Author Topic: Looking for Help in Buying My Dream  (Read 19867 times)

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Offline mikeydidit98

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Looking for Help in Buying My Dream
« on: August 23, 2007, 10:13:32 PM »
Dear EZ Squadron;

I'm a 325hr VFR pilot who grew up around planes. It's a passion for me.  However, I've sat on the sidelines for the last 20 years - wanting a Long EZ / Varieze / Racer / ..., but never able to make the financial plunge. My disposable income has gone into raising children... and flying RC planes to compensate for not being able to fly the real thing.  A few of you know me from seeing me at Oshkosh, and at fields around the Midwest and eastern US. In fact, a few of you have been kind enough to give me a ride... Thanks.

I'm a 41 year old father of four great kids, and while I make a pretty respectable income, my wife and I have never been financially able to allow me to indulge myself in the dream. Well, I'm in full-bore midlife crisis and coming up on a milestone - the same age as my father was when he purchased his first plane. I'm not going to do the whole younger gal or sportscar thing... but I'll be damned if I am going to see 45 without owning a Long or Varieze. I am relatively naive in my belief that, given an opportunity to do so, people are willing to help others. And, I am asking for your help.

Will you please help me?.  David Orr has agreed to help me.  But even as absolutely connected as he is, there are still planes out there that have not yet surfaced.  And, I am the poor guy trying to find a rarity - great plane at an even better price (basically one I can afford).  

I am prepared and capable of pulling the trigger, though the resulting blast from that financial gun will by no means be large or loud as judged by most of you.  I have a 401K account that I'm prepared to cash out - $15K after penalties and taxes. Combine that with selling off a dirt bike and some remote control planes, and I can bring it up to about $18,000 cash in relatively short order - 3-4 weeks time ($15k of that being available almost immediately).  I'm successful at what I do and will earn a $10-20K bonus this year, payable in end March '08.  I'm looking for a flying Varieze or Long EZ, from someone willing to work with me, given my financial constraints.

So, I am appealing to each of you.   Do you know someone who is actually looking for a good home for their plane?  Are they someone who might be willing to sell their plane for a little less than what they could probably get elsewhere, because they want to help someone who is worthy of helping?  I am an ethical, good person. I help others and do that freely.  I am the man my parents raised me to be, and have some great folks who would welcome giving me reference.  

This is new to me.  I've never owned before.  As such, I could also use your advice.   If you were in my shoes, how would you proceed?

Thanks in advance for the help.  If this works, I'll be the guy at Oshkosh in '08 with the plane named "Thanks!"  And, I will personally thank each one of you.

Regards,
Mike Westendorf
816-500-7074
You appreciate most the things for which you have had to work.

Offline GlennBob

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Plunging
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2007, 01:04:51 AM »
Dear Mikey,

DON'T  CASH  IN  THE  401 K.   THAT'S  THE WORST THING  YOU  CAN  DO ! !   DON'T DO IT  ! !   YOU'LL   PAY  TAXES  ON  THAT  MONEY  THREE  TIMES ! !   DON'T  DO  IT ! !     First,  you'll pay taxes on the money when you draw it out, . ( because it was not taxe when it went in),  2nd, . .you'll have to pay it back with money that HAS been taxed ! !, and 3rd, . .you'll pay taxes on it AGAIN when you pull it out in the end.   DON'T  DO  IT  ! ! !    YOU'LL   BE   SORRY  ! !

The key to finding a good easy is . . . . P  A  T  I  E  N  C  E  ! ! !   Take your time, . . don't leap at what looks like the first bargain.   It's  O.K.  and even good to get your ducks in a row so that when it shows up,  you can make the move,  but don't rush it.  I rushed and it has so far cost me two years of  NO  flying,  because the bird is not properly done and I'm having to re-do most of it.   Take your time.

As for the funds,  scrape together what you can,  and see about perhaps getting a line of credit on your house.  Maybe a 2nd mortgage.  That way it will be tax deductable and you can get a better fixed long term rate.   Then you can fly now and pay later.

One other possibility is to see if there is anyone in your area that might be willing to go into a partnership with you.  That can be a great deal because you share all the costs and pay only 1/2 of what everything would normally cost you.  Besides this, . .you can afford twice as much airplane.   It is critical that you get the right partner though.  I've seen a few that worked out great ! !  There are a couple dudes from out east at the show every year.  They seem to be having a great time in their partnership.  Make sure everything is spelled out on paper first though.  I was in a partnership and it was a great experience.  I had a great partner. He didn't fly much but enjoyed being partners too.

Good luck.

Glennbob
N600EZ  O-320-E2A,  Hertzler prop, Trio AP, Narco HSI, Custom headers, Oil heat.

Offline mikeydidit98

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Thanks #1
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2007, 09:08:43 AM »
Dear Glennbob;

Thanks for the advice.  I'll try to be patient.

