Potential Owner questions

General discussion of the plane, flying, or anything else.
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JDB
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Potential Owner questions

Post by JDB »

Good afternoon. Sold my Beech Sundowner back in August 2019 and looking for my next... LSA has been the focus but have found the XL-2 and Symphony 160 interesting. Symphony is basically shut down so here I am..

Curious about getting in and out of the XL-2 as well as loading bags. Thoughts? Experiences? Easier with the steps installed?

Definitely would be a fan if the Rotax 915 were an option as it seems the IO-240 FADEC is “challenging” (and costly?).

Thanks for any input/insight/recommendations...

N645XL
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Re: Potential Owner questions

Post by N645XL »

It depends....

I've owned mine for 10.5 years now. If your airport ID is accurate I see you're in the flat lands. My aircraft was a sales demonstrator in St Louis when I bought it from Liberty so it covered that whole area of MO, KS, IL, etc. You may have seen it back in the 2009 era. For the VERY MOST part I'm extremely happy with it. Like any machine it sometimes isn't ready when you are so I've had my moments of disappointment. I think I'd want something with a bit more HP at higher airport altitudes further west in CO, NM, AZ. I think you'll be well served if the bulk of your flying is mostly in the KOJC area. I've had it up above 14,000 ft with two people and a load of fuel but it required a lot of attention to stick and rudder at that altitude.

A friend of mine's grandfather had some interesting advice about the number of seats. He said buy two, if you need more, rent. I've found that to be wise advice in my case. I've rented twice in 10.5 years and one of those was because I needed a BFR and the CFI wasn't familiar with the XL2 so he wanted me in a Piper. So my savings on insurance, state registration (based on seat numbers), etc. has been a significant cost savings over the years.

It certainly doesn't break the bank with operations costs. My single largest expense is the hangar. I owner assist with the annuals so they generally come in around $1,000 (US). It depends on the parts needed, etc. Last year I had to tell them they were undercharging me. Not that I was looking to give away money but I also want to keep my favorite shop in business.

Getting in/out isn't terrible once you make up your mind you're going to put your rump on the wing and slide both legs in on either side of the stick. I have run into one or two females that have taken issue with the ingress/egress protocol. Even if the wing is wet I use my hand as a squidgy and dry it before I get up. I had a CFII with serious back issues and walked with a cane and he was able to ingress/egress without issue. Bag loading isn't as convenient as a baggage door on a piper but it's not terrible either. Just one of those procedures you have to accept you have to do different. As far as whether the challenges are worth it is up to your use. I personally load bags a few times a year so it's not like I can save a lot of time and money with better access. So, it depends...

This forum is replete with input/insight/ and recommendations. I think about everything worth covering has probably been touched on in one or more of the indexed subjects.

Gook luck with the decision.
Bob

frfly172
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Re: Potential Owner questions

Post by frfly172 »

I also have owned my factory demonstrated for 10 years. The sundowner was definitely an easier entry plane. I’m over 70 and still not having a problem getting in or out. I have flown the airplane to Alaska and up and down the east coast . Fuel burn on long cross countries averages 5.2 gah. The forum will answer most questions you may have. Good luck on your quest.

JDB
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Re: Potential Owner questions

Post by JDB »

Thanks for your responses. It's a worthy contender based on mission.

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Re: Potential Owner questions

Post by Bigphoto »

Greetings,
I've owned my XL-2 since June 2017 and probably have spent more on it then I should have! Love the plane and it fits the mission as you would say for me and doesn't cost a lot to operate. Unlike most here I brought mine used with about 1969 hours on the engine and it had been used at a University as an IFR trainer (reason for the many hours in 7 years). It came with one ASPEN 1000 pro and the STEC 30 with Alt hold, two GPS Garmin’s 530/430.

So, going into it I knew I was going to replace the engine at some point and by the way I was given a second engine from another XL-2 that had landed on the nose wheel and the prop hit the ground as part of this deal. Insurance sent it out and had about $20K spent on it and they did not zero the engine hours so it has 1610 but that was before it was sent into Continental Motors. Guess you could call it my spare.

