Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Any DA20 related topics

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abraham425
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Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by abraham425 »

Hi!

First post. I'm considering purchasing a DA20 with over 5000 hours TTAF. It will be my first aircraft purchase. Any tips on what to have checked out during the inspection that might otherwise be overlooked?

Back story: I'm a student pilot learning to fly because (a) it's fun and (b) it will make it easier to regularly visit clients in NY, MA and ME. I'm in VA. I'm training in DA20s at a flight school that has limited availability because of demand for slots and planes that are often down for maintenance. My plan is to keep my own DA20 for a year to complete my training through instrument* and for some short business trips. In 2022 I will upgrade to a DA40. For tax purposes, it will help me to buy a plane sooner rather than later so that I have more time in the tax year to log business trips.

Thanks!
-Abe

* I know the DA20 is not certified for IMC.
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Re: Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by TimS »

Due to transaction costs, you might be better served to jump straight to the DA40.

Tim
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Re: Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by CFIDave »

I agree with Tim. You might be better off purchasing a DA40 now to complete your training, given that you want to go there in only a year. The DA40 is equally easy to fly, and it's always better to train in the same model plane that you intend to own. That's especially true if you're going to work towards an Instrument Rating -- you'll want to do that with the G1000, not the DA20's Garmin 430.

(BTW, my pilot wife and I both learned to fly in DA20 N458MA back when it was with a flight school at KJYO years ago.)
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Re: Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by abraham425 »

CFIDave wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:48 pm
I agree with Tim. You might be better off purchasing a DA40 now to complete your training, given that you want to go there in only a year. The DA40 is equally easy to fly, and it's always better to train in the same model plane that you intend to own. That's especially true if you're going to work towards an Instrument Rating -- you'll want to do that with the G1000, not the DA20's Garmin 430.

(BTW, my pilot wife and I both learned to fly in DA20 N458MA back when it was with a flight school at KJYO years ago.)
:) I appreciate the encouragement to buy a DA40 right now. If I can make it happen then I will. However, it's most likely that I will buy a DA20 in the next few weeks. By my calculation, the tax benefits of buying a DA20 now (about $30k) outweigh the additional costs of purchasing a DA20 this year and selling it next year and buying a DA40 then (about $10k (+commission +2 x inspection +2 x registration - insurance difference - fuel difference - prolonged rental period).

I don't want to get into it too much here but my financial situation seems to be an edge case not served by traditional aircraft finance. So, I will be buying the plane outright and not financing it. You might ask how I can buy a DA20 with cash and not be able to finance DA40? Yeah, I've asked that a lot too... that's just how things have worked out. (the short answer is that there's always something big to expense in my business so a review of previous year's income looks too low. This year it will be a plane. Next year it will be a bigger plane. Still working on the plan for 2023...)

I did my first solo flight 2 weeks ago in 458MA (at KHEF)!! Small world :D

I realize that discussing plane financing might be more interesting than discussing inspection tips ;-) However, I'm still looking for any tips on inspecting DA20s.

Thanks!
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Re: Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by CFIDave »

Congrats on your first solo!

A DA20 with 5000 hours has likely been subject to lots of student pilot abuse. I'd look for cracks in the composite, the canopy, gear legs, and for wingtip damage.

But as you probably know, it's more important to pay for a pre-buy inspection by a reputable shop (that hasn't worked on that particular plane before) -- especially if it's your first airplane.
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Re: Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by abraham425 »

CFIDave wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:05 pm
Congrats on your first solo!

A DA20 with 5000 hours has likely been subject to lots of student pilot abuse. I'd look for cracks in the composite, the canopy, gear legs, and for wingtip damage.

But as you probably know, it's more important to pay for a pre-buy inspection by a reputable shop (that hasn't worked on that particular plane before) -- especially if it's your first airplane.
Thanks! What are good ways to determine a shop's reputation? Are there reviews? Should I call around the airport where the plane is based, or look for large airports with larger shops nearby? Other suggestions?

-Abe
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Re: Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by thefoxx »

How exciting! Congratulations in advance!

I purchased a similarly high time DA20 about 5 years ago - check for rudder cables replaced (2000hr I believe), push-rod tube rubber seals, nose gear rubber pucks, nose gear bearing.

It's still surprising how a simple aircraft can pile up snags - but I LOVE my plane and hope to do the move-up you are doing, but I still have a hard time thinking of parting with it!
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Re: Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by YCCA »

I owned one in a small flight school and it was a great little plane.. definitely see when the cables were replaced or if that AD still applies.. The nose strut is another problem area so look that over really well.. cracks in the composite could maybe be and issue.. The canopy is super expensive so make sure it’s in good shape.. For what you intend to do with the plane, I would highly suggest getting the wheel pants and getting the MT prop, if you can swing it.. The airplane in that configuration is pretty quick for 125hp.. I also know a guy who has a ton of leftover parts from a flight school that got rid of DA-20’s and he wants them gone cheap
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Re: Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by Derek »

I bought a higher time DA20 nearly 10yrs ago and love it. I keep trying to upgrade but the Da20 happens to make a lot of sense for my mission (45min commute to cottage from work in summer) so I I keep it. A pre-buy inspection would be invaluable and the plane has a bigger annual required at 6,000 hrs. Pay attention to how many hrs are on the engine too of course, and watch out for a crack at the back of the nose gear at the top mounting area. Yes there are some snags here or there but it’s more simple to maintain than most, it’s the safest thing out there and it’s a real pleasure to fly. MT prop is a must - so much better. ForeFlight a must too.
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Re: Looking for inspection tips for high time DA20

Post by thefoxx »

I can relate SO much to wanting to upgrade as well! But I keep realizing how fast, efficient, cost effective and a blast that our DA20's are to fly - I have a hard time thinking of parting with it! It's not for everyones mission - but it sure does tick a lot of the right boxes!

I second the MT Prop configuration!
Derek wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 3:25 am
I bought a higher time DA20 nearly 10yrs ago and love it. I keep trying to upgrade but the Da20 happens to make a lot of sense for my mission (45min commute to cottage from work in summer) so I I keep it. A pre-buy inspection would be invaluable and the plane has a bigger annual required at 6,000 hrs. Pay attention to how many hrs are on the engine too of course, and watch out for a crack at the back of the nose gear at the top mounting area. Yes there are some snags here or there but it’s more simple to maintain than most, it’s the safest thing out there and it’s a real pleasure to fly. MT prop is a must - so much better. ForeFlight a must too.
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