Newbie here, bought a 1965 Piper 235, looking for advice
Hello everyone, as the title says I am the new owner of a 65 Piper PA 28 235. It has a factory remanufactured engine done in 2012 and has about 200 hours on it. It has been repainted about 18 years ago, and the total time on airframe is about 2800 hours.
My wife and I have jumped into this adventure and are working on our PPL together, risking of course putting the cart before the horse but we wanted to be trained in our own airplane and plan on using it to see the grandkids and kids who live 300-1100 miles away. We are getting older, late fifties so we had to dive into this thing and get going. It's been fun and our plans are to hopefully become IFR rated at some point, but that will be as far as we will go.
We will be flying together I think about 95 percent of the time especially at first. We will rarely carry passengers , except for the occasional airplane ride for fun.
I picked the Piper 235 because we are going to be going in and out of airports of 3200-6200 feet so I wanted the extra power and a little more speed. I think it will fit my primary mission nicely.
Now for the downside of the plane, It has all original avionics. The question in my mind about upgrading avionics in this plane vs a newer plane has been settled, I don't see the added value trading up for a more expensive plane when this one will fit our needs nicely except for avionics. Yes I understand that a good chunk of the money spent on avionics will not pay off at resale, I suppose I will fly for 10 years so if I enjoy the upgrades that is good enough for me.
I have questions about what might be the ideal steps to take and the ideal order. I have a budget of 20-30k. I could go over that by 10 or 20 percent if necessary, but first my goals. I don't want to patch things along and then upgrade, and I don't necessarily want bells and whistles just for fun either. Please give your experienced feedback! I have the following issues and thoughts.
The tach is questionable. One fuel gauge is not working. I am thinking about a JPI engine monitor, seems to solve a lot of problems with regards to old gauges. I have studied quite a bit about running lean of peak, must have CHT temp gauges on all 6 cylinders. Yes I know this is very controversial. but I know quite a bit about fuel and the internal combustion engine. Most arguments against the idea have been anecdotal, but I'm certainly open to hearing empirical evidence. It seems like this is my first upgrade. My thought also has included a simple engine CHT monitor and repair the gauges that are older, but is that cost effective? I do like the idea of knowing exactly how many gallons of fuel I have used via the JPI monitor, and of course the accuracy of digital gauges.
I think next would be navigation upgrades. This is an area I need to study. I would say my goal is light IFR. I will pick weekends that are nicer weather or we will not go, so we will be flexible. There will be 2 licensed pilots in the plane which will help greatly I am told. However, an autopilot is something I am very interested in.
Finally I would look at the radios. I used to have a ham radio license so I know something about this stuff. I plan on avoiding busy and congested airports. I live in South Dakota and most places I will fly will be somewhat sparsely populated.
Thank you in advance for your input,