Which light planes are best for....

Hence the flexibility side of the equation. We don't know how strict his work and home schedules are. It does have some of the ingredients of a case of terminal get-there-itis, but not all of them. That being said, adding the missing ingredients isn't a stretch.
My schedule varies in criticality. With a farm in Wisconsin and company HQ in Houston, I'm back and forth a lot, sometimes with very precise schedule, sometimes not.

Example 1: Next week I fly from Houston to North Carolina, meet my wife and kid (in college), then drive to Wisconsin, then fly back to Houston Jan 1. No real time crunches there, so no pressure not to wait to the next day, or bail and grab a ticket on the next A320. This trip would be great in something like a SR22T; 5-6 hours in a plane beats 12 in a car, and commercial flights between Dec 22 and Jan 1 are incredibly unreliable.
Example 2: In a couple of weeks I fly up to Wisconsin, where I'm in for a day handling farm business, then catching a flight to the UK, back to Wisconsin for more work, then back to HQ. I have some flexibility, but not a lot because of the international leg.
Example 3: In February I have at least 9 flight legs scheduled, more possible. Zero flexibility for about 3 weeks straight, so that would all be Delta or American, so that I have someone else to blame if the itinerary busts. No way would I try to do all of this in a small plane - just too much risk of blowing the schedule.
 
My schedule varies in criticality. With a farm in Wisconsin and company HQ in Houston, I'm back and forth a lot, sometimes with very precise schedule, sometimes not.

Example 1: Next week I fly from Houston to North Carolina, meet my wife and kid (in college), then drive to Wisconsin, then fly back to Houston Jan 1. No real time crunches there, so no pressure not to wait to the next day, or bail and grab a ticket on the next A320. This trip would be great in something like a SR22T; 5-6 hours in a plane beats 12 in a car, and commercial flights between Dec 22 and Jan 1 are incredibly unreliable.
Example 2: In a couple of weeks I fly up to Wisconsin, where I'm in for a day handling farm business, then catching a flight to the UK, back to Wisconsin for more work, then back to HQ. I have some flexibility, but not a lot because of the international leg.
Example 3: In February I have at least 9 flight legs scheduled, more possible. Zero flexibility for about 3 weeks straight, so that would all be Delta or American, so that I have someone else to blame if the itinerary busts. No way would I try to do all of this in a small plane - just too much risk of blowing the schedule.
Between your initial post with the travel specs and this one, I think commercial travel is your friend. Sounds like you're an in-demand person running a tight-ship.

I agree with the commenter above who remarked about the danger of putting in a full workday and then heading to the airport to fly 900nm in a piston plane. Commercial travel might be obnoxious with its logistical hurdles, but the cost of doing that fatigued and annoyed is effectively nothing. The cost of hopping into your own plane at the end of a workday for a long night XC is potentially significant, even assuming excellent weather.

But if you're committed to flying for your commute then I'd buy the fastest possible plane I could... A Lancair IV, Columbia 400 or SR22T come to mind. Then again if you're still in PPL training you might want to lob a call into some insurance companies and see how feasible this plan is. It may be quite some time before you're able to get coverage on any of the high performance monsters that will make this trip easier. I don't want to know what insurance cos will charge if you're fresh out of training trying to get SR22T, PA46, Baron 58P, Lancair IV, etc . It could be a mind-boggling figure that comes out to 20+ commercial tickets per year in insurance policy costs alone lol.

EDIT:
For reference, trying at 600TT 550complex to hop into a Twin Turbo Comanche was nearly 10k$/yr. And that's a 200k hull covg. If you're at 50 TT hopping into a Baron? A lot more is my guess. You can upgrade to 1st class on a lot of your travel legs for that price!
 
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More uncomfortable than 5 hours crammed into a Delta center seat between two large individuals?
Yeah. With Delta you can get up and pee. You can take a nap. With Delta, the airplane will always be capable of managing the weather.

No way I'm signing up for 1,000 miles, largely at night, all year around for that route if dispatch and arrival reliability are important.
 
More uncomfortable than 5 hours crammed into a Delta center seat between two large individuals?

A 900 NM flight isn't five hours in an airliner.

For this mission, I'd take the airliner. The climate control is much better, and you're flying over the weather, or diverting around it.

