Commander 114 or Bonanza A36? Which is better?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by poadeleted3, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    Hmmm.. I note that after I win the lottery tonight, for a bit more than $200K I have the choice of buying a new Skyhawk, or I can get a really fancy used plane to last me the next 40 or so years of flying time I have left.

    So, which is a better plane? A 1993 Commander 114B or a late '78 Bonanza A36?

    Or, since 40 years is a long time, just buy the new Skyhawk and be happy with new plane smell? :)
     
  2. Len Lanetti

    Len Lanetti Cleared for Takeoff

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    Of those two aircraft I would go with the Bonanza but there has to be a Mooney available in that same price range.

    Len
     
  3. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    There is, but we don't want a Mooney. Don't carry what we want and aren't as roomy as what we want. Sexy looks, though, fer sure :)
     
  4. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII En-Route

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    At least with a SkyHawk (why buy new?) you could put some amphibs on it and be versatile in your flying. Both of the other two are pretty restricted in their uses so, a coin toss will do.
     
  5. spiderweb

    spiderweb Final Approach

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    That's an easy one, for me--I'd go with the Commander. There is more lateral room, and the airspeeds aren't all that much slower. I am going to get shot for this, but I also think the Commander looks better.

    With 200k, though, you might think about a C210 or a Lance, if you need the seats.
     
  6. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    Naw... four seats is plenty, along with the ability to carry 725 lbs in the cabin (I know, I know.... the Skyhawk won't come close.... but that's a compromise for a new plane).

    Cathy and I both agree with you re: the Commander's looks. A while back a board member showed off his Commander to us, and we've been in love since. 150 knots will certainly get us where we are going :)
     
  7. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    I don't really consider an A36 and a 114 in the same category, but hey.

    I'd spring for the A36. Six seats, better usefull load, great cargo capacity if you yank out the back seats, and a solid plane. For loading pax, those rear doors can't be beat.
     
  8. Len Lanetti

    Len Lanetti Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sure would...shame the Commander won't do that.

    Len
     
  9. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    180 hp Penn Yan conversion in a 172N and you can beat that, with full long range tanks. :yes:
     
  10. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    No question in my mind that the A36 is far superior. Not even close.
     
  11. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    Why a new Skyhawk? Because, as much as we like the Tiger we think the Skyhawk gives us better meets our needs. Why new? Well, because it's new... wouldn't it be nice to have a brand spanking new plane once in your life if you could? Not to mention, I figure I've got 40 flying years left. In 40 years, a new Skyhawk is only 40 years old... the other planes would be coming up on 60.

    Just for fun, these are the planes I'm fantasizing about today:

    The Commander http://www.trade-a-plane.com/unprotected/specs/40328.html

    The Bonanza: http://www.trade-a-plane.com/unprotected/specs/40328.html

    I realized the Commander was more like $250K, so I picked out a different, newer Bo:) I notice the ad doesn't say "NDH" and you can't get the tail number to check the NTSB database. This plane looks to be newer than others in the same price range. Depending, that wouldn't be a deal killer for me.

    T-A-P also has a nice one from Louisianna listed around the same price range... lots of new stuff in '05. Is it wrong to be suspicious that it could be a hurricane bird? Frankly, that would be a deal killer for me.
     
  12. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    Why so? The Commander isn't all that much slower, and is a high quality aircraft. I've never flown either... are the flying qualities of the Beech that much better?
     
  13. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Yes. Without a doubt.
     
  14. spiderweb

    spiderweb Final Approach

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    Joe, the Bo's are legendary for their harmonious handling and passenger-pleasing landings. The F33 I have some time in is a dream to fly. For me, though, I get sick of hitting my passenger's elbow. That's why I'm looking forward to tomorrow. . . .

    In a Skyhawk, you aren't thinking big dollars (except for new), so you don't worry too much about room or harmonious handling. The 'hawk is just a good little airplane that gets the job done.

    I wouldn't consider a new Skyhawk for you and your family, Joe. If you have the money (from that lottery), I'd think about a 6 or 7 year old Skylane. To me, it does all the things the hawk does (and doesn't), but it just has more room and speed. Unless the trip is short, between the two birds, I always chose the Lane.
     
  15. poadeleted4

    poadeleted4 Pre-Flight

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    Len,
    A Commander 114 certainly will exceed 150kts. My 1976 114 cruises at 155KTAS @ 6000' on 10.5 gph. My useful load is 1245 lbs. With full fuel(68 gal usable) that leaves 833 useful load. A 114B(1992 & newer cruises at 160kts+.
    Maybe you are thinking of a 112 which is lucky to hit 130kts and will be over gross with two 200 lb adults and full fuel.
    The wide cabin, two doors and trailing link landing gear were the deciding factors over the V-35 or F-33 Bonanzas.
    Gary
     
  16. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    Gary, I can't speak for the Commander, but the landing gear on the Bonanzas is great. It's easy to grease it in, I'm sure the Commander is a fine plane too. :)
     
  17. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Vicious rumor. I found cabin width and headroom not noticeably different from a PA28. Legroom, on the other hand, was better than any plane I've flown to date, including the twins.
     
