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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Commander 112/114 vs. Mooney vs. Bonanza

    Hey guys,

    I wanted to see if there were any of you who had some input on these 3 aircraft types or aircraft of similar size/cost/performance. I always like the Commander 114's just as far as looks and the comfort goes. The Mooneys M20J etc, were always known to be performers as well, but may be with a slightly narrower cabin. The Bonanza's have the larger cabin/seating, but I don't know how they hold up in comparison. The mission is mainly as an 1-2hr XC aircraft and something to get an IR in. Preferably a late-70's early 80's model of any of the above aircraft.

    I'd like to start looking at flying clubs or partnerships which operate one of these, but just want some info/opinions on the handling and personal thoughts on flying experience in them.

    *I have read about the skating effect felt on some of the v-tail bonanzas, but I'm not too overly concerned with it.

    Thanks, for any input you guys have!

  2. #2
    Wayne Guest
    I've flown a friend's Commander 112A some. It has a very nice cabin, wide with nice appointments, such as a map light under the yoke and a center armrest/storage (like in a car). It has two doors, which makes entry nicer. The downside is also the width, which increases drag. Apparently the intake is odd and it never really gets full MP, and that hurts the performance too. It's a bit heavy which means the useful load is low; 872 lbs for my friend's 112A; and he just added a JPI 700 and a back-up vacuum pump, so it's a little bit lower now. We were flying around one day, he in the 112A, me in a 172RG and they ran the same speed and the 172RG has a 180hp vs the 200hp in the 112A. The 172RG has a higher useful load, about 100 lbs more.

    I haven't flown a 114, but the extra power and increased max gross weight helps. The turbo versions help with the MP.

    I've flown a few times in a M20J, but only a few. The cabin was ok, similar to a 172. The extra 20-25 knots is nice. Gotta watch the weights though. Some have ~1000 lbs useful, but others seem to have put on a few pounds and are below 900 lbs.

    No Bonanza experience.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Broken Arrow, OK
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    Thanks Wayne, that's exactly the type of stuff I was looking for, and I figured you'd be one of the first to chime in since you're avatar featured the Commander.

    I know that the 114's will probably match up with the 172/182RG's pretty well as they have a good bit more horsepower (Lycoming 6 cylinder vs. 4 cylinder for the 112) and the greater wingspan (slightly). I would rarely have all 4 seats occupied, but it would be nice to have the ability to do so in relative comfort. Since most of the XC's I would do would be with legs of 2 hours or so, so as long as I have can fit in 3 hours of fuel and pax/baggage I'd be happy.

    Is the Mooney cockpit comparable to the 172's as far as appointments/width?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    St. Louis/Omaha
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    I have very limited time in Mooney's, but my impression is that the cabin is narrower, particularly towards the top of the side windows (Cessnas are more square).

  5. #5
    dmspilot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by haulnazz15 View Post
    I wanted to see if there were any of you who had some input on these 3 aircraft types or aircraft of similar size/cost/performance. I always like the Commander 114's just as far as looks and the comfort goes. The Mooneys M20J etc, were always known to be performers as well, but may be with a slightly narrower cabin. The Bonanza's have the larger cabin/seating, but I don't know how they hold up in comparison. The mission is mainly as an 1-2hr XC aircraft and something to get an IR in. Preferably a late-70's early 80's model of any of the above aircraft.

    I'd like to start looking at flying clubs or partnerships which operate one of these, but just want some info/opinions on the handling and personal thoughts on flying experience in them.
    The Commanders are roomy and car-like inside, but are definitely slow for a retractable--only about the same speed as an arrow, 135 knots I believe. An M20J should get at least 160 knots and will use the least fuel, but its cabin is the smallest. I think either of them would be fine for your purposes. I think the Bonanza fits into a separate demographic than the other two as it's significantly larger and more powerful. I don't know much about them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Colorado KAPA
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    2,515
    My first aircraft purchase was a Bonanza. At the time I bought the Bonanza I probably had close to 9000 hrs TT and had flown nearly every model of Beech, Cessna, Piper, MU-2, King Air, Falcon and Gulfstream. My purchase decision was made with the benefit of many hours in most of the popular light GA aircraft. A lot of my flying was over the rocky mtns which means turbulence most of the time. I felt that the Bonanza offerred the best airframe from the standpoint of construction/integrity. My Bonanza was a 1958 J model with a 250hp fuel injected Continental. I always flight planned for 170 kts and the airplane consistently did close to 175 kts @ 12.5 gph. I primarily used the airplane for long trips and it had more endurance than I did. Every aircraft is a compromise and I felt the Bonanza had less compromise that some of it's competition. I do not have any experience with the Commanders and a fair amount of time in earlier Mooneys. Fly them all if you can to make an informed comparison.

