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Thread: Prospective buyer seeking input on PA-12 value.

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    Prospective buyer seeking input on PA-12 value.

    Hello all!

    I'm new to the forum and have been looking at ads for PA-12's for quite some time trying to get a feel for the market. Obviously with all the different mods that some do or don't have it is a challenge to get a cookie cutter estimate of what things are worth in the marketplace. I have come across a plane for sale and was wondering if I could get some input from the group as far as what other people's opinions might be as far as value is concerned.

    The plane is a '46, ACTT: 3100, Lyc. O-320-A2B 150HP Engine SNEW: 1800 (new in 19sixty-eight), STOP: 400 (in 1989), Borer prop, Recovered in 2008 (entire plane except left wing for whatever reason), -18 gear fittings and weld on float fittings, lifetime struts, -18 tail feathers, still on -12 gear with Cleveland's, cathedral ceiling, seaplane door, good glass, strobes, basic VFR panel with a King Comm. and old panel mount Apollo VFR GPS and an empty XPNDR tray, exterior I would rate 6.5-7, interior 6. Expanded (not extended) baggage and fishing rod tube. Damage history of a nose over in the '50's and a ground loop in the '60's all documented w/337's and missing logs prior to 1951. Lower longerons replaced aft of the rear gear fittings during recover in 2008. No flaps and stock wings.

    Of greatest concern is the age of the engine with 50 years since new. Plane has been sitting for the past three years and the owner said it was pickled. Highest compression is 73 and lowest is 70.

    Trying to make a fair offer that won't insult the owner and won't put me immediately underwater. Just wondering if anyone would care to offer up their opinions on value. Thanks for your input!
    Last edited by pcj_5189; 11-10-2019 at 12:27 AM.
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    The only thing you need to determine is what its worth to you. Offending the seller shouldn't concern you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    The only thing you need to determine is what its worth to you. Offending the seller shouldn't concern you.
    I understand. We are pretty far apart and I just wanted to get some feedback to see if I'm the crazy one as far as what I see as far as value is concerned before I make the offer.

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    O-235 engine? I would be concerned about engine corrosion? Sounds like a $30k airplane to me if the engine checks out ok.
    Steve Pierce

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    O-235 engine? I would be concerned about engine corrosion? Sounds like a $30k airplane to me if the engine checks out ok.
    Sorry, I just edited my post. Forgot to add it's an O-320-A2B 150 HP.
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    35k with the floats. You will put another 20k into it the next 3 years without even trying
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Regardless of the condition or other items, that engine with 1800 hours is going to be needing a major overhaul in the near future. There is also an oil pump AD which is due at 2000 hours which sort of defines when you start spending. You should figure that cost into your consideration.
    N1PA
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Regardless of the condition or other items, that engine with 1800 hours is going to be needing a major overhaul in the near future. There is also an oil pump AD which is due at 2000 hours which sort of defines when you start spending. You should figure that cost into your consideration.
    The oil pump should have been done 5 years after the AD came out which I believe was 1996. I have seen several that were misinterpreted that I ended up changing years after they were suppose to be.
    Steve Pierce

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Regardless of the condition or other items, that engine with 1800 hours is going to be needing a major overhaul in the near future. There is also an oil pump AD which is due at 2000 hours which sort of defines when you start spending. You should figure that cost into your consideration.
    Thanks for the heads up on the oil pump. The A&P who just did the annual is a sharp one and went through all the AD"s to make sure everything was complied with. But I will double check. Yes, the engine will need an overhaul in the near future. If we can agree on a price I'm going to have jugs pulled to inspect for corrosion to see if there's any life remaining or if it needs immediate work. 50 years is a loooong time to only have 1800 hours and all that sitting can't be good.
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcj_5189 View Post
    Thanks for the heads up on the oil pump. The A&P who just did the annual is a sharp one and went through all the AD"s to make sure everything was complied with. But I will double check. Yes, the engine will need an overhaul in the near future. If we can agree on a price I'm going to have jugs pulled to inspect for corrosion to see if there's any life remaining or if it needs immediate work. 50 years is a loooong time to only have 1800 hours and all that sitting can't be good.
    Is this a narrow or wide deck crankcase? If it is a narrow deck, it will definitely be needing to be inspected between the crankcase halves for fretting which could mean machine work among other things. Much more than just pulling cylinders looking for rust.
    N1PA