I had an individual that knows the XL-2 and was at one time worked for Liberty that built the aircraft. I paid to have him come up from Florida and do the pre-buy and if it looked good then I was going to have him do the annual too. I would recommend having someone who has history with the XL-2 or has worked on it so they can give you honest feedback plus you can learn a few things that at least for me didn't know regarding the FADEC and or the liberty.

The one surprised for me was the firewall blanket. Currently unless they (Discovery-Aviation) followed through with my recommendation the firewall blanket has a 2000-hour limitation on it. Meaning after 2000 hours your XL-2 is not airworthy via Chapter 4 on XL-2 book? That being said will your aircraft not fly or will you endanger your life not replacing it? Since I had decided to replace the engine anyway, I called to order a new firewall blanket and the price tag of $3K plus having to take off and then put back on the engine I decided to order my new engine even though I had a spare in the box.
Bottomline depending on how many hours is on this aircraft that may become a factor. I would have negotiated the price of the firewall blanket and some of the cost of the labor in the price of buying the airplane if I had known restriction and time limit on the firewall into the cost! For me I decided to replace everything forward of the firewall, engine mount, muffler, all the hoses, engine even the prop. Plus add a tannis heater. But I will know have history on this aircraft and how it was operated. Hit me up in the private section if you want to know more....happy flying....Ed

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Re: Potential Owner questions

Post by GimpyPilot »

Hi,

I acquired my XL-2 in 2013, from its original, private owner who had reached retirement, and no longer wanted to own airplanes. (He also owned a Malibu, which he did not often fly.) My aircraft had something like 320 hours on the tach at acquisition, and now has about 700 hours on it. (I have many friends in aviation, and I only put about half of my flying time in on my own airplane.)

In any case, the XL-2 has been very good to me over the years, and I can say that without exception, every pilot to whom I have introduced it, really does find it a joy to fly. The airplane has only once failed to fly when I needed it. That came down to a bad fuel injector. I would caution you that while the FADEC system is generally very reliable, and has proven quite safe, it is different and it never achieved high production numbers. It is supported by Continental, but because it isn't a mass production system it can be very expensive when things break. As such, I have taken to watching for "deals" on components I don't yet need, and keeping spares on the shelf so that I don't need to wait for Continental to make things and charge me three times what they should, for the privilege. Discovery is apparently working on an alternative engine certification so that we may not be forever bound to the whims (and pricing) of Continental. There are few field serviceable FADEC components, so the system is fairly simple from an A&P/IA perspective, and the engine is really just an IO-240 with some enhanced engine monitoring. All the manuals and documentation are freely available via Discovery and Continental.

My mission has evolved over time, and I have just about reached a point where I would like something with a bit more speed and range, and mild to medium aerobatic facility. I also have a physical non-conformity which requires that I operate with hand operated brakes. (The XL-2's finger brakes are wonderful, and that is what lead me to this platform to begin with.) As such, I am likely to move something that is operated on Experimental certificate, so I have more freedom to build brakes that work for me once I get there. I have not yet decided if I'll keep the XL-2, but I will shortly be looking at high quality RV-7As and -14s.

Incidentally, these forums are an invaluable resource. You''ll likely find the answers to the vast majority of your questions right here, before and after you acquire an XL-2. If there's something you can't find, feel free to drop me a note here.

If and when I decide to pass the XL-2 on, it will be for sale here. It is Serial Number 81, and has been retrofitted with the manufacturer's increased gross weight modifications as well as some others which enhance serviceability and reliability. I've got wheel pants and the three axis autopilot as well. The airplane has nearly 700 hours on it. It is well equipped with an all Avidyne IFD avionics stack, excepting NAV/COM #2, which is a Garmin SL-30. The aircraft is 2020 ADS-B compliant. The panel is highly redundant with two Aspen PFD/MFDs, synthetic vision, traffic, and angle of attack indicator. The aircraft retains its steam gauges as well, for additional redundancy. Any sale will include a significant number of spares and access to my trove of accumulated XL-2 knowledge.

Good luck!
-Michael

JDB
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Re: Potential Owner questions

Post by JDB »

Great information gentlemen! Thanks for you input and insight...

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