I know that there are 100 threads on similar subjects already. But none of them were started this month and it's already the second, so here we go! I am still working on building the RV-14 that you all couldn't talk me out of building a couple years ago. I'm hoping to have better success with this thread. The RV-14 is still the perfect fit for my primary mission. Two seats, fast, efficient, and fun. (Efficient and fast enough that, other than seating capacity, it meets the mission described below and saves money compared to airlines even if I fly solo.) I am a 500-hour instrument rated private pilot working on finishing my commercial license in ASEL. I enjoy flight training and I try to fly professionally regardless of what I'm doing. Most of my time is in my Piper Arrow. The rest of it is mostly in various taildraggers. I fly 100-150 hours per year with a variety of personal and business travel. I would consider the 9 hours per day I spend shopping for airplanes instead of getting any work done a total waste, except I now have a family member who is moving farther away from the rest of us. It is currently a 5-hour drive or a 200 nm flight. It will turn into an 1,100 nm flight. I need to get one reluctant passenger on board with flying in small planes to make this work, but I am nearly at the tipping point there and anticipate some help from the airlines in the near future. For the new mission, the airline alternative is simply unpalatable. Basically, you spend $750 per person to drive 3 hours, give yourself 2+ hours or, more often, overnight in a hotel as a buffer for highway, parking, and TSA delays, spend 8-12 hours in a combination of regional jets and airport terminals, and arrive well after dark for another half-hour ride in a car. For a weekend holiday like Easter or Thanksgiving, you spend 5 days away from home to get 2 real days with family. And you are fatigued on both ends due to driving on possibly icy roads and eating too much airport or drive-through food. The lost productivity of traveling that way also weighs in favor of flying myself. Since the main mission is personal travel, we can be flexible and accept the "time to spare, go by air" rule. That is how we do it when we drive to visit now, anyhow. The point is not to match the airlines on dispatch reliability or beat them on cost. It is to beat them on total misery. We are not looking at turbines, and for a piston this trip will require a stop to stretch our legs. So what we need is a range of about 600 nm plus IFR reserves. The trip is basically north-south, so winds are less of a factor than for an east-west trip. We don't need to cross mountains, so pressurization is an unnecessary expense. The loading would be a maximum of four adults and two children (age range 5-12 will cover the foreseeable future). More often, it would be minus the children or minus two adults, and possibly plus one or two dogs. The worst-case luggage situation would consist of the adults packing for a 4-day weekend and the kids packing for a 2-week visit. Based on the people involved and how I have seen them pack, this tops out around 1,000 lbs. Known ice certification would be very helpful to get in and out of the northern end of the trip. We have a relatively dry winter, but there are days (especially in the spring) when there are icy clouds to get through. I recognize the difference between a PIREP of "light rime during descent," which is "known ice" that a properly equipped plane can safely and legally penetrate, versus a forecast sounding showing -5C temperature and dewpoint from the surface up to 10,000 MSL, which is not "known" ice but which even a known ice certified airplane should probably avoid. We don't have a defined budget for purchase price, but we don't want to spend so much on the plane that it would make more sense to dry-lease a turboprop. So here is what I have distilled the mission to: 1. Block speeds 160-180 knots 2. Six seats 3. Useful load of 1,000 lbs plus 4-1/2 hours of fuel 4. Operating costs of $150-250/hr (including insurance and maintenance, but not opportunity cost or hangar rent) 5. Certified for known ice Nice-to-have: 1. Tolerant of turf runways 2. Available or standard with a decent two-axis autopilot 3. Longer range when lightly loaded 4. Club seating so the younger kids can be tended by the back-seat adults Every plane is a compromise, so I'm not married to any of those numbers. For example, even at $320/hr operating costs, it is cheaper to fly ourselves than buy 6 airline tickets. What planes should I be looking at, and what compromises do I have to make with each of them? The mission seems to call for a twin. So that raises more questions: 1. How many hours per year do you need to fly a light twin to maintain proficiency in type, assuming you are also getting recurrent training for emergencies? 2. Other than investing everything I have in a mutual fund with a guaranteed 300% annual return, what can I do now to prepare for owning and flying a light twin? Planes that could meet the mission, but I don't know enough about, probably include at least the following: 1. Piper Saratoga 2. Cessna 210 3. Cessna 310 4. Piper Aztek 5. Beech 55 Baron Educate me. It'll be fun!