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09 Dec 2019, 16:28 [ UTC - 5; DST ]


Greenwich AeroGroup



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 Post subject: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of it.
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 16:52 
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Joined: 01/08/10
Posts: 656
Post Likes: +175
Location: 45G - Brighton, MI.
Aircraft: V35A
Current airplane

1967 V35A 7400TT
IO-550 400 hours factory reman
165-170 TAS LOP @ 14 gph

Good paint
AirMod interior
Good avionics - G5, GTN650, Stec 50, FS210
TKS - works great in the cold Michigan winters!
Tip Tanks

It's a great plane and does what we need it to do (breakfast runs and 3 hour trips to the east coast and down south to the Carolinas). About the only thing I don't like is the typical V35 tail wag during turbulence. I could add a yaw damper but its $7k from Stec.

If I keep the plane here are the upgrades I'd like to add.

GFC 500 Autopilot. Gives me a three axis digital A/P that includes a yaw damper and autotrim. Cost $20k

T/N upgrade. Would allow me to take advantage of upper winds and would increase speed. Both my wife and I enjoy flying, but we like to get there fast! Cost $50k.

Air conditioning - cost $20k

So around $100k to upgrade my plane. If I'm lucky I might get a third of that investment back.

The alternative is to sell my plane and buy a Columbia 400 like this one:

https://www.controller.com/listings/air ... bia-400slx

It seems to me there is a lot of value here.

I've looked at A36's that are around the same price point. I've restricted my search to examples that are TKS equipped since that is a must have. Here are examples of what I've found:

https://www.controller.com/listings/air ... 36-bonanza

($70k more expensive than the 400 and does not include A/C or a turbo)

https://www.controller.com/listings/air ... 36-bonanza

(Does include the turbo and A/C but is $90k more expensive)

Neither offers the G1000 avionics.

I'm aware the A36 is a better load hauler (I owned one in the past), but I really don't need it since most of our trips it is just my wife and myself with an occasional third.

My hangar door is only 38' wide so that rules out the B36 and any Cirrus products.

Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 17:26 
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Joined: 02/10/12
Posts: 3690
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Company: TTM Development Co LLC
Location: Tannhäuser Gate
Aircraft: Piper PA28/140
What's the current ride worth?

I'd upgrade what you have, maybe sans A/C. You like it otherwise and you know how it's been maintained and flown. New plane will have a shakeout period and you don't now what might crop up.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 18:00 
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Joined: 11/09/13
Posts: 5
Post Likes: +5
Aircraft: Cessna T210
Heresy on Beechtalk:

Look at the T- or P210, especially with Vitatoe or WS turbonormalizer. Just as fast as the Columbia, no need for a/c (high wing shading keeps you cool), better UL and lower stall speed, you can get ~120 gal with tip tanks or aux baggage fuel.

If you want to fly slow, can cruise at 90 kn/8 gph in a TN210, fast 185-200 kn 15-17 gph.

P210: https://www.controller.com/listings/air ... ssna-p210n

T210: https://www.controller.com/listings/air ... turbo-210n

I'd look for one with run-out engine and install a Vitatoe.

ps: no tail waggle!


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 18:04 
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Joined: 06/28/09
Posts: 10613
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Location: Walnut Creek, CA (KCCR)
Aircraft: 1962 Twin Bonanza
Columbia is great airplane. landing speeds are fast and it uses a lot of runway, but otherwise not many negatives. I'd probably upgrade what you've got though, looks super nice.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 22:00 
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Joined: 10/03/16
Posts: 165
Post Likes: +106
Location: Chicagoland
Aircraft: Mooney Acclaim
Have you considered a long body Mooney? Especially if it’s just you and SO most of the time, that COL4 money gets you a FIKI plane.

Yes, the factory just went Kaboom, but that’s almost a seasonal condition for Mooney.

