Looking for buying advice. A need for speed in new plane.

ArrowFlyer86

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The Little Arrow That Could
A little bit of reflection as I embark on the journey of "upgrading".

I was happy as a clam when I bought my Arrow a couple years ago right after getting my PPL. It had everything I wanted as a new pilot, 200hp, retractable, CS prop, 4 seater, etc. It was plenty to prove to myself I was no longer in my light-sport trainer. It's made an excellent first plane and VFR cruiser. I've taken pride in owning it and taking care of it...

... and yet here I am with the itch to upgrade...

Now that I've done about 240 hours in it, am doing IFR training, and finding myself wanting to do longer and longer XC trips, I've been feeling a draw to get something that has more speed. Like a lot more speed. I've also clarified my mission a bit better since buying the Arrow: It's just me flying 85% of the time, and then occasionally with 1pax. Pretty much never more than 1 pax. Always flying point to point, virtually never hanging out in the pattern. Given the work situation I have I end up doing a lot of short notice XC trips to wherever (permanently working remote, so there's flexibility), and having speed to get there makes it easier. I can see myself doing a few actual across-the-continent journeys over the next 12 months. I primarily fly in the midwest so DA has never really been an issue in the arrow, but as I think about doing long XCs across the USA, I'd want to know I can clear terrain comfortably and have some flexibility on routes.

That said, does anyone have recommendations for aircraft I should consider that have a fast cruise (>175kts) and which could be appropriate for a pilot with ~300 hours? True cross country machines. I'm not sure how anyone "samples" some of these planes to get an idea what they like/don't like about them, as nearly everytime I've been to the hangar I've never seen anyone handing out free rides :D. So I'm hoping the POA community can kind of help steer me towards a few models...

(Separately, you'll likely want to stay tuned for when I buy. Because I have an uncanny ability to purchase at the top of the market. So immediately after pulling the trigger and closing I expect a crash in a/c prices of no less than 50%).
 
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I often think about something faster to haul the family on cross country trips. But then I remember I have no family.
Columbia 400 or Mooney Rocket are interesting to me.
 
180 horse 2 seat RV. There is no better answer. You need to pick nose gear vs tailwheel and tandem vs side by side.

/Thread.
 
I’d do some flight planning at your current aircraft’s speed and the desired speed for your typical trips before jumping into wanting a different airplane. If your trips are generally staying in the Midwestern region with an occasional trip to the coast you might find that there is negligible difference in trip time between the aircraft you have and the one you want.

A 2 seat Vans RV would be a good step up in speed and economy if you decide that a change is warranted.
 
I second the Lancair or Glasair, maybe a turbo’ed Mooney. If you’re gonna go for speed, you need to have a LOT more speed to make it worthwhile. Go big or go home. You may need to be prepared to self insure, though…
 
Baron? You could even get a partner to help offset some costs *cough*
 
Wow, thanks all. That was fast. Pretty diverse set of recommendations (Callouts for Mooney, Lancair, Beech - Bo+Baron, Glasair, Vans, Cirrus).

@Wagondriver : I laughed reading that "something faster to haul the family on cross country trips. But then I remember I have no family.". When I bought this plane I was like "hey, great, extra seating for the passengers... That I don't have". Now's my chance to correct that mistake.

Totally agree @AA5Bman that since I'm looking to do an upgrade largely for speed, it needs to be substantial to make it worthwhile. Otherwise it's trimming 5mins here, 7m there - a waste. And that's kind of related to @mondtster 's point about doing flight planning to see if the savings is worthwhile (I have done this type of planning and that's mainly why I'm in this situation). It's kind of a chicken/egg problem. The trips you do (now) are largely based on what you have (now). I'd like to do more extensive traveling across the country, on what I think will be a somewhat permanent basis (assuming I never have to go back into the office:)). Being able to move around quickly will make further trips more realistic + attractive.

