Aircraft Buyers Guide

Don't purchase a Cessna 210, T-210
or P-210 without reading this report!

Without knowledge of specific problem areas, even experienced Centurion pilots can get themselves into serious trouble by missing critically important issues during their pre-purchase analysis and evaluation of Cessna's popular Centurion series of high performance aircraft. Purchasing a Cessna 210 without knowing these little known gotcha's can cost you huge in ongoing maintenance expenses and/or could require a major investment in repairs or safety modifications.

Don't make a bad purchase. Get all the facts first.

The Cessna Centurion is a great heavy hauler and speedster, but as with any airplane, it's had its growing pains. Between a number of engineering glitches that cropped up early on (and a few that only became known more recently) and the predictable problems related to aging, a smart shopper will become well informed with all of the comfort, performance, safety and maintenance issues surrounding this airplane. These issues directly affect the value, utility and re-salability of your investment.

For example;

You don't want to buy a Turbocharged or Pressurized Centurion without Iconel exhausts. Most of the 210s have already been converted, but if yours has not, you'll be subject to a repetitive 50 hour inspection of your exhaust forever! Expensive and no fun, for sure. Plus, you'll be needlessly endangering yours and your passengers' lives.

Cessna's unfortunate design of the original exhaust system did not "wear well". The pipes warp and crack (especially for the hot running T-210s and P-210s), permitting lethal carbon monoxide poisoning to enter the cabin. Gone undetected, cracks can eventually spill exhaust flames into the engine compartment, creating the potential nightmare of an in-flight engine fire.

My guess is that you already appreciate all the great Centurion features. That's why you're considering buying one. You'll want to read the chapter called "Bright Spots and Blight Spots". In it, I cover some of the many reasons why you would love to own this airplane.

But then, I balance the Centurion's assets against a comprehensive look at some of the problem areas and what you need to do to protect yourself and your pocketbook from some of the nasty surprises awaiting the uninformed.

For instance;

All original equipment Centurions suffer from a common weakness that permits water to gather in the fuel tank. But there is one series of Centurion models in which the wayward water remains in the airplanes fuel system even after pre-flight draining. The scenario is so dangerous that even a prudent and safety-minded pilot could suffer the deadly and predictable result of an engine failure at takeoff. And the worst thing is the water is totally undetectable!

I'm a 30+ year flyer, engineer and passionate aviator, researcher and aeronautical buff who's owned and operated a number of Cessna aircraft including a beautiful 1978 Turbo Centurion.

In the approximately 700 hours of operation of 210s, years of study and untold hours of discussion with some of the finest aircraft mechanics in the country, I've come to realize that buying and owning a Centurion is not a mission for the unprepared, the untrained or uneducated buyer.

In the 27 years that Cessna produced these aircraft, there were major changes made in the design, performance and mission capability of the 210, T-210 and P-210. It simply cannot be said, for instance, that;
  • a 1960 210 is the "same" aircraft as the 1970 210
  • or that the 1980 P-210 is a "comparable" airplane to the 1985 P-210
The year-to-year improvements were striking. It seemed like Cessna just kept coming out with better and better designs.

But for the unwary pilot, unequipped with the information in this report, buying and owning one of these potentially high maintenance aircraft can be an experience full of regrets.

If you don't know which year and model of aircraft to avoid and what specific problems to be looking for, then you're just tossing the dice. There are just too many gotcha's with Centurions. You cannot imagine how much some of the problems could cost you to fix (and once you own the plane, guess who has to pay for the fix?). You're not talking here about buying a wash machine or used car.

Thankfully, you don't have to be one of those "roll the dice" pilots.

In my powerful and exhaustive book...

"The Smart Pilot's Expedited Approach

A Complete & Easy Buyer's Guide For Cessna 210s, Turbo 210s & Pressurized 210s",

I cover all of the excitement of owning one of these wonderful magic carpets, while revealing all of the gotcha's that you, as an owner, want to avoid. It's done in easy to read, short and concise paragraphs with lots of pictures and visual aids to communicate the things that are really important to know.

For a glimpse of some of the 210s finer points, take a look at part of the book's Table of Contents for a sample of what I cover;

  • The Excitement of Owning a Centurion
  • Dramatic enhancements = significant performance improvements
  • Where Centurions Shine & Where They Fall Short
  • Cavernous Cabin Room
  • The Most Solid IFR Platform Available
  • Price/Performance Ratio Unexcelled
  • Flight Level Flying in Pressurized Comfort
  • Flying the Centurion - What a Wonderful Feeling

However, I didn't write this book just to compliment. I wrote it to be an unbiased report that would help equip and prepare pilots looking for a reliable, safe, and low maintenance Cessna Centurion to buy and own. And so, the part of the Table of Contents that will save you a bundle is where I reveal all of the little known quirks that you want to avoid (or if you can't or choose not to avoid them, at least you'll be "going in with eyes wide open");

  • Cabin Heating or Ice Box? Depends on Where You Sit
  • Fuel Tank "Shrinkage"
  • Watery Fuel
  • Watery Fuel Plus!
  • Vapor Lock Can Ruin Ones Day
  • Are All Those Awful Rumors About P-210s True?
  • Detonation Problems, Frustrated Centurion Owners & Cessna's Eventual Rescue
  • Don't Get Raked on Your Maintenance Bills
  • Don't Expect to Make TBO with the TSIO-520
  • The Notorious 210 "Gear Problems"
  • Magneto Misery
  • The Endless Cylinder Woes
  • A Deadly Design Flaw That You Don't Want to Live With
  • Why Do Centurions Fall Apart in the Sky?

