Buying a first aircraft help

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cereal_killer
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Buying a first aircraft help

Post by cereal_killer »

Hi everyone, so I am looking into buying my first aircraft and have found a nice looking DA40 XL available not far from where I live for ~$330k. Hoping to get some advice from the wise owners on this forum. What kind of things should I look for especially when initially looking at the aircraft? Any issues that these are generally known to have? What would you estimate for annual insurance/maintenance costs?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Buying a first aircraft help

Post by Pbwears1 »

Pre-buy ! Pre-buy ! inspection by a knowledgable Diamond shop...can't say it enough times
cereal_killer
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Re: Buying a first aircraft help

Post by cereal_killer »

Yeah definitely planning to do that. It's currently at the stage where I haven't seen it yet so want to go and take a look first and do a test flight, then do get a pre-buy if I decide to go forward.
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gyro3816
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Re: Buying a first aircraft help

Post by gyro3816 »

1) Go on FAA website and run an incident report lookup.
2) Ask for a Scanned maintenance log and sit down with your local AP to review it line by line.
3) Make sure you pick the pre-buy AP - do not fall into trap of using the owners recommended or onsite one.
4) Highly recommend using AOPA title services (Aero Space) services. I used them 3x (2 buys and one sell) and they do a real nice job of protecting both buyer and seller.
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chili4way
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Re: Buying a first aircraft help

Post by chili4way »

On a DA40XL, ensure you understand what you're getting (or not getting) regarding WAAS. The XL model did not have WAAS; it was equipped with GIA63 integrated avionics units. When the XLS model was introduced with WAAS and the GIA63W, the XL model was considered "WAAS upgradable" by replacing the two GIA63s with GIA63Ws.

However, today GIA63Ws are not generally available unless you can sign up for the "Legacy WAAS upgrade" program and obtain used GIA63W units. You'll want to contact Diamond Customer Support in Canada to find out the current status and to sign up.

So if WAAS approaches (LPV or LNAV/VNAV minima) are essential to your missions, be sure you know what you're getting.
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Re: Buying a first aircraft help

Post by jwx96 »

I agree with chili4way that you should consider WAAS (although I usually order my chili 3-way). I rented a XL for a while about 10 years ago and it was a really great plane! It had almost everything the DA40 needs (in my opinion) but the XLS added WAAS in 2008. If I were buying now I would definitely get WAAS, both to avoid having to do RAIM checks and to get the LPV, LNAV/VNAV, and LP glideslopes, vertical guidance and minima. Currently I have a much older DA40 (2003) but it has WAAS because of GNS530W and 430W navigators and I like that. A G1000 plane without WAAS may not be that satisfying in the long run. Just my opinion. There are lots of great DA40 versions depending on how you plan to fly.
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Re: Buying a first aircraft help

Post by pisymbol »

330k is A LOT. I would wait. Also, no WAAS, no sale or you need to plan to upgrade.
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Re: Buying a first aircraft help

Post by Soareyes »

Going with faulty memory from 15 years ago but weren't the XL models a bit tail heavy? The XL was when they added the TAS active traffic units but they put it way back in the fuselage behind the rear seats. In the XLS they installed the unit more anterior. Some of the XL planes later had the traffic unit moved forward.
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Re: Buying a first aircraft help

Post by cereal_killer »

pisymbol wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 12:04 pm 330k is A LOT. I would wait. Also, no WAAS, no sale or you need to plan to upgrade.
Do you think it's a lot? I had a look at ads on controller for similar aircraft and seems like most of the asking prices are somewhere in the region of $350-370k. So 330k is their asking price (though they said they have a potential buyer for 325k).

I am not in a massive rush so indeed could wait a bit for the right model to come to the market.
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Re: Buying a first aircraft help

Post by CFIDave »

Many of the 2007 DA40 XL's have already been upgraded to GIA63Ws for WAAS. An easy way to tell -- if you have a photo of the plane's cockpit panel -- is to look for the presence or absence of a "VNV" (Vertical Navigation) autopilot button on the MFD left side bezel (i.e., 12 rather than 11 buttons).

All 2007 XL models came standard with the Avidyne TAS600 active traffic unit mounted in the tail. So some owners have had the TAS600 re-located to underneath the back seat to minimize the aft CG.

The 2007 XL came with the original size DA40 canopy, so it lacks the 1" taller canopy included with 2008 XLS or later models. If you or your front-seat passenger are tall, make sure you fit with the canopy closed.

With the huge run-up in prices this past year, paying more than $300K for a 2007 XL is now common, so $330K is not an unreasonable price -- depending on condition, hours, inclusion of a WAAS upgrade, etc.
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