No particular mission, IO. I'm just thinking ahead beyond my current bird, wondering where I'd go next. My current 'plane will hopefully get me through the particular trips I have in mind over the next 18 months, but someone asked me today what I'd fancy next : and I must admit it's not an easy question.
Having something with good performance and load-shifting abilities now, I'd be looking to be able to retain those capabilities to a larger extent. Don't mind trimming a bit, but not too much !
Then there's the AVGAS situation. It would be great to find a single which runs on A1, but which meets those criteria above : but short of something like a TBM700 - which would be ridiculously OTT - I can only think of one option, which is a turbine conversion of what I have now, and this is (a) very expensive and (b) only available on a N register (not that that would stop me if it was the only place to go).
I would buy a turboprop tomorrow, if I could find one at a reasonable price. The avtur availability versus flying to the further reaches of Europe would alone make it worth having. Instead, all of them seem to be pressurised and thus far more expensive to buy and maintain.
Of course every aircrat owner will state his own preference, which is reasonable since most of them chose what they bought so they obviously chose it for various good reasons.
Personally, I would buy a TB20 or TB21, and would do so over anything else out there today, and this is true for both new and used. I've had one for 5 years. The only exception would be at the very bottom of the certified spamcan price scale, say £30k, where a TB would be a real old dog whereas one could probably get a PA28-181 in a reasonable-ish condition.
Everything flying is a compromise, and a TB20 pushes this further than most in terms of economy, cockpit size, comfort, load carrying, range. It really is a very very good design. But it won't hack it if you want to carry four large adults - you would probably have to run with half tanks, but the same is true for most 6-seaters. If you need to push the load/range envelope then you suddenly have to go a lot bigger.
If you want an IFR tourer for Europe, the choice is actually severely limited. You may also want to look at TKS, for the prop at least, and finally you would generally want the previous owner to have paid for the avionics
I'd vote for the Twin Star. 150Kt TAS cruise at 80% power and 6 USG Jet A1 per side. Turn off one engine and you save 4-5 gals per hour
Turbo normalising means it is good at altitude, water cooling means no shock cooling issues, strong aeroplane with all mod cons (not to mention G1000). Get the TKS anti-ice system and you're good to go most of the year. You must be able to fit a weather radar .....Oh, and it has the second engine and flies very well on only one.
It is the Mooney for me. Ovation 2 GX is my preferred ship.
Best equation of speed, range (transatlantic Gander to Shannon crossing is possible in one hop with the Monroy long range tanks), efficiency is phenomenal, avionics (G1000), and built like the proberbial brick outhouse.
I do avoid grass and short tarmac runways (700m or below) although I know of people who operate their Mooney off short grass.
Might be worth the wait if you are after a single. There are very few modern singles around still in production and even fewer that offer any improvement on load carrying compared with the four seaters of yester year. Diamond promise 5 seats and the performance should be equal to or better than the SR22 with which the 50 is pitched to compete.
The SR22 is a good aircraft but in my opinion the G1000 system far surpasses the Integra fitted by Diamond.
Well if you want to include airframes which are going to be 25+ years old then it's going to be a loooong list Everybody and their dog used to make 150kt tourers.
I have flown in the DA42 and liked it very much. It actually flies just like a TB20 - very similar handling and performance. I would not buy one at this moment with my own cash because I consider it unproven in terms of both engines and avionics. The engines have had so many failures in the DA40 that some owners have (on threats of litigation) got 100% refunds after a year's flying. Diamond claim the failures do not happen on DA42s but we would never know if they were lying (remember this is aviation, not Dr Barnardos) because an engine failure in cruise is a non-event and won't be reported. Only the most desperate customers go public with this kind of stuff because one is risking losing the co-operation of everybody up the line (something I know about, too). I also consider the G1000 unproven too - the internal build quality is nothing to write home about, it isn't sealed, and only time will tell if it will last out the typical GA cockpit environment.
A Lancair 400 is no good for UK grass fields especially if a bit mucky. I have this from some owners. It's an "American hard runway" machine.
