1000NM Commute Every two weeks.

Okay. Here we go. I am certain that everyone has their favorites…

I expect that I will be commuting for the next year or two. My problem is that commercial service requires a 90 minute commute on BOTH ends.

I have made the trip several times in a rented Cherokee (PA-28-235). A little long on the return, but not bad.

The two airports I fly out of are rural with well maintained 5000’ runways.

Currently, I am a 200 hr PP with an instrument rating and complex endorsement. For the last 140 hours, I have flown high horsepower. I am comfortable in complex a/c. I am also interested in a twin.

Don’t care about the wings (high, low, or in the middle), as long as they do their job.

As for family, I have a wife and two kids. Luggage is not a problem since we already ship it ahead.

People have suggested Mooneys, Comanches, Twin Comanches, Debonairs, and Centurions.

My instructor, who is retired, suggested a Twin Comanche. He likes the Comanche and thinks that my wife will be more at ease with two engines. (He flew right seat when I took my wife up and has talked with her several times since.) He is confident that I can handle a twin. Granted, it is more expensive, but over the next two years I expect to accumulate over 500 hours. After which, I can sell it to another pilot looking for a multi-engine ticket.

I spoke with a Twin Comanche owner who claimed that his a/c will climb and cruse faster with four adults than any of the others I mentioned. Although I will solo initially, I expect that full loads will occur more often in the future.

The follow-up is whether I should look at turbos. Although they are faster at altitude, I would still have to make a fuel stop and then return to altitude. Any comments on this point?


What’s your budget and is the trip 1000 NM one way?


Need more info on the mission profile before I could offer two cents, Is it 1000nm roundtrip? flying at night or over water? What is your budget? Carrying family and friends? Over mountains?

I have always been aganist twins, as they burn excess fuel, for a little speed gain. I would suggest a Cirrus SR22 or Cessna 400 turbo. But if you have more money, maybe look at the TBM’s. Of course, you really have to have money to even stare at a TBM.

The 1000 NM trip is one way. Typically, I will be flying alone, but would like to have the ability to fly with friends and family. Once I start filling the seats, I don’t expect to fly over 3-3.5 hours at a time. Alone, I regularly fly 6 hour legs.

With only 200 hours, I would really like to stay below $150,000. The Cherokee wasn’t that bad. My biggest complaint was the speed. To gain speed you need to add engine (size or quantity), decrease drag, and/or increase altitude.

I have flown over the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains. And will continue to do so. However, my patience only made it to 13,500.

Flying over water is not out of the question. Last year I planned a flight over Lake Michigan. (A friend’s mother became ill.) I also have family in Coral Gables, FL. They tell me the Bahamas are only 75 miles away.

As for a TBM (Avenger), it is a two seater, and I really have no plans on torpedo bombing anyone. (Although it might come in handy.)

Yes, I would like an 850. But I can’t justify spending the money.

great post :laughing:

Yes, I was talking about the TBM 850 though. Sorry for my ignorance but do you want to buy or are you looking to rent. There are tons of Cirrus out there you can rent, that will fly LOP at 170 knots. The Mooney’s are expensive to buy and I have remanined skeptical as to the future of the company. Of course, there would always be part support, but it is nice to know that the company that has produced you’re plane is still around.

My biggest complaint was the speed


If I am going to commute for the next year of two, I think I would rather buy.

An A36 will come close to the speed of a Cirrus for significantly less cash up front.

Renting a Cirrus is going to cost me about $3K/month. For that kind of money I will purchase a plane. If I take care of it, I should not lose any/much money when it comes time to sell/upgrade.

I spoke with another pilot this evening. He suggested that I run fuel burn calculations for the trip.

1000NM @ 135 KN @ 12 GPH = 7.4 hours & 89 Gallons (235 Cherokee) vs
1000NM @ 160 KN @ 16 GPH = 6.25 hours & 100 Gallons (Twin Comanche)
(I am sure you guys will tell me if my calculations are off!)

I am beginning to talk myself into the twin. Okay, let’s turn the tables. Can you give me reasons NOT to buy a Twin Comanche?

BTW - Let’s start a Blackbird Aero Club. I’ll find potential members, you just get us some insurance. (Plenty of hull coverage would be a good idea!)


reasons not to get a twin: operating costs - ie INSURANCE for a 200hr pilot-
the bill.
did I mention the COSTs?

