What's The Best Flight School Trainer?

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I got an email this week from a reader on the cusp of making a small fleet purchase for a few flight schools. I was asked for an opinion on the various choices in the training market. The more you think about this, the more difficult the decision actually is. There’s simply no perfect airplane for the task. Each choice is compromised in some way that favors another choice that’s compromised in another way.

So what’s the most important aspect of this decision? It’s not how the airplane flies. You can teach someone to fly in a broken-down Tri-Pacer with a tired engine, raggedy fabric and mold-stained seats. Flying is flying. What’s most important is dispatch reliability: keeping the airplane available on the ramp so it’s always ready for students to fly and constantly producing revenue for the school. Nothing is a bigger drag on the P&L than a broken airplane baking in the sun. Two broken airplanes at a school with only six is a disaster.

Dispatch reliability is defined by the design itself but more importantly by how easy the airplane is to fix and service with available parts. With that in mind, you can easily see why the Cessna 172 remains the gold standard for flight schools. Despite the airplane’s various warts, anyone can fix it, Cessna can supply the parts or they can be found in the aftermarket or salvage market. I’ve heard complaints about prices getting higher on Cessna parts and some cases harder to find, but I suspect the Skyhawk remains the most supportable airplane out there.

These days, few schools but the major institutions buy new trainers. We are well and truly into the age of the $400,000-plus new training airplane. Plug the debt load on that kind of purchase into your spreadsheet and the monthly nut is eye-watering. In addition to good dispatch reliability, you’d better have a steady stream of students and a second shift of instructors.

With that in mind, my correspondent asked about two new entries: Tecnam’s P2010 and the new VulcanAir 1.0. These two airplanes are essentially Skyhawk knockoffs—both highwings with struts, both equipped with Lycoming engines. While I like the P2010, bought new, it’s just as expensive as the Skyhawk, although it’s faster and has three entry doors. Those are nice-to-haves, but are they useful improvements in a trainer? Doubtful. Tecnam is a well-established global aircraft company, but if you bought a couple of million dollars' worth of new trainers from them, could they match Cessna’s supportability for the Skyhawk? Possibly, but for Cessna, it’s a known. (And even some owners complain about parts prices and availability for Skyhawk support.) That’s a big investment on faith in support.

The new VulcanAir 1.0 will sell for substantially less than a new Skyhawk or P2010 at about $260,000. Like the P2010, it has a third door. It’s not certified in the U.S. yet and even when it is later this year or early next, VulcanAir will face the challenge of building the same supply chain depth that Cessna (and Piper) already has. While it’s true that the AOG worry can be overstated—after all, any capable A&P can repair such an airplane—it’s also true that this is aviation. The unexpected lack of some approved part or shipping delays can keep airplanes grounded for a few days or a week or longer, with owners fuming. Just recall the fiasco Diamond and the then-Thielert visited on the training business with the early DA42s. So buying a new model at any price is measuring unknown reliability against performance or other features. The balance will be determined empirically by actual field experience, not by someone like me bloviating about it.

These aren’t the only choices, of course. Piper is still selling the Archer TX into the training market and just sold a small fleet to the University of North Dakota. We never know what these schools actually pay for the airplanes they buy, but the Archer’s posted base price is in the $370,000 range. Piper may have a deal-making edge in that it can do what Cessna can’t: offer some kind of package that includes twins like the Seminole or Seneca. A great deal of the flight training today is preparing professional pilots and they all require multi-engine ratings. Diamond has the same advantage with the DA40/42 combination but probably due to higher base prices, Diamond doesn’t have the same penetration in the single-engine training market as do Cessna and Piper. But Diamond dominates piston twin sales, with more than 50 percent penetration.

Don’t forget Cirrus. The SR20 really hasn’t been a first-choice trainer, probably because of its high price. But lately, Cirrus has been making inroads.  

It sold 25 to the Air Force for training at the service’s academy a few years ago and recently Lufthansa, Vincennes University and Parks College have bought Cirrus aircraft for trainers. Cirrus has the advantage of being the highest-volume piston aircraft company and has a healthy growth curve. If it can’t beat Cessna or Piper strictly on price, it can sweeten the pot with support programs and training materials. I’ve been told that institutional buyers are less concerned about price than they are dispatch reliability and post-sale support.

