I’m currently in the market for a fast 4(ish) seater and have been doing quite a bit of homework over the last few weeks on a variety of options.
Main criteria would be:
- Cruise 130kts upwards
- Good range when loaded (at least 2hrs + reserves)
- Stable IMC machine with some automatics is always nice
- Sensible maintenance costs and no parts with a 2 year lead time..
- Able to live outside in Scottish weather for circa 12-18 months until I can get another space in the hanger…(always a big waiting list!)
- Home base has 850m hard runway available but being able to operate off the 620m one with say 10kts+ on the nose when light helps not screw up the busy circuit having to ask for a different runway…..
Would expect to do circa 100hrs per year via a mix of the following uses:
- Circa 1 hrs flight each way to an airport where I have another aircraft share based.
- Circa 1-2hrs each way trips with the family which would ideally include grass strips like Glenforsa (one of our faves, 780m grass)
- Longer trips into S Europe with the family probably twice per year.
- Business trips couple of times per month up and down the UK with 1, maybe 2 colleagues.
For family trips it would be me, the wife and our 10 and 8 year old daughters, they are all pretty light though Im 200lbs at 6’2".
Budget is somewhere in the GBP 60-80k range and I’m really looking for something which ticks as many of the boxes as possible and ideally likely to bring me the least downtime or significant maintenance surprises. Also something a bit more modern than your usual flying club hack would be nice….
So far looking at some nice examples on the market currently I’ve been giving the following serious consideration:
TB20 – Ticks most of the boxes & look gorgeous but grass is a risk due to prop strike and I’m told corrosion can be a real issue which I suspect would be made worse by a couple of years living outside in the Scottish climate. Also parts lead time I keep hearing can be a real headache. Appreciate any real world views on this? TB10 better for grass I believe but looks a bit light on speed and power and obviously the same corrosion / parts issues.
Cherokee 6 300 – Will certainly cover all the above trips with as much as we can load into it. Bonus of extra seats is we can probably bring grandad also as babysitter ;-) Not that quick though and looks thirsty, is 130kts at 15gph fairly realistic or is it likely to be worse? Pending FAA wing spar AD issues is worrying me here though…
Comanche 250 – Goes like stink and looks nice if a little dated, really no idea on running costs / parts here and its ability to live outside for prolonged periods?
Rockwell 112A – Let face it they do look stunning but from what I can see they ant that fast and struggle with any kind of load. Looks very comfortable and I’ve had a hankering for one for years…
What I’m basically looking for is any real world feedback from anyone who has owned the above types or indeed been through the same decision making process as myself? Any other options I’ve missed would also be greatly appreciated though I’ve spent enough time flying high wing Cessnas to last me a lifetime so have not included them in the list….C182T was the only one I would consider owning for the above and its out of my current price range.
Feedback the the above very much appreciated!
I’ve never experienced any corrosion issues with TB20 nor I had any parts availability issues. Prop strike possibility is more-less the same to all SEP with maybe C172 a bit less and Money a bit more.
Comanches were primed inside and out, so can live outside temporarily as well as any other plane, better than many. Some parts are an issue but not too bad depending on your point of reference. Probably not the best on grass.
Not interested in a Bonanza or Debonair? Parts cost might be the issue?
The Comanche 250 will do all of that, easily doing Glenforsa. My friend has a really good one for sale with zero time engine and good avionics. Comanche performance is hard to beat. Parts can be got easily once you know the sources.
Possibly this one here. Looks great, has new engine and prop (!), and also has the right letter painted on the fuselage.
Beech Debonairs and Bonanzas are also great for what you want to do, but it gets difficult to find a good one for a total invest of 80k.
Otherwise, if you are OK with 135 knots, I would really recommend a 182, based on what you wrote. They are even more simple and robust and thus more suitable for short and soft unpaved runways than the two above. Problem – again – is to find a good one nowadays for 80k total.
What about a PA28-235?
What about a PA28-235?
That thing is slow for the engine. 110-120*ish ktas with reasonable fuel flow. If you want to fly her with >130KTAS, you’d push almost 50l/h through the exhaust.
No unusual-for-GA corrosion or parts supply issues on the TB20, but outdoor parking and grass ops will reduce any aircraft to a dirty heap fairly quickly, so very few owners keep decent specimens of such types unless they have a hangar.