Which $500k plane to buy?
Hello I was wondering if some of you may give me input on which airplane would be best for what I need. I have a family of five all grown adults, and would like somthing with a long range around 1000nm or so. My price range goes to the 500,000nds max. Is there any such plane either jet or piston? I've been looking at used lear 25's but I fear the ones near my price range which are about 650k will fall apart while we are flying. Thanks for your help
I assume you are not a pilot yet.
Originally Posted by hcgregg3
The closest you could get is a Piper Saratoga II.
Here is the problem you face. You won't find a plane like that for that kind of money. Don't think too hard about older jets like lears, they're cheap, but they'll eat you out of house and home in operating costs and maintenance. I owned a cessna 421 for a while, a nice "c" model. It was great, reliable, big cabin, the whole nine yards. When you get into piston planes of this size though, be ready to have it in the shop whenever it's not flying. You will constantly be trying to "keep ahead." The plane I own now is a turbo commander 690B. For the money, you can't beat it. Mine has the -5 engines and so I get around 260-270ktas on about 65gal/hr. I regularly put my wife and 3 small kids in and go almost 1200 miles nonstop (eastbound). I would think that you could do 5 adults and get around 1000nm, but clearly you'll spend more than 500K. You can get a decent -5 for around 750,000. Thats a lot of money, but look what you get for it. A great cabin, good range, turbine reliability, and turbine overhaul times. If you want to go faster and further, you can get a -10 for around $1M. Personally, I have no problem with the -5, and if I still own the plane when overhaul comes, i'll have no second thoughts about the -10 conversion.
I was looking at newer 421s as well, late 80s c models, but most people want 550-600K for those anyway, so for a little bit more up front, you get a lot more in the long run.
Specifically, though, what you are looking for is extrememly hard to find for only 500K.
Hope that helps.
Is that what you mean : Twin Commander ???
Originally Posted by BOHIXON
The twin commander is a good choice. The turbine version will run at least 400k or more but ir is a good plane with reasonabl costs. The big issue is the range. A 1000 nm range and 500k are tough issues. Most commanders except for the modified ones will barely make 1000nm but many jets won't make a 1000nm either. The twin cessna's are o.k. but they are slow and eat fuel and have maintainance issues. I guess I would ask if speed is an issue since you could get a duke or similar twin with reasonable range for a reasonable price but they are slow. I consider anything under 250kt cruise as slow. An option might be an aerostar but 6 big people might be tight. nonetheless, you can get an aerostar 700 for around 250k and get close to 1000nm range with a 250 kt cruise. Unfortunately, you might have to make some changes to your needs such as increase your spending range or decrease the speed or range of the plane. Finding a nice 6 seater is easy for the price your looking for. As for the person who recommended the saratoga, I am not sure why he would recommend that. A saratoga is not really a six seater even though it has six seats. A saratoga is slow and tighter than an aerostar. I would definitely not recommend a saratoga for your needs. If you want a single engine plane, you might consider a malibu/mirage. A late 80's malibu will run around 300k and it will seat 6. It is not a fast plane (200kts) but it is roomy and has a reasonable range. Hope this helps.
You could try a Cheyenne 1 or 2, or an MU-2.
The diamond twin star has 5 seats...Diamond Aircraft :: DA42 Twin Star
don't know if that fits the mission or not.
Probably won't find it. For 500k, which is a substantial amount of money, in my opinion there is no good fit for that mission profile, I have looked;
Aircraft / Cost in good condition / Seats / Range / TAS
Cessna 421 / 500-650k / 7 / 800nm / 220kts
Cessna 340 / 350k / 5 / 800nm / 200kts
Cessna 414 / 400-500k / 4 / 750nm / 190kts
Baron 58 / 300-800k / 5 / 850nm / 200kts
Navajo / 250-500k / 6-8 / 600-800nm / 180-190kts
Citation 501 / 600=1mil / 6-7 / 800-900nm / 330kts
The 421 has “troublesome” engines, takes a good pilot when things go south, including the critical engine. The 340 is a great plane, not as claustrophobic as the Baron, the pressurization is great to have and it handles very well. The 414 is a great plane also, just a little slower. The Navajo is roomy, slow and not pressurized. The Baron is a super aircraft, just too narrow for my comfort. THe citation is very nice, but the phase inspections can be 30k to 100k, always unknown!
My choice is the 340 or the 414, preferably the 340.
I think you are backwards on the 340 and 414. My 414 has five seats plus a potty seat and pilot, copilot. So do the other five 414's I have flown in. I have owned the plane for ten years and am very satisfied. You can fill the seats, the tanks and full luggage and get off the ground with no problem. We mainly use it within 500 miles of home but have taken it 1500 plus. Range is about 1000 miles depending on the wind.
I've flown the 421 a bit. The range is quite a bit more than you suggest if you're willing to slow it down a bit. If you reduce speed to 190KTAS the fuel flow can be as low as 42 gph with GAMI's could be less. It is a really easy airplane to fly. The prices you listed seem to be a little high especially if you are considering a 421B. A really good B should be less than $190,000. The prices of all 421's, even the C's seem to be in free fall.
340, 414 & 421
Most 414’s seem to have a useful load of 2,000#, less 200 gal fuel is 800# for passengers and baggage. That seems to leave room for four people, maybe five? I agree the extra 8 inches of cabin width is a luxury. What about you’re TAS, the 340 trues out at 200 to 205 kts at 2300 rpm, 30” MP and 17gph per side.
As for the cost of twins dropping like a brick, I am only too aware, I wonder where is will end. The 421 is a great plane, I saw a very good pilot barely live thru an engine failure on takeoff last year. He was single pilot, well under gross. I admit my hesitancy to move up to the 421 is due to their reputation, deserved or not, and on the planes SE characteristics.
I still confirm that I believe the 340 is the pick of the litter. Economical, good speed, sweet to fly and quite forgiving.
Just my opinion
Last edited by LifeisGood; 01-08-2008 at 03:56 AM.
One plane I would look at that would be economical, fast, and have the range you want is the Mooney Acclaim. That would buy you a new fast single with a new warrantee. If you want size and comfort then I would suggest a used King Air or Cheyenne.
340's and 414's
Most 340A and 414’s have about the same useful load, about 1850 to 1900 lbs. The difference being the 414 is a little roomier, which is a luxury, and the 414 is about 750 lbs heavier and about 10 to 15 kts slower. The 340A usually carries 183 gal of fuel compared to the 206 gal for the 414. Therefore full fuel in a 340A leaves 800 lbs for passengers and baggage compared to 664 lbs in a 414 with full fuel. Hence the 4.5 standard people in the 340A and 3.8 in the 414 with full fuel. Both planes are great to fly, it just depends on your mission profile.
If you install Vortex Generators the 340 will get an additional 300 lbs giving 1100 useful after fuel and the generators for the 414 will add an additional 350 lbs giving 1014 useful after fuel.
Originally Posted by LifeisGood
You mentioned range and capacity but not speeds. The older cabin class aircraft are nice but in your price range you would be buying a maintenance nightmare in most cases, especially going twin, your costs are going to double. You can buy an almost new Cessna Stationair or Turbo Stationair for under 500K. You may sacrifice range but no one wants to sit for 1,000 miles in most cases anyway. All aircraft have their trade-offs, the turbo stationair will carry up to 6 passengers, burns about 17 gph, cruise at 164kts. Non turbo will go about 600 nm, 14 gph at 142 kts.
There are 2006 stationairs out there some with warranty remaining for less than $450,000. There are also extended warranty programs available.