I’ve heard arguments that the SR20 isn’t as suitable a trainer as the Skyhawk because it’s hard to fly and it’s faster. Seriously? It may be different, but not hard and certainly not something you couldn’t do primary training in. I’ve always maintained you can do primary training in any single, as long as it’s the student’s first exposure to an airplane.

For someone buying a fleet of training airplanes—say a half dozen or more—the decision matrix gets complicated. What’s the demand for training? What can you charge for it? How much will you do? What kind of students? Do you envision new airplanes or older models refurbished? How does debt load figure into all of this? I sure can’t answer any of this in a vacuum.

Irrespective of cost, viewed from the vantage of a flight instructor, my first choice would be Diamond’s DA40. It’s easy and fun to fly and has a center stick, which all airplanes should have, in my view. From the flyability and performance perch, everything else is about even. None of the airplanes on the list above are particular standouts. Nor do I think there’s a substantial enough difference in long-term operating costs among the flock to justify selecting one over another.

But reality intrudes in the form of hard-nosed investment considerations. Not many schools can afford new so they’re left with some combination of new and used aircraft. Absent tax write-down considerations, used aircraft are always a better value. And that seems to inevitably point back to the Skyhawk, which explains why so many of them are in flight school service. They’re good teaching platforms, have predictable maintenance costs and reasonable dispatch reliability. Piper’s PA-28 line is a close second, in my view.

Because operating costs are always a consideration, I’d really consider one of the Skyhawk diesel conversions, say the Redhawk that Redbird has been promoting. From the reporting I’ve done, these have good reliability, good flyability and performance not substantially less than the gasoline version when considered against the operational savings. What gives me pause is that I can’t judge how successful this program has been. Redbird declines to say how many of these airplanes they’ve sold. Last time I checked, it was a little over a dozen. Has the fleet expanded beyond that? Redbird won’t say. But even a refurbished avgas Skyhawk can be a money maker and at less than a quarter the cost of a new model, it remains a good value.  

Which leads to the inevitable question: Why doesn’t someone build a new, inexpensive trainer? That’s what VulcanAir  is attempting with the 1.0. But it’s not that simple. The airplane business doesn’t thrive on build-it-and-they-will come psychology. Airplanes have to be sold aggressively; they don’t fly off the shelves, so to speak. Given the size of the investments, buyers are sensitive and perhaps skeptical of the ability of small companies to support their airplanes with parts and service. That’s the nut VulcanAir has to crack.

When it announced the new M10 series two years ago, Mooney was clearly making a run at the trainer market, too. It has since pulled back and is being cagey about what will happen to the project. But I suspect it realized for the investment required and the price it would have to charge, the trainer sales just aren’t there in a market that’s quite—and expensively—saturated.

Like I said, it’s complicated.

Comments (27)

The best trainer is a $60K C172 with GNS430W, A/P, ADS-B. Rental rate $120/hr with an attached instructor for $40/hr. Forget all else.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | September 21, 2017 10:10 PM    Report this comment

I'm with RAF. I'm a rare cat who owns both a C172 and a PA28. The C172 is ... in most issues ... a much better airplane. (Oh boy am I gonna get it now!). Nearly one in ten GA airplanes ever built is a 172 so ... let THAT fact sink in. How sad that my '75 IFR 172 cost ~$20K when new and a new -- basically identical airframe but with modern avionics -- costs 20 times as much. I think the retrofit market ought to be cranking totally overhaled C172's out in droves ... but it ain't. And ... we all know why. Maybe that performance based stuff will catch on someday?

Posted by: Larry Stencel | September 21, 2017 11:37 PM    Report this comment

I did most of my primary training in Pipers, so I guess I've always been partial to them and low-wings in general. Easier to fuel up, for one thing. That one time I got stuck somewhere in a C182 without a stepladder and the fuel pumps didn't have a ladder. 5'4" me had quite a bit of fun jury-rigging up some steps.

I disagree with you about the Cirrus being suitable for primary training though, unless the pilot intends to only fly Cirrus aircraft. The sprung yoke gives almost no feedback. I feel like a students exposure to slow flight and how different the aerodynamic forces are is completely masked in a Cirrus, to the airplanes detriment.

Posted by: Joshua Levinson | September 21, 2017 11:53 PM    Report this comment

Paul, I agree with your comment that the Diamond DA40 is absolutely the best (safest, most fun to fly, best handling) flight school trainer. As a CFI I soloed my daughter in a DA40.