There's a reason that I asked how much time you've spent in a light GA plane is that I don't thing anyone who has many hours would ask about flying that mission, because it's impractical. If you wanted to do it occasionally, and had flexible scheduling, by all means go for it, but to do this on a regular basis is going to be extremely difficult. I didn't fly all that many hours in powered planes, and one of the reasons I stopped was that the airplanes I could afford to fly didn't provide much in transportation utility.

One thing you also didn't consider are headwinds. Let's going from Houston to Wisconsin today. Did you check the winds aloft?


At 9,000 feet, they are showing out of the northwest at 75 mph. Assuming you're in a Cirrus SR22, heading 030, you're ground speed is now 135 knots. That's now close to 7 hours at cruise plus two climbs and descents, so you're now looking at 8 or 9 hours airport to airport. That airliner seat is looking a lot more inviting.
 
You're going to hate this response, but I'm going to say it anyway. Restructure your life to avoid wasting so much of it in business travel. The response to that is an immediate "I can't", but that's incorrect. In 1 second you could fall and bounce your head off the ground, unable to travel and you'd have to sort out a way to be productive being in one place. Your schedule as described is as busy as Henry Kissinger when when he was flying around making wars worse...and whatever you're doing isn't that important.

Delegate way more, tell way more people 'no', and let people know that telecommuting works for most anything. Life is way too short to spend on running errands.

If you want to fly GA, fly for fun. That's a better reason than you've described it for business...and in the grand scheme of things better for you and whomever you're around.

Just my 2 cents...
 
That 45 minute reserve thing, for ifr that means that you have to plan 45 minute reserve at your alternate. You won't be able to do a trip like that reliably vfr. You'll probably still be on the airliner. Ifr will buy you more trips, but still, there will be days you'll have to postpone or cancel. I just picked up a Bravo which would probably be a good fit for a solo pilot doing this trip. But mind the useful load in the Bravo if you look at them.
 
The PA46 was made for this sort of trip. But even with something like that, which is a far better choice than most of the other suggestions so far (IMO), there are concessions that are going to have to be made. It's always fun to think about how much utility you'll get out of having your own airplane and commuting here and there in it but the reality is that there will always be times where it isn't going to work.

I have two residences with obligations at both locations as well, but a much shorter commute. I also own an airplane and use it to travel between the two locations, when it is practical. The times that I consider it to be practical is when my schedule is somewhat flexible, in the event that I need to leave either place sooner or later than originally planned on, and/or the weather looks predictable enough that there isn't a concern. When I absolutely need to be in one place or the other at a specific time, I drive.

Perhaps you should charter a few flights in an aircraft similar to what you're looking at before taking the next step. See what you think of a TX to WI ride. It's possible that one or two trips will do you in.
 
If you want concrete examples, I’ve completed almost this exact same route 4 out of 5 times in a spam can, round trip, and cancelled that one time due to weather. Why such a seemingly high dispatch rate? Because my timing was inflexible that one time. A few times the weather was ok. The others I waited to depart a day or two later or I escaped 1-2 days early before the bad weather arrived. So it’s more like 2 out of 10 one-ways that the launch occurred at the exact time I wanted it to.

A big factor in long XC is is that you’re going to cross multiple weather patterns. Rarely is there a nice elongated high pressure system on the starboard side of your plane for the whole flight and at the exact time you need it.

If you can afford the time to adjust your schedule, then it’s doable. But if you have to be there at a certain date, then you’ll need to waste time heading there early or just be late. If leaving a few days earlier is unpalatable, or if you cannot be late, then forget this idea with any $250k plane.

No way am I leaving on a long XC after a full day of brain taxing work.

I truly despise commercial air travel, but it saves time in many cases. I have TSA-pre/Nexus.
 
More uncomfortable than 5 hours crammed into a Delta center seat between two large individuals?
Yes. Especially with a stiff cocktail to make things more comfortable. But with the cost of fuel you'd save not flying yourself, may as well buy 2 seats.
 
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Almost everything I was going to say somebody else said.

This is a situation where you should planning airlines, 100%. On the occasional weekend where the weather is solidly good the whole way, then consider cancelling the airline ticket and fly yourself as a treat. If you forget about nonstop (and you should, 5 hours is a long flight), then the aircraft choices open up. An RV-8 might be a good option, fast, more affordable than standard category aircraft for the same performance, and a lot more fun.

