Ideas of what to purchase

I’m in the market for my first airplane. I’m an old flyer (original ticket in 1969) that is not current. I flew rentals between two cities I had business in up until 1987. I have hours in 182,172,150, Mooney (when I was young and slim) Beech 35 and quite a few hours as rt seat in a King Air.
I will be flying for personal reasons. I have a daughter that will be moving with our precious grandchildren about 450SM, direct path, from our hometown. Due to the ground route it requires approx 9-10 hours drive time.
Most of the flights will be for Granny and I to visit. There will also be flights that involve transport of the children for visitation of their father. (approx 550 SM from their new location)
I weigh approx 235, Granny is 135, daughter is 130, two kido’s are approx 125 combined. I am skilled in mechanics and can do some of my own Maint. I want to be fairly fast and yet economical. I can’t fit in a Mooney any more. Cabin space is required for my 6’4" frame.
I would like a 6 place plane , but due to costs might have to settle on a 4 place. I’m not a brand specific person. I’ve been looking at 205 Cessnas, some cheaper 210’s and an Arrow. Initial cost is a consideration since I will be selling some of my racing operation. Any suggestions would be appreciated. … ce-it.html but not the T-tail.

I biased towards the Cessna 206 (see username), but it wouldn’t be fast enough for you.

Great article.
I’m a automotive type guy & I liked the automotive analogy .
I had looked at a few of the Cherokee “6” planes that are listed in various places. I just felt they were a little over priced for the age of the aircraft and the pre '67 versions being considered under powered w/260 H.P.
I now think I made this assumption with out enough information. In researching ads I find it interesting how many planes are involved in “Gear up” landings. Some individual planes numerous times. ( Is that caused by one dummy pilot or imbedded gremlins?) That and I’ve been told insurance prices are cheaper are the reasons I have been looking at the “Fixed gear” 205 Cessna. A 3 hour trip wouldn’t be too bad. I have been told by a friend, (air park owner/developer) that I consider knowledgeable, that the 210.206.205’s are Maint. pigs. He said they are like Chevies and need constant maint. I can deal with that if they are as easy to work on as Chevies. I have another friend that is a multi plane owner and has a brother that is in the aircraft maint. and repair business.
They both have Cessna’s. The friend has a 150 and 2-182’s. The brother has a 205. They both swear by them. I can see your bias. I have another friend that his first suggestion was a Piper Arrow and his second choice a Beech 35. He is involved in the local flying club and is a very accomplished pilot in various makes and models. I’ve found some of the older Pipers have very attractive initial costs. I haven’t been looking at the cost per hour or cost per mile to operate each type. If I’m going to sell this flight plan to Granny I need to show her some travel costs.
Thanks for your suggestion.

Danger! Danger!

IME skip the costs discussion with Granny and go directly to the “We’re too old to be wasting an entire day driving to see the grandkids and another day getting home!” argument.

Make a point to compare total trip expenses vs. hourly and be sure to emphasize the time savings.

If you can stand the initial cost as well as the training costs, my suggestion would be a Baron 58. While I’d take grandma and I up in a one-lunger, I’m not sure I’d put any of the grandkids in one that didn’t have a PT6 up front.

It’s mainly the engine, the notorious Continental Cracks ! There was an AD for the rear bulkhead too but we found nothing.

Danger… Yep
Good points. I’ve already got the “Get there sooner, feeling better” and the wasted time “hooks” in. Just need to set’em! No twins for me… Way out of my life styles price range. You wont see a tight ass like me in a twin, much less with PT6 power. :~)

OK. I’m new to Continental Cracks… how does Maint. keep them away?

It doesn’t really, but you have to keep checking for them and fixing one if you find it. See:

What’s that old saying about light twins ?
The second engine is there to take you to the scene of the crash when the first one fails :laughing: .

Hey! That’s my line! :laughing:

My theory on twins is “Twice the number of engines, twice the chances of having one fail.”

I still chuckle at the fact that most of the multi-engine training involves flying single engine.

I did say old.

In the case of the Beech 18 you don’t have very far to go and the second engine is to ensure you arrive inverted. :open_mouth:

I’m very biased towards the Cessna line, having thousands of hours in them.
I say go with a 206, if you need to go over mountains get the turbo 206 (with Knisley Exhaust).
I have never had any problem with a TCM Continental 520. I have had problems with 520’s that had non TCM or after market overhauls/parts with the exception of the folks in Montrose CO. I will fly behind any of their engines, anywhere.

I’d get a mid 70’s 206 with a clean airframe and a runout engine and have it redone firewall forward (everything) so you don’t inherit issues.

FWIW - I spoke to a A&P about 10 years ago. For a similar situation, we were looking at the Cherokee Six 300. He told us to throughly check out the 205’s before we made a decision. Then things changed for us, and the 182 fit the MP. Let us know how it goes.

The price of used half-glass SR20’s is coming down. Check Tradeaplane.
Positive Cirrus SR20 points include:

  1. Roomy inside (not like Mooney)
  2. Better fuel economy Running LOP than most other candidate a/c
  3. Great avionics
  4. Airframe parachute
  5. Good range
  6. Very good back seat room
  7. Cup holders all around!
  8. Decent cost of ownership
  9. COPA informational resource
  10. Electronic checklist and performance tables

The OP would prefer a six seater.

