Upgrading from a six-seater...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by AA5Bman, Mar 9, 2021.

  1. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Line Up and Wait

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    We have a Cessna 205 and it’s truly great, but our family seems to need yet more room. We have two boys and manage to absolutely stuff the thing full to the point that it’s uncomfortable. But where do you go from there?

    If we were going to bother with an upgrade, it’d have to be a lot faster and carry at least as much weight, and ideally have more space and more comfortable seating. It seems like it ought to be FIKI as long as we’re at it, and pressurization is therefore just around the corner if you’re going to bother. But by that point you’re into the world of pressurized piston twins (out due to cost), P210s or Malibu’s (no more room, I don’t think), 207s (too slow to bother with the upgrade), or non-pressurized FIKI piston twins (maybe a serious contender, frightening to say).

    What options should I be considering? Targeted mission would be minimum four people, as much baggage as you can fit (space-wise) in a 205, real people+gear payloads of 1000 lbs minimum, 500ish nm trips where speed, weather reliability, and comfort are premiums. I’m SEL and IFR no multi, and just shy of 1,000 hours.

    I never thought we would outgrow our 205 or do so so quickly and I know nothing about twins...
     
  2. RudyP

    RudyP Cleared for Takeoff

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    PC12 or Citations would be perfect... other than cost!
     
  3. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    Not worth it. Mail the luggage for the few years you need too.

    Otherwise, Cessna 421s or other large piston twins. Best guess would a be budget range of 450-650 OpEx per hour.
    This pays for a lot of mail for just the five to ten years your kids will continue to travel with you for the few trips you need it.

    Tim
     
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  4. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Aztec and use the third row as extra bag compartment.
     
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  5. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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  6. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Aztec all day
     
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  7. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude

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    I did this mission for a few years in a 310 and loved it.
     
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  8. Marshall Alexander

    Marshall Alexander Pre-takeoff checklist

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  9. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Going the wrong way - less cabin space (4-place vs 6-place) and less useful load compared with the OP's current Cessna 205.
     
  10. Rein Hart

    Rein Hart Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Perhaps one of the Pressurized pa-46 variants since SEL rating currently. Or get multi engine rating.

    How often do you fly? Considered fractional or partnership to get into a larger/more expensive airframe?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  11. Marshall Alexander

    Marshall Alexander Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ah, OK, I guess I didn't do ALL my homework, lol. I'm just sort of biased toward the RVs.
     
  12. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    I vote for keeping the 205. As far as piston singles go I don't think you're going to get much more space/payload/speed to be worth going through the buy/sell/fix everything process.

    If you're dead set on an upgrade, I've got to agree that an aztec fits the bill nicely.
     
  13. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I'd teach my spouse and spawn the art of packing lightly.
     
  14. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    So i have 5 kids, and we all fit in the lance for now. I'm concerned we will outgrow it in a few years, so i was looking for what might be the next step, and basically to get a bigger cabin you're looking at a 400 series cessna or Navajo. I can't justify opex for a plane that big, so I'm flying the lance for the foreseeable future.

    Generally, the smaller twins offer increased speed and safety, but have the same size cabins and payload as the 6 seat singles. The 310 and aztec as mentioned would be your options for more payload, but don't expect them to be bigger inside. If you can't carry a family of four in a 205, I'm not sure the airplane is the problem. Pack lighter or mail the excess baggage like @tspear said.

    I'd be tempted to go 337 just for style points.
     
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  15. GaryM

    GaryM Line Up and Wait

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    This is the way.
     
  16. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Kodiak or Caravan. Maybe a Beaver or single Otter. There' really no "practical" solution.
    You're really at the edge of a huge quantum leap in types of aircraft, in both purchase and operating cost.
    As said, pack light or FedEx stuff ahead. Also be realistic about how many years the kids will really be going with you.

    Edit: Forgot to mention the Antonov AN-2!
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  17. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If it doesn't fit in my back pack, it doesn't need to go! The benefit to that is, you have a lot more time and energy to enjoy your trip without having to deal with so much junk. Think minimalist
     
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  18. jbarrass

    jbarrass Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Aerocet makes a cargo pod for a 206. Perhaps there is one somewhere for the 205. Might be a partial solution.
     
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  19. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cherokee Six.....:p

    Anything else is going to increase your flying budget by an order of magnitude. The next step up is going to run at least $40-60K a year to operate plus a bit more in purchase price. If you are willing to get the mulit an Aztec is the next reasonable option, but again, it's gonna be at least double the expense from your 205. ;)

    If you have more crap than will fit in the Six....mail it or grow a pair and tell em some of this won't go.
     