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Is this a narrow or wide deck crankcase? If it is a narrow deck, it will definitely be needing to be inspected between the crankcase halves for fretting which could mean machine work among other things. Much more than just pulling cylinders looking for rust.
    I believe it's a wide deck. It was new in 1968. Thought I read somewhere that the narrow deck A2B ended production earlier in the '60's. Not sure what year but prior to '68.

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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    What is the asking price?
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    What is the asking price?
    Asking $40k for the plane and a pair of Federal 2000 skis. $55k with Edo 2000 floats. I have a thread in the float section asking about the current market for the floats. Just didn't want to muddy things up with the whole package on this thread.

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    No flaps and original gear would knock me off that price myself, because I wouldn’t be interested in the plane as is. I’d rather spend more for a plane with a better equipment list. Its hard to convince new buyers about the economics of a PA-12 project.

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcj_5189 View Post
    Asking $40k for the plane and a pair of Federal 2000 skis. $55k with Edo 2000 floats. I have a thread in the float section asking about the current market for the floats. Just didn't want to muddy things up with the whole package on this thread.
    $15k for the floats is way too much unless they are almost new from the last batch.
    N1PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    No flaps and original gear would knock me off that price myself, because I wouldn’t be interested in the plane as is. I’d rather spend more for a plane with a better equipment list. Its hard to convince new buyers about the economics of a PA-12 project.
    Yeah, it does have the -18 gear fittings so the hard part is done there. Just have to buy the -18 gear. Flaps on the other hand is definitely not an undertaking I would take on if the plane didn't come with them. The plane is local and that's what has me looking at it. I though for the right price it may be worth pursuing.

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    It’s a general rule that buying the airplane you want is more economical than buying a project and making it what you want. You need to figure out what it is that you want, establish a market price, and then figure out what it’ll take to make this one fit your list. 99% of the time you’ll be money ahead buying the completed version. You’ll definitely be years of your life ahead. To be fair, if this plane fits the role of what you want? $40K may be a reasonable price if the airframe and engine condition is good. Another way to approach it is to imagine in 6 months something happens and you need to sell it. Would it sell quickly at $40K? If the answer is yes? It may not be a bad investment. If no? The price is too high.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    It’s a general rule that buying the airplane you want is more economical than buying a project and making it what you want. You need to figure out what it is that you want, establish a market price, and then figure out what it’ll take to make this one fit your list. 99% of the time you’ll be money ahead buying the completed version. You’ll definitely be years of your life ahead. To be fair, if this plane fits the role of what you want? $40K may be a reasonable price if the airframe and engine condition is good. Another way to approach it is to imagine in 6 months something happens and you need to sell it. Would it sell quickly at $40K? If the answer is yes? It may not be a bad investment. If no? The price is too high.
    The answer to your last question about if it would quickly sell at the asking price is a definite no in my opinion. An emphatic NO if I'm faced with funding an overhaul. You are right about waiting for the right one to come along. I've been looking for quite a while before being ready to make a move on one financially. Now that I'm in a position to do something I need to be patient. This one popped up locally through word of mouth and it is very convenient. I wouldn't be considering it if it was half way across the country.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcj_5189 View Post
    Thanks for the heads up on the oil pump. The A&P who just did the annual is a sharp one and went through all the AD"s to make sure everything was complied with. But I will double check. Yes, the engine will need an overhaul in the near future. If we can agree on a price I'm going to have jugs pulled to inspect for corrosion to see if there's any life remaining or if it needs immediate work. 50 years is a loooong time to only have 1800 hours and all that sitting can't be good.
    I am going to explain as if buying a plane is new to you... please don't be offended.