I agree with you on the tax issue (working for The Man... 2 days out of every work week...a and then turning around and payin' him more every time ya go to buy something... greedy SOB).  I'm going to try and avoid cashing it in, since it only yields 53 cents on the dollar (47% goes to the IRS in taxes and penalties).  But, I'm willing to do it, if something great comes along between now and Apr 1, when I receive my bonus.

Unfortunately, while I make a lot, as does my wife, my financial reality is in a number - 635 (my credit score)(twice divorced and an unemployment issue in the mid 90's that caused my salary to drop by 30%... took me almost 5 years to get it back to where it should be).  An aviation loan is not in the picture for me, unless I can find a personal/seller finance deal.

I'm relatively even keel and am approaching this as a process.  Given my limitations, I know it will not be a quick one, and I'm ok with that.  My goal is to have my bird at Oshkosh next year, painted as promised in a "Thank You!" theme.

Regards,

Mike
You appreciate most the things for which you have had to work.

Offline rglos

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Looking for Help in Buying My Dream
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2007, 11:30:30 AM »
I am 62 and have had my Long EZ for 21 yeas now.

I will trade it for your wife................Just kidding

Considering the budget and time, you should think about building. You can set aside what amounts to a car payment to yourself each month and buy materials as you need them. That's what most of us have done.

Building is a rewarding experience. Just as much as owning and flying.

In the next four years you will have the plane of your dreams,( if it is a Long EZ type) will have built it yourself and will proably be under that 18k + 10 to 20K (Bonus) budget. You will have a 401 K worth twice what it is today. You can involve the family in the build phase and double up on your accomplishment and enjoyment.

I started with RC models as well so building will not be a needed skill set.

The "Open EZ" drawings and terf CD of the plans will get things started.

In the end you will have literally "Made" your dream come true. Just be patient.

Your kids will be able to say "My dad is building a real airplane and I am helping."  What is that worth?

The only downside is that you will have to banish the cars from the garage for a few years.

Think about it.

Rick
Long EZ, 0-235L2C, 1986

Offline Bruce Hughes

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Hangar Flying
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2007, 07:19:28 PM »
If you do build, you WILL spend MORE in the total project than you
would spend on someone's flying airplane.

Variezes cost less than other canard pushers, I believe.

If you build, the Cozy is a good choice because plans are available
and you have room in the back.   However the Cozy IV requires a
larger engine so the engine cost is pretty much prohibitive.

Considering your finances, Variezes really look good.   You might
get a ride in one to see if you fit.

Bruce Hughes :D
Yelm, WA
Longeze N199BH
retired
taught at Maui Community College

Offline Drew

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Looking for Help in Buying My Dream
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2007, 12:35:44 AM »
As others have mentioned---don't cash out!  I am a simple military guy who has been owning a Longez and then a Cozy since my early 30s (I am 2 years older than you---wife and daughter).  My approach to life was to first fund all of my requirements
-1st: make sure that I could live in retirement (IRAs/TSP---max non tax accounts---then supplement with other retirement income until reaching comfortable levels)
-2nd: make sure education accounts appropriate for daughter
-3rd: what is left over is for everything else (1st and 2nd are untouchable).  I could get a really big house and a nice car but then there would not be anything left for a plane.  So the trick was to live below my means (smaller house, used car, etc) to reach goal

For those not used to budgeting, you would be surprise to find out how much beer, smoking, and Starbucks coffee costs you per year.

If you can't talk yourself into the smaller house, used cars, ditching the Starbucks, then partnerships are another way to go

Bottom line----my guess from your post---is that you can afford to take the plunge.  But do you have the discipline to make the numbers work out (you can't have it all----can you really choose what is important to you?)
Drew Swenson
Cozy N171ML

Offline Britguy59

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Understand the need
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2007, 11:15:58 AM »
I was a similar case. I had long given up the thought of owning/building, yet after finding a new (decent) wife, here I am. 48 yo and near finishing. I bought a used Long that had most of the major fabrication done, leaving me the controlls, engine, avionics et al. It still is taking a year or two, but I would advise you finding an abandoned or mostly built project and save much effort. I got mine for $8000 with a bunch of parts in boxes. There are others out there. Support from my wife was a huge help, but my funds were my equity line on the house. I started from nothing 3 times over, so no big $$ in my bank. I'm leaving my 401K alone. I just keep driving the old car and my bike, and buying parts as I go. None of us are getting younger, and the payoff will be us living our dream together. She's 100% behind it.
Martin Hulme, Zephyrhills Florida.

Made it to Oshkosh 2011.

Offline easyrider

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Finding your Dream
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2007, 01:36:21 PM »
There is a very reasonable Varieze posted in the for sale section.
Give Jim Skilling a call 661 822 0183.
Good Luck
Easyrider

Offline GlennBob

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Looking for Help in Buying My Dream
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2007, 01:42:19 AM »
Goodness ! !    

One must be carefull to assess what's important in life.   If you'd had the EZ for 5 years already,  sure you'd say it was great,  but it's not the most important thing in your life. Because you're on the outside looking in,  it SEEMS drastically important, but once you have it, . .it'll fade, . .just like everything else material in life ! !  

