What plane should I buy? Should solo next week & finish my PPL within the next few months. Been using an older Piper Cherokee 140 but I want to sell it as soon as I get my license and buy something that better fits my needs. Typical mission for the new plane (once I have plenty of hours in a newer safer plane): take my 3 kids and dog + minimal luggage from my home airport (U42 in utah) to Oceanside CA (OCN) which is approx 520 NM. Weight: me 180, child one 195, child two 165, child three 140, dog 45, luggage 125 (850 Lbs total not including any gas). Budget is $175k - $300k. As a new pilot I strongly prefer fixed gear. Safety is by far the most important priority for this purchase. Having a very hard time finding any single piston aircraft with a useful load high enough to safely carry my family + fuel and also considering that we will always be flying out of the Salt Lake City area where our home airfield sits at 4600 MSL and we will have to clear mountains pretty much no matter where we go from here. I love the Cirrus SR22T G3 for its safety, its speed, and its looks, but the useful load seems tight (would kill for the G5 but it’s well out of my budget). Started looking at Beechcraft Bonanza‘s and piper Saratoga’s tonight (bc they are six seaters) but i’m still not sure if they have enough useful load. The piper Malibu has great speed and useful load, but I think they all have retractable landing gear if I’m not mistaken, and I’m not sure if I could get comfortable with that. Haven’t looked into twins but aren’t those for more experienced pilots? Ideas/suggestions welcome. Thx.