What is the right plane for me?

I am a brand new pilot with about 80 hours. I fly commercially 2-3 times per week putting on seminars throughout the West Coast. I have an opportunity to buy a Turbo Saratoga or a Beech Bonanza,both great planes. I usually travel with my wife and 300lbs of equipment. I told my instructor I wanted to buy the Beech or the Saratoga and his comment was “Buy a smaller plane and build hours, then in a few years upgrade, the Saratoga/Beech will be too much of a plane”

What do you think, would the Beech or Saratoga be too much of a plane for my first plane?

<What do you think, would the Beech or Saratoga be too much of a plane for my first plane?>

Legally no, practically yes. Don’t jump straight from a go cart to Indy Cars.
Rent a 172 sized airplane for another 50 hours or so then upgrade yourself to a 182 or equivalent for another 100. Get your instrument rating and 250TT THEN look seriously at the Bonanza/Saratoga. Both are good airplanes, pluses and minuses to any airplane but both are good. The insurance costs alone will kill you with a high performance airplane and not much experience

I recommend the Beech Bonanza. You have advanced far enough to fly one safely with proper training. The Bonanza is a great airplane, and it flies well and handles a big load. Find a Bonanza-owner CFII and integrate your IFR training into the insurance check-out. (There are a lot of them in CA.) Continue with the IFR training. By the time you have your instrument rating you will be a good and safe Bonanza pilot. I did this in a C210 many years ago when I had approx. 100 hours. I flew that plane without accident or incident for 350 hours over the next 1.5 years.

A Bonanza is not too much airplane. BTW, I own a Bonanza and have approx. 1,700 hours in the BE35. I have trained many pilots with low hours in Bonanzas.

Go check out in a Diamondstar DA-40 it has all the complexity of a Beechcraft, yet the gear is down and fixed. Also, speeds are not too bad at 130kts +/- if you can get the speeds right on landing you can safely transition to a complex. Remember, a fool and his money are soon flying something he can handle. Good luck.

I feel Diamond makes a wonderful product. I got my license in the DA-20 and progressed into the DA-40. The DA-40 is a great aircraft and highly developed technology. The glide ratio on these planes is amazing. The only thing that would make me hesitant from purchasing a DA-40 would be the low payload capability. Sadly I would rather take a C182 for that task of a long trip with baggage.


I bought my Turbonormalized, G36 Bonanza as a 150 hour pilot. I flew it for 1000 hours all over the country. Is as easy to fly as the Archer I learned in. Go for it.

Join Beechtalk.com while you’re at it.

We’ll I see 2 fellow beechtalk.com so I fig I would be 3. I bought a Mooney with about 60 hours and my Bonanza I have now is just as easy if not easier than the Mooney. Insurance was about 2,500 the first year…

You need to compare your skills and endorsements to the characteristics of the aircraft, to see what it will take to feel comfortable in it, and to be safe. Both the aircraft you mention require complex and high performance endorsements. Then you need to go over in your mind, your personal limits aside from what your instructor and the FAA will allow you to do. There are plenty of things I am allowed to do, but choose not to do until I can practice more. When flying a high performance bird, things happen a lot faster. In the busy airspace I fly in (near LAX) I need to be thinking way ahead. Also, the birds you mention probably have avionics that will take more time to use initially. I recommend that you train in a complex high performance aircraft to get the endorsements, then choose from there. Personally, I would choose the Saratoga. But I prefer the Piper airframe. They are both very nice aircraft. HTH.

Go with the Saratoga and find a new instructor. I bought a 1969 piper arrow, a single engine retract, complex, hi perf. Aircraft, and took my first lesson in it on the flight home. Everyone said start in a 150, then go to a 172, then in a couple of years, move up. I thought that was hogwash. I was going to fly several hundred miles very often…and I wanted a plane that would do it comfortably…and faster than a 150. The retract was a handful as a student pilot, and the insurance company required me to have 15 hrs before solo. I never looked back. I trained in MY plane, the plane that I flew most every weekend. I kept that plane ten years, flew well over a hundred hours a year…and got my ifr ticket in it. 15 yrs ago, I sold the little arrow, a solid 140 knot aircraft, and a great ifr platform aircraft, and moved up to a twin Cessna .

I love the Saratoga…find a new instructor…build some time, get him/her to go with you on some of your long cross country’s, be safe, get your ifr ticket…it will make you a much better pilot. Have fun!

Agree on buying the Saratoga. I had an instrument student with low hours that learned in her and her husband’s Saratoga. Great plane, easy to fly and maintenance lot cheaper than the Bo. :slight_smile:

Don’t overlook the Comanche. But get some more time under your belt before getting a high performance single. It would be such a struggle that I’m afraid you’d dread what otherwise would be great fun. But see for yourself. Go fly one with an instructor and experience the transitional issues first hand.