There have been some good suggestions posted.  All very good advice I'd say.  But be careful for what you wish for. You might get it and some of the important things in life might suffer.  It's all gonna burn someday anyway.

Family, friends, and especially God are the only things that are truly important ! !

Personally,  I'd check out some of the 3/4 finished ones out there.  That'll give you a great head start.  It may cost a little more in the long run, but you won't have to pay for it all at once.

Best wishes,

Glennbob
N600EZ  O-320-E2A,  Hertzler prop, Trio AP, Narco HSI, Custom headers, Oil heat.

Offline fionapple

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Total and other costs
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2007, 06:28:53 AM »
I, too, sat on the sidelines, then pulled the trigger, and now I'm buried.

I bought a "flying" plane and it's just gone backwards the more I look into it.  I had experts tell me it was a great deal.  I've now spent 1500 hours and 40% beyond the purchase price to get it going, and I'm looking at another $10K.  Meanwhile, knowledgeable local help and A&P's for things like condition inspections are getting harder to find.  "Experimental" is becoming synonymous with "RV".

While I think these are amazing planes, I could have been flying a slower certified training for these few years.  I have, some, and it's hard enough to find people to go up side-by-side in a certified plane.

I'm sure you have, but do please consider the actual run rate.  Most people try to hangar.  Gas went from $2.70 to $4.30 in the time I've owned the project.  Insurance is 3X that for a certified fixed-gear.  I've spent over $4K at the hardware store in $20 increments.  If you get an RV, there are tons of suppliers and supporters and little variation; with these old planes, be prepared to muddle through debugging someone's one-off brake mounts.  If you buy, you'll probably end up as knowledgeable as a builder about systems, but you'll still need a sympathetic A&P every year.  

They say there's one thing that distinguishes new businesses that succeed: more cash and more time to succeed.  Same here.  If you can't spend double the time and money in a pinch, you're liable to get into a hole you can't get out of.

Fear aside, perhaps the best thing you could do would be to partner with someone, perhaps the builder who's looking at stepping back to light-sport for medical reasons.  You could pick up all the labor so he can just fly and you can learn.  You can even help build the next plane.  He might feel better about handing his baby off to someone who he's vetted and trained.   There are no deals; almost invariably the $40K solid flying plane will be a better deal that the $15K project because you need only keep it in good shape (that's enough money and time right there).

I don't mean to be a downer, but I think you won't succeed unless you can take a big bite of reality and still keep up your spirits.

(Thanks for your patience.)

Offline GlennBob

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Looking for Help in Buying My Dream
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2007, 11:32:20 AM »
I would have to agree with Fionapple ?

I bought a " Flying " plane and I too am buried.  Although, I've made a bunch of progress.   I've essentially lost 2 years of flying and I passed up the $40 k  finished plane he was talking about.  It would have been a far better deal than the one I chose.

But, . .when I'm done, . .this will be my bird that no one will know better than I do ! !

Glennbob
N600EZ  O-320-E2A,  Hertzler prop, Trio AP, Narco HSI, Custom headers, Oil heat.

Offline mikeydidit98

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I'm an Owner
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2007, 09:37:52 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the comments.  I had some good help along the way from david Orr (my hero), who steered me toward a great plane - N6553C.  It's a 1992 O-235 Varieze, with 400TTAF and TTSMOH (approx 3200 TT on the case).  She's having her conditional done this week, and I fly her home from Phoenix to KC 10 days from now.  Here is a pic of her before i took her out and gave her a bath.  I'll get more up once I get her home.

I'm looking forward to again meeting the same folks I've gabbed with over these past years about EZ's.  They've given me sound advice, encouragement... and friendship.  Stop me and chat when you see me on the ramp.  I love to gab and gleen information from those more experienced than I.

Mike Westendorf
816-500-7074
You appreciate most the things for which you have had to work.

Offline IRVINGPI

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Offline Dave in Eugene

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Looking for Help in Buying My Dream
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2008, 10:40:08 PM »
Any updates?

Dave
408 EZ Long EZ 0235-L2C / Great American 62X62 / IFR / GU canard

Offline Bill James

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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2008, 08:24:19 PM »
This thread takes me several places.
One, remembering when it took a lifetime to get to 'someday'.
Two, remembering the day-to-day eze building experience as good, and missing it, a little.
Three, knowing builders of other types that also take on a weekend re-do project and
end up still not back in the air three years later. It's not just ezes, or airplanes...
Four, from plans to flying, for a couple of bucks a day. The time would have passed
even if i hadn't built all those little pieces and parts.
As you get your new beauty flying, may i suggest a re-read of "The List" on the
home page EZ Chronicles link. Still works for me.
The sunset was spectacular yesterday. A shorter runway is a welcome ongoing challenge.
Kinda like building...
Bill James, Fort Worth VariEze N95BJ
Downdraft Plenums, QuickCowls
There was supposed to be anhedral?
ATP, Society of Flight Test Engineers