However, since good used DA40s cost $150K and up, a more economical choice is the 2-seater Diamond DA20 that handles similarly to a DA40. Good examples in the used market with steam gauges and a Garmin 430 can be found for around $90K, resulting in more affordable rental rates.

What's going to have more ramp appeal to a prospective student pilot: "your father's" 172, or a slick-looking modern composite aircraft with a stick, bubble canopy, and much better performance?

Posted by: DAVE PASSMORE | September 22, 2017 9:20 AM    Report this comment

It is interesting that the aircraft totally absent from this discussion is any of the light sport offerings. When they first appeared, there was a lot of talk about using LSAs for primary training since they were much less expensive, easy to fly and economical to operate with most flying behind the Rotax 912 engines. Most also checked the box of being modern composite designs. But that disappeared pretty quickly when the ugly sisters of limited parts availability and being a little too delicate for ham-fisted newbies appeared. The government's arbitrary and overly restrictive design limitations did not help either. In today's world, finding mechanics familiar with the Rotax engines is not a big problem, but the airframes are a different matter. Cessna's crushing of their LSA offering probably drove the final stake in that market segment since they were probably the only company that could have solved the parts distribution issue. LSAs may be more popular in Europe where most are made, and avgas is hideoulsy expensive, but not over here. Too bad....

Posted by: John McNamee | September 22, 2017 11:05 AM    Report this comment

"So what's the most important aspect of this decision?"

This is so easy,
The answer is how much disposable income that there is in the customer base near the airport.
Rich areas will be willing to pay for renting a new Cirrus or a Diamond.
Poor areas will be happy flying anything they can afford just to get a certificate.

Flying is it's own appeal. Just have the hardware that people are either willing to or can afford.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | September 22, 2017 11:24 AM    Report this comment

I still recommend the Piper Tomahawk. It has the interior width of a Warrior, the operating economics of a C-150, and the visibility of an F-16. Examples with mid-time engines abound for under $20k - run-outs can be had for half of that price.

The seats elevate as they track forward - duh. The basic seating position is atop the confidence-inspiring wingtip-to-wingtip I-beam main spar.

Like the Cessnas, it has low-maintenance spring-steel main gear. I recommend long-life heavy-duty stainless steel brake disks, and metallic pads. Its manual flaps leave one less thing to break. Fuel management is required (a good thing, from a training standpoint); the selector is positioned directly above the throttle quadrant, betwixt the two fuel-quantity gauges. Its PEP socket is located behind the wing, making ground-cart starts easy and safe. Piper provided convenient cutouts at all of the attach-point locations of the elevator and rudder - no excuse for not checking during pre-flights. Its cowling provides simple no-tool access to the entire engine compartment. The cabin heat and windscreen defrost are more than a match for New England winters.

The Tomahawk mimics the handling characteristics of heavier aircraft surprisingly ( ? ) well - students certainly learn what that pitch trim wheel is for. Its 105 kt IAS cruise isn't too far off from what students are likely to fly next. Climb is okay - better if you opt for the available 125 hp STC at overhaul time. While the engine is in the shop, send the motor mount out for an overhaul, too. Check the (galvanized steel) firewall for corrosion (Piper should have used 304-2D stainless for that part).

Now that non-TSO'd glass is available for Part 23 birds, a flight school can buy a ten-grand PA-38; do the engine, panel, paint, and interior; and put a full-IFR trainer on the flight-line for $50k. In fact, they could put ten of them on the line for what they'd pay for one brand-new Skyhawk. 6.7 gallons-per-hour on the tach, in the typical flight school environment. New-car-smell aerosol fragrance extra. Kinda makes ya think.....

The Tomahawk is an even better trainer than the legendary Cub - its side-by-side seating lets you see the look on your student's face when s/he's lying to you. ;-)

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | September 22, 2017 11:41 AM    Report this comment

While I won't go as far as Paul, I agree with the main point he made about the 172 being so special. I actually used to sell Diamonds, Mooneys, and Pipers. . Even though I didn't get paid to sell fleets (schools could go direct and save big), I would often start the process with any school owner as they were your best allies if you could get them. You often could not. Even after convincing them the Diamonds were better in every way, which they would generally admit to, they are not a 172. The 172 was for a long time one of two best choices. It won, and now has every advantage in the world for no other reason than it's the standard. It's not really the standard because it's a no brainer. It's a no brainer because it became the standard without a seriously better challenger for decades. It's now a done deal until they are forced to redesign the planes.