When it comes time to go shopping, wouldn't you want to know SPECIFICALLY what to look for? The devil's always in the details! That's why I wrote the chapter entitled "Problem Areas to Look for When Shopping". Even your pre-purchase mechanic may not know about some of these gremlins;

  • Gear Saddles Crack & One Gear Drops While Flying
  • Cracked Cylinders Can Lead to Major Engine Failure
  • Low Compression Trickery
  • Cracking and Corroding Control Surfaces, Door Post and Strut Fittings
  • Cracked Exhaust Plumbing Can Be Deadly

If you're already the proud owner of a Cessna 210, Turbo 210 or Pressurized 210, you'll especially benefit by reading the chapter on "Operating Hints That Will Deliver More Value and Performance for Less";

  • One Small Trick Can More Than Double The Life of the Turbocharger
  • How to Avoid Causing Expensive (& Frequent) Cracks in Cylinders
  • Taming the Lumbering Bear in Landing and Touch-Down
  • Overcoming the Silence of Vapor Lock

And you'll also enjoy the chapter on "After-Market Modifications That Increase Utility, Safety and Performance". Not sure yet, if the Centurion is the right bird for you? Then you'll want to review & compare other planes with similar flight profiles. I've given you a head start in the snapshot overview in "Stacking Up Against the Competition";

  • P-210 vs Malibu
  • Heavy Hauling Speeders - Bonanza and Lance/Saratoga
  • When Speed is All That Matters - Mooney


a year-by-year detail of all of the important improvements that Cessna made to this airplane in all of its different renditions: normally aspirated, turbocharged and pressurized. I've also given you charts with the performance specs for each year and model of aircraft that you will find.

You'll find discussions about insurance, input from other Cessna 210 owners and pilots about the pros and cons of their aircraft and of course, you'll have my own opinions based on approximately 700 hours flying time in a Turbo Centurion. This 100+ page buyer's guide would normally sell for over $75 in hardback with handling and delivery. I'm making it available to you today in a downloadable letter-sized, 65 page format that you can have within seconds instead of weeks and for a lot less money.

For just $19.95 total, you can have the whole 65 page "The Smart Pilot's Expedited Approach - A Complete & Easy Buyers' Guide For Cessna 210s, Turbo 210s & Pressurized 210s" downloaded into your PC's hard drive within seconds. It's delivered in pdf format, so you can read it on your PC screen or print it out for a permanent addition to your aviation library.


Dear Mr. Parker,

Just wanted to take a moment and commend you for your e-book, Buyers Guide for the Cessna 210. It's an excellent resource for 210 buyers… Any one "tidbit", of many in this book, has the potential of saving thousands of dollars. Highly recommended!

D Lohmann, ATP

Just purchased Cessna 210 Buyers Guide - thanks - it's a great guide!

Stewart Emery

(if you don't have PDF installed on your PC, after you've made your purchase you can get a free copy of Adobe PDF Reader from the download page)

I absolutely loved my T-210. And I'll likely buy another. But I've learned a lot and my experience will expertly guide you as well as save you a whole lot of "pocket change" and help keep you safe.

My advice? (Well, there's 65 pages of it.) If I were you (if I knew then what I know now), I wouldn't even think about buying a Cessna 210 without first buying "The Smart Pilot's Expedited Approach - A Complete & Easy Buyers' Guide For Cessna 210s, Turbo 210s & Pressurized 210s"

I guarantee you'll save a bundle of money, headache and worry when it comes time for you to actually shop for and purchase your Cessna 210.

Here's to being a confident, educated and satisfied owner.

Happy flying!

Lee Parker
Lee Parker

    Unsolicited comments coming into
    my email inbox from satisfied customers:

Thanks for your help, and what a great piece you have written regarding the 210 models. I have not flown in 27 years and owned two new Cessna 172's and found this aircraft to be easier to fly in all circumstances. I landed the plane perfectly the first time...I wonder about some people's skills when this aircraft, seemingly is easier to fly than the smaller aircraft. Just my observation.

Quentin Smith                                May 6, 2007

Lee, I have now received the download and read the book. As a cfii with a good amount of time in the 182, T182RG, 210, T210 your book puts many of the ideas and experience in understandable words. Thanks much for the help and the book.