I think I've got a fair bit of homework to do.
Lancair
(@AA5Bman + @Jackk ): I've looked at these a lot, and already inquired about insurance on them a month or so ago. AVEMCO only does liability, hull covg on your own. These are affordable, don't burn a ton of gas, and seem to have all the performance you could possibly ask for. Does anyone have experience flying them? My biggest concern is that Lancair seems to be synonymous with "safety disaster waiting to happen" on Google. I'm assuming most of that is avoidable, operator error. Given the performance of Lancairs I'm guessing a lot of the problems are also self-selection bias based on the people attracted to them (people in love with racing + speed, is my guess lol)? I signed up on LOBO to drop a few questions to that community as well.
Vans RV: Thanks for the suggestion here @kyleb . I'm totally ignorant to RVs. I think last time I loaded up TAP, I saw the RV10 asking prices and balked. But I should revisit. According to TAP, no question these things have serious speed capabilities. I have 0 tailwheel experience, so I'd probably go with a tri-gear.
Mooney: Any models which you could recommend focusing on? I can't make heads-or-tails from most of their similarly named models @benyflyguy?
Cirrus: Very expensive. I've periodically looked at these, but the cost for an SR22 is borderline prohibitive (and any new models are definitively cost prohibitive). What kind of TAS do people actually get on the non-turbo'd (more affordable) versions at cruising altitude?
Glasair: Same league as Lancair from what I've seen, but they seem to be a bit more rare? I don't see many posts on TAP for them...

Other suggestions:
Appreciate the suggestion on Bonanzas, but I'm leaning slightly away from those. I'd have to get an older vintage one to afford it, and I'd have a lot of extra space that I don't think I'd be using.
Columbia/Cessna 400s are a pretty solid fit for the mission, except that I think they're outside the price range. Last time I called VanBortel for even a 350, it was nearly 400k$. Another concern, my A&P told me to steer clear of the Columbias because parts are not easy to find.

@kaiser - the Baron would be amazing... except that it's built for all the passengers I don't have! It'd be burning through a ton of gas to carry just me. Also, I thought I saw on another thread you were looking at getting a Saratoga? Are you split on Saratoga vs Baron?
 
What is your price point?

A 2 place RV 7 will get you 200 mph for $200,000.

If you have a higher price point and can afford the insurance, there are twins that can give you some speed.
 
What is your price point?

A 2 place RV 7 will get you 200 mph for $200,000.

You should be able to get a very nice one for less than that. I realize prices are (or have been) crazy high, but I haven't seen a $200K RV-7. I'd think most of the market is <$150K with really nice examples $25K more.
 
Wow, thanks all. That was fast. Pretty diverse set of recommendations (Callouts for Mooney, Lancair, Beech - Bo+Baron, Glasair, Vans, Cirrus).

@Wagondriver : I laughed reading that "something faster to haul the family on cross country trips. But then I remember I have no family.". When I bought this plane I was like "hey, great, extra seating for the passengers... That I don't have". Now's my chance to correct that mistake.

Totally agree @AA5Bman that since I'm looking to do an upgrade largely for speed, it needs to be substantial to make it worthwhile. Otherwise it's trimming 5mins here, 7m there - a waste. And that's kind of related to @mondtster 's point about doing flight planning to see if the savings is worthwhile (I have done this type of planning and that's mainly why I'm in this situation). It's kind of a chicken/egg problem. The trips you do (now) are largely based on what you have (now). I'd like to do more extensive traveling across the country, on what I think will be a somewhat permanent basis (assuming I never have to go back into the office:)). Being able to move around quickly will make further trips more realistic + attractive.

I think I've got a fair bit of homework to do.
Lancair
(@AA5Bman + @Jackk ): I've looked at these a lot, and already inquired about insurance on them a month or so ago. AVEMCO only does liability, hull covg on your own. These are affordable, don't burn a ton of gas, and seem to have all the performance you could possibly ask for. Does anyone have experience flying them? My biggest concern is that Lancair seems to be synonymous with "safety disaster waiting to happen" on Google. I'm assuming most of that is avoidable, operator error. Given the performance of Lancairs I'm guessing a lot of the problems are also self-selection bias based on the people attracted to them (people in love with racing + speed, is my guess lol)? I signed up on LOBO to drop a few questions to that community as well.
Vans RV: Thanks for the suggestion here @kyleb . I'm totally ignorant to RVs. I think last time I loaded up TAP, I saw the RV10 asking prices and balked. But I should revisit. According to TAP, no question these things have serious speed capabilities. I have 0 tailwheel experience, so I'd probably go with a tri-gear.
Mooney: Any models which you could recommend focusing on? I can't make heads-or-tails from most of their similarly named models @benyflyguy?
Cirrus: Very expensive. I've periodically looked at these, but the cost for an SR22 is borderline prohibitive (and any new models are definitively cost prohibitive). What kind of TAS do people actually get on the non-turbo'd (more affordable) versions at cruising altitude?
Glasair: Same league as Lancair from what I've seen, but they seem to be a bit more rare? I don't see many posts on TAP for them...