So, the best flight school plane problem is complex, and the answer is that it very much depends on what kind of flight school you want to run, and how much energy are you willing to put into it? What kind of customers do you want to deal with? Where is it located? How bad is your FSDO or whatever modern equivalent harasses flight schools except the ones who are obvious idiots. (I just don't get this and never have).

There have been some great Diamond success stories, but there are issues. You spend a lot of your time explaining to people why they should either pay more for a 40 ride, or why a 20 is better at the same price, or whatever. And, as we will likely see from the storm I'm about to start, it's gonna get tiresome because the main benefit is that compared to a Diamond, a 172 is a death trap. Sorry, there it is. Deal with it. Just don't SAY IT!

If I told you the cars at the driving school your daughter was attending were at least double, but likely three to five times more likely to get her killed, you wouldn't hesitate to pay double to put her in a school with better cars. Would you? And when you saw the stats, you'd thank me.

Well, the stats on GA planes seem to get buried on a regular basis. It's true the 172, due mostly to its status as THE answer, is marginally better than all but the Diamonds. This fact has become faith, and the cognitive dissonance with Diamonds being better is palatable.

I've got plenty more to say, but obviously, I've said enough. I'll just end with this: Tell your friends to find a school with a Diamond, and ignore the price, or, if they can't find one, find the best school they can and ignore the price.

Posted by: Eric Warren | September 22, 2017 11:50 AM    Report this comment

Flight training is more than pushing and pulling on the controls. I believe learning to fly as many aircraft as you can get your hands on is the best training. Understanding that every aircraft was engineered with a purpose in mind and each of us need to know what suites our flying needs.

I think the Cub and Champ will teach the most about stick and rudder. The Mooney will teach a pilot how to get ahead of the aircraft and be prepared for the next phase of the flight. You can go through plane model by model, that's why no single plane is best. Learning how to read and use a flight manual is the best training. Even the flight sims have flight manuals.

Posted by: Klaus Marx | September 22, 2017 12:13 PM    Report this comment

Paul,
Why no mention of the Diamond DA20? No need for 2 extra seats in a primary trainer IMO. As an owner of a DA20 for the past 17 years, I can attest to both the durability and reliability of this design.

My wife and I have flown our Katana all over the United States and made 2 trips to Canada in it. We typically see 133 KTAS at 5 GPH at altitude. Pretty hard to beat compared to a 172.

For those who prefer a high wing aircraft, it's hard to beat a Flight Designs CTLS.

Posted by: Ric Lee | September 22, 2017 2:46 PM    Report this comment

A flight school's $60k C172 including variable, not so variable and fixed costs will cost about $80/hr assuming 30 hours per month. Rental rates, depending on equipment, vary from $110 to $130 hourly. Annuals and 100 hours on a C172 are reasonable and any A&P can work on them. Cessners can take a beating too. So it's Cessners all dah way!

The higher the unit price the higher the hull insurance premium the higher the flight school debt the higher the rental price the lower the monthly usage then the higher the cost to the flight school thence the higher the chance of the flight school going bankrupt.

Keep flight training costs down and flight operations up I tell you!

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | September 22, 2017 6:00 PM    Report this comment

What's up with the factory built RV-12? Not much in the news, though I think they gave one away at Oshkosh this year.

Posted by: MARK NEUMANN | September 22, 2017 6:45 PM    Report this comment

Rafael,

That's one way to do it. Only problem is that you are going to be competing mostly on cost. Many owners get tired of that game because all too often, a new guy will come along and try to take your business by offering unsustainable prices. You suffer first by loss of business to the competition, then you suffer with all of us due to the mess the guy makes - low cost expectations, lowered image of industry, suspicion due to broken promises, a physical mess on the field, and even accidents.

Frankly, if you aren't a full service FBO as well, it's going to be more work than most people are willing to put in for the pay off.

Posted by: Eric Warren | September 22, 2017 10:04 PM    Report this comment

I think that whatever aircraft of the trainer's mentioned in Paul's article is used, it should be cosmetically appealing. I once had a very well dressed lady in a high end sports car come to a school where I was CFI. She was interested in learning to fly. We walked out to our tired old C172 and and as I opened the door the dirty sneaker odor almost knocked her over. She very politely said "No thank you, I will find some other place."

