Although considered somewhat high maintenance, Cessna's P210 offered -- and continues to offer -- unique performance at an affordable purchase price. A careful search will find older airframes worth refurbishing, and that's exactly what Steve Wathen of Columbus, Ohio did with his P-210.
Do all of us harbor the fantasy of finding that perfect vintage aircraft stored in a barn somewhere, only awaiting the tender hands of restoration? Well, it's no fantasy. Those airplanes are out there. In 2004, Ron Tanner found this 1946 Champ in a Massachusetts barn, where it sat unmoved since 1952. He bought it from Mike Ricard. Incredibly, it has the original engine, fabric, glass and logbooks.
For every "after" photo of an aircraft refurb, there's a "before" photo to match, and this time, we're showing just such a pair from Kitchener Aero Avionics, a well-known shop in Canada.
To be fair, the "before" panel isn't too shabby. With a Bendix/King HSI and a Garmin GNS530/430 pair in the stack, you could find your way around in the clouds without too much stress. But for a turboprop working airplane, the panel is somewhat dated.
When Piper replaced the Apache with the Twin Comanche in the early 1960s, the idea was to create "everyman's twin" with the relative safety of a twin but with approachable sticker price and operation costs of a big single. The persistence of loyalty to the peppy and comfy airplane is exemplified by Frank Dorrin's devotion to his project plane.
When Jerry Yagen replied to our recent query seeking interesting aircraft refurbs, he said he was working on a light twin restoration and would we be interested? Sure. Shortly, a handful of photos came pixeling into the inbox of a de Havilland DH98 Mosquito. Light twin indeed.
Fresh off the factory floor, a modest airplane like a Piper Archer may be better built, but its basic performance has been baked into the airframe for years. That's why a project like Lyle Holbo's 1965 Cherokee 180C, our refurbed airplane of the month, will keep pace with an airplane 40 years newer.
This month's Refurbished Aircraft of the Month comes from Mike Van Sicklen at Tejas Aero Services in San Marcos, Texas a shop that specializes in refurbishment of Cessna twins. Tejas recently finished this beautiful 414A owned by Eduardo Valdes. In addition to new paint and interior, a Tejas specialty, the airplane has a pair of new engines by RAM Aircraft of Waco, Texas; new avionics; and aft strakes made by APM. Tejas is a top-rated shop by our sister publication, Aviation Consumer. Find out more at about them at TejasAero.com.
If you can't afford a new airplane -- and let's face it, most of us can't -- a refurbed late-model aircraft can do 90 percent of the mission at a fraction of the cost, especially one like the popular Mooney M20J 201. That's the strategy Bennett Bibel followed in his pull-out-all-the-stops rebuild of a 1983 J-model, which we've picked as our refurbed aircraft of the month.