If your budget is 150,000-flying that much you’ll eat through that amount in operating costs alone before you know it.
Insurance companies charge an arm and a leg to insure you in a twin for good reason. They have the statistics to back it up. I would get the AMEL and build experience before using it as a commuter. Especially an old twin comanche.

that mission profile for under 150,000 is a bit of a tall order but there old single-engine workhorses that can do it.

this one has AC-


Centurion or Bonanza, go with the Turbo if your going to fly IFR in the Western US. Their range/speed/payload metrics are better than the Cirrus & Lancair Columbia (AKA Cessna 400).

I’m a bit biased, but I’d suggest an A36 Bonanza with the Tornado Alley turbo normalizer. You can run it lean of peak (if you want) and get about 190 knots at 17 gph or go up to the flight levels between 180 and 250 and you will get about 195 kts on 17 gph. Also, with the increased gross weight option with the turbo and tip tanks together, you will have about a 1400 lb useful, or 680 lb payload. Only problem is price, and you won’t want to get into this plane at the higher end of the budget, but you’ll rather want to buy something within your comfort level price-wise and have plenty of reserves should you have any unforseen maintenance issues.

Folks, PLEASE, when you’re going to mess up the Forum by posting some ginormous link make it shorter first by using tinyurl.com or some other method if you don’t know how to embed URLs in your post.

I agree. The extra fuel burn really will take a bite out of you with fuel prices as high as they are.

Okay, I will look at Centurions and Bonanzas. Never gave a serious thought about the A36 because the Debonair seemed a little tight. I was shoulder to shoulder with the owner. I don’t remember either the Cherokee or a 182 being that tight.

How noisy are these two? I have Stratus 50 Digital headsets because I have trained in some noisy birds. I don’t want to have to buy 3 more ANR headsets!

Finally, does a turbo add noise to the cockpit? I searched, but did not find anything on Turbo’s, but pilots have told me that they add cost to the overhaul and are one more thing to go wrong.


Turbos actually soften the exhaust but prop noise, is prop noise. Prop noise is all based on # of blades and RPM. If 3 more ANR headsets are a concern in the pocket book don’t buy an airplane at all. Yes turbocharged aircraft cost a little more to maintain.

If I was really concerned about the price I would not be talking about buying a twin.

Unfortunately for you, all these aircraft people are mentioning (SR22, COL400, TBM, A36) are way out of your 150K or less price range.

Ever look at a Cessna 210?

say again?

the link I posted was for an A36 under 150,000. the listing has been pulled but here is another one(tiny url thank you very much) for 139,900.

are you a Cessna Salesman?

because of huge supply and lower demand for used Cirrus, you can find used SR22’s for around 200,000.

See controller.com

Here are my thoughts:

If it is JUST you - and your spouse - and no kids -

Bellanca Viking - buy a Turbo so you can get high legally. Over the weather. A nice low time one will run you $60-70k. Make 100% sure you will buy one with a 430/530 and a GOOD two axis AP. Then spend another $15 on Aspen Avionics replacement - the EFD-1000 Pro - integrating with the 430/530 and then a another $2500 on a 496 that is panel mounted and hard wired for the weather into the 530. There - you are done. under $90k and you get a 165kt airplane over 12,000, 300hp, fantastic avionics and insurance is only about $2500 a year.

If you plan on kids or co-workers:

Comanche 260C - ONLY the C model. You will need the weight hauling, 155kt speed and 700nm range.

Cessna P210R -= ONLY get the R version - it is the perfect 210 - and most of them were freight dogs or check haulers - so they seats are new, except for the pilot seat!

Some will insist that you buy a Bonanza, since everyone assumes that everyone will buy one eventually. Such is very pedestrian, and only the early models have decent payload, unless you buy a new one - but thats about eight times your budget.

If you INSIST on a twin- A Cessna 310 would work - but the insurance would cost a fortune - if you WANT a twin - PM me I know of gorgeous one with all the bells and whistles. Seriously - ALL the bells and ALL the whistles - low time engines, leather - probably buy it for $110k.

Am curious as to what line of business you are in to able to afford a 1,000 mile commute every couple of weeks. And is this a commute where you go to your destination, stay a few days, and then come back?

More to the subject at hand: Have you considered commuting to the airport nearest your home via air (I assume the 90 minute commute you mention is via road) then go commercial. You would still have the 90 minute commute at the other end.

Alternatively, have you looked into flying your own aircraft to the nearest commercial airport to your home, going commercial, then renting an aircraft at the other end?

Thinking some more about what I just said, it may be more expensive (dollar- and/or time-wise) to do private-commercial-private.