    Your post I quoted states that an A&P just did an annual- was he working for you, or the present owner? Has he been annulling that plane for years? The reason I ask is that people that see the same plane year after year start to miss stuff- a mechanic new to the plane will catch new stuff all the time. This is very true for paperwork! And trust me, it does not take much time for you to double the cost of a cub plane in getting paperwork organized and correct.

    Simply said, get your own mechanic that works for YOUR INTERESTS, to go over the plane prior to purchase. Seriously, bring in a really good cub guy to go over it if you are that interested.

    Floats: He is WAY out of line on price unless they are brand new Kennmore EDOs, even then you have to ask yourself if you want those or a set of flat top Wips.

    Overall value is somewhat easier to determine, but you have to consider that convenience is not a very marketable figure- for 6K you can have a plane brought to you from ANYWHERE in the US, including Alaska. Some of those might be seen more convenient because their condition, engine times and availability of mechanics for inspection could give you more years of inexpensive annuals and worry free flying... (pay now, pay later).

    But a PA-12 with no flaps stock gear and descent fabric is probably going to sell for around 40-60k with a solid mid time 150hp depending on what else is in the plane. They just don't bring the money an 18 does, and no flaps is a big deduct. I suspect that yours would be somewhere in the middle if it looks great. Transponder tray? why just the tray? Apollo GPS is not worth anything really. so overall condition would be your deciding factor with the following:

    One wing was not redone with the rest, was it done within a couple years of the rebuild? Does it need done now? A wing is not just cost, but time lost flying also. This is a detractor in my book.

    Engine time is for all intensive purposes at Overhaul. Any amount of time you get out of that engine is a gift, and should be considered icing on the cake. If you buy this plane fly the heck out of it the first couple of. years, say 150 hours each year, that would be 300 hours. Mr. Barrows of Bearhawk fame, told me that most engines run for 50 hours before showing that the cam/lifters are going, and by that time you are in a full overhaul scenario. What happens if you head to Johnson Creek next spring and the engine starts to lose power on your trip? 1,800 hours on a 10 year old engine would not bother me at all... or 1,000 hours on an old engine that has been flying some is worth inspecting. Age and time are both against this one. I would not bother paying the 1-2k to inspect it prior to purchase, if all else checks out, just save your $$ and put it towards the overhaul that WILL come soon.

    If you take it to a shop and get an overhaul, figure two months and about 20k. if you get a reman, less time and more $.

    Engine deduct would be big, at least $15,000 because once you begin, it is amazing how much 'other' stuff creeps up to be done- engine mounts, carbs, exhausts... pretty soon your 20k overhaul is at $25,000.

    Though close to you and easy, there are a couple of big red flags flying that may or may not mean anything. My thoughts are worth exactly what you are paying for them. But get a good 12 guy that is new to the plane and willing to give you a full and honest condition report, so you will know if you are buying a project for the next few years, or a flying plane that will need an engine in a year or two.

    Again, We can ferry a bird from anywhere in the US to you for $6,000; might sound like a bunch of $, but what is the cost if the one wing needs redone, or you have to overhaul the engine next spring right in the middle of flying season?

    Good Luck, and Mr. Barnes has sage advice!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    Thanks for the well thought out reply Tango. I don't mind and actually would almost prefer in some ways to get into something that needed an overhaul rather than buying 1,000 hours of "unknown" from someone else. My first plane years ago when I first got my private had 2,100 Hours on the engine and was priced at a point where I could overhaul it and sell it the day after I overhauled it for what I had into it. My first X-C flight in it was to the field where I had it overhauled. I flew the plane for 450 worry free hours before I sold it for more than I had into it.

