Here at Plane & Pilot, we wanted an airplane that had performance for weekday business missions and economy for fun on the weekends. The missions radiate out to a typical 200 to 700 miles from our Los Angeles-area base to Portland, Seattle, Denver or Texas. Such flights demand speed—but not so much as to destroy a budget—and the ability to carry fuel for up to four hours with a load of three or four people and baggage. For business trips, we were looking at two engines or a high-performance single-engine airplane. For “dispatch reliability” (the expectation that the airplane won’t often be down for maintenance) and weekend economy, we also wanted a plane that wouldn’t require a lot of fuel or repair.
The next thing to consider was insurance. For many pilots, the insurance industry will dictate which airplanes you can consider; you’ll need insurance-mandated experience to fly particular types of airplanes. You’ll also pay more (sometimes much more) to insure an airplane in which you don’t have significant piloting time. Policies on a twin-engine business plane usually require the additional insurance expense of annual simulator training.