Other suggestions:
Appreciate the suggestion on Bonanzas, but I'm leaning slightly away from those. I'd have to get an older vintage one to afford it, and I'd have a lot of extra space that I don't think I'd be using.
Columbia/Cessna 400s are a pretty solid fit for the mission, except that I think they're outside the price range. Last time I called VanBortel for even a 350, it was nearly 400k$. Another concern, my A&P told me to steer clear of the Columbias because parts are not easy to find.

@kaiser - the Baron would be amazing... except that it's built for all the passengers I don't have! It'd be burning through a ton of gas to carry just me. Also, I thought I saw on another thread you were looking at getting a Saratoga? Are you split on Saratoga vs Baron?
Mooney M20M bravo will get you 200kts in cruise. The Ovation will get you 242 but double the price point for acquisition.
 
@kaiser - the Baron would be amazing... except that it's built for all the passengers I don't have! It'd be burning through a ton of gas to carry just me. Also, I thought I saw on another thread you were looking at getting a Saratoga? Are you split on Saratoga vs Baron?
An empty E55 Baron is a whole lot faster than a full one!

I’m only through 2 of 4 hurdles for buying at this point, so I’m still renting. I also don’t like how frothy prices have become, so I’m not in a super hurry unless a real juicy opportunity floats by (like that one T bone, or 1+ partners, etc). The Saratoga (1997 Saratoga II HP) is a rental. I haven’t flown it enough to really figure out if I like it. I mean, I really like how new it is… and I do like the big single 300 hp IO-540, and when it’s light I’m 160-165 KTAS @ 18gph. And I like the total volume. I’ll be taking some family trips this year to see how everyone likes it.

As far as Barons go, they check all of the boxes, but mostly it’s because I have a special place in my heart for them. Fully loaded it’s two engines (yeah I’m in that camp) and 175-180 KTAS. Yet it’s still not so big that you’d look odd pulling up in one alone.


In all honesty, your mission would be a Mooney Bravo or Rocket with a relief tube. I can’t tell you how much time fuel & bio stops waste. On super long trips when I bring the “bottle”, I generally cut out 1 stop every 800 nm.
 
Thanks again everyone.

Was thinking a price-point at/below 250k.
That's a large part of why Lancairs look so appealing. With their lower acquisition price that leaves some excess money for the inevitable maintenance.

Top options for me to research:
Mooney
: M20M Bravo (Ovation is too expensive based on what I saw on TAP, like @benyflyguy said, 2x the price). the Rocket is also an opportunity, though listings for them are thin at the moment.
Vans RVs: Both RV7/RV10 (though -10s are very expensive). I'll need to do some research to understand what's different between the models. They seem to have similar styling and stats. Except for ones which are obviously slower, like the -12. One of the 7's listed right now has a pretty compelling avionics suite and asking less than 200k$. One weird question I have on these Vans RVs: why do builders spend (presumably) months or years building a plane and then only hold onto it for like... a couple hundred hours before selling it? A decent number of these Vans listings are <500h.
Lancair: Several models (320/360/Super ES) (these are ones that had already been on my list :))
Glasair: Glasair III RG (I see a couple listings currently)

Others:
@donjohnston I like the differentiation of the Velocity, but I think it'll be a harder sell for me to get passengers on board (which is already tough for me). My conservative group of loser friends would be more inclined to take a ride in the conventional design, on the rare occasion when I can even coax them onboard.
@WDD -- Good to know on the RV7s, thanks! Note: Twins won't work for me based on my current certs/experience combined with the fuel burn and maintenance (overhaul fund x2). Given I spend so much time solo that useful load would just go to waste. I don't even want to know how many hours AVEMCO would ask me to dual in it.

Less likely candidates:
Bonanza, SR22, Mooney Ovation, Velocity, B..Baron :(
 
You thought insurance would be thrilled with you getting a higher performance plane?
 