    14 years and 7,500 hours later I am looking to get back into GA flying to fly for fun. The A&P who did the annual is new to the plane and, although not for me, did a thorough job and also suggested I pass at the seller's asking price. He shares your opinion that the engine, even though it passes annual, should be overhauled due to time and lack of use if he were in my shoes as a buyer.

    Thanks for the gentle slap upside the head guys! Airplane fever has subtle symptoms...

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    20 some years ago I bought a plane out of Minnesota that sounds similar to what you are looking at. 1500 hours and 42 years since major. Good fabric but it looked like it was painted with a mop, one OK radio, no flaps. My plan was to fly it while I found a project to redo, then to redo it and sell one or the other. I flew it to 2200 hours SMOH over the next 8 years, never really put much into it after the first very expensive annual. I never found a project to rebuild so ended up refurbishing this one instead. Over the course of 2 summers and 1400 of my sweat equity hours I rebuilt her. That was about 8 or 9 years ago. I added flaps, a new radio, transponder, 406 Elt, and of course new fabric, glass, cables, wiring....the whole show. Parts and supplies ran me between $26 and $30K with no labor costs except for some welding costs for frame and tank repair and $ to my IA overseer and inspector. Additionally the narrow deck overhaul cost me $12,500 in parts. It recently sold for around 60k with an 800 hr engine and 7 or 8 years on a total rebuild. And just like the luck I displayed in your other post on floats, i feel lucky, I flew this bird 2000 hours and got my purchase price and rebuild costs out of it.

    Of course during the rebuild process I found the 12 project I was looking for all along. So I picked it up. Basically a paper airplane, all but the tail-feathers and paperwork burned up in a wreck, but the former owner who bought it from the estate starting buying new parts for it, so the project came with new Dakota cub 23 gal tanks, sealed struts, new 3" extended gear, good wings with flaps, a bad fuselage, but with a 0 SMOH 0-320 wide deck recently overhauled by a local vo-tech, with new mags and carb. No instruments or radios. I got the project and engine for around $25k, put another 1400 hours into it, bought a new univair fuselage, all new panel wiith Garmin 225, Sandia TXP, ADS-b GDL 82, 406 ELT, plus new engine instruments and of course all of the little items that ad up quick. Again no labor costs except for my IA overseer. I'm into it now between 75 and 80, again no labor costs. I have no idea how many hours I will have to fly this one to amortize my investment, but I'm guessing it will be a lot of hours.

    I guess this reiterates the adage of letting some other builder lose money on rebuilding, buy the plane you want, as you want it--- unless of course you are like me and wanted to do the projects, or if you are lucky like me and can fly an engine past TBO both in hours and years, lots and lots of years.
    Staying alive in an airplane has a lot more to do with mastering ourselves than mastering the aircraft.
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    Thanks MT, very good advice. I saw your plane advertised and it looked beautiful and exactly like what I am looking for. I have recently re-evaluated my budget and when I saw yours I wasn't prepared to spend quite that much. I'll be patient and wait for something similar as my bank account grows.

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    “Yeah, it does have the -18 gear fittings so the hard part is done there. Just have to buy the -18 gear.”

    Uhh, that’s not how it works! If it’s on 12 gear, it doesn’t have 18 gear fittings. I’m pretty sure.

    18 Gear isn’t cheap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Heinrich View Post
    “Yeah, it does have the -18 gear fittings so the hard part is done there. Just have to buy the -18 gear.”

    Uhh, that’s not how it works! If it’s on 12 gear, it doesn’t have 18 gear fittings. I’m pretty sure.

    18 Gear isn’t cheap.
    Didn't mean to imply that it was cheap for the gear. Just stating that the mod has been done as far as the airframe is concerned.

