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Buying my first plane

My wife and myself (DINK) like to visit places and we have a house in Mallorca so like to travel a lot and that was what gave me the final kick to do the PPL which I finished in May 2018 in LSPG.
I am now eager to buy a Piper PA28 Archer II with 5825 h on the airframe and the O-360 and prop have 1525 h on the clock which is on sale from the shop who handles our club planes and he is thrusthworthy..
The Archer needs a new com to work on 8.33 MHz but I need to add a new intercom as well, a muffler to get to noise category F from C due to lower landing fees and the interior is 80’s style as well so to meet current demand for an interior to be pleasant an upholstery is asked for. Besides that the plane has basic VFR instrumentation and this (sorry low res) from the 80’s when it was produced, but also a stormscope and a one axis analogue AP so basically stuff almost 40 years old but still working. I have a portable PowerFlarm which I would add and as I fly mostly with Skydemon and recently more Foreflight USB/12V charging ports are a certain need. And I want a engine monitor installed and favor the JP EDM 830 as it can show FF, Carb Heat as the Archer II has a carbureted Lyco 360.
I am planning to do the CB-IR this year or next winter so what would you advice me to add now and what could wait?

[ images localised to avoid dropbox links going dead when the account gets pulled due to too many downloads :) ]

Last Edited by Neal at 12 Mar 21:34
LSPG, LSZC, Switzerland

I would start with a COM/NAV, preferably in combination with a GPS with WAAS, and switch the DG for an HSI or add a GS to the CDI. Especially if you plan to do the CB-IR, you will need those.
The interior, unless it’s really beat up, is something you can plan for a future winter / long annual / OH.
Before you do charging ports, think about how many you need and where. You can get a large powerbank until then. I always bring one anyway for redundancy.
The engine monitor is good to have, I like the EDM830 too but I dislike its non-standard format, which means re-planning the panel and potentially dropping something (take your time to choose what).

ESMK, Sweden

Looks like a big project.
Why not consider a plane that has been properly maintained and updated by its owner?

United Kingdom

What do you have below VOR/CDI? Or just a free instrument slot?

Engine instruments and new/legacy autopilot, they will both save you time & fuel in the long run ;)

If you plan on CBIR, GPS+W is probably a must

ESSEX, United Kingdom

I would buy a plane with as much of the desired avionics installed already. And maybe think hard about your mission, if travelling with your wife is high up on your list, there are faster aircraft to consider.


You don’t give a purchase price so it is hard to gauge the overall package. Older planes can be a real ache. What starts out as a gentle upgrade becomes a long drawn out tragedy. It is only once you pull the panel and old instrumentation that you begin to find wiring issues, old parts issues, non conforming parts issues etc. The engine is is at 1520, not a problem, but unless on N reg may be not be able to run on condition when you get to the limits. Projects tend to become precisely that, projects. Whist you want to fly, the aeroplane can be sitting at the shop. All of us in this game have had some real issues with ongoing upgrade and maintenance and avionica upgrade dilemmas. Sorry the subject matter is vast and many unknowns lie in wait. Also, if you are project managing upgrades, and studying for your tickets, that all may be too much.

I agree with Cessna. There are some really good airfarmes with all upgrades completed for sale both in Europe, and the US that would fit your mission. I would look there.

Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow

That is a stormscope.

@Neal: So, you have an Archer (generally, a very nice allround aircraft), but:

-very basic, very dated avionics. non-compliant even for VFR
-high time airframe
-high time engine
-dated interior

So, don’t overpay that airframe. Should be in the region of 30k€.

Other than that, I am not sure this one is a good candidate for a future IFR aircraft. For one, it will be really expensive to get it to a decent IFR standard. Think a navigator box (GTN or IFD, GNSW if it makes you happy), a decent AP, DME, a dent no. 2 Nacomm, etc. In other words, some 30k€, at least. Better to get an aircraft which is already 80 or 90% equipped as you would like it.

Also, if you want to fly IFR, you might want to go one step higher in terms of climb and cruise performance. Turbo Arrows don’t cost that much more.

I am not sure an engine monitor is really required for an Archer with the bulletproof O-360. Sure, it is always nice to know exactly what’s going on in the engine. But consider that the true cost of an engine monitor is not the box itself, but that of getting the thing (and all the probes and cables) installed. Big money, especially at Swiss hourly rates..

Last Edited by boscomantico at 13 Mar 09:31
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Thanks for the answers so far.

Arne wrote:

The engine monitor is good to have, I like the EDM830

That is the one I’d consider as well although as boscomantico wrote:

I am not sure an engine monitor is really required for an Archer with the bulletproof O-360

I like to be able to monitor CHT’s and have a better indication of the fuel used than what the unexact fuel gauges tell.

Ibra wrote:

What do you have below VOR/CDI?

That is a storm scope indeed.

boscomantico wrote:

Should be in the region of 30k€.

It’s around 24k € with an annual and a new COM/audio panel so I could alway consider selling it again when not investing too much to get a better IFR airframe as what I hear PA28 shouldn’t be that difficult to sell.

Last Edited by Neal at 13 Mar 09:53
LSPG, LSZC, Switzerland

@BeechBaby You’re perfectly capable and allowed to exceed any TBO if you operate on Part NCO.

@Neil I agree on what Boscomantico says, this is usually a club plane or for someone who likes to do some VFR flying and who needs the payload.

The backseats of the Archer II can be mounted on the front, too. A friend has done this, when he bought an Archer for metal-money out of a flight school. Since he mostly uses two seats, the back seats aren’t installed most of the time (He carries his paraglider and/or mountainbike instead). This might be a cheap option to get a bit better optics for no money.

Inside the sky.
EDXE, EDXF, Germany

mh wrote:

You’re perfectly capable and allowed to exceed any TBO if you operate on Part NCO

Yes but does that not limit, or restrict your choice of maintenance provider?

Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow
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