Mooney 252 TSE is the one I always want, but then I remember I can’t fit in a Mooney.
 
Mooney 252 TSE is the one I always want, but then I remember I can’t fit in a Mooney.
Uh oh.. I've heard Mooney cabin sizes aren't the most generous, but I've only peeked inside them from out of the plane. As a 6'0 255lb dude would I look like a blimp in that cabin?
I thought the discomfort was mainly when you stuffed in other mouth breathers in the passenger seats.
 
I second the Lancair or Glasair, maybe a turbo’ed Mooney. If you’re gonna go for speed, you need to have a LOT more speed to make it worthwhile. Go big or go home. You may need to be prepared to self insure, though…
I'm a turbo Mooney owner, but with the OPs situation, I'd also say just Lancair or Glasair is a better fit.
 
I like the differentiation of the Velocity, but I think it'll be a harder sell for me to get passengers on board (which is already tough for me). My conservative group of loser friends would be more inclined to take a ride in the conventional design, on the rare occasion when I can even coax them onboard.

If you have to convince your friends to get in an airplane, you need new friends.

Seriously though, I've never had a problem getting people into my plane. Quite the opposite in fact. Not sure why.
 
Living in Chicago, you’re going to need some kind of anti-ice or you can forget about dispatch reliability from November into April. If you really want to make long, cross-country flights on your own schedule, you’ll want boots or TKS. That means Bonanza, Baron, Meridian, 210, 310, or Cirrus.
 
Going from the archer to the lance was a real, noticeable increase in speed. 110 to 150 knots, which works out to 36%. Your arrow cruises about 140 right? So for a similar bump you're going to have to hit 190. Most of the planes we're talking about are more like 160 at best. I think you're going to have to find something turbocharged, and even then it's a tall order for a piston single.
 
Living in Chicago, you’re going to need some kind of anti-ice or you can forget about dispatch reliability from November into April. If you really want to make long, cross-country flights on your own schedule, you’ll want boots or TKS. That means Bonanza, Baron, Meridian, 210, 310, or Cirrus.
You can get add-on FIKI for some Mooney and Rockwell 114/115.
 
Piper Malibu

Generally speaking, that would have been my first recommendation with the sort of step in speed that the OP has been after. I think it is more capable than most or all the other suggestions that have been made as well. With only 300 hours insurance will be a no go however. I suspect it might be an issue on some of the other aircraft being tossed around as well but probably not to the extent of the Malibu.
 
With only 300 hours insurance will be a no go however. I suspect it might be an issue on some of the other aircraft being tossed around as well but probably not to the extent of the Malibu.
This is why I think a Cirrus fits the bill. Plenty of low-time pilots stepping into Cirri.
 
This is why I think a Cirrus fits the bill. Plenty of low-time pilots stepping into Cirri.

Agreed. I’ve never dipped my toe in Cirrus insurance to know what a typical policy for a low time pilot costs but a low time pilot could likely buy several years worth of insurance in a cirrus and get coverage for the cost of one year in a Malibu, if anyone would write the policy.
 
Vans RVs: Both RV7/RV10 (though -10s are very expensive). I'll need to do some research to understand what's different between the models. They seem to have similar styling and stats. Except for ones which are obviously slower, like the -12. One of the 7's listed right now has a pretty compelling avionics suite and asking less than 200k$. One weird question I have on these Vans RVs: why do builders spend (presumably) months or years building a plane and then only hold onto it for like... a couple hundred hours before selling it? A decent number of these Vans listings are <500h.
I think there's a few reasons for that. Van's builders like to build. They're sought after and the market is hot, especially for 10's and 14's. I think a lot of them were built with helocs and the draw period expires and it's time to pay the Piper.

I really think the 14a would foot the bill. Tough to find on the used market though.

The Malibu suggestion would eat you alive in insurance and at annual. I thought I heard 15k annuals are the norm on the pa46
 
I'm a turbo Mooney owner, but with the OPs situation, I'd also say just Lancair or Glasair is a better fit.

Can you elaborate? Is that because of OP’s size? I really have always wanted a turbocharged Mooney, but I really don’t fit in them (and they really don’t match the 80% of my mission that isn’t long and fast x-country, but they are sweet machines!).
 
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