  That is a little more than half of what it took to run my 421.

Any body else have better numbers based on real experience?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 12:35:31 pm by Steve binnette »

Bruce Byerly

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 561
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2019, 02:59:00 pm »
Bruce,

Your B is definitely a head turner.  I guess the ďBĒ in the 500 stands for beautiful?  I have a long layover in KC Wednesday and Iím hoping to spend some time over at Central Air if the director of maintenance or chief pilot will have me.  Hoping to just spend some time looking at one of their 500Bs if they have one in the hangar opened up.   You donít happen to have a contact over there do you?

Kirk

Thanks Kirk.  I believe John Towner still owns Central Air Southwest.   

Adam Frisch

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1199
    • Adam Frisch FSF
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2019, 03:34:17 pm »
Kirk - John Towner's son is running some of it now, I think. Can't remember his name, but I've said hi once when I landed in Kansas. Have a chat with him.
Slumming it in the turboprop world - so you don't have to.

ghancock

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1103
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2019, 08:24:09 am »
Andrew Towner is the sons name. 
--glenn
You can't win an argument with an ignorant person,  they'll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

Badger

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2019, 11:58:19 am »
I absolutely love my 500B.  It flies great and even with ancient round gauges, I am very comfortable flying approaches into lower ceilings.  Now, I do not have any icing capabilities, so I stay away from that kind of weather.  My 500B has cost me a few dollars over the years to overhaul engines, repair skin issues (Glenn is very away of that...I paid for that work twice), and now completely redoing the interior.  It is still one of my favorite airplanes ever.  I fly as much as I can...and am chomping at the bit to get her back from the interior work.  By the way, John Towner's maintenance shop does all of my maintenance and inspections...probably one reason she flies so well and is so reliable.  It is a 3+ hour flight up to Mosby, Missouri, but it is totally worth it. 

Here is one of my favorite photos of the girl.  As you can imagine, I have more photos of 500GW than I do of my family!!  ;-)

Ed

SKYFLYER

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 421
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2019, 03:19:57 pm »
Where are the "CAUTION WET PAINT" signs...  Paint looks awesome










Badger

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
Re: How much longer realistically...
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2019, 03:37:16 pm »
Thank you.   Paint is not new, but has held its own for quite a few years....
Ed