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Why the obsession with TBM's and PC12's, when a Mustang is much cheaper?

Well, Peter wanted us to start threads… So here comes my favorite type of thread – the provoker! Slightly inspired by meeting JasonC when he was here in the US and hearing about his operating costs and looking at his nice Mustang, which got me thinking:

As title says. A Mustang will cost much less to buy, it will cost about the same to overhaul both engines as the big bore PT6’s in the SETP’s, and up high the Mustang will burn roughly the same amount of fuel. Why do people spend $2 million more for something that’s slower, offers no cost benefit, and is more likely to be stuck in bad weather (and is potentially less safe)?

Is it the old I’m-too-lazy-to-do-my-multi-rating-factor playing in again? Is i simply easier to fork over another $2million just to avoid having to do that?

Last Edited by AdamFrisch at 05 Aug 10:06

I think here in Europe it might be psychological in some cases. A lot of owners are being looked at with envy and bad feelings to start with and those with a Jet are by many regarded as in a class of their own e.t.c. so I suppose the gut feel many have about jet ownership is that they assume it is something mystically out of their reach, when in fact it isn’t.

In the US? Maybe knowledge about the subject? The Jet being a step beyond what is deemed feasible?

Generally ownership on most levels has these things. People who fly fixed gear and prop have fears of retracable and variable speed, those who fly these think turbines are out of their reach and the jet is the highest of all of those. Not everyone is a possibility thinker as you are.

LSZH, Switzerland

The Cirrus jet will change that conversation because people who would not look at the Mustang will check the Cirrus, and then the value of the Mustang will be much clearer.


For the PC12 the answer is simple – it is a 5-tonne 8-10 seater, so not quite comparable with the mustang and TBM six-seaters.

For the TBM900 vs Mustang it is a bit trickier.

For the TBM:
– short field capability
– roomier (quite a bit)
– easier to get rated and easier recurrent checking
– not subject to NCC rules in Europe

For the Mustang
– a bit faster (TBM900 310-330kt, Mustang 340kt, but Mustang gets to cruise altitude a bit faster)
– multi-engine

As far as cost goes – you seem to compare new prices for the TBM, what is the new price for a Mustang, given it is out of production? Or are we doing the “a used Jet is cheaper than a new turboprop / piston single” thread all over again?

Biggin Hill

One non-negligible factor in Europe probably is the length of available runways. In a twin turbine, you always have to account for an engine failure before V1 and a climb-out on one engine, which adds to the runway length requirements. In a single engine plane, you obviously can’t do these kind of calculations, so you will have less onerous runway length requirements, rendering more airports accessible. At least that’s what I heard, would love to hear some real-world figures from @tmo and @JasonC .

The only easily accessible performance table I found doing a quick search was this, which contains numbers for SETPs:

Last Edited by Rwy20 at 05 Aug 12:10

As much as I would love to provide real world data from anything larger than a 182 (well, ok, I can do an AN2, but it is not a TP) I cannot. I believe @loco posted some numbers for his TBM.

EPKP - Kraków, Poland

I think the biggest “rational” reason is runway performance. A TBM / PC12 gives you 500m tarmac / 700m grass, which for many in Europe is important. For example Switzerland is full of ~500m tarmac runways.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Yes, sorry @tmo , I confused the two of you.

In many cases the reason to buy SET is similarity to the piston single you had earlier. It’s the logical next step. You still get a spinning prop in front and when you pull back on the throttle, it can fall down like a rock. I Believe JasonC went that route too.

Next, I think the price of TBM is outrageous. I know a guy who got a new Cessna M2 and paid roughly same price as we did (he owned a TBM before too). If I would be buying today, I would give the M2 serios consideration. It’s in another class. Climb rate, noise level and cabin comfort are very different. Maybe interior materials feel cheap, but I would accept that.

As for the short runway performance, I found that I’m not using that so much. I fly mostly to bigger airports and avoid VFR and grass. It was fun to get rated at Courchevel, but it was a one off.


Cobalt, I don’t recall what the new price was for the Mustang, but I seem to remember it was quite a bit less than the $4.5million they’re asking for the TBM these days, maybe $2.7mill? The PC12 is certainly in a market segment onto itself and harder to compare. It’s a SUV that flies.

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