I have also had professionals who did not like the flight school rent a wrecks and bought their own planes to finish their training. They were similar models to what the school was using only, looked good. They all went on to other higher performance aircraft after earning their PP ASEL. Image is everything. To the non pilot a greasy goose missing pieces of interior panels, mismatched instruments, worn carpets, 25 pounds of sand on the floor and a windshield that only has a few clear spots, is not a desirable commodity. This is especially true when the total cost of a lesson is $200+. Potential student pilots do not know the difference between a 1979 C172 and 2005 C172 or Warrior or . . . if they are well kept and present well.

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | September 22, 2017 10:23 PM    Report this comment

I mentioned neither the DA20 nor the Cessna 150/152 to contain the topic to realistic market choices. The two-seat trainer market is all but moribund. Diamond sold 20 DA20 in 2016 and other than LSAs, no one is really selling many of these. For small and large fleet sales, buyers seem to prefer four-place aircraft.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | September 23, 2017 4:14 AM    Report this comment

Ok, on flight schools. I give "your father's" C172 ranking number one with a far second and third to the "two new entries: Tecnam's P2010 and the new VulcanAir 1.0." That is, after they have been depreciated to about $150k and on lease backs. BTW, how is the C172 refurb, diesel or not, doing?

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | September 23, 2017 6:37 AM    Report this comment

There were benefits with the Discovery Aviation XL2. Annuals and 100 hr inspections take a day. Fuel burn is about 5 GPH. Wide cabin for some ample behinds with a center stick. Landing gear is basic and easy to maintain. Carbon fiber fuselage is tough. Though I haven't needed a 4-seat airplane in more than 8 years, I do understand the psychological hesitance to remove that capability. Just need to get the line cranked back up in Melbourne FL.

Posted by: Robert Mahoney | September 23, 2017 11:00 AM    Report this comment

"Potential student pilots do no know the difference between a 1979 C172 and a 2005 C172". Actually, I think they do. In addition to clean interiors, today's students want to see all-glass screens and fancy GPS avionics, not stodgy old round gauges. At the local flight school, their most used 172s are the ones with glass cockpits and fuel injected engines. Even though they rent for less, the two older carbureted planes with round gauges and tired interiors mostly sit and bake in the sun. That's hardly a scientific study, but I think it illustrates the point. With regard to two versus four seats, I must admit that, although I very rarely ever use more than two seats, I really like having the back seat in my plane. Seems to me that most people view the four seats as added flexibility with no appreciable increase in operating expense. I would be reluctant to "downsize" into a two-seater.

Posted by: John McNamee | September 23, 2017 11:46 AM    Report this comment

The refurbished 150/152 or 172 makes a far better trainer than almost anything else out there. As others have stated, it is head to tail new--modern avionics, and even the "new plane smell. It has a proven track record, parts sources are available not only from the manufacturer, but from aftermarket suppliers--and the cost is a fraction of the cost for a new aircraft.

Where the refurbishers fail to deliver is that they don't produce an entry in Aircraft Bluebook or VREF for the remanufactured product. It is difficult for lenders to make the loan on a refurbished aircraft, as they don't know anything about it. They look at Bluebook, and lend only on the old airframe. NEXTANT is successful with their refurbishments, because they did get the refurbished product into Bluebook. If a buyer could put 30% down on the cost of refurbished aircraft, and finance the rest, sales would jump--just as Nextant's did.

Even better, the MANUFACTURERS should jump on the bandwagon. If the cost of product liability insurance is the bugbear that they say that it is, what could be simpler than taking one aircraft out of service, and replacing it with a refurbished unit? The exposure remains the same--perhaps better, as the new aircraft has updated safety systems.

Finally, unlike a modifier, a factory can "zero time" an airframe. Engine manufacturers "zero time" a reman. Beech did it with the original Model 35 Bonanzas (They were then called "R" models, the reason there was no R model in the letter progression). They also did it with military Twin Beeches, and are now doing it to Beechjets. They would "own" the market, as the aircraft can truly be "zero timed."

Put it this way--If you could own a moderately equipped "new" 172 for the price of an LSA, would YOU (or your flying club) be a buyer?

Posted by: jim hanson | September 23, 2017 4:09 PM    Report this comment

Jim,

Would a refurb being sold as zero-timed still have the time-based liability protection in GARA? Or would they be opening themselves up to liability again for the refurbed airplane? If they are exposed to liability for the 18 years after selling the refurb, they might not end up being all that much cheaper than new in the end.