A Cirrus SR22 is objectively very similar to a TB2x and it would be down to details and personal liking. Personally I prefer the yoke, the TB build quality, the proper control over engine RPM, and I very much prefer the cockpit comfort and seating position/adjustment. The fuel flow rate in the two is very similar, at say 140kt IAS / 65% or so power, because the SR22 chucks away its slippery airframe advantage in having fixed gear.
Personally, I would buy a TB20 or TB21, and would do so over anything else out there today
Okay, let's court a little controversy .
I bought my 1986 A36 Bonanza 15 years ago after a similar trawl through the alternatives. What follows is a very brief summary of the factors that led to my purchase decision.
If you're considering moving into this category for the first time, either you've decided that you're desperate to justify all the time and money you've spent on your hobby by turning it into a serious form of transport ... or you're just plain loaded! Either way, you're probably not going to be content with a Ford or a Vauxhall - it's an ego thing! So, competent as they are, that consideration rules out the Piper and Cessna contenders (the latter's ruled out in any event, since every one knows that a proper pilot flies a low-wing aeroplane - again, it's an ego thing ).
15 years ago, that essentially left Aerospatiale, Beech and Mooney. Today you also have Cirrus, Diamond and Lancair but, personally, even now I wouldn't choose any one of those over the A36 for the same reasons as given by IO540 (and, yep, I realise we're in a minority!!).
I soon narrowed it down to the A36 and the TB20 ... for although the Mooney stable produces terrific, best-in-class high-performance aeroplanes, unfortunately they can only be categorised as eccentric and claustrophic ( that should get me some hate mail!).
The A36 and TB20 are both exceedingly good aeroplanes in the luxury class of SEPs - think Mercedes or Jaguar, sticking with the car analogy. So how do they differ, and how do you choose?
First, the subjective: the A36 handles better (and what pilot doesn't want a responsive aeroplane, even in a tourer?) and, IMHO, is better engineered. The TB20, on the other hand, looks more modern and has less of a 'Biggles' interior.
But objectively, the real differences are in two areas.
1) The A36 has an especially poor range (15% lower than the TB20?) with only 74 USG fuel capacity. So if long-distance touring is your thing, the TB20 is decidedly better ... it can get you to North America without the need for ferry tanks but, perhaps more importantly, it can save the need for a refuelling stop on many of your European trips.
2) The A36 is a spacious six seater (the cabin volume is bigger than a Seneca's), with large double-door rear access to the aft four seats, whereas the TB20 is ... well, in Mercedes terms, think CLS rather than long-wheelbase S-Class! In the A36, this means 6 passengers - 4 adults and 2 children, say. But, perhaps rather more usefully, it also means 4 passengers and a realistic quantity of holiday luggage! Or, alternatively with the rear two seats removed (takes 90 seconds!), you've got yourself a freighter!
It was the latter that caused me to choose a the A36 over the TB20, especially since I have a regular requirement to carry large items of cargo. With the Bonanza's design dating back more than sixty years (twice as old as the TB20!), it could be tempting to call it 'old fashioned'. In practice, I find that its pedigree is rather comforting, so I prefer to think of the Bonanza as a well-proven classic! What's more, it's still in production today - and you get to join a type-specific owner/operator club (the ABS) whose members number more than ten thousand!
As with IO540, I'd also make the very same decision today ... until, that is, an SET becomes affordable!
The above jogged my memory... I too got it down to the A36 v. the TB20.
The Bonanza was described (by engineer friends) as the best engineered light plane around - built like a King Air. I would agree with that, having seen the innards of both at a maint facility. However, the only thing I have been able to fault on the TB build quality is their occassional use of cheap Molex connectors to things like wing lights. The rest of the wiring is absolutely to aerospace standards and has to be seen to be believed (recent year TB20GT I am referring to).
I never flew a Bo so can't comment on handling but - high aileron forces aside - a TB20 can be chucked around in chandelles and lazy eights perfectly easily, busting the FL055 Class A in much of southern UK at the top of the chandelle if you aren't careful. All pilots who have flown it, much more widely experienced than me, have not been able to fault it. The last one, an Airbus ATP / instructor, was amazed at the way you can drop the gear & flaps at the GS intercept and it just sits there with the needles centred all the way down to 200ft... the stability/precision is awesome compared to the PA28s I flew in most of my instrument training.