My own situation is a microcosm of yours. I go to the cabin almost every weekend for half of the year. It's only about 100 miles, a 1:45 drive with no traffic, but frequently a miserable 3+ hours with Friday afternoon traffic. Flying is about two hours including the ground drive at each end (my plane is slow, VFR only), but a lot more fun passing the stopped traffic on the interstate. I manage to fly instead of drive only two or three times each year.
 
You're going to hate this response, but I'm going to say it anyway. Restructure your life to avoid wasting so much of it in business travel. The response to that is an immediate "I can't", but that's incorrect.
Well, I have been learning to say "no" a lot more than I ever have before.

My boss (CEO) has a seemingly infinite tolerance for travel, and that expectation is part of the gig on his staff. It seems to run with the territory in publicly traded companies. We're international, and with locations diverse enough that a company jet to cover everything is cost-prohibitive. He is also a big believer in setting an example from the top....so we fly cheapest coach fare available for all flights within North America. It's brutal.

So, aside from being able to control the personal travel between office and home (1-2 trips/month) I am stuck with it if I want to stay employed.
 
The PA46 was made for this sort of trip. But even with something like that, which is a far better choice than most of the other suggestions so far (IMO), there are concessions that are going to have to be made. It's always fun to think about how much utility you'll get out of having your own airplane and commuting here and there in it but the reality is that there will always be times where it isn't going to work.

I have two residences with obligations at both locations as well, but a much shorter commute. I also own an airplane and use it to travel between the two locations, when it is practical. The times that I consider it to be practical is when my schedule is somewhat flexible, in the event that I need to leave either place sooner or later than originally planned on, and/or the weather looks predictable enough that there isn't a concern. When I absolutely need to be in one place or the other at a specific time, I drive.

Perhaps you should charter a few flights in an aircraft similar to what you're looking at before taking the next step. See what you think of a TX to WI ride. It's possible that one or two trips will do you in.
Good input - thanks. Chartering or even renting to make the trip once or twice before dropping the cash makes a ton of sense.
 
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A big factor in long XC is is that you’re going to cross multiple weather patterns. Rarely is there a nice elongated high pressure system on the starboard side of your plane for the whole flight and at the exact time you need it.

[..] If leaving a few days earlier is unpalatable, or if you cannot be late, then forget this idea with any $250k plane.
This may be the core of it - a plane that would do the job may just be out of reach for me, both in $$$ and personal capability.
 
My boss (CEO) has a seemingly infinite tolerance for travel, and that expectation is part of the gig on his staff. It seems to run with the territory in publicly traded companies. We're international, and with locations diverse enough that a company jet to cover everything is cost-prohibitive. He is also a big believer in setting an example from the top....so we fly cheapest coach fare available for all flights within North America. It's brutal.
This may just be a mental exercise for you. Does your company handbook allow you to fly yourself?

The globals I worked for specifically prohibited personal air travel for very obvious liability reasons.

Get yourself in the DTSB report and your family sues over your commute? Much cleaner to ban personal flights than deal with aftermath lawsuits.
 
This may just be a mental exercise for you. Does your company handbook allow you to fly yourself?

The globals I worked for specifically prohibited personal air travel for very obvious liability reasons.

Get yourself in the DTSB report and your family sues over your commute? Much cleaner to ban personal flights than deal with aftermath lawsuits.
That's a really good question. I know that my prior employer specifically prohibited it.
Our VP-HR's next door neighbor owns the flight school I flew with yesterday, so I have zero chance of keeping it under wraps.... :lol:
 
…TBM or PC12 come to mind.
Maybe the Cirrus jet. Most of the SE turboprops will do this trip safely and reliably. Older King Airs come to mind, too.
 
This may be the core of it - a plane that would do the job may just be out of reach for me, both in $$$ and personal capability.

The main thing that limits your airplane options (and makes them expensive) is the desire to do this trip without stopping. Tons and tons of airplanes will do this trip with an intermediate stop - but you can plan on such a stop adding about an hour to your trip, making a long trip even longer.

A few other comments:
A still-air range of 1000 nm is not sufficient for a 900 nm trip. Let's say you buy a 170 knot airplane. That's 5.88 hours to go 1000 nm until empty tanks. Now throw in a very typical headwind of 15 knots. Now your 5.88 hours will take you 911 nm until empty. Regardless of not meeting reserve fuel requirements, any weather or ATC rerouting instantly makes the trip not possible. To get a reliable 900 nm in one hop, you need an airplane with a range of at least 1100 nm. (Note - I fly into and out of EFD a lot. The chances of going north and NOT getting extensive rerouting by ATC around the Class B? Exactly zero.)