If you find yourself in the Chicago area, pm me, and I’ll show you mine. It’s not for sale, but you can get a sense for if it will or will not work for you.

Be glad you’re not in Illinois. Starting Jan 1, there is no credit for trade in over $10,000. IOW, you pay the sales or use tax on the price of the purchase less no more than $10,000 trade in.

35 ILCS 105/2) (from Ch. 120, par. 439.2)
14 Sec. 2. Definitions.

Why are people fleeing Illinois?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 22:10 
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Joined: 11/20/16
Posts: 2452
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Location: Austin, TX area
Aircraft: F33A Bonanza
What’s the parts situation for Columbias?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 22:21 
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Joined: 11/20/14
Posts: 3842
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Aircraft: V35
I looked at a normally aspirated Columbia to swap for my 550 V35. My plane’s previous owner offered to swap so he could get his old plane back (plus some cash).

The amount of interior room and baggage room In the Columbia was significantly smaller. My family of four and our bags (stroller, playpen.etc) would not have fit in the Columbia.

The Columbia was just as heavy as an A36, surprisingly heavy for a smaller plane. I am told the FAA certification process for composites in the utility category required them to WAY overbuild it, “just in case” of a worst-case undetected defect. This hurts climb and useful load.

The one I was looking at was a clean wing (no deice), no turbo, no compelling advantage over the V tail. It is probably a little faster, but not worth giving up the extra room for me at least.


Last edited on 16 Nov 2019, 22:24, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 22:23 
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Joined: 01/30/09
Posts: 2132
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Location: $ilicon Vall€y
Aircraft: Columbia 400
Do it! I greatly enjoy flying mine.

This one is pretty loaded, and it looks like it has had a recent top overhaul.

Like mine though, this one is a non-WAAS G1000. It is possible to upgrade, but expensive. They came factory equipped with WAAS starting in 2008. It's got everything else though. Check to see if it has an ADS-B transponder already. If not, then you need a GTX335 or GTX345 with it's own WAAS.

It's a great plane for two people and moderate bags, fly in the teens to low flight levels on oxygen. It can really rip through the miles on reasonable fuel. The GFC700 autopilot is great.

It's not a STOL plane, but landings properly conducted at correct airspeeds are no big deal and need not consume excessive runway. She's a slippery bird, but you don't have to land with excess energy.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 23:25 
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Joined: 03/30/15
Posts: 60
Post Likes: +31
Aircraft: King air 350
I regularly use my 400 out of 2200 feet no problems. My 300 out of 1700 feet. Not sure why people are saying they aren’t good at short field stuff. I’ve done 1700 miles in the 300 with zero issue, I’ve had it all over the world. The 400 is great speed, just doesn’t have the range of the 300. If you have any questions feel free to contact me, I have a shade under 5200 hours in Columbia’s.
Craig Woodberry


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2019, 00:11 
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Joined: 05/02/15
Posts: 470
Post Likes: +275
Location: Austin, Texas and Argentina
Aircraft: Columbia 400
Consider joining the Columbia owner's forum:
https://www.cessnaadvancedaircraftclub.com/

I fly a 400 and love it. I do complain about Cessna's lack of support for G1000 software updates though. I landed on a 2000 foot runway with no problem. Fly short field approaches at 75 knots in a 400.

I flew it to the southern tip of Argentina and back last year. Harry Anderson flew his 300 around the world. Then he flew it from Seattle to Antarctica (the continent). Here's the approach and landing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ks8QlUHJpk

I have Thermawing and like it, but it's not FIKI. If you want FIKI you'll have to get the TTX. I wish it were retractable, but I'd have to get a Lancair for that. It holds 102 gallons of fuel (600 pounds), which leaves about 400 lbs for people and bags. I can fly it 5 hours with an hour reserve.

