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Wings & Water: Personal Aircraft

Mary Grady

Personal Aircraft Beechcraft Bonanza G36

The piston-powered single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza G36 (316.676.3100, www​.beech​craft​.com), which was introduced in 2006, is the latest variant of a model that has been in production since 1947. That run was in jeopardy two years ago when the company, then known as Hawker Beechcraft, went into bankruptcy. But Beechcraft emerged from bankruptcy last year after shedding much of its debt and discontinuing its Hawker business-jet line (and dropping Hawker from the company name); then earlier this year, the slimmed-down operation was acquired by Textron, the parent company of Cessna, Bell Helicopter, and Lycoming engines. The Bonanza G36 accommodates six people (including two in the cockpit seats) and is equipped with Garmin’s G1000 avionics suite. It has a range of 740 miles when carrying four occupants, and its maximum cruising speed is above 200 mph. The cabin’s leather-upholstered seats can be easily reconfigured to provide club seating for four or to make room for golf clubs, skis, or bicycles. The Bonanza G36 has a starting price of about $777,000.

Personal Aircraft Cirrus SR22T

Positioned at the top of the company’s line of piston-powered single-engine aircraft is the turbocharged Cirrus SR22T (800.279.4322, www​.cirrus​aircraft​.com). It can fly nonstop for more than 975 miles and has a top speed of 245 mph. The plane is equipped with the company’s airframe-parachute system, the latest Garmin avionics, ice protection for winter flying (optional), air-conditioning (optional), air bags, and flexible seating that can accommodate as many as five people (including the pilot). For 2014, the SR22T is available with a choice of new exterior colors and paint schemes and interior design accents. Cirrus offers factory flight training through its national instructor network and online. The company can also match an owner who is not a pilot with a personal or corporate pilot and aircraft manager. With the ice-protection and air-conditioning options, an SR22T is priced at about $787,000. 

Personal Aircraft Piper Mirage

Apressurized cabin, six seats, and a full-size air-stair door are unusual features for a piston-powered single-engine aircraft, but they are part of the package with the Piper Mirage (772.567.4361, www.piper​.com). While the plane is designed primarily for utility and efficiency, Piper did not overlook comfort. The cabin features roomy leather-upholstered fold-down club seats, electric outlets for personal devices, reading lights, and an easily accessible interior baggage compartment. The cockpit is equipped with Garmin’s G1000 avionics suite, synthetic vision, ice protection, and a terrain warning system. The efficient Lycoming engine provides the Mirage with a range of 1,500 miles and a top speed of 245 mph. The starting price is about $1.1 million.