In any airplane that's likely to fit your budget, this is a 5+ hour trip. A 5-hour trip in an airplane is much more fatiguing than in a car. For one, a piston airplane is much louder. This has a very real physical effect even with the best headsets. Second, turbulence is tiring. If your goal is to work a full day and THEN go flying, well that's a recipe for poor decision making and involuntary inclusion in the NTSB database.

There's a reason that Part 135, 121, and other crews have hard limits on duty day and maximum flight time. And most of those are with 2 pilots.

For example, I fly under Part 135. There is a maximum 14-hour duty day. So if I show up for work at 7:30 AM, the latest I can land is 9:30 PM - even if all I did all day was desk work and then a little flying. Even this is pushing it, and I have a second pilot there to back me up.

Now, a lot of this math and discussion changes a whole ton with turbine equipment, but then you're putting a lot more money into it than your stated budget. A TBM or King Air (certain models) will do this flight easily, in a reasonable amount of time, in comfort, and with excellent dispatch reliability. But obviously cost a lot more.

One more thing about costs, only a few people have brought this up. Flying distances of this length is expensive, both considering fuel AND maintenance and engine reserve for overhaul and all that. Direct fuel costs for a 1000-nm flight in a 170-knot single engine airplane is easily in the $600 range, one way. Add in an hourly amount for engine overhaul, oil changes, and other maintenance, and you're looking at a > $1000 one-way all-in cost. I do love flying, but that's a lot of seat upgrades on the airlines.
 
…All of that being said, taking control of my commute timeline is the single most viable excuse I have come up with to explain to my wife why I ̶n̶e̶e̶d̶ want a plane.

FIFY. This mission screams Mooney 252 or Bravo, with FIKI which is probably in your budget. Two hangars (one here, one there) may help cut down on ramp fees. You’ll want to have good relationship with A&Ps at each airport.

Buying is the single cheapest thing you can do when you spend money on a plane. For kicks and grins, an overhaul will run $35K to $80K+ if you want a zero-time engine.

What you’re asking for is asking a lot out of airplanes that aren’t really designed or engineered for this mission.

Good luck.
 
> Range. Runway to runway is 900 NM, so 1,000 seems reasonable to cover the distance without having to make an intermediate stop.
> Speed. Don't need a speed demon, necessarily, but don't want to be trundling along at 140 knots, either. Altitude capability helps, obviously.
> IFR/Weather capability. FIKI cert would be nice, some sort of de-ice is probably a firm requirement.
If you want these three things, then I'm not sure why this is on your list:
4) Diamond DA40. These look expensive for anything that hasn't been beaten to death or needs an engine. Am I missing something?
The DA40 is a GREAT aircraft, but it does not have this range, it does trundle along at 130-140 knots, and it absolutely does not have any de-ice capability.

A Cessna 210 sounds like it would fit your mission well. Some are equipped with Boots, others can be equipped with TKS.
 
I don't mind Barons being on this list (add 55s unless you need the seats, and the 56TC would be a nice ice rocket if someone else is buying the gas) -- but most are 136 gallon fuel setups, and for a 900nm mission, that's pretty marginal -- I'd look for at least the 166 gallon barons to do this comfortably.

In before someone suggests an SR-71 :p
 
Maybe the Cirrus jet. Most of the SE turboprops will do this trip safely and reliably. Older King Airs come to mind, too.

Now, a lot of this math and discussion changes a whole ton with turbine equipment, but then you're putting a lot more money into it than your stated budget. A TBM or King Air (certain models) will do this flight easily, in a reasonable amount of time, in comfort, and with excellent dispatch reliability. But obviously cost a lot more.
That's becoming more clear - my budget really just doesn't get me there.

FIFY. This mission screams Mooney 252 or Bravo, with FIKI which is probably in your budget. Two hangars (one here, one there) may help cut down on ramp fees. You’ll want to have good relationship with A&Ps at each airport.

Buying is the single cheapest thing you can do when you spend money on a plane. For kicks and grins, an overhaul will run $35K to $80K+ if you want a zero-time engine.
Like this one?

In before someone suggests an SR-71 :p
Well, it might be possible to find the fuel for it at KEFD...... :lol:
 

Like this one?
Possibly. For the 252s and Bravos, I’d suggest mooneyspace, but I *think* @Pinecone has a K/231 and can talk to it generally.