The Bo had at least 1.5x higher fuel flow rate for the same cruise speed as the TB20 (as far as I could find out from the universally misleading sales data in this business) and this was a big factor for me, not needing the 6 seats or the cockpit volume. A TB20 will carry 3 normal-sized people 1200nm (to zero fuel, anywhere between sea level and FL150) but for 2/3-week holidays is really a 2-seater, not because you could not take 3 and all their junk but because decent European legs (long enough to get away from English weather) tend to be 4-5 hrs and you need room to move about, have privacy on the "loo", etc. I can well see an A36 would do the same for 4 people but they would still need to know each other well
The DA40 is not at all in the same class for going places, which basically leaves the SR22.
The Bo had at least 1.5x higher fuel flow rate for the same cruise speed as the TB20 (as far as I could find out from the universally misleading sales data in this business)
I'm sure the A36 is significantly more thirsty than the TB20, and I agree with how difficult it is to get reliable comparisons, I am, though, a little surprised at your 1.5x figure.
FWIW, here's the actual fuel consumption I achieve with my A36, which has a normally aspirated, 300HP IO-550.
I generally fly shortish sectors (so climb fuel is a greater percentage), often 2 hours or less take-off to touch-down, fly with 'go reasonably fast' rather than 'go far' power settings, and generally cruise between FL080 and FL120.
In the cruise, I use 65% power with the mixture leaned to just slightly LOP. At those levels, 2400 rpm or more may be required at WOT - but 1900 rpm would be a more efficient way to operate the engine, saving approx 12HP in friction losses - and I get an average 165KTAS at just under 50 litres per hour.
And the bottom line? I average 62 - 64 litres of fuel per hour of flight time (take-off to touch down), inclusive of fuel used on the ground.
IO540, do those figures tend to substantiate your 1.5x?
Since the A36 and TB20 are getting good "reviews" (and they are good aircraft) I am going to "defend" the DA42 - for a bit of fun.
In his first post FF did not mention whether it HAD to be a single but perhaps his second post implied a single. If that is so the 42 is out but -
1. Twins are usually excluded because of the higher fuel burn and maintenance. The 42 using A1 changes that, having a significantly less costly fuel burn with both engines that Avgas singles,
2. Safety - I know all the cracks about the second engine taking you to .. .. .. , however over water, inhospitable terrain and in IMC the second engine provides some comfort and naturally you spend a lot less time thinking about where you might land if it goes quite,
3. It is a true four seater, and with full fuel and at max take off it even climbs OK on one engine (a few too many twins dont do that). Moreover with the extended tanks it will happily get you to the south of France and beyond without a stop if that is your thing,
4. It is fully de iced (certified), usually fitted with a storm scope and / or weather radar, traffic and terrain. I dont think certified de-icing is available on either the 20 or the A1. It is therefore a nearly an all weather platform (as much as any light aircraft),
5. It is new, so whilst with that come somes problems (warranty issue will arise, changes in the design will be made etc), the warranty appears pretty sound, the checks are only once every 100 hours and the engines are "guaranteed" to TBO. At least in the first few years the maintenance cost should be very low. Demand is so strong depreciation may also be reasonable,
6. If you have not used glass before it is worth a try. As an instrument platform I think the G1000 is unsurpassed in GA. It really works, everything is at your figure tips and fully coupled approaches down minima including if required the procedure before are there for simply dialing up as is the required information for any where in Europe,
7. Cross winds are a non event - I suspect on a dry runway 40 knots may be possible and 25 knots is straight forward,
8 and finally, almost the aspect that impresses me most, is just how noise free the cabin is. All the vibrations and and low level reasonance that seems to come with any Avgas engine is absent and the cockpit is almost headphone free. If you have the family in mind then it comes across as being a far more comfortable aircraft that most and the passengers will love the "security" of the extra engine (whatever the truth may be).