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  20. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    We're all light packers, for a week long beach trip a medium sized duffel per person does the trick. The car trunk is not even 1/3 full.

    Back when I was a kid we'd go to the beach for a week and mom would bring out a brown paper grocery sack (remember those) for each of us, that was your suitcase. Whatever you wanted to take on the trip had to fit in the sack.
     
  21. Cervieres

    Cervieres Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The prices of older Piper Meridians are coming down a little, especially the ones that are still Meggit equipped. That would get check most of your boxes, but as you pointed out, gains in useful load and overall space are relatively small. Operating costs would be lower than an ancient twin.
     
  22. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude

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    Packing lighter is the first step; as several others have noted as well.

    After that your next step is pretty much either a twin or a turbine. The Cessna 310, Baron 58 or Aztec is the cheapest next step up. All of those will be noticeably faster than the 205. After that you are looking at pressurized planes. They are even faster, but the costs go up quite noticeably as well. :eek:

    I'd start with packing lighter. Then shipping stuff if you really, really have to have it all. :oops:

    How old are the kids? Once they are in college there will be fewer all-the-family flights. Our youngest graduated last May. We still fly a lot for trips, but largely just my wife and I now. Occasionally one of the kids will go with us, but that's getting rare now. It used to be the norm for the four of us to go on a trip.
     
  23. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

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    Will you need more space later on, or are you already at the high point on the space-needed curve? If you are going to need more space later, the only options I can think of are PC-12 or medium twin like a Navajo or 421. I don’t have anywhere near the money to think about a PC-12, so I have never got an insurance quote on one. I would imagine the premium will be a bunch and you’ll need a bunch of mentor pilot time. I did get a quote for a Navajo as a first twin, though, and it was eye-watering. If you are headed that way, you’ll want to get into an Aztec or 310 now while you can still fit your family in one and show up for your medium-twin insurance quote with some AMEL time.
     
  24. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    2 x RV10 and get the wife a pilots license?
     
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  25. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I think an Aztec or 310 would make a lot of sense.
     
  26. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    100%

    I went to Africa for 2 weeks with a dufflebag that fit in the overhead bin.

    Unless you are flying your family to hockey camps or you are all linebacker sized, there is no reason you need a different plane. If you do, consider ditching the plane and buying a Suburban.
     
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  27. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    You described a C421 mission and then outed it due to budget. Why are we sprinkling in FIKI and Pressurization like they're optional Camry pinstripes at the Toyota dealer? Those are each step-ups in and of themselves.

    Non-FIKI Non-Pressurized twins do your payload/speed mission all day long. Like, any of the medium twins do that. It's sort of their only party trick - climb fast, lift a lot, torch an entire Jurassic Park movie worth of 100LL in the process. :D
     
  28. Echo419

    Echo419 Filing Flight Plan

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    PoA's favorite activity is spending other people's money.
     
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  29. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    My first thought was Navajo.

    The way my wife packs - we'll look at it one day, too. Haha.
     
  30. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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  31. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    I'm working my way there in mine. Only at 1,935 at the moment. :D
     
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  32. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Line Up and Wait

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    Interesting comments. Appreciate you all running through this with me. Looks like I need to be thinking about an Aztec. I know those can be FIKI which is interesting. Do any of the light twins have wing lockers, or is that reserved for the 3/400-series Cessnas?

    Can anyone comment on Malibu's storage/baggage space? I assume it has to be a step down from a 205/206, but that is kind of my dream traveling plane.

    On packing light, just to play a little light-hearted defense, it’s not like my wife is packing a giant bag full of cosmetics or something! On a recent trip we had a bike, a pack-and-play, a week’s worth of food (so a large cooler and maybe 3 milk crates worth of dry food), emergency gear (four sleeping bags, extra water, 2 two-person backpack tents, backpack stove), life jackets for the kids, a baby-carrier backpack (annoyingly bulky), etc etc etc. This time we left the stroller at home. And that’s all before we’ve loaded a single t-shirt. The emergency gear is bulky and sort of optional, but also sort of not - we routinely fly over giant expanses of remote, snow-covered terrain.

    I would love this. It sure would be fun, but probably not happening. The 340s and 400-series Cessnas have such a horrible reputation for MX and cost. I don't hear much about P-Barons. They're much smaller, do you think they're any less expensive to operate? They have equivalent number of systems which makes me think not.