If I was serious about a turbo Mooney, Maxwell is who I’d be talking to.
 
Having flown regularly from Chicago to North Carolina, all I can say is get an Instrument Rating first. Then look for aircraft. To make life a lot easier and more affordable in the type of aircraft you are looking for, plan on a fuel and restroom break about half way. I had a Cessna Turbo 210. For the kind of legs and weather you will be looking at, you definitely need a turbocharged engine. This will get you above a lot of the weather and icing. The T-210 is a great aircraft and with the Flint tip tanks, you have a lot of range. You will be confronted with headwinds, mostly heading to Wisconsin from Texas. Stay low out of the headwinds and go high with the tailwinds. With the T210 we would regularly go to FL 190 or 210 southeast bound and come home at anywhere from 5 to 8,000 into the headwinds. My last aircraft was a Piper Aerostar 601P, if you have more experience. Pressurized, air-conditioned and fast. Absolutely the world's best flying piston twin, but with any complex aircraft, you need to stay ahead of the maintenance for it to be reliable. Over 4 years of ownership, I never had to cancel a trip due to maintenance. If you are looking for economy, look at a turbocharged Piper Twin Comanche. On those nights when it's cold, rainy, snowing and just plain nasty, it's nice to look out and see an engine on each wing giving your a redundant engine, alternator and peace of mind! Happy hunting!
 
Nah, but maybe an L-39 with external tanks... :cool:
:lol:
Surprisingly low acquisition price. I'm guessing that the operating costs are significant. I struggle with a path to being certified in type for something like that.....
 
This may be the core of it - a plane that would do the job may just be out of reach for me, both in $$$ and personal capability.
You’ve just swallowed the Red Pill.

The fact that it’s out of reach right now doesn’t mean a thing about the future; it especially shouldn’t put a damper on your flight training. Get your PPL, buy a Cherokee/172/Tiger (or join a club) and fly as much as possible, taking the family hundreds of miles from home. You’ll get frustrated at weather cancellations and pursue an instrument rating. After that, upgrade to a Bonanza/Mooney/Cirrus. By now, you‘ve been flying several years and have maybe 300-500 hours. That’s a good time to look at your work situation and decide if your personal finances, endurance, schedule, and risk tolerance encourage commuting by GA. Try it a couple of times and you’ll conclude that the Cirrus you bought isn’t enough airplane for this mission. Then it’s time to get serious about weather flying over long distances. That means kerosene.

It’s a wonderful adventure, but it can’t be rushed.
 
You’ve just swallowed the Red Pill.
Yeah, I think that happened a while back.
The fact that it’s out of reach right now doesn’t mean a thing about the future; it especially shouldn’t put a damper on your flight training. Get your PPL, buy a Cherokee/172/Tiger (or join a club) and fly as much as possible, taking the family hundreds of miles from home. You’ll get frustrated at weather cancellations and pursue an instrument rating.
My intent is to go straight into IR training, and complete it before purchasing a plane. Experience with racing cars taught me that you don't really know what you want to buy until you've done enough to develop your preferences. Houston has a number of rental opportunities, ranging from C172 to SR22T (at utterly ludicrous wet rates for the Cirrus).
Try it a couple of times and you’ll conclude that the Cirrus you bought isn’t enough airplane for this mission. Then it’s time to get serious about weather flying over long distances. That means kerosene.

It’s a wonderful adventure, but it can’t be rushed.
Yeah, that's how I found myself in SCCA national competition driving Formula E. Looking back, it was an incredibly stupid way to spend my kids' inheritance. Of course, I would absolutely do it again. :biggrin:
 
Yeah, I think that happened a while back.

My intent is to go straight into IR training, and complete it before purchasing a plane. Experience with racing cars taught me that you don't really know what you want to buy until you've done enough to develop your preferences. Houston has a number of rental opportunities, ranging from C172 to SR22T (at utterly ludicrous wet rates for the Cirrus).

Yeah, that's how I found myself in SCCA national competition driving Formula E. Looking back, it was an incredibly stupid way to spend my kids' inheritance. Of course, I would absolutely do it again. :biggrin:
Funny! Same here except Formula Mazda. Now Formula C....182...LOL. Made my share of laps at MSR Houston.
 
:lol:
Surprisingly low acquisition price. I'm guessing that the operating costs are significant. I struggle with a path to being certified in type for something like that.....

