operation cost for single retract vs single fixed
I am getting to the point where I am considering a purchase. One side of me says to go with the retract single (arrow, lance, mooney) and enjoy the plane for years to come, etc w/o feeling the need to trade up.
Another side of me says to be practical and go with a fixed gear (archer, or dakota) the practical side of me asking if I really need to have a craft with retracts. All of these aircraft would do what is needed such as trip distance, cargo/people capacity (although a bit tight in some of these), etc. What I am really wanting to know is the operational cost of the two types...one could buy a sweet mooney 201 for around 125k maybe about the same for a dakota but the purchase price is but one aspect of ownership...what are peoples experiences with cost for retracts vs fixed?
I'd go with the retract, regardless of any added cost. It's not going to add up to much additional cost, anyway.
Why? Well, there are quite a few things you can do with the gear up or down. With the gear up, you will have noticeably less drag and the plane will seem to leap upwards when you retract the gear at the end of the runway. The plane will pick up speed and lift. When you want to land, lowering the gear will slow you down once you get to the maximum gear lowering indicated airspeed.
There are some fast fixed gear planes out there, such as the new Cirrus SR-20 fixed-gear plane that cruises at 160kts--about where your Mooney would cruise.
About fuel economy I can't tell you, nor can I really answer your question about the cost diffenece between planes with fixed gear or retractable gear. But, commercial airliners don't have fixed gear. Birds hide their legs under them when they are in flight, except to land somewhere. For short flights all the time where you'd be always reaching for the gear lever, maybe fixed would be good. I like retracts myself. Just remember your 'GUMPS' check on final: Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Prop, and Safety. That way, you'll never land with the gear up. Pay attention to those gear warning horns, too.