What to buy, a Cessna 150 or 172?
Interesting question I was asked. Should I buy a Cessna 150 or 172? A four place aircraft would be nice, but what about the extra cost? Is it worth it? And the question isn’t just about Cessna aircraft. It can also be about the Piper Tomahawk (or even the Cherokee 140) and the Cherokee 180 and a number of other aircraft. Actually, it can be about any number of aircraft. Do you want a two seat or a four seat.
Both aircraft are very similar when it comes to maintenance costs and fixed costs. Just because the 150 are smaller aircraft doesn’t mean they are substantially cheaper to own. If you think about the difference between these two aircraft…there aren’t many, except for size. The four place aircraft will have a bigger airframe and engine. But the basic components (and construction) are about the same. The same is true with the maintenance.
The initial purchase price can be lower for a 150, but many of the older 172’s are in the same price range. When you buy lower priced four-place aircraft, you are buying an older age, which could increase the maintenance costs.
The biggest difference will probably be in the fuel burn and the insurance cost. The fuel burn is about double in a four-place compared to a two-place aircraft. The insurance premium increases because of the extra liability with the two additional seats and the increase in hull value.
But really, do you really need the extra room and higher useful load? Don’t get your wants and needs confused. A Cessna 150 will do almost every thing a Cessna 172 will, but on less fuel and at a slower speed. I flew a Cessna 152 from Iowa to New Orleans. It was along trip, fun and kind of cramped, but it still did the job. I also know a couple that took their Cessna 150 and flew from Iowa to Mexico. They toured the country of Mexico for a couple of weeks. Never had any problems getting in or out of airports or worried about the fuel they could obtain.
And think about how many people fly with you on a regular basis. If its just you and your dog, the 150 will be all you need.
The final decision will depend on you personal situation, but don’t give up on a good two seat aircraft if that’s all you need.
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!