I thought they were something on the order of 200-300gph? Those tip tanks are gonna be yuuuuuuge :D
 
:lol:
Surprisingly low acquisition price. I'm guessing that the operating costs are significant. I struggle with a path to being certified in type for something like that.....
My BIL was thinking about one, IIRC he said about $900/hour fuel cost in cruise, more like $1500 if you're doing acro. Instead he checks other pilots out in their planes so they pay for the fuel.
 
That's missing part of the issue - flying out of IAH and MKE (commercial) is a major part of my current problem. I have GA airports 5 minutes from my place in Wisconsin (ketb) and 15 minutes from my place in Galveston County (kefd). That's nearly 2 hours of driving cut out of the picture.

That said, I get your point. Increasing my life insurance might be the best approach.....

Well, I have been learning to say "no" a lot more than I ever have before.

My boss (CEO) has a seemingly infinite tolerance for travel, and that expectation is part of the gig on his staff. It seems to run with the territory in publicly traded companies. We're international, and with locations diverse enough that a company jet to cover everything is cost-prohibitive. He is also a big believer in setting an example from the top....so we fly cheapest coach fare available for all flights within North America. It's brutal.

So, aside from being able to control the personal travel between office and home (1-2 trips/month) I am stuck with it if I want to stay employed.
Fully understand the situation with your boss, although my experience has been that those kinds of situations are often self-remedying. Either the boss retires, keels over from a stroke, or otherwise moves on and someone with more normal travel expectations takes his or her place. Or, the company goes on a cost-saving binge, and starts to cut travel. It was music to my ears when my previous company decided to tighten their belt and sent a mass e-mail stating "all travel requests will be strictly scrutinized for necessity." My travel requirements went to zero, and my happiness level went up.

Along with that, something to keep in the back of your mind. Sometimes a corporation will put a large travel burden on someone they're trying to force out. There may be various legal hurdles to firing or laying someone off. There are zero legal hurdles to requiring a punitive level of travel. Not saying that's the case here, just pointing it out.

Understood if the boss pushes cheapest coach fare. Those kinds of requirements put you in between a rock and a hard place (or more literally, between two other flyers in the middle seat in the back of the airplane). In those kind of situations, I've taken to just upgrading myself and eating the cost. Alternatively, if you're flying that much, you should hopefully be getting some free upgrades here and there. Alternatively, getting TSA Pre-check, CLEAR, and whatever else makes the security line easier can help.

Others with much more experience than I have touched on the various challenges with taking a piston aircraft from Wisconsin to Houston. One creative approach after poking around the map a bit: What about flying from home into Midway Airport (Chicago) then Southwest down to Houston Hobby? Houston Hobby gets you much closer to Galveston County than IAH, with the benefit Hobby being a much easier airport to navigate than IAH. To add, Southwest runs four flights a day from MDW to HOU, so lots of options. Drawbacks would probably be the high cost of 100LL at MDW, as well as additional logistical challenges of what to do if you get stuck at MDW (hotels, etc). The FBOs there offer a snooze room at least, though. And, while MDW is often forgotten in the shadow of ORD, the city of Chicago (along with SWA) have put a lot of money into MDW over the years. It's a decent travel option.

Interesting thread nonetheless. I remember all the old Cessna ads stating something to the effect of "A mile of highway takes you a mile. A mile of runway can take you wherever you want to go." Teenage me dreamt of all the various places a single engine piston could take you. Adult me came to appreciate all of the caveats that came with that "mile of runway takes you anywhere" statement (weather, performance limitations, etc).
 
Sometimes a corporation will put a large travel burden on someone they're trying to force out. There may be various legal hurdles to firing or laying someone off. There are zero legal hurdles to requiring a punitive level of travel. Not saying that's the case here, just pointing it out.
Definitely not the case here, based on the annual bonus I just received (which is helpful in funding new toys....). We also function under contracts, so there are no legal hurdles to pushing someone out, they just have to buy out the contract. I've been in the position of looking for an open seat before, and that's not the current situation (though it could change at any minute, just as always).
One creative approach after poking around the map a bit: What about flying from home into Midway Airport (Chicago) then Southwest down to Houston Hobby? Houston Hobby gets you much closer to Galveston County
LOL....Indeed. I hadn't thought of MDW. Everything I hear about Chi-town's Class B space has left me with the impression that it's better avoided....but interesting idea nonetheless. I'm guessing that they would route inbound MDW traffic from ETB (West Bend) over the lake.

