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Private Commuter Aircraft Suggestions


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Hi there. I am a long time lurker first time poster. 

 

I am looking to purchase an aircraft for commuting between my QLD and TAS farming properties. At this stage I will be landing at sealed airports and flying only myself, but I am planning one day to take the family (of 3) with me and land on either property. I am happy to pay more up from to lower operating expenses. I would be keen to hear some suggestions. Note: please don't bother to suggest a Cirrus.... i had a friend in aviation insurance who made me swear never to fly in one.. I am aware of the diamond and tecnam twin piston offerings. 

 

 

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There's a few Twinkies (twin Comanche) for sale for well under $100K. Particularly with tip tanks, they should get you there non-stop in around 7.0 hours with up to 3 people depending on the BEW and model.  (I know your profile says Brissy but I used Emerald-Launy as a rough guess as not many farms around Brisbane) Loaded up with all the family though you'll need at least 1 tech stop around Dubbo. They're reportedly one of the most efficient light twins around, using not much more fuel than a bigger, fast single. Whack an electronic ignition on each engine, and you are back down to two magnetoes with their 500-hourly inspections, and get lower fuel burn & easier starting too. I'm shortly going to sell my RV-9 and am giving serious consideration to a twin comanche...

 

A J-model Mooney is about as efficient as you'll get in the piston singles, getting around 155-165KTAS from the IO-360, and with the Monroy tanks can do that distance non-stop, with 2 x 200lb people on board. These seem to get around $100-120K on the classifieds.

 

 

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What KR said if you just want to do a few long flights for the enjoyment or challenge of a Bass Strait crossing plus two different weather zones on route to plan for.

 

If there was any need to get there and get back without weather lay overs, sometimes of several days at isolated  towns, then IFR endorsement, and I still know plenty of pilots who don't like going on rough days. I spent a lot of years trying to work flying into my business trips and mostly had to explain why I wasn't coming or was a day or two late.

 

Alternatively, using Launceston as the Tasmanian base and Emerald to tie in with KR, you could leave Launceston at 10:45 am on Jetstar, land at 3:45 in Brisbane, have a pleasant sleep over, leave Brisbane at 6:55 am Qantas and arrive Emerald at 8:30 am bright and fresh for $618.00 one way.

 

And that's with Jetstar and Qantas doing the flight planning, refuelling, and IFR flight if necessary to meet that timetable, no hangarage, no maintenance and no depreciation.

 

 

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Taking yourself between sealed strips and taking your family between farm strips would be two different missions. From this there would be different planes that would make sense for each mission.

 

A good fixed undercarriage hauler might be the Cherokee 235 or Cherokee Six but I'm guessing it would need to be imported as there aren't too many around. Plus they love a drink so much you can feel the suction around your wallet on climb out.

 

Speed comes with money, altitude and/or a retractable undercarriage. Fixed undercarriage and low operating costs gives the opposite of speed. How much is your time worth?

 

 

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What KR said if you just want to do a few long flights for the enjoyment or challenge of a Bass Strait crossing plus two different weather zones on route to plan for.

 

If there was any need to get there and get back without weather lay overs, sometimes of several days at isolated  towns, then IFR endorsement, and I still know plenty of pilots who don't like going on rough days. I spent a lot of years trying to work flying into my business trips and mostly had to explain why I wasn't coming or was a day or two late.

 

Alternatively, using Launceston as the Tasmanian base and Emerald to tie in with KR, you could leave Launceston at 10:45 am on Jetstar, land at 3:45 in Brisbane, have a pleasant sleep over, leave Brisbane at 6:55 am Qantas and arrive Emerald at 8:30 am bright and fresh for $618.00 one way.

 

And that's with Jetstar and Qantas doing the flight planning, refuelling, and IFR flight if necessary to meet that timetable, no hangarage, no maintenance and no depreciation.

 

The Avgas bill would be more than this. And there are always specials when planning ahead. the country (emerald) bits are the killer $$$wise 

 

 

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 Note: please don't bother to suggest a Cirrus.... i had a friend in aviation insurance who made me swear never to fly in one..