Posted by: Joshua Levinson | September 23, 2017 6:34 PM    Report this comment

Jim H ... two years in a row I spoke with the refurb entities at Airventure about inducting my mid-70's low time C172 into their refurb system and they weren't interested. I think they like talking about it all but not actually doing it. I also spoke with the folks in WY about it and never got a call back. Oh well ... they can all go to hell. I'll do it myself. Great idea, though. I looked at the RV12 but the S-LSA thing turned me off and I DO want a four place airplane ... whether I need it or not. I'd spend $150K to have a totally new reman but not more.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | September 23, 2017 8:42 PM    Report this comment

$150k? Hmmm, What happened to the Sporty's 172Lite?

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | September 24, 2017 3:25 AM    Report this comment

RV's are great airplanes but I don't know if they're suitable for most brand-new students. Said students tend to inflict a beating on the airplane, and the landing gear on most RV models might not take it too well. I certainly had a few teeth-rattlers starting out and I think those would have bent the gear on an RV.

I don't think students really want or need to see glass from day one--but the airplane does need to at least be clean and presentable. I was a high school kid driving a beater car when I did my training, so I didn't care if the airplane looked worn, but the market we need to be targeting if we're going to "hold the line" on GA numbers--younger adults with good careers up to recent empty-nesters--is going to want something a little nicer. At least, something equivalent to their buddy's 68 Mustang that's in decent but not fully-original condition, rather than the hooptie they drove in their college days.

Of course, with Dynon's breakthrough I think steam IFR panels are eventually going to disappear except for a few holdouts. The reliability, costs of maintenance, weight savings, etc. will soon reach the tipping point where fancy glass makes simple economic sense, if it hasn't gotten there already. It has in the homebuilt market, anyway.

Posted by: Robert Gatlin-Martin | September 24, 2017 6:27 AM    Report this comment

You hit upon something everyone forgets about Robert ... weight savings. Everyone zeros in on glass panels v. steam and misses a point just as important ... weight, as you said.

Just yesterday, I yanked the Cessna / ARC nav coms out of my C172 -- to allow access to the stack area -- and almost got a hernia carrying 'em to my shelf. The new equivalent boxes weigh half as much. The new ADS-B transponder I bought is a feather compared to the unit it's replacing and its onboard encoder is SO small you could easily misplace it. Likewise for the portable GPS I'm going to be mounting. It is SO capable that it's uncanny. In fact, I've decided to mount two of 'em, ultimately.

Raf ... a Sporty's "Lite ++" is what I ultimately envision for myself. I don't need no stinkin' 40" LCD panel or $12K IFR box to figure out where I am or how to get where I wanna be. In fact, last weekend, I flew an RNAV approach (for practice) using the small box ... it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | September 24, 2017 7:54 AM    Report this comment

On Sporty's 172Lite and the diesel Redhawks and media hype . Why are they failing to sell as training aircraft? Are homegrown refurbs a better option?

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | September 24, 2017 9:51 AM    Report this comment

On the weight savings... I sat down one day and figured out that a dual-screen IFR Skyview setup, with dual ADAHRS, backup battery, compliant ADS-B, comm, engine monitor, and autopilot servos was 15.25lb. An IFR navigator adds another 6lb. A VFR-only setup with no autopilot is more like 7lb. And those boxes come with capabilities that were just bleeding edge concepts when I started my engineering career testing advanced business jet cockpits in 2004. Now we have them in homebuilts.

The improvement situational awareness from Skyview and its contemporaries is incredible, compared to my early days flying with a sectional and E6B and spending half my time heads-down doing math and folding a chart.

Posted by: Robert Gatlin-Martin | September 24, 2017 10:27 AM    Report this comment

Refurbed Skyhawks would look a WHOLE LOT BETTER if there was a provision in Aircraft Bluebook or VREF to differentiate the total refurb from refurbs at the local shops. It would reassure buyers and lenders that this was indeed a "like new" product--with a warranty--and that it was indeed worth the money.

Joshua asks, "Would a refurb being sold as zero-timed still have the time-based liability protection in GARA? Or would they be opening themselves up to liability again for the refurbed airplane?" Good question--I guess that Beechcraft could tell us that, now that they are joining competitor Nextant in refurbishing Beechjets.

Posted by: jim hanson | September 25, 2017 3:58 PM    Report this comment

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