Used Aircraft Guide

Piper PA-46

If youíre in the market for a used Piper PA-46, the good news is there are plenty of them for the taking, plus the oldest ones can be found for around $200,000. Moreover, a Malibu, Mirage or Matrix can wear a lot of hats. For pilots looking for experience in high-altitude, pressurized flying, a Malibu or Mirage is a logical step up. The unpressurized Matrix, with the same cabin as the rest of the PA-46 line, works as a comfortable people hauler with more simplicity and perhaps lower maintenance costs than its pressurized brethren.

Bellanca Viking

These days itís hard to imagine that a wood and fabric four-place piston single like the Bellanca Viking still exists, but it does. And although there arenít great squadrons of them around, the Viking retains a loyal, almost cultish following.

Cessna 206 Stationair

The Cessna 206 Stationair is one of those airplanes that you can dress up with a classy paint scheme and a stylish leather interior to fly business associates in style. Or, put one on floats and jump in with a wet swimsuit. Got stuff to haul? Load as much as you can fit through the big cargo door. Indeed, any vintage of the Stationair can wear a lot of hats.

Aviat Husky

As capable and well built as the Husky is, weíve seen plenty of owners (many who were new to tailwheels) unload beautiful, hardly used ones simply because the airplane had, dare we say, too much performance. Yes, groundloops will scare the hell out of you. But in the hands of the well-trained qualified pilot who respects it and their own skills, a Husky does a whole lot pretty darned well. Itís all about the built-in utility.

Piper Saratoga:

Shop the six-seat, retractable piston-single market and youíll find three basic choices: Beechís Model 36 Bonanza, Cessnaís Model 210 Centurion and Piperís PA-32R series, which is the Lance and Saratoga. At first blush, the Bonanza arguably handles better than the other two while perhaps squeezing out a knot or two over the Centurion. The 210, on the other hand, generally has better short-field performance than the Bonanza and offers an improved hand-flown IFR platform.

Cessna 414

the last of the pressurized, piston, 400-series airplanes Cessna developed, pilots and mechanics will tell you that Cessna got it right with the models 414 and 414A. Combining spacious cabins and relatively small, efficient engines, the 414 series can carry lots of fuel or a small crowd with their belongingsóbut not both.

Download the Full February 2018 Issue PDF

Combining spacious cabins and relatively small, efficient engines, the 414 series can carry lots of fuel or a small crowd with their belongingsóbut not both. All told, Cessna built nearly 1000 of the airplanesóroughly a 50/50 split between early tip-tanked 414s and wet-wing 414A Chancellorsóduring 16 years of production. Once in service the airplanes became popular as workhorses for small charter and corporate flight departments, as well as comfortable transports for private owners.

Pitts Special

If youíre looking for an airborne toy, something to both challenge and perfect your skills, youíve come to the right place in a Pitts. Straight up, if youíre looking for a one- or two-seat cruiser, we suggest looking elsewhere. The used Pitts market can be daunting. Many different variants have evolved over the years, including factory-built and experimental versions, but there remain two main types: a single-seater and a two-holer.

Download the Full November 2017 Issue PDF

No matter how you feel about Garminís market domination, you canít argue that the company maintains the poll position by enthusiastically pumping out a steady stream of fresh products almost on a monthly basis. But Garmin also knows how to get the most mileage from its major systems and the G600/500 retrofit PFD/MFD was getting stale.

Model 35 Bonanza

If Beech Bonanza ownership seems out of the budget, the good news is that there are plenty of vintage V-tail models on the market at affordable prices. The bad news is that unless those 50- and 60-year-old airframes have been well maintained, you could be buying a money pit. Plus, shops wonít feel sorry for you when you roll up in any Bonanza.

Download the Full September 2017 Issue PDF

In the early 2000s Cirrus learned that equipping an airplane with a parachute and gee-whiz avionics doesnít necessarily make it safe. As was proven more recently, favorable accident stats come from focused training. But as one Cirrus sales pro put it, itís the Wild West when it comes to the market of used SR20s and SR22s because some buyers either get the wrong training or in some cases, no transition training at all. A get-in-and-go approach doesnít work well in a Cirrus.

Download the Full August 2017 Issue PDF

While I was recently shopping at BestBuy for a wireless music speaker, a salesperson who arbitrarily remarked that Bose was the best got me thinking about pilots shopping for premium aviation headsets, a market dominated by Bose and also Lightspeed for as long as I can remember. While Bose may be the most recognizable name in both the consumer audio and aviation headset markets, donít forget that Lightspeed Aviation was a major force in shifting the market from passive to active noise cancelling headsets in the early 1990s.

Download the Full July 2017 Issue PDF

The Gold Wing in the main photo was shot at Honda Aircraft Companyís massive headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina. Itís the first thing you see when entering the main lobby, and presumably itís there as an important reminder of Hondaís heritage. In 1946, Soichiro Honda established the Honda Technical Research Institute to develop machine tools and engines. In 2017, the brand name is delivering an ultramodern jet. For motorheads and curious consumers alike, the Honda timeline of milestones is an interesting read.

Download the Full June 2017 Issue PDF

With some new flagship piston singles flirting with the $1 million mark, itís logical that qualified buyers are eyeballing the entry-level turboprop single market. That could give Texas-based Evolution Aircraft (previously Lancair, before it was sold last summer) more opportunity to sell its Evolution Turboprop experimental airplane kits. If you think the average new Cirrus, Cessna TTx or Mooney owner doesnít have time to build an airplane, you may be right. But building an Evolution isnít like building a typical homebuilt in the garage.

Cessna 210 Centurion

A six-seat retractable single can be a logical and compelling. step-up aircraft. Some are as fast as many twins, can carry sizable payloads, can accommodate plenty of modern avionics and generally are straightforward to fly. A single engine avoids a twinís upkeep costs, while most systems (with landing gear being a notable exception) arenít overly complex to work on. So which model do you buy? Despite all the appeal, the market isnít littered with obvious choices.