 

I am genuinely interested to know your friends objections to the Cirrus, lots of them flying IFR every day.

 

 

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The Avgas bill would be more than this. And there are always specials when planning ahead. the country (emerald) bits are the killer $$$wise 

 

Emerald-Launceston, 7.0 hours, 16GPH (fairly conservative, might get 1GPH lower, particularly LOP with EI) = 423L, at $2.20/L (Fairly cheap, but price last time I refuelled at Cessnock) is $930 in Avgas alone. Not factoring in oil, or other operating costs... Mind you, that is cheap if you are taking 4 people. 4 x DeathStar seats, plus checked baggage, plus seat selection, plus hotel for the Brisbane overnight, it can work out much cheaper to fly yourself. But for a solo trip, you need to put a value on your time and run the maths that way. Anywhere within fuel range of my RV it is cheaper and faster for me to take it than fly the airlines. If I need to land for fuel, the airlines quickly catch up. 

 

 

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Hi there. I am a long time lurker first time poster. 

 

I am looking to purchase an aircraft for commuting between my QLD and TAS farming properties. At this stage I will be landing at sealed airports and flying only myself, but I am planning one day to take the family (of 3) with me and land on either proaperty. I am happy to pay more up from to lower operating expenses. I would be keen to hear some suggestions. Note: please don't bother to suggest a Cirrus.... i had a friend in aviation insurance who made me swear never to fly in one.. I am aware of the diamond and tecnam twin piston offerings. 

 

From what I have seen on the internet, the recent extra training that Cirrus has introduced has decreased the Cirrus accident/death rate to a little below the GA average. That means that your friend is wrong to insist that you should not fly in one. It sounds like your friend has had to organise for payments on fatal accidents involving people that he knew and that that has skewed his thinking. 

 

As for taking your family flying, the fatal accident in GA is about 1/100 000 hours. If you fly your family 50 hours per year, then you have a risk of death of 1/2000 per year. The all-cause death rate for middle-aged people is about 1/2000 and for older children about 1/500. Those deaths include expected deaths, such as cancer, not just traumatic deaths. Assuming that your family members are healthy, and you fly them 50 hours a year, if they die, it will probably be in your airplane. Does that mean that you should not fly them? Nope. But it does not mean that you have nothing to think about either. 

 

Others have pointed out that if would be cheaper and more efficient for your to fly on an airline. It would also be cheaper to hire someone to fly you back and forward in their light aircraft, too. This means that the aircraft you should by is the aircraft that you will enjoy flying that will still be halfway sensible at meeting you needs. Which is will be more *fun*, a Cirrus, a Twin Comanche, a King Katmai, a Barron, a turboprop, a touring Extra 300? 

 

My Answer: one or two of the funnest planes around and fly between your farms and the nearest commercial hub. Or, to take your family, one or two Cessna 172's if they are short hops. You can work up to bigger and better planes. 

 

Disclaimer: I am learning to fly in an Aeroprakt A22LS Foxbat and have about 10 hrs so far. I am not interested in fun, but in being able to land on rough strips. Taking up one family member at a time will be plenty. 

 

 

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From what I have seen on the internet, the recent extra training that Cirrus has introduced has decreased the Cirrus accident/death rate to a little below the GA average. That means that your friend is wrong to insist that you should not fly in one. It sounds like your friend has had to organise for payments on fatal accidents involving people that he knew and that that has skewed his thinking. 

 

Only one person has died in a Cirrus in Australia, doing somthing stupid at night. Search Cirrus on the ATSB website. 

 

 

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Have owned a Twin Commanche and flown the M20J Mooney over mountain areas and IFR.. Keeping this stuff in good order costs a fortune especially if it's IFR equipped, and it needs to be perfect if you are carrying your family as well AND you need to be  recent and competent in all situations. There's no de icing on either.  and just consider what it's like to encounter HAIL. Storing the plane safely  is another issue and getting to and from the airport. fuel etc.

