A Year of 421 Ownership

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  • #83726

    Wow – It’s been almost a year since I picked up my 421 and had my very first flight in a pressurized piston twin.

    A year ago next week I flew with my mechanic and one of his assistants to SFO, drove to Healdsburg, and did the pre-buy. Finding an airplane in pretty good shape we flew home the next day.

    It’s been a wonderful, yet expensive, first year of ownership.

    The upside is that I am using the airplane more than I thought I would. I’ve logged 238 hours and almost 40,000 miles in the 421 over the last 12 months. The Garmin shows an average ground speed of just over 190 kts and I’ve seen cruise ground speeds from 120 kts to 313kts. Fuel burn is consistently 38-42 gph depending on how I run her and TAS is 205-215. I’ve learned to love flight in the low 20’s where I seem to be the only airplane flying. 600+ mile “direct” routings are the norm.

    My travels this year have taken me to upstate NY several times, Boston, Oshkosh, Miami, Salt Lake City, Taos, NM, Phoenix, Orlando, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Charlestown, WV, Bowling Green, Ithaca, NY, Quitman, TX, Hartford, Corpus, Jasper, TX, St. Louis (World Series!), South Bend, Duluth, Minneapolis, Mobile, DC, Atlanta, and a bunch of fuel stops in between.

    The most memorable trips have been with the family, and they have gone from complaining about flying in Dad’s airplane (the 210 or rented Bonanzas) to asking to fly trips in the 421. It’s a joy for me to look back in the cabin and see them with the tables out eating lunch or playing cards – I hope I continue to earn their unflinching trust in my and my plane’s abilities.

    I was also lucky enough to do three very memorable VAC flights. It’s amazing to be able to help these vets who have given their bodies to defend our country.

    Over half of my flights were either business or charity related and that helps a bit on the taxes. I will routinely combine multi-city trips that would have been impossible commercially and that does improve my productivity. Flying time is also good decompression time for me as opposed to many commercial flights where it’s a grind.

    Were there really many trips I couldn’t have done in the 210? Honestly, no. Two leg trips would be three legs over 2 days, some weather would have been much less fun to deal with, and the cabin would have been more cramped, but generally I could have done most of my trips in the 210. Would I trade back? Not if I can help it.

    As I knew going in, a pressurized twin isn’t cheap. First year “catch up” maintenance was extensive and expensive, but most of the expensive things I was expecting due to the pre-buy (pilot side heated windshield + installation is close to $20k – Ouch!) and had negotiated the purchase price to soften the blow.

    She’s in the shop for her first annual and unfortunately we’ve already found a cracked case… I’ll be down for 8 weeks and have a lighter wallet at the end of the ordeal. Oh well… C’est la vie I suppose.

    While the 421 is certainly expensive, when I consider the cost of capital and operations, I don’t think anything can touch her. She’s a joy to fly, the family loves her, and I would have a very hard time stepping back down to a unpressurized plane for traveling. I do miss being able to land on grass strips, but I can always rent for that.

    It’s been a great year!

    Robert

    #95722

    Thank you for the great re-cap.
    As someone about ready to walk in your shoes, that was very inciteful (and encouraging).

    John

    #95750

    Thank you for the follow-up. I too am in the early stages of the illness, 421-itis. Just got off the phone with Mr. Temple.

    Even though I am an experienced pilot, I am not a Twin Cessna expert, so I will be using Jerry to guide me through the aquisition. I have seen mx bills that would curl your toes and even those of the wealthiest toes. These airplanes need to have experienced eyes on them prior to purchase.

    #95753

    Good idea.
    Jerry Temple is an expert on Twin Cessnas. I know him since 2007.

    Rodolfo
    1978 C340A RAM VII

    #95754
    quote tallen:

    Even though I am an experienced pilot, I am not a Twin Cessna expert, so I will be using Jerry to guide me through the aquisition. I have seen mx bills that would curl your toes and even those of the wealthiest toes. These airplanes need to have experienced eyes on them prior to purchase.

    Even with a good pre-buy, they can be silly expensive. Owning an airplane of this caliber is not for the financially feint of heart.

    Not trying to scare anyone – Just make sure that you go into it with your eyes open.

    Robert

    #95755

    Thank you Robert! I may be in touch with you to compare notes.

    #95773
    quote tallen:

    Thank you Robert! I may be in touch with you to compare notes.

    Glad to chat anytime. FYI, I’m based at ADS in the Dallas area.

    Robert

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