Thanks all for the various ideas and feedback, very much appreciated! Sorry for the long delay in response, I’m just closing a part sale of my company which is a massive headache but tops up the flying coffers so needs must!
Getting back to fun stuff, the criteria I’d outlined was the absolute minimum just to have as many ideas on the table as possible. I’d love something that will depart from a 500m grass strip carrying 4 fatties and full baggage while still cruising at 160kts for 1000miles burning 10gph but I’m being realistic!
In reality when Im talking about grass strips it would really only be very occasional visits in the summer and would tend to be the longer bowling green variety rather than short rough strips.
I still think a nice TB20 could be a very good fit, the Cherokee 6 doesn’t seem to have had much mention though Arrows have come up quite a bit. Personally I’d have thought the C6 is a far more versatile aircraft, Ok its going to be a bit more thirsty but possibly offset in the long term with the cost savings of fixed gear.
One other thing I’m considering is a light twin, Im now spending a lot of time in Norway on business (where my buyers HQ is) and its a pain in the rear to get to, and travel around, so that could save me a ton of time. Certainly wont be heading out into the North Sea in winter in a non FIKI twin but in the summer months it could work well.
Does anyone have realistic annual running costs of a light twin such as a GA7 / Twin Comanche? Obviously I know its going to be quite a bit more than a high performance single but keen to understand just how eye watering its likely to be!
Leaving your twin idea aside for a moment, the one airplane that ticks all your boxes is a C182RG or a T182.
A high performance twin, like an Aerostar or a 58P is probably around $350-450/hr here in the US. A simpler, non turbo, non pressurized twin like a Twin Comanche, Cougar or Commander 500A will run a little lower, between $250-350/hr, my guess.
If you plan on doing trips to Norway year round, I would seriously consider a FIKI and pressurized plane. Aerostars (only thing I have experience with) offer great bang for the buck, but they are complex airplanes and need to be maintained preventively.
C182 or maybe a 210 for the 4 faties, but consumption is high. Problem is 500m grasstrip/4men+/consumption/160kts. 500m means power and lifter wings, which is not voting in favors of consumption/160kts.
I’d love something that will depart from a 500m grass strip carrying 4 fatties and full baggage while still cruising at 160kts for 1000miles burning 10gph but I’m being realistic!
Well, that is not. I am not aware of any plane which can do that short of the PC12. 4 fatties @ 120 kg plus 30 kgs baggage each means 600 kg payload with full tanks and 160 kt with 1000 NM range, that does simply not exist in the lower market. And also the 12 can not take off with full range from a place like this.
PC12 is not too far…
A Cherokee Six with half fuel can carry the load but with only three hours plus VFR reserves. Say 400 nm. Do four well built friends want to sit together for six hours? The Six VFR range is around 750nm, but the passengers might need to be lighter.
Wow that escalated very quick, from a 60-80k job to a PC12
The PC12 HAPP sub and jepp updates cost more than many spend on flying in a year.
A Bonanza. Look at an earlier Bonanza 36 with the IO 550 engine. It will do most of what you dream of (like 3 fatties etc.), although at 13gph.
Very good short field performance, rough gear, good cruise speed, good payload and excellent quality, very tough IFR platform, faster than the Cessnas and if push comes to shove you’ve got 6 seats.