 

 These considerations would make me say fly YOUR plane for fun and fly Airlines if the airlines go there. You will save money and anxiety and get there on schedule . Airline fares are  low and very competitive.  Nev 

 

 

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Have owned a Twin Commanche and flown the M20J Mooney over mountain areas and IFR.. Keeping this stuff in good order costs a fortune especially if it's IFR equipped, and it needs to be perfect if you are carrying your family as well AND you need to be  recent and competent in all situations. There's no de icing on either.  and just consider what it's like to encounter HAIL. Storing the plane safely  is another issue and getting to and from the airport. fuel etc.

 

 These considerations would make me say fly YOUR plane for fun and fly Airlines if the airlines go there. You will save money and anxiety and get there on schedule . Airline fares are  low and very competitive.  Nev 

 

What were some of your likes & dislikes about owning the Twinkie?

 

 

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 Bit underpowered on one. and I really don't care for the flying tail. Prefer conventional tailfeathers . (Only fault) Needs to be looked at (checked) to be safe. Corrosion on  the underneath where exhaust augmentation is if you don't look after it carefully Bladder tanks need to be good and the fuel  selector thingy's in the centresection need to be looked after. Mine was low hours about 1230 TT and originally had turbo charged motors which hold rated power to about 12,000 ft which  I removed as the plane was to be used for training  (pity though) so better to be just  standard. It had gap seals and a few extra fairings fiter so performed well. 156 Kts TAS at a bit under 50 litres/hr Original paint and quite neat. As good as any I've seen. It's an easy plane to like. Quiet with a good range (with tip tanks) This one flew out from the US ( Not with me flying it.) The original Pipers (before the floods at the factory) were built very well particularly as regards the corrosion proofing and there are plenty of  Commanche's about with high airframe hours, that are still good aeroplanes. A lot better longevity than subsequent models Seneca etc.

 

   The Mooneys got funny suspension on the wheels  (they pogo easily) funny tail trim and a magnesium mainspar with wet fuel tanks. They are quick but " different"  Nev

 

 

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RV-10 has been mentioned and would seem to suit your long term requirements.  KR might sell you his RV-9 to tide you over if the price was right. :smile:

 

 

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Have owned a Twin Commanche and flown the M20J Mooney over mountain areas and IFR.. Keeping this stuff in good order costs a fortune especially if it's IFR equipped, and it needs to be perfect if you are carrying your family as well AND you need to be  recent and competent in all situations. There's no de icing on either.  and just consider what it's like to encounter HAIL. Storing the plane safely  is another issue and getting to and from the airport. fuel etc.

 

 These considerations would make me say fly YOUR plane for fun and fly Airlines if the airlines go there. You will save money and anxiety and get there on schedule . Airline fares are  low and very competitive.  Nev 

 

Flying from home (or an office very close to home) to the hub might cost 30 to 40 % less because of tax advantages. 

 

 

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Bloke mentioned Diamond and Tecnam twins, so he's not short of cash.....

 

Go Diamond.... DA 42, 4 seater. Diesel engines drinking jet fuel.... cool as...

 

 

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He already lists that.. In Vic /Tas region in winter you will get icing and it's just not safe to fly for quite long periods ( Days ) over any high country IFR without effective de icing. The only thing that will give you that is an executive jet. Citation, Lear etc  Nev

 

 

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Sooooo you want a cost effective reliable  commuter aircraft.

 

As you are asking this question on a Recreational site, I assume that you do not put ability to fly in IMC high on the "want" list, so my suggestion is an RAA aircraft (you could register it GA but why when you get cheaper operating and if you maintain your PPL entry into controlled airspace)  and when you want to carry more than one passenger (or fly in IMC)  - rent a 4 + place.

 

Of course you will need an aircraft that has a verifiable high cruise at the very top of the RAA cruising speeds (eg ATEC Fayeta with an easy 135 knots/18lph ULP) and for the very long distances you are contemplating , fitted with  auto pilot.

 

I declare my interest in ATEC aircraft however I think you will find that they represent the very best value/performance that is available on the AU market

 

 

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