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    I don’t think you can have 12 gear on 18 fittings. It is a completely different setup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Heinrich View Post
    I don’t think you can have 12 gear on 18 fittings. It is a completely different setup.
    I guess that's beyond my expertise. Has the Crosswinds -18 gear STC and the A&P said that it would bolt on. The Crosswinds STC work was done when they installed the Edo's for the first time '08. I'd have to double check but the A&P spent 16 years working on Alaska type equipment in Alaska so I think he would have said if there was an issue. The plane has been used I think exclusively on floats since '08 and was put on gear this month at annual.

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    G44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Regardless of the condition or other items, that engine with 1800 hours is going to be needing a major overhaul in the near future. There is also an oil pump AD which is due at 2000 hours which sort of defines when you start spending. You should figure that cost into your consideration.
    Plan on $24,000 for a Penn Yann new everything except case and crank overhaul. Plan on recovering the other wing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G44 View Post
    Plan on $24,000 for a Penn Yann new everything except case and crank overhaul. Plan on recovering the other wing.
    Right now I think the plan is to look for another plane...lol

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    Low priced airplanes can be the most expensive, buy as nice as you can afford, cheaper in the long run.

    Kurt
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    That’s a great idea!

    Kurt

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcj_5189 View Post
    I guess that's beyond my expertise. Has the Crosswinds -18 gear STC and the A&P said that it would bolt on. The Crosswinds STC work was done when they installed the Edo's for the first time '08. I'd have to double check but the A&P spent 16 years working on Alaska type equipment in Alaska so I think he would have said if there was an issue. The plane has been used I think exclusively on floats since '08 and was put on gear this month at annual.
    This is the exact scenario that gets REALLY expensive. Go to bolt on gear that are supposed to fit, only to find that the attach fittings are not quite right...

    Good luck, and I will keep my eyes out if I see a good plane. Maybe tell us what you really want?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    This is the exact scenario that gets REALLY expensive. Go to bolt on gear that are supposed to fit, only to find that the attach fittings are not quite right...

    Good luck, and I will keep my eyes out if I see a good plane. Maybe tell us what you really want?
    I've read a few threads regarding the cabane V not fitting and to make sure you have it there when the welding happens to avoid the fitting issue.

    Thanks everyone who has contributed to the conversation thus far. As I mentioned earlier, airplane fever can make a guy think crazy thoughts. I came here seeking some objective points of view and you guys have said what I needed to hear. I just paid for a membership as I can see the value in the resources and information here on this forum.

    As far as what I'm looking for. I don't need a show piece to present at OSH. Just looking for a -12 that isn't a huge project. My flying is going to be mainly in Northern MN and surrounding areas for pleasure and other than grass strips, probably not any super demanding off airport flying into short/challenging strips. I live on a large lake and would like to put skis on in the winter and have the option of floats at some point. Something with 150HP is a requirement. Flaps would be nice to have but I'm not sure it would be an absolute requirement for my mission. I'm sure they would definitely be an asset if I got into float flying more down the road. Some sort of baggage mod allowing the ability to carry something other than a duffle bag would be great. I don't NEED 31" Tundras but extended gear would be helpful on skis. Again, I'm pretty open as my nice to have list is greater than my MUST have list. Obviously resale value comes into play as well. While I plan on keeping the plane long-term, I would like to have something there was a demand for should circumstances change.

    Again, a BIG thanks for everyone's input so far. I really do appreciate it and I look forward to learning more from the group!

    Chris
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    Look at the “help me price it” thread for ballpark value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Heinrich View Post
    Look at the “help me price it” thread for ballpark value.
    Thanks! I will. I just submitted my membership payment and apparently there is a delay in allowing access to the members only threads.

  35. #35
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    I know of a PA-12 in Winsted, MN for sale. It is not advertised in the normal media but I have the owners contact info. I have no idea how much he wants or what it really is....

    PM me if interested.

    Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by MN_flyer1 View Post
    I know of a PA-12 in Winsted, MN for sale. It is not advertised in the normal media but I have the owners contact info. I have no idea how much he wants or what it really is....