As for HOU, I'm staring at it right now. My office is less than a mile from Hobby (corner office, top floor with a window facing the airport - life is very, very good), and I watch the flights come in and out all day, every day. Trouble is, the schedules out of here are terrible for anything other than SouthWest, and they don't go where I need them to go...so I end up driving to IAH for 90% of my travel.
 
It was music to my ears when my previous company decided to tighten their belt and sent a mass e-mail stating "all travel requests will be strictly scrutinized for necessity."

I recall when Lockheed tried that, many years ago. Previously, travel requests had required approval from a senior manager or director, so to reduce travel LM corporate directed that all travel had to be approved by a VP. The VPs immediately delegated that task to their secretaries.

The policy didn't last very long.
 
1- or 2-person XC travel from Houston to SE Wisconsin? I'm a dual resident, working on PPL, and want an option for my commute that doesn't involve TSA every....single.....week. Parameters are:
...

Thoughts on these? Are there any in this category that I have missed?

One of the pleasant aspects of being late to a thread is the realization that there’s a great deal of knowledge and wisdom on PoA. If you’re still following replies, I’d like to show support for some of the previous replies and add a couple of notes from my perspective.

Insurance will limit your options.

1000nm range is not sufficient to reliably and safely fly your proposed route. You will sometimes require alternate(s), and depending on local weather characteristics, the closest usable alternate may be 100nm or more from your destination. Enroute winds may not be favorable. A line of convective weather may require a detour. Etc.

A route of that distance, in that part of the country, may traverse several different weather systems. Of particular note, thunderstorms will pose significant challenges from late March through September; and as you are aware, icing will be a contender during the winter months. Being properly equipped to deal with these contingencies is important, but equipment alone does not ensure success. Experience, and a devotion to the craft (so to speak) are also necessary.

Those who cautioned against undertaking a flight of that duration after a long day of work are absolutely right. Fatigue is an insidious killer—pilots often do not recognize the seriousness of their cognitive and physical impairment until it’s too late (if at all). Even well-rested, a 6-hour flight can be quite tiring.

Your experience: We don’t know what we don’t know, and especially when we are relatively new to flying, there's a LOT that we don't know that we don't know. To quote another cliché, a pilot license (all of them) is a license to learn. Hiring an experienced and competent pilot to fly with you until you gain some real-world experience is good advice, especially if you can get someone who has logged many long X-C trips, preferably in GA aircraft.

As if that were not enough to contemplate, I think that there are other important considerations that haven't been mentioned. Do you really like flying? Would you enjoy the challenges presented by planning and executing flights in an aircraft with limited capabilities, in widely varying weather conditions? An enthusiasm for flying makes it much easier to endure, and perhaps enjoy, some of the downsides that traveling in GA aircraft impose.

Further, and perhaps most importantly: do you possess the ability and willingness to accurately and honestly assess risk, and to say “NO” when such risk presents a significant threat to the safety of your flight—even when you feel strong internal and external pressure to press on?

Of the airplanes you listed, the Cirrus, from my perspective, doesn’t have enough range. The Bonanza with tip tanks (depending on which model Bonanza), can do it with relative ease. The PA46 is a good contender.

For your consideration: I used to fly an F33 Bonanza with Osborne tip tanks, with a total fuel capacity of 120 gallons. The tip tanks gave that airplane about 8.4hrs endurance at a cruise speed of 155kts with 1 hour reserve, so still-air range was, realistically about 1250nm. At the time I was living in San Francisco, and my parents lived in central Texas, far from the nearest airport with airline service. I made many trips from the Bay area to a small GA airport about 15 minutes from my parents’ place. The distance was approximately 1100nm. The Bonanza cut 2.5 hours off of the time required to fly commercial and drive, including the time required to flight plan, fuel, and pre-flight the airplane. It’s important to add that, on all of those trips the weather was good VMC all the way. It’s also worth noting that, due to winds, I was not able to comfortably make the westbound return flight without a fuel stop. Not having to deal with TSA and traveling on my own schedule hugely favored the Bonanza. Plus, I really like flying.

As for the PA46, that would be my first choice of the airplanes mentioned. I had the opportunity to fly one of the very early Malibus back in about 1985. While I did not find the handling characteristics to be (subjectively) appealing, the performance capabilities and comfort are as close to ideal for your mission as you are likely to find in a piston single. The 310hp engine that was original to the type proved to be problematic, but the 350hp engine seems to be much better.

