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Which Plane to buy?

As I mentioned in my introduction, I am looking at buying a plane. I think I’ve had enough of the rental market and would like something of my own. I’m looking to get my IR early next year through the CBM IR route. The mission profile would be European Touring, and Peter has suggested one that functions within the Eurocontrol IFR system. Budget would be in the region of £160k – £200k max. (would prefer the lower end of that budget)
I would like a new(ish) airframe (2000 yr onwards) with modern avionics, not necessarily glass. Reading through Peter’s trip reports of European Touring I think I will need FL170 capable with 900NM range. Please tell me if I’m wrong but I’ve eliminated the 200HP 4 seat tourers (arrows etc) and Im not a big fan of High wings….sorry. I’ve been looking at the Piper Saratoga, I like its so called benign handling characteristics and its said it is a good IFR platform, though you are carrying those extra two seats for nothing. I had discounted the Cirrus thinking I may not get on with the side stick, especially as I’m left handed (flying and writing at the same time) though I have recently been looking with more interest as it’s a modern plane with glass, quick (165 kts @55% power at about 12 gal/hr) and about €80k cheaper than the equivalent model year Saratoga.
What do the more experienced think? Am I missing some choices here? I am very inexperienced in aircraft ownership and don’t want to make a big mistake. It would be great to have some advice from those who have experience of the above two models. I haven’t flown either of these yet and would appreciate some advice where I could go and try them out so to speak. You right Peter, It certainly is not like buying a BMW……
Thanks in advance


You should fly them both before going into details. The Cirrus and the Saratoga are very different aircraft, “personality-wise” and handling-wise.

Also, a Bo (preferably with tips tanks) could be very adequate for the job.

Re the stick in the Cirrus. I am also more or less left-handed, but since I got used to working the controls with the left and throttle with the right hand from day one, it was no big deal. Come to think of it, being left-handed is actually an advantage, since it more important to have a soft touch with the controls rather than with the throttle.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 08 Dec 14:51
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Being left handed will be indeed an advantage if that’s the hand in which you’ll hold the control stick. Both my planes position stick in left hand and throttle in right, and I’m right handed. I would prefer to be left handed for flying them.

I had discounted the Cirrus thinking I may not get on with the side stick, especially as I’m left handed (flying and writing at the same time)

I don’t think that being left handed is a limitation for flying the Cirrus.
First of all, you can always say: “Standby”, put the aircraft on AP and get back to ATC.
Secondly: If you have the aircraft trimmed properly, you can keep wings level with the rudder.

Good luck with your choice! I own a share in a Diamond DA40 G1000, which is a modern aircraft that runs on JET fuel. It will fit in your £160k – £200k budget, but for that money you could probably find an aircraft with better performance. The main reason we have the DA40 is that, since we own it with multiple share holders, the initial purchase price is not a big issue, and we keep the hourly quite low < 100EUR/h.


I think you are likely to get the same number of opinions as posts !

The first thing I would say is that the Cirrus is not an aircraft that lends its self to hand flying, so you will find yourself using a lot of (the very good ) autiopilot to fly the aircraft, the result of this is that you will have both hands free most of the time.

I enjoyed flying both the Rockwell 114 and TB21 ( ?) both using the Lycoming O-540 the performance seemed to be exactly the same, but I think I prefered to R114 to hand fly. the turbo charged variants are what you must seek out.

The PA 32 is a reliable aircraft but you need to take a very good look in the places were the airframe has steel fittings, corrosion in these areas will cost you big time as will landing gear that has been neglected.

Beech produce some nice aircraft, superb build quality but not cheap to operate.

If you chose a metal aircraft and it gets damaged the repair is well understood by the industry, composite aircraft are much less understood and it is important that you make contact with the UK importers for advice before any work starts. The only company in the UK who can do a major repair to a Cirrus are NOT a Cirrus service center but are by default the major repair center !

Last Edited by A_and_C at 08 Dec 15:13

Mooney should not be ignored. They have some of the greatest ranged aircraft (close to 2000nm on certain models) and they’re frugal on fuel. For sheer speed, or range, per fuel burned the Mooney’s will beat just about anything.

Thanks for the Advice so far, I really appreciate it and please keep it coming. I like the Saratoga because it’s familiar to what I’m currently flying. The Cirrus seems very good value at the moment, has modern avionics and automation. It does appear to be a formidable machine and maybe not for the faint hearted?
I don’t know a great deal about Beach or Mooney, though reading recently the Mooney thread, not particularly forgiving with ice on.


As a part-owner I can thoroughly recommend the Saratoga for benign handling, yes, but also fantastic speed, comfort and capacity.

The downside, of course, is the fuel burn, but if crude keeps falling maybe it will go from an indulgent a/c to a sensible one :)

A and C

that the Cirrus is not a nice hand flying airplane is one of those tales that will never disappear. I wonder where it comes from.

Fact: The Cirrus flies BEAUTIFULLY by hand and every pilot who has one will confirm. Actually it has very precise controls and a pretty good roll rate. I love to hand fly it.

Still in normal life you don’t hand fly it very often, because it has advanced systems and many have hi-tech digital autopilots.

I don’t really see a reason why beeing left handed should speak against the Cirrus.

My Cirrus was maintained by RGV in Gloucester for a long time, one of the best Cirrus service centers i know. They are still my CAMO but i do the maint. in Germany now.

I am completely biased, i know, but after 1.5 years of owning a SR22 – i cannot wait to get to the airport and fly it. For your budget it is – by far – the best single engine traveling machine, I am convinced. 180.000 pounds will buy you a low time 22 with …

… 310 hp
… 170-183 KTAS, depending on altitude
… hi-tech avionics with glass cockpit, egpws, stormscope, traffic, digital autopilot (many!)
… airbags and high passive safety
… tks de-ice
… the best cabin of all 4 seaters with lots of room, leathe interior
… superb visibility

And many of the used planes will come with air condition and/or oxygen ….

Last Edited by Flyer59 at 08 Dec 18:17
191 Posts
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