Industry News

February 2013 Issue

Speed: Buying 180 Knots for $180,000

There’s a good selection of reasonably priced, fast piston singles out there. Just make sure maintenance is up to snuff before you buy.

Speed matters. Ask any pilot. Frustratingly, speed costs money and lots of speed, as the warbird set says, costs cubic money. In the single-engine piston world, we’d each love to blast across the sky over 230 knots in a Cessna TTX, yet for most, the exchequer doesn’t quite stretch to the nearly three-quarters of a million dollars needed to buy one. In this day and aviation market age, a $180,000 purchase price isn’t out of line, especially if it’s split a few ways. Moving through the air at 180 knots is cooking along nicely, so in keeping with our general fascination with symmetrical numbers, we decided to create the 180 for 180 club and then find out what airplanes are qualified to join—those that have a real-life cruise speed of at least 180 knots and a Bluebook value of $180,000 or less. It turns out that a nice selection of airplanes qualify for the club. Naturally, our research lead to a number of caveats—few of the airplanes in the speed and price range were built in this century, and every single one of them is of sophisticated design with complex systems, so a careful pre-buy carried out by a maintenance technician who knows the type of aircraft is essential if you are going to avoid purchasing yourself a financial nightmare.

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