Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So I bought a Baron

It's true I bought a Baron. When I started thinking about a family plane I quickly figured out that if you've got two kids and a big dog and want to take a trip of any length, the options are sort of limited. Basically in my budget it came down to a late 70's A36, a 210 or Saratoga. After doing some research and kicking some tires, I came to discover that what people say about "Beech quality" is basically true... the difference in build quality between the Bo and a 210 or a Saratoga (or even my beloved Grumman Tiger) is palpable. The problem is, the price reflects it.

I had pretty much decided that the A36 was the plane I wanted with the 210 a close second. I wanted a modern panel though and I imagined I'd add a G500 after some time, so I wanted something that already had a Garmin stack. I spent some time searching and doing my research on years, models etc. I even tried to persuade a guy I met into selling me his A36 as I knew wasn't flying it much. One thing I realized though is that while the A36 is a six seater, with full tanks the useful load is not great, especially on later models. The 210 fares a bit better, but those back two seats are basically jump seats and it's flies like a truck. I figured out that you get a 300 lb load boost from a TN A36. A nice TN A36 runs north of 170k though, and there are lots of reported problems with the stock Turbo. A tornado alley system works much better, but costs 50k to add. Add in a G600 and I'd have 250k or more invested.

So I kept looking and looking for a deal. My friend Mike invited me to a BAC event at Watts/Woodland, and I got to talking with a BAC member named Bob and mentioned I was looking for a Bo. He suggested I talk to this cat Bruce Watts who runs a Beech service center. I called him up and next thing I know he is offering to be my buyers agent for 10 grand. That seemed a bit steep to me but I flew up, met him and heard him out. He mentioned that Baron's are going for a steal right now, and that Mx numbers are not quite as scary as everyone thinks. So I made the mistake of taking a test flight in the Baron and after that I was pretty hooked. There's nothing on this planet quite like the feeling of pouring on the coals of a Baron and rocketing off at 2500ft + per minute.

I did more of my own research and came to the realization that the most bang for the buck in a any plane on the market right now, is the Baron 55. I ran the numbers and the spreadsheets and the poured over controller.com and trade a plane. I connected with beechtalk.com (great site) and go advice about the "buyers agent" proposal. Basically a bunch of folks there advised me that 10k is too much and a buyers agent is not necessary... instead put that money towards a good pre-purchase inspection and the first annual.  I got hooked up with an awesome A&P and Beech guru named Paul McCracken, and also the guy I ended up buying the plane from. The plane had already been upgraded with Colemill engines and a G600, and was priced about right.  So I made an offer and the next thing I know I'm sending Paul off for the prebuy inspection.

The prebuy went pretty well, some niggling things here and there and the most significant item being that the props are due for overhaul on years (not hours). Otherwise the airframe is super clean and it has everything I was looking for and more with the exception of the interior which I'm having redone by advantage interiors (http://www.advantageinteriors.com) for the unbelievable price of 8k.  So I'll overhaul the props and slap in a new interior and I'll have a pretty insane airplane that will haul a lot of weight very quickly with twin engine safety (arguable I know) and glass panel reliability including synthetic vision.

So that's the story, it's a fat plane with 600+ HP and I'm super excited to get her home. I will fly out to PA after the interior is done and fly her back, which will be my first coast to coast piloting adventure.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you have been enjoying your baron since purchase. I am too thinking of buying one and wanted to ask you a few questions.