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Author Topic: The perfect Commander (for me)  (Read 16120 times)

Adam Frisch

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2015, 02:32:08 am »
It's an old ex-Central Air bird. John Towner flies the shit out of them, but he does take care of them. Some of his 500B's have 20000hr+ on them. Surprised this doesn't have his proprietary TKS de-ice system. But maybe it sold to current owner before he got the STC.
Slumming it in the turboprop world - so you don't have to.

Willis

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2015, 11:08:14 am »
It's an old ex-Central Air bird. John Towner flies the shit out of them, but he does take care of them. Some of his 500B's have 20000hr+ on them. Surprised this doesn't have his proprietary TKS de-ice system. But maybe it sold to current owner before he got the STC.

Im wondering if its worthy of upkeep/restoration or is it an 80 kilo-dollar sink-hole.  Thoughts?

Im also looking at an ex gov't 500B that flew with the USFS; has 11,000 hrs. 
-Bud

Adam Frisch

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2015, 12:34:22 pm »
The USFS plane is going to have done more low level survey work, is my guess. That might sometimes add more stress to the frame. Then again, the other one has 3000hr more on it and was flown in all kinds of weather. But, mainly at night, so perhaps more in smooth air. Again, it's in the midwest where the storms can get pretty rough in the winters.

Basically, I think it's a wash. Only an inspection will be able to tell if there are any issues. But the hrs in themselves I wouldn't be afraid of per se, but you have to be prepared to be its last owner. Once they get up 10000+hrs, even if there's nothing wrong with them at all, buyers perception will make it very hard to get much value out of them when the day comes to sell it. And that day always comes. But if you're happy with that, it can be a good deal.
Slumming it in the turboprop world - so you don't have to.

SKYFLYER

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2015, 01:06:41 pm »
The USFS aircraft might not have actually belonged to the GOVT. but been contracted for thru another operator... as for value I agree with Adam as either one of them will be difficult to sell down the road due to the 10k+ hours not to mention the insurance factor.. Now having said all this.. the Towner aircraft will have been maintained to the 9's as John's operation had been known for exacting maintenance. But how the current owner has kept it you will only know thru the pre-buy.
If possible go have a walk-around look at both and you will come away with a gut feeling of which one you feel is the better of the two and do the pre-buy on that one. Except for a fresh paint job which has sold more junk aircraft than Carter has little pills.. the rest of the aircraft will show if cared for or not so well cared for.
Regardless, of which one you may end up with you will need to remember it is an awesome machine but cost heaps to keep that way.

Willis

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2015, 01:16:16 pm »
Well, if it comes to a choice, a major factor is the logistics of both aircraft.

Im based in Ca/Az so the USFS is much easier to deal with. 

There are also human/factors:  1.  Maintenance for this AC may have been done in AZ near Phx. with a firm that operates 5 or 6- 500Bs for the FS.  2.  Friends/Family are currently working FS/Fire or as first responders; so that "Cache" appeals to me.

lastly, I just found a HUGE hangar thats been standing empty for many years that could accommodate the AC and my C210 (and possibly 2 other smaller planes (cubs, etc). 

So, Im really getting stoked on buying/restoring a 500 class Aero Commander.  :) 

Thanks.
-Bud

SKYFLYER

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2015, 01:37:24 pm »
So it begs the question... how far away is the hangar??? And can you get it?? If the answers are near by and yes... than you are one lucky guy.. Your knowledge of the USFS aircraft clearly gives it a leg-up... and as you point out the logistics are there as well...
But the hangar would be just totally awesome...

Willis

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2015, 01:58:25 pm »
I recently bought a place in Williams AZ, about 50 mi south of Grand Canyon.  Small town with 6000' runway and 10 new hangars.  An older one (70x70) has been empty since a small operator failed and its been empty for at least 3 years.  I live about 5 minutes away :) !!!  Ive spoken to the City Airport "manager"  and Im setting up a site visit. Im thinking I can negotiate a long term annual lease at a reduced rate compared to a 'month to month' lease.   I may have to wait another month or so to pull the pin. 

Im still in the process of moving my base from CA to AZ, which may take 6 mo. or so  (family factors dominate;  I could be here permanently tomorrow if it were just me).

So, my plan to buy, keep, maintain, love and heap loads of praise, money and adoration on my AC500 is coming to fruition.....just not fast enough for me. (Its like Christmas will never get here)  :)



-Bud

SKYFLYER

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2015, 03:05:20 pm »
Is it the one just to the north of the terminal building on the same ramp with the arch roof or the next pad to the north with a flat roof??? Seems I recall the one just to the north being a city or county service building... But it has been a few moons since I was there
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 03:08:47 pm by SKYFLYER »

donv

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2015, 08:15:41 pm »
That sounds like a great setup!

I wouldn't worry about the high time, personally-- true, it's cheap to buy and it will be cheap to sell, but that's not a bad deal. One of my favorite Commanders is a 1000 with about 14,000 hours on it-- works great, and always has.

Willis

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2015, 10:49:33 am »
That sounds like a great setup!

I wouldn't worry about the high time, personally-- true, it's cheap to buy and it will be cheap to sell, but that's not a bad deal. One of my favorite Commanders is a 1000 with about 14,000 hours on it-- works great, and always has.

The owner is in Sacto and the plane is in Van Nuys. 

Once the "stars align" and I can get my mechanic down there, we'll see about an offer.  :)
-Bud

EricDapp

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2015, 12:16:23 pm »
Willis if your looking at the Orange and white forest service plane Google the N number. It was sold at auction not too long ago for the mid seventies. Offer low. It's been for sale a while

donv

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2015, 01:36:27 pm »
What's the elevation there? If it's close to the Grand Canyon, I'm guessing it's pretty high. In that case, I would absolutely want turbocharging in a Shrike.

Willis

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2016, 02:46:04 pm »
Elevation is ~6500MSL.  Yes,  TC or TN would be nice.  Otherwise, I learned to fly in nearby Flagstaff (7011 MSL). 

Procedures are required and you definitely lean to peak RPM.

It also helps to have a 6000' runway.   ;D
-Bud

donv

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Re: The perfect Commander (for me)
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2016, 03:05:26 pm »
I think at those sort of field elevations, turbocharging (in a Shrike, at least) is pretty much mandatory. If you're thinking of buying one without turbos, be sure to demo it from your home field first-- and try pulling back an engine and see what happens.

Especially when summer rolls around...