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Topic-icon Buying an Apache

  • Eric Parks
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2 months 6 days ago #1958

Hello all,

This is my first post. I have a contract on a 1955 Apache. Yup, it has the 150 hp O-320 engines but fortunately new Harztell props so no AD.
I hope to have it in my possession by next month. This is my first plane to buy and I'm a little surprised at how slow the paperwork is. This is a partially restored plane that I will still want to put a little into the but basics are all there. Newer paint and new leather interior including a new headliner! Brand new STEC 50 autopilot with altitude hold and dual Garmin G5 flat screen displays. Since the plane doesn't have any vacuum gyros it no longer has vacuum pumps. All electric...nice! It also has new alternators and starters.

Wifey likes the look and paint scheme of this little Apache so I am hoping for some fun trips in it. I know it is slow for a twin but when I compared the purchase price to any comparable Cessna 182/Piper Dakota the Apache came off looking pretty good.

Pros:
1. Reliable Lycoming O-320 engines. Long lasting and cheap to maintain.
2. Brand new Hartzell props (200 hrs) with no AD on them
3. Lot of new and capable avionics.
4. Nice looking paint and interior (leather smells nice!)
5. Very comfortable to sit in with nice room and a decent size cargo compartment
6. Auto Fuel STC. I may be able to save a few bucks on gas every now and then. Also, I don't have to worry about the possibility of 100LL
going away stopping the plane from flying.
7. New lightweight starters and alternators
8. Low time engines: 110 hrs and 660 hrs.
9. Good short field and grass field performer.

Cons:
1. Not IFR now, will have to certify as current pilot is VFR only and didn't keep it IFR certified.
2. Only one NAV radio although it does have a second COM. Will want to improve the current panel although it is pretty good.
3. No heater. The plane has been in Florida for the past few years and the current owner just didn't want to deal with it. Gotta find one. We have some cold winter days in NC.
4. Some light hail damage
5. I want to install a second hydraulic pump for operation of gear and flaps. Not cheap or easy.
6. Slow compared to other twins. But cheaper to maintain. And faster than many singles that can't carry as much or as fast.

Extras:
New "speed slope" windshield is included but not installed
An extra engine. Yes, a 1300 hour engine is included.
Other assorted parts such as glass, exhaust, ailerons and flaps.

Eric

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1 month 4 weeks ago #1972

Congratulations, I just bought a 1957 150 hp Apache. My plane needs a ton of work to get flyable. I have been researching fuel cells, as I need all four replaced. Be careful of auto fuel. The chemicals and ethanol in modern auto fuel plays hell on the rubber of the fuel cells.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #1973

My mechanic and I just got back from completing a pre-buy inspection. Basically the plane passed with flying colors. The only issue he saw that he felt was worthy of action was a mixture control that is binding a bit. He will reroute that cable to ensure it operates more smoothly. Obviously a 1955 plane with 6700 hrs is going to show age and wear and tear but overall it comes off very nice.

So the annual needs one tiny thing to be competed and then the purchase will go through.

I haven't studied this but my understanding is that the Auto Fuel STC requires ethanol free fuel. I think you must test for it it to ensure there is no ethanol in the fuel. So I'm not sure how much I will get to use that option. However, a local airport says they will be putting in an Auto Fuel pump on their ramp so we will see.

New heater was priced at $7700. Sigh....

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1 month 3 weeks ago #1976

Congratulations.
One sentence caught my eye so I'll ask.
At my shop, a good pre buy is no where near the same as an annual inspection. So your comment that there was only one thing that needed to be fixed to complete the annual raised a question.
Auto fuel STCs are only valid if non ethanol gas is used.
For locations of gas stations (aviation and auto) that pump ethanol free auto fuel, go to: www.pure-gas.org . All the information you will need for the auto gas STC is at: www.autofuelstc.com/
You may be able to buy an overhauled heater for a lot less than new. I suggest you contact www.aircraftheating.com in Redding, CA or at Janitrol here: janitrol.aero/aircraft-heaters/ .
Piper Flyer printed a very good article on cabin heaters; you can find it here: www.piperflyer.org/catagories/item/727-c...troubleshooting.html .

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1 month 3 weeks ago #1977

The pre-buy is separate from the annual. My mechanic did the pre-buy. The seller's mechanic is doing the annual. The annual is complete except the seller's mechanic is requiring he change the air filters before he signs it off. For some reason the filters have not come in yet.

I am going to enjoy finding places to buy auto fuel. Thanks for the info.

At this point I will most likely go with a brand new heater. The old style heater can definitely be bought cheaper (I don't have a core) and made to comply with the AD. However, this was going to be $4400 before installation. The old style heater still has the AD on it. So I will probably just get the new heater and have a better performing unit with warranty and no AD inspections to comply with.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #1979

Hi Eric,
Man, I hate to rain on your parade, but letting the seller’s mechanic do the annual as part of the sale rarely works out well.
The ideal situation is when the buyer hires a mechanic-who is experienced with the specific airplane type-to do the pre-sale annual. Then the buyer will not be beholden to the seller.
Right now, the seller’s mechanic is not likely to find anything that will make him-and the owner- look bad.
Is this “sellers’s mechanic” the one who has been maintaining the airplane prior to this pre-purchase inspection?
There is an article in the Piper Flyer archives that addresses pre-purchase inspections. It was written by Kristin Winter, a very knowledgeable A & P with IA.
I think it’s titled “Pre-Purchase Precautions.”
I urge you to read it.
As a test, you should see what the seller’s reaction is by telling him you want to bring in an independent A & P to double check a few things before you sign the purchase papers. If he replies that that’s fine, you’re probably OK, but if he gets upset and tries to talk you out of it, I would be wary.

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