Any technical questions about all the variants/years of the plane, ask Darryl Taylor, who runs the Columbia shop at Van Bortel in Arlington, Texas. He knows everything about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2019, 00:22 
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Joined: 11/20/14
Posts: 3842
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Aircraft: V35
The Columbia wing is smaller than the Bonanza wing, IIRC 141 square feet for the Columbia vs 181 sqft for the Bonanza. For what it’s worth, Cirrus is similar to Columbia wing area, and also less than a Bonanza.

The smaller wing is the secret to faster cruise on the same horsepower. It’s a key reason the Columbia as a fixed gear plane can outrun most retracts. But the smaller wing is going to increase runway requirements.

Now, we live in a country where it’s easy to find a paved 3000’+ runway almost anywhere, and 4000+ runways are the norm. So Columbia and Cirrus are designed for the infrastructure of today, whereas Bonanzas were designed for the airports of 1947 where short dirt strips were pretty common.

The post above shows you can get proficient and run a Columbia out of sub-3000’ runways. Not to say the Columbia or Cirrus are no good at 2200’ runways, just that they have less margin on such a runway than a C172 or C182 or Bonanza.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2019, 05:46 
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Joined: 01/30/09
Posts: 2132
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Location: $ilicon Vall€y
Aircraft: Columbia 400
Username Protected wrote:
The post above shows you can get proficient and run a Columbia out of sub-3000’ runways. Not to say the Columbia or Cirrus are no good at 2200’ runways, just that they have less margin on such a runway than a C172 or C182 or Bonanza.


I've landed plenty of times at KPAO, 2443' runway and there are Columbia based there. It's not a challenge.

Full flap stall speed is 59kts.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2019, 06:10 
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Joined: 12/18/12
Posts: 387
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Location: Europe
Aircraft: Lancair Columbia 300
Username Protected wrote:

The smaller wing is the secret to faster cruise on the same horsepower. It’s a key reason the Columbia as a fixed gear plane can outrun most retracts. But the smaller wing is going to increase runway requirements.


Whilst the higher wing loading does have it's advantages/inconveniences, the "secret sauce" is the Natural Laminar wing profile, NLF(2)-0215(H) for the 400.

Read all about it here : https://m-selig.ae.illinois.edu/pubs/SeligMaughmerSomers-1995-JofAC-NLF-Airfoil-Design.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2019, 11:13 
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Joined: 01/03/17
Posts: 45
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Aircraft: F35; PC-12/45&NG
I live on an airpark with a 2,200’ x 30’ asphalt runway and had my 400 in/out of here with no problem (stopped in 1,300’), provided that I stuck to 73 kts over the numbers where the 400 still has good elevator authority. I had two Columbia’s over the years. I fly an E-Series v-tail right and thoroughly enjoy the Bo, but I miss my Columbia terribly and will be buying another when I get my finances positioned right. The Columbia wing is very predictable, has benign slow flight manners, and handles with a bit of a heavy feel as airspeed builds so it great in IMC when hand flying and the positive feel of the control rods (no cables from the stick to the control surfaces) allows the pilot to feel the lift bleed off in real time for very low-drama short field landings. Most pilots land them far too fast and unnecessarily chew up runway.

That said, I could not be happier with my decision to fly a v-tail after needing to part with my 400 following a divorce and I am having a total blast with the F35 since buying it in March. I have 225 hours on it in 8 mos and haven’t spend much in maintenance. The maintenance on my Columbias was expensive and this old Bo is just dirt-simple with no AC, no deice, no turbos, no door seals/pumps, and not much to worry about. All compromises......

Blue skies,
Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Looking at upgrading to a Columbia 400 - talk me out of
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2019, 12:39 
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Joined: 01/08/10
Posts: 656
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Location: 45G - Brighton, MI.
Aircraft: V35A
Username Protected wrote:
I live on an airpark with a 2,200’ x 30’ asphalt runway and had my 400 in/out of here with no problem (stopped in 1,300’)


I also live in an airpark that’s 3000 ft x 25 asphalt so that’s good to hear. Thanks.


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