Lastly, if you’ve read this far, it’s great to read that you are learning to fly, and planning to put your skills to practical use. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best.

RW
 
Insurance will limit your options.
That's becoming apparent. It seems that the best solution is hours. Now, if I pay cash I am less limited by insurance, but it probably makes some sense to take heed of the actuarial data behind their rate structures.
1000nm range is not sufficient to reliably and safely fly your proposed route. You will sometimes require alternate(s), and depending on local weather characteristics, the closest usable alternate may be 100nm or more from your destination. Enroute winds may not be favorable. A line of convective weather may require a detour. Etc.

A route of that distance, in that part of the country, may traverse several different weather systems. Of particular note, thunderstorms will pose significant challenges from late March through September; and as you are aware, icing will be a contender during the winter months. Being properly equipped to deal with these contingencies is important, but equipment alone does not ensure success. Experience, and a devotion to the craft (so to speak) are also necessary.
Understood and agreed. Some quick math on wind (based on an earlier post in this thread) was helpful in clarifying this point.
Further, and perhaps most importantly: do you possess the ability and willingness to accurately and honestly assess risk, and to say “NO” when such risk presents a significant threat to the safety of your flight—even when you feel strong internal and external pressure to press on?
I believe that I do, based on past experience with other endeavors....but honestly tells me that part of my life success has been based on a tendency to be bull-headed and push through challenges. My response to stress is to go head-down and push harder, and I recognize that tendency is something that I have to keep in check in the cockpit (any cockpit - I also race cars).
The Bonanza with tip tanks (depending on which model Bonanza), can do it with relative ease. The PA46 is a good contender.

For your consideration: I used to fly an F33 Bonanza with Osborne tip tanks, with a total fuel capacity of 120 gallons. The tip tanks gave that airplane about 8.4hrs endurance at a cruise speed of 155kts with 1 hour reserve, so still-air range was, realistically about 1250nm. At the time I was living in San Francisco, and my parents lived in central Texas, far from the nearest airport with airline service. I made many trips from the Bay area to a small GA airport about 15 minutes from my parents’ place. The distance was approximately 1100nm. The Bonanza cut 2.5 hours off of the time required to fly commercial and drive, including the time required to flight plan, fuel, and pre-flight the airplane. It’s important to add that, on all of those trips the weather was good VMC all the way. It’s also worth noting that, due to winds, I was not able to comfortably make the westbound return flight without a fuel stop. Not having to deal with TSA and traveling on my own schedule hugely favored the Bonanza. Plus, I really like flying.
The only problem with the Bonanza is speed (or lack thereof)....or am I wrong about that? There's one for sale by a major carrier pilot whom I know and trust, but it's pretty old, even with limited time. It could be a way to get into owning at a lower price point, though, and get through IR in something that can get me to and from, even if it's a two-stage trip most of the time.

PA46 is a very nice plane, but seems out of my price range. Might be worth renting while building up cash, or looking at upgrading after spending time in a Bo...?
Lastly, if you’ve read this far, it’s great to read that you are learning to fly, and planning to put your skills to practical use. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best.
Thank you - I very much appreciate the thoughtful response.
 
I think there is another issue altogether. If the OP is just now working on his private certificate, he is a long, long way from being comfortable with a trip like this. A couple of years. Getting IFR rated is not the immediate answer. Between Wisconsin winters and Texas/Oklahoma/Kansas summers, there is an awful lot of weather to make this a difficult trip even for a very proficient pilot. Generally speaking, anytime you fly more than 400 miles you are likely to encounter a different weather system.

Depending on which model the Bonanza is, the speed may be OK. My 1967 V-Tail did 175 knots, but I did not have tip tanks. Flying from Kalamazoo to Denver, I always made a fuel stop in Nebraska. But in a friend's A-36 with the tip tanks, we flew non-stop from San Diego to Beatrice, Nebraska at 17,000 feet. Nice tail wind at that altitude going east.
 
I think there is another issue altogether. If the OP is just now working on his private certificate, he is a long, long way from being comfortable with a trip like this. A couple of years. Getting IFR rated is not the immediate answer.
Understood. That said, instrument rating has to be part of the plan over that time period, and I tend to do better with a plan, even if it's a long-range plan.

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