I would get a beech model 33 or 35 (cheaper than the 36) with the IO470 or larger engine. I have a couple hundred hours flying my family around in a '66 V35 (IO520) and really liked the speed, comfort, ventilation, and handling. The 33s have the straight tail with maybe 1kt penalty in speed but less tail wagging in turbulence.

The plane gave me 172 kts true airspeed at 75% power, 14.5 gph and 8,000’. Costs about $1/nm to operate one. It only had five seats though, so when the 4th child came along I moved to a six seater (Cessna Skymaster). My dad told me I screwed myself out of a perfectly good airplane.

Anyway the Skymaster is a great twin with easy cabin access, great visibility and handling. 160Kt TAS at 65% power and around 18 gph. I figure it costs $80/hr in gas and $120/ hr in engine reserve/maintenance, or $1.25/nm. The centerline thrust is beneficial in ways that keep appearing after years of ownership: Last summer I had trouble getting the rear engine re-started on a hot Missouri day so instead of sweating I did a high speed taxi down the runway and got the rear engine to spin and fire. Try that in a Baron.

But I prefer Beechcraft. They have a lot less plastic parts. (It costs a forturne to replace them in Cessnas). They seem to be more robust. Mechanical/electric gear motor with a beefy and timeless landing gear retraction system. I hear the parts are more expensive than Cessna or Piper, but that they don’t break as much.

Based on what you’ve said, my ideal transport for you would be either the Beechcraft B58 Baron, or the Beechcraft B60 Duke. There is a very good reason why Part 121 and Part 135, don’t fly with a single engine. It is called “Souls On Board.” If my family is flying with me, then I want two chances at success when an engine fails. That calculus is unchallenged and straight forward.

However, budgets being what they are, if you must go SEL with generations of children on-board, then having something built like a tank but that flies like a stalwart, is not a bad idea. Thus, I would lean towards the iron workhorse found in the Beechcraft Bonanza. If you can get a good price on the G36, its well worth the money spent. However, if you can land a good price on either the: A36TC or the B36TC (more favorable) then you can accomplish your mission as well, fairly reasonably.

I prefer the B36TC because you get the 3-Blade prop of the A36TC, plus increased lift from a larger wing and thus, a higher MTOW and better HDA performance. That increase in HDA and MTOW will pay dividends when those quick visits turn into overnight and over the weekend stays and the loads (due to extra cargo) you need to carry increase as a direct result.

Plan the mission around the aircraft - as opposed to the aircraft around the mission. She’s built like a tank but docile in the pattern and you’ll get above 200kts cruise at altitude. I’ve seen a 1982 B36TC for as little as $139,000, but you will need to do that leg work and confirm the avionics on-board at those prices. Average prices I’ve seen are in the $235,000 range.

To reiterate: I’m not a fan of mixing vintage Singles, GA pilots and whole Families, when I don’t have to. However, if you can step up in price a bit, then a 2000 or later Piper Malibu (PA-46 series) will be surprisingly more comfortable than you might think for the money (used) and of course, your performance numbers go up over the Bonaza as well.

If you are below the $175,000 purchase level and you need to carry that many Souls On-Board at one time, then I’d revamp the mission or rethink the entire concept. You have precious cargo on-board and you want a platform that can out perform the mission - not just barely keep up with it. Pilots flying solo tend to lower the margins to a level of comfort for themselves. Carrying precious Genetic Cargo, ups the ante quite a bit in my book. But, that’s just one guy talking out loud, here.

“To reiterate: I’m not a fan of mixing vintage Singles, GA pilots and whole Families, when I don’t have to. However, if you can step up in price a bit, then a 2000 or later Piper Malibu (PA-46 series) will be surprisingly more comfortable than you might think for the money (used) and of course, your performance numbers go up over the Bonaza as well.”

Good luck getting into and out of a Malibu, if he’s 6’ 4" 235. Likewise for a Duke. I’m similar in size, and basically you have to get down on your hands and knees, and wedge yourself between the pax seats to get up front. Even if you can deal with that , you’ll never get out of the thing in an emergency.

Hi…I have flown the same type of planes you mentioned. I owned a Beechcraft Sundowner 180 HP fixed gear 30 yrs ago. Nice plane, lots of room but slow. Last July I purchased a Rockwell Commander 112A with a turbo charger on it. It is a beautiful plane, and is overbuilt. Lots of room…46" wide…easy to work on, has a trailing link landing gear like a lot of military aircraft. Doesn’t cost an arm and leg for parts as Beechcraft does. The model 114 is a 6 cylinder. Prices are very reasonable now…check out the Commanders Owners Group at…lots of good info…Looks like a business jet sitting on the tarmac…lots of great comments from other pilots

Stay away from Glass if you plan on flying VFR. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stay away from glass if you plan on only flying VFR.


Commanders, new Saratogas and Malibus all lack one thing. USEFUL LOAD.

Whats the point of an airplane with out a load.
The 206 or the Bonanza are the best to aircraft for this user.