I have posted before about not buying a small single engine airplane when you plan on toting a family around. I have mentioned that a four place aircraft doesn’t hold four adults (usually) and enough fuel to get you far- or even off the runway. A four place aircraft could take two adults and one or two small children, however- or so I thought.
Well, here is my issue. I have been trying to plan a quick trip from Tampa to the Florida Keys in my family’s Piper Archer. The trip takes just under 2 hours, as compared to a seven hour drive. It’s a quick and easy flight, and since I am from the Keys, I like to go spend time down there, especially since my parents still have their house down there (i.e., free place to crash!). Well, now I have a son who is a year old. You would think that two adults and one very small child would be fine in a Piper Archer. Then you start to think about all the stuff you have to tug along for kids. He needs a portable crib, some entertaining toys, a suitcase for all of his stuff. Well, now the Archer is looking a little small! So what to do?
My first thought would be a used Cessna 210. I used to fly them for a freight company and have seen first-hand the amount of stuff those beasts can haul. They are still single-engine which I prefer for maintenance (cost) reasons. They definitely aren’t the prettiest airplanes around, which I feel like the Archer is a good looking airplane. The Archer has also been in my family for over 20 years, in fact, 24 years ago, I took my first flight in that airplane, to the keys, when I was only 4 weeks old.
Any other parents out there who are pilots that tote around kids? Do you just take less stuff and figure it out, or do you have an airplane that can actually carry all your stuff? Would love to hear your thoughts!