    How much rear baggage does the Lance have? I know there is the nose locker which is a plus, but what is behind that last seat? Pretty impressive you can make this work with 5 kids.

    Yeah, that's kind of the conclusion I had come to too.

    Because what fun is it to limit yourself!? Just kidding. I realize the world of pressurized piston twins is probably out; I was just kind of walking through some of the mental scope creep involved in the decision, but I also feel like if we were going to take on the project of upgrading it better be a really serious improvement in performance/space/comfort. I do think if I was going to bother with a go-fast traveling plane, it really ought to be FIKI. At our altitudes we simply don't have IFR conditions without icing potential.

    Oh, and if I'm honest, we'd probably keep the 205 for all the camping and backcountry stuff we do, and find a few partners for this new plane.

    If it was just me and my wife, a single duffel is fine for two weeks. You're right, it's not hockey camps, but you've got the right idea - we're usually camping with lots of kid activities. And we do have a Suburban already hah!! And we are linebacker-sized too!
     
  33. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Shorts.
     
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  34. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-takeoff checklist

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    like tspear said, the 300/400 series twin Cessnas, and the P-Baron, will all run somewhere in the neighborhood of $500-$600/hr overall.
    A 310, maybe a bit less.
     
  35. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    sounds like you're gonna need a PC-12.....o_O
     
  36. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    What is this college nonsense? I was in high school when I ditched my parents for most vacations outside of big holidays. And for the big holidays, just send the older kids commercial and meet you there.
    In fact now for most vacations, or major holidays, I just send all my kids commercial and my wife and I enjoy a more laid back trip in the Cirrus carrying most of the luggage.

    Tim
     
  37. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Line Up and Wait

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    College is a long way off with a four year old and a 14 month old. And who knows if college as we know it will even exist as a “thing” by then, but I digress.

    Someone pointed out above about “peak gear”. We’re probably at about peak gear now (pack-and-plays, strollers, etc) so it’s a worthwhile consideration. But I could be wrong about that - my wife seems to think our gear needs will go up, not down, as the kids grow. Parents? I don’t think we’re at peak weight though. They’re both going to be over 6’ and 200# I’m sure of it. I was over 200# pounds by high school...
     
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  38. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    Skip the P-Baron. It may carry more weight for short trips, but will not handle the capacity you require. It really is about the same size as the 205 in terms of space.
    I had an Aerostar, my favorite plane so far. The larger version with the U2A engines and gross weight increase will handle the weight, but not likely the quantity of stuff you want.

    At the end of the day, there really are not many piston planes that could potentially do the job; skip the Cessna 310 and go to the 400 series. For a Beech, maybe the Queen Air or Duke could handle it, but they are rather rare.
    Skip the PA-46 line, as nice as they are, they will not carry enough in a single trip, especially since many are very much weight limited.

    Another option, and as a pilot, this is one you should like. Fly the family to the destination with only a small carry on bag. Drop them off, fly home and pack in all the related crap. (It would still be cheaper to ship it, but this is more fun).

    The reality, for a real jump in carry capacity, you can either spend the cash in OpEx like a Cessna big twin, or in CapEx with something like a Piper Cheyenne or Cessna Caravan, or a real dual mission the Kodiac Quest. No matter what, you are going to be adding at least a digit to the operating cost and maybe a couple digits to the acquisition costs.

    Tim
     
  39. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Line Up and Wait

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    @tspear This is kind of the conclusion I had come to - to really get it done you’re going to increase costs by an order of magnitude, going to a 3/400-series Cessna or a SETP or similar.

    Based on these responses, it seems that the Aztec is worth a thought, though, and while it’s a big jump in costs, it’s probably a doubling, not an adding of digits. Could offset with partner(s), which would be the direction I’d try to go. It occurs to me that we’d be a lot more comfortable in a 207 and in that case we could sell the 205 and maintain the backcountry ability, but it’s a more lateral jump and wouldn’t be any faster or FIKI. Worth a consideration. Same for Lances, *maybe*, and we’d trade some backcountry ability for a little better speed. Neither are really probably worth the hassle.
     
  40. Echo419

    Echo419 Filing Flight Plan

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    My kids are 6 and 3. We need very little gear beyond clothes now. I'm not a pilot yet so I can only talk about car trips, but most of our stuff is toys to keep them entertained on the road. However it sounds like you go camping, and I can't speak to that in terms of what you need with bigger kids.