Cessna 120 – How To Tell If This Cessna Taildragger Is
Right For You
The Cessna 120 is very similar to the Cessna 140 and for a period of time it was actually manufactured at the same time. It's a great little 2 seater taildragger that is somewhat of a "classic" and has quite a following among those who own one. Not only that, when you find one for sale - chances are pretty good that the owner had it for many years or decades.
IMPORTANT: The difference between a Cessna 120 and a Cessna 140 is the fact that the 120 is a basic version. Really, the biggest difference is the fact that the Cessna 120 does not have flaps. A lot of the other differences have been made up by owners who have updated their 120's to reflect the same features as the 140 (in most cases).
2 Important & Compelling Reasons Why The Cessna 120
Might Be Right For You
Reason #1 - The Price (Cheaper Then A Lot Of Used Cars)
The great thing about buying the Cessna 120 is the fact that you can get one on the used market for very cheap. I just had a quick look and found a number of them priced UNDER $20,000 USD. One was listed for $17,900 USD and it only had 2210 TT on it.
That's not bad for a 1947 Cessna 120! Not only that, it had been totally upgraded and looked like it was somewhat pampered. And of course - it was owned by the same owner for 16 years.(1)
Now at a price like this, you really have to ask yourself why you would NOT want to buy one. If you are currently renting the local junker, you know that it is a pain in the butt. You have to be back at certain times, can't rent it at peak hours, have to pay for total time verses air time and you end up sitting on the tarmac for hours on end.
So at $20,000 (roughly), you can get into something that allows you to avoid all those rental issues. And if you stay renting, it's not going to take long to burn through $20,000 in rental fee's and fuel.
The Hidden Benefit Of Owning This
The great thing about getting an airplane of this vintage is the fact that it is probably not going to go down in value much more then this price. As long as you keep it in good shape and don't put 5,000 hours on the thing, your probably going to be able to get a good amount for it when you are done flying it.
These airplanes are really old now - they are classics! And realistically, they are not likely going to go down that much more in value. Depending on where in the economic cycle you buy yours, you should get a good deal and if you take care of it, then there is a good chance you should get a good buck for it when you decide to upsize or get out of flying all together.
But if your like a lot of Cessna 120 owners - you might never sell yours. Why would you want to sell a piece of aviation history when you can own it.
Reason #2 - The Cost Of Ownership (Think About This)
One of the problems with owning a brand new 2 seater is the fact that most of them are loaded with digital equipment in the dash. That is fine if you are into that & are okay with paying close to six figures to get a new 2 seater. But sometime down the road those digital dashes have to be upgraded and maintained.
When you get a Cessna 120, your not going to have to worry about a lot of those issues. This plane is VERY simple and does not have excessive amounts of gadgets that need to be fixed. Until you get an airplane that is loaded with massive amounts of gadgets, you will never really know how much it costs to keep all that stuff fixed and in proper order.
Don't Forget About This
A lot of people don't realize that new avionics eventually get old and new models come out which means you likely are going to want to buy them to replace what you have. It's a cycle that you can easily get into. Cause, honestly - were never happy with what we have. We always want more and better. But if you don't have any digital gadgets in your airplane to worry about - you don't have to think about buying the next greatest thing.
So if you are looking for a great little airplane to start out with and build up some hours on, then take a serious look at the 120...
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References: #1 - Sourced 01/26/2011 - http://www.barnstormers.com/Cessna,%20C-120+Taildragger%20Classifieds.htm
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