I'm approaching the first anniversary of my private license and approaching 100 hours so I'm a newbie. I own a 150G that I'll be flying for the next few years and live in the Adirondacks of NY. While I don't have any mountain experience I did my training and check ride from a 2400' grass strip and am very comfortable on it. I will be retiring in the next 5 to 7 years and plan to buy a plane my wife and I can fly out west and into some of the backcountry. Priority will be on affordability and capability. When I buy I want to come in at under $30,000 as I'll probably take a hit when I sell the 150 unless the AOPA/EAA medical thing goes through and makes 150's more desirable. As I said, I've looked through all the posts and it looks like a TriPacer or 172 will probably be my best choices. I'll probably stay with a nose wheel (hanging my head in shame) unless tailwheel insurance comes in cheaper than I expect. My questions are - Given 145 to 160 HP is one plane more capable than the other for short field or high DA applications? If I find a TRIPacer I don't anticipate higher maintenance costs given 2 planes in similar overall condition. Is that reasonable? The TriPacer shows a significantly higher service ceiling, the 172 shows as a bit faster. Is the higher service ceiling actual and significant? I'm more interested in STOL than speed. GPH/MPG is a consideration. Maules, 180/182's, constant speed props, big engine modes, etc. are out due to cost. I would be willing to go for bigger tires, wing tips, vg's, possibly a STOL kit. Basically I want to get there, do some camping and have some fun and see some sights.
As you can see this is post #1