Cessna 182, good for low time pilot?
Recently I had a call asking “should a low time pilot buy a Cessna 182”? The caller was concerned because they only had 75 hours total time and all of that was in a Cessna 172. On top of that, they had a chance to buy a Cessna 182 that has very low time and is a clean airplane, should they be concerned about their low total time when moving up to a 182?
My quick thoughts. The Cessna 182 is a great aircraft. It offers an excellent platform for instrument (IFR) training, is a respectable cross country aircraft and is reasonably cost effective to operate. As a private pilot, your first year will be a little more expensive to insure because of your low hours, but that’s about it. Yes, it does cost slightly more to maintain than a Cessna 172, but the difference is slight, mainly in the fuel burn and engine costs. The Continental six-cylinder, 470 engine (or the Lycoming 540 in the new models) are very reliable engines. Parts are in supply, aftermarket items and service is available almost anywhere you can fly to.
About the only thing that seems to bother the 182 are the fuel bladders in the pre-1979 aircraft and the nose gear impacts that low time pilots inflict during training. The 182 gets quite a few hard landings on the nose, typically when they are full of fuel and lightly loaded with passengers and baggage. A pilot tends to run out of elevator in the flare a little higher than they should and drop them on the nose. Nothing that cannot be corrected with a good dose of training at different loads.
As with any other aircraft, a good pre-buy inspection for damage history, corrosion and maintenance should be done before the purchase. Also line up an instructor that has a fair amount of time in the Cessna 182 and they can show you how well the aircraft can really perform. Oh, and if you are used to the Cessna 172, the 182 will just require more arm muscles in the flare. The heavy control pressure will be notable for the first few hours, after that, it’s a typical Cessna!