  18. Ed Guthrie

    Ed Guthrie Cleared for Takeoff

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    Wasn't the Commander the first and last airplane review Gordon Baxter was ever asked to write? Something about using phrases to describe the aircraft's performance akin to, "You sweat less than any fat girl I've ever danced with" left the editors less than impressed. Or so my vague memory recalls.
     
  19. wesleyj

    wesleyj Pre-takeoff checklist

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    comparing a B36 to a 114A, is like comparing a corvette to a corvair, a little more head and shoulder room in the 114A, but from that point on there is no comparison, B36 wins hands down.
     
  20. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    For the most definitive word on the Commanders, ping Bill Suffa. He has a 112 (but it's turbo), and while I have never flown in it, it appears to me to have one of the most spacious and comfortable cabins money can buy.

    I can speak for the A36, have a reasonable measure of time in 'em, can't think of a bad thing to say.

    'Cept, I ain't got one!
     
  21. infotango

    infotango Line Up and Wait

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    Dreaming is hard isn't it? I've faced the same tough tough choices.
    Here it's a no brainer, the Bo takes the cake. Nothing compares to the class, style and grace of the 36 and plus the kids get to fool around in the club seats.
    I've never flown a Bonanza but I have flown plenty of Mooney's and they really aren't that small especially after you've been sitting in em for more than a few seconds. They only seem small when you first get in them. Now the Mooney vs. Bonanza is a harder choice....

    If somebody in the area wants to change the sad sad fact that I've never flown in a Bo, I welcome all offers.:yes:
     
  22. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Funny... mine does.
     
  23. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    I'll take anyone in the area for a ride in the Bo. To be fair, I'll have to swap some right seat Bo time for right seat Mooney time one of these days. Maybe next time I'm in AZ I'll bug Michael.
     
  24. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They're really two different planes. I love my Commander for a variety of reasons, it is turbo, it goes high, and it's a great traveling machine. It is only 4 seats, and (like most singles) you can't fill all seats w/full fuel. Trimmed out right, it handles quite nicely. A bit different than the Bo 'cause of the cruciform tail. I think it has a bit wider cabin, and it does have a door on each side (which was important for me).

    There are more Bo-s out there, more aftermarket stuff available, and more shops familiar with the bird. They also handle nicely.

    Were I doing it right now, I'd probably look at a 114 Turbo (or 115) with factory-installed K-Ice (TKS). I might look at one of the new Mooneys, which are a little wider in the cabin than the older ones, with the K-Ice option. I'd pass on the Columbia & Cirrus because of no K-Ice.
     
  25. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    It's not so much room for people, as it is room for stuff. There have been a couple flights already when I needed room to put "stuff" in the cabin. I know for a fact there will be more in the future. I've got a friend with a Mooney and a family that has had issues having room for all their goodies on vacations. I know the Mooney has enough room for the people, but I also know Cathy sometimes likes to bring big things back from places we go.
     
  26. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    We used to routinely fly our 201 with two car seats (each containing a kid under 4), a portable crib, all baby accessories, toys, and luggage for a week. The baggage bay would be full and the cooler would go on the floor in the back seat. Usually we'd still have enough payload for full fuel, but we've all grown a bit since then. The only real trick was physically getting the two car seats buckled in. One was easy, but the second one required some contortions.
     
  27. Len Lanetti

    Len Lanetti Cleared for Takeoff

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    That was an ordeal in the M20C but I don't think it would any easier in a PA28, 172 or Grumman the width of the back seat is just not that different in any of those aircraft. It took me a solid 30 minutes to fit the second seat the first time I installed them. Over the course of the few years the kids were in those seats I think I removed them only once. The kids have since graduated to the smaller booster seats which are much easier to put in place.

    We've gone on mini-vacations of up to about 5 or 6 days using the Mooney. For our major vacation in the summer we usually go by car. I would like to take the plane on a tour of the country down through Florida and over to Texas for our major vacation one year but I haven't totally sold the family on the idea as of yet.

    Len
     
  28. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    It's not, though I only have the one kid to deal with. Nor can you really carry anymore in the back seat of a PA28 or Tiger. You can, however, pack a surprising amount of stuff in the backseat of a Skyhawk, with it's taller and more square cabin. A Skylane is better, but there aren't any for rent nearby that I know of :(

    If I could convince my wife to go back to PTW, I'd pay the extra for their Sierra just for the extra room. Not to mention the pilots club they have ot there :(
     
  29. Len Lanetti

    Len Lanetti Cleared for Takeoff

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    Trade - a - Plane performance database for the 114 says @ 75% power a 114 will do 157 knots true...I figure an IO 540 is burning about 15 gph at that power setting.

    Len
     
  30. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Perhaps Gary is running GAMI's LOP?
     
  31. Len Lanetti

    Len Lanetti Cleared for Takeoff

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    Speaking of TaP Performance and Joe I know how important runway performance is to you.

    Takeoff over 50 Foot Obstacle:
    - M20J 1700 Feet
    - 114 1990 Feet
    - A36 2040 Feet

    Imagine that...the Mooney is the short field champ of the lot.

    Len