    PM me if interested.

    Tim
    PM sent

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    So...a couple of thoughts on PA-12's and buying airplanes and "tweaking them up":

    - There are some members on this forum (StewartB, Mr. Pierce, and Mr. Skup come to mind, but there's lots of others) who have great insight into -12's. Take their advice.
    - Even with a realistic price / budgeting estimate, I don't believe you can go into a -12 and say "I'm going to do X for Y dollars." Even if the "Y" figure is very conservative (i.e. high), it's almost a certainty that while doing X, you'll see you have to undertake U and V as well.
    - If you get a -12 with a plan on significant changes / repairs / mods, be sure that the -12 (either as-is or as-modified) is the plane you want. You will never ever get the $$ out of a -12 that you put into it if later you decide for example, that a 185 is what you really want.
    - When I got my -12, it had stock wings, an 0-290, 12-gear, etc. Within a year or two, I added an 0-320 and -18 tailfeathers. Some time down the road, I had a complete restore done adding flaps, -18 gear, all sorts of other stuff. Turned out great very happy with the work and the airplane (except on very infrequent instances) still fly's better than I can. ......but there's some argument that I should have stopped with the engine swap (the old 0-290 was wrung out and needed an OH anyway).
    - Doesn't sound like you're headed that direction, but even tweaked up, a -12 is not an -18. Lots of benefits to a -12 (including more room for those of us on the larger side) but if the 200' gravel bar is your goal, look for an -18.
    - It's always a bit of a "what's behind door #1" but for me, while doing lots of mods to a plane (or OH'ng an engine) allows one to know exactly what they have, I think the risk of "hidden issues" will have less impact over the long run that would getting a -12 with the plan of "Oh, I"ll just to A and B to it". "A and B' turn into "A - F".

    Strong suggestion would be to hold out for what you want (and for my $0.02, "want" should include flaps) rather than getting a deal and anticipating immediate tweaking.
    Back In Alaska

  38. #38
    MN_flyer1's Avatar
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    Is there any benefit of a -12 over a 150hp Pacer? Seems the mission would be similar and as you say a -12 is not a -18. You can get a lot of Pacer for the price of a modified -12.

    Tim

  39. #39

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    Mar 2008
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    Re: Pacer v. 12

    - The -12 isn't (really) a 3-place airplane; Pacer's are 4-placer's IIRC....
    - I believe if one is looking for a -12, even with limitations, they may be somewhat interested in short strip work, which the -12 will do, just not as good as an -18, but (based on my vast experience of 2 hours in a Pacer) the -12 does better on short / rough than a Pacer.
    - Long wing v. short wing <<<<for many folks, that's the end of the discussion right there.
    - Certainly if "Pacer" means "Tri-Pacer", not the same discussion as -12 v. -18.

    If one is looking for a fly-around, good strip, fun, economical, plane, I presume the Pacer would fit that bill....but so would a well maintained stock -12 without the big engine or the various -18 mods.
    Back In Alaska

  40. #40

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    Nov 2019
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    Northern MN
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    I've considered a Pacer for a brief moment but most of my flying will be solo or with one pax.. I like the -12 better and after many years flying bigger, faster aircraft I'm wanting to do my recreational flying more "old school" and a stick just has more appeal than a yoke in a taildragger. Dumb reason, but it's an appeal that a Pacer or a 170 just don't have. Obviously there's also more on the market with floats and other mods than Pacers as well.

    As 12drvr suggested, I'm going to be patient and look for the "right" plane and let my bank account grow a bit more. I was really planning on being in the position to buy something in the spring but this one popped up through word of mouth. I could stretch for something now that really fit what I am looking for but I'm really not in a hurry. I wholly agree with the sentiment that buying something you want and spending more initially than thinking about doing mods down the road.
    Last edited by pcj_5189; 11-12-2019 at 01:23 AM.

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