R.H.Lussow                                November 22, 2009

G'day Lee,

Congratulations on an excellent publication. It has filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of the type as well as alerting me to some of its foibles.

I presently own a Mooney 201 in conjunction with a friend. It's a terrific aeroplane, but a bugger to get into and out of - an increasing problem as the years fly by. It's also fairly "cosy" inside. You wouldn't want to fly too far in one with anyone you didn't like.

That's why we're considering a 210. My (flying) partner used to own a very old (strutted) 210 and loved it, though towards the end of his tenure the only thing that held it together was corrosion, I believe.

Thanks for an extremely worthwhile guide.

Best wishes,

Tony Rees                                June 17, 2009

Lee, I purchased the buyers guide from you some time ago but my computer crashed and I lost it. Please email it again. I appreciate it. I really miss it. Your info on Turbo Engine Care was awesome !

I should be in your records under:

Pastor Ben Tankard                                March 18, 2008

(this gentleman is a grammy nominated gospel/jazz artist that has owned four Cessna 210s)

Hi Lee,

I wanted to drop you a note let you know how pleased I was with the C172 and 210 buyers guides I purchased from you. For most pilots such as myself who have spent their life renting aircraft and are looking to buy their first aircraft, there is no other source of information that can be readily tracked down from a use aircraft buyers prospective. I certainly feel I received good value for my money.

Most of us rental pilots who are members of clubs have never even filled our own aircraft with fuel much more for received an understanding of maintenance and insurance costs involved with the actual aircraft. Transitioning from aircraft renter to aircraft owner is a big step and can be the worst experience ever if not done correctly.

Have you written any reports on Cessna 182's or then entry level twin market?


JAMES DUBARRY                                September 25, 2007

> Mr. Parker:

> Downloaded the book. Great info that every 201 owner/driver should
> have and know. I had no idea the 210 went through such an extensive
> evolution over the years. I have a lot of time in a 182 and really do
> appreciate Cessna. Your book is a good value. Thanks.

Carl Burton                                September 2, 2007

I have read both your 172 and 210 buyers guide and found them to be excellent. Do you have one on the 152 aerobat?


Sarel van der Merwe                                June 29, 2009

Thanks, Lee!

Great Information. Especially as I get back on the hunt for another T210. I sold mine in 1996, (1974 T210L), and wish I never had! I just wasn't flying enough to stay on top of it or make it worth while dollar wise.


Steve R. Carvajal CIC                                August 12, 2007

Mr. Lee Parker,

Thanks for your quick response to my question regarding Cessna Pressurized 210's. I am so glad that I purchased your book on the in's and out's of purchasing a used 210 aircraft. I read it thoroughly and agree with everything you said and more. To find out the inherent problems associated with this aircraft series is to be "heads up" and I then can control the cost of purchase and the down the road costs as well. For instance, the aircraft I am looking at is a 1980 Cessna Pressurized 210 and does not have the Inconel exhaust system. I was told "don't worry about it, we can check it each time at 50 hours when we do the oil changes". Well I am not comfortable with that as it is a weak point in the aircraft and a dangerous one at that. They would not tell me what a new Inconel exhaust system would cost, they hedged and I will get that information from another service center. Makes me wonder. Also the AOPA folks have told me the retail price on the aircraft I am looking at is overpriced by $30,000. Your source and AOPA have kept me from getting into a "situation".

I am so glad I found your book on the internet...


Quentin Smith, President                                May 7, 2007
Storey & Clyde, Inc.


Thanks for the email and the download. Thanks to you, I've accomplished absolutely ZERO at work today! A great read!

Scott Meehan                                March 17, 2011

Oh Thanks Lee! Sorry for my inattentiveness, Looks like great reading. I just bought a 1960 210 for $29500.00 and she's a butte. Hope your book dose'nt reveal any discouraging info. I did alot of homework before buying, lets see how good.

Ken Mason                                Nov 1, 2008

Hi Lee

Many thanks, I probably missed it, I now have it!!

Many thanks, at this stage it looks like exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks again

Seasons greetings,

Peter Clatworthy                                December 27, 2009


thank you for the 65 pages about the c210 series. i enjoyed and learned a lot of valuable info necessary to help me determine which year was best for me. i believe the l982 and later for once reason is the "BOTH" position on the fuel selector. i have owned a 182 with that feature and the 210 i had before did not, and that was not fun.

thank you for your time and advise.

biff thompson                                March 20, 2008

Thanks - I downloaded it last night - read about half of it - very informative.


Bruce D. Moreton                                June 26, 2007

Thank you Lee! Yes, I had missed it. Thanks for the prompt reply and apologies for the hassle.

Great work by the way! I love it. Thanks!

Cary McCormick                                August 19, 2006

Just purchased Cessna 210 Buyers Guide….. thanks - it's a great guide!

Stewart Emery

Your book has given me a lot to think about.

Thanks, Carl                                September 4, 2007

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