  7. #7
    luma Guest
    Nothing compares to the Bonanza. Nothing. Period.


  8. #8
    TheRealOrange Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by atp46 View Post
    Every aircraft is a compromise and I felt the Bonanza had less compromise that some of it's competition. I do not have any experience with the Commanders and a fair amount of time in earlier Mooneys. Fly them all if you can to make an informed comparison.
    Out of curiosity, how would you compare the older Mooney and Bonanza as far as ease of transition, assuming a pilot with between 100 and 200 total hours in planes like the C172, DA20, C182? How about for use in instrument training?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by luma View Post
    Nothing compares to the Bonanza. Nothing. Period.


    Plane's a plane.


    If a genie appeared in front of me and said "I have here the title to a PC-12 and an A-36; you can have either but not both", guess which I'd pick.

    As Lev said, they're all compromises in one way or another...

  10. #10
    luma Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by sus_pilot View Post
    Plane's a plane.


    If a genie appeared in front of me and said "I have here the title to a PC-12 and an A-36; you can have either but not both", guess which I'd pick.

    As Lev said, they're all compromises in one way or another...
    Well, yeah, if genie brought me a G-V (and a few year's worth of fuel money), I'd take that too.

    But if we are talking single-engine pistons...

  11. #11
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    Apr 2005
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    One other airplane to consider is the Comanche 250/260. Very nice flying airplane, plenty of room in the cockpit, good speed 165kts stock- 185kts with speed mods and the best useful load of all of the above airplanes. Don

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Yakdriver, that is also another good option. From what I've read, the Commander 114 will cruise at 155+ and into the mid 160's with the speed mods like flap gap seals, etc. I don't need to break the 200kt mark, but the extra 30+ knts over a 172 would be nice.

    I can't say as though I've seen many of the Comanche 250/260's around, but I probably wouldn't be able to tell it apart from a distance from any of the other Piper's from a distance (I've never been around too many Pipers).

    We'd all love to step up to a turboprop like a PC-12 or similar, but I just don't think it's in the cards for me.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Here is what you will find out about speed. You say you would be happy tooling around at 155kts. If you had a 185kts airplane you can always pull back the power and cruise 155kts on a lot less gas. Guess what, if you have a 185kts airplane thats what you will get spoiled cruising at and after awile you will wish for more speed than that. Speed is addictive. Don

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Lol, yes well that applies to about everything, you always want more. I understand the speed thing as I've owned several sports cars in my 10 years of driving. Speed costs money. Hell, I wish I was in the market to parner up on a Columbia 350/400, but it's not in the cards at the moment! The main purpose would be just to have something sportier than a 172 or Piper Archer with the ability to fill all of the seats up for a weekend trip a few hundred miles away.

    I would also use it for IR training if it was permissible by club/partnership rules as I would just assume train in an aircraft I would be normally flying. I will have to look into the Comanche though as it appears to be a pretty capable aircraft although most are early 60's models and may have high time.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Kansas City
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    359
    I've flown in a Bonanza (emphasis in, I didn't actually get to fly it). Just a couple of times, for no more than about 20-25 minutes at a time. Once up front, once in the back. The wiggle, from the V-tail, I felt was much more noticeable in the back, as opposed to up front. I've sat in a Commander 114, on the ground. I loved how big it was inside. Felt much more spacious than a Cessna 172, or anything of the like.

    But, if I had to choose, I'd probably go with a Mooney. Not really sure why, I just like the looks of a Mooney. I've always wanted to find one to do some flying in, get checked out in, and have it to rent, if I so wanted. However, apparently no one has them anymore. From where I'm at in college, its an 80 mile drive to find a Mooney listed as available for flight training. Then, during the summer, I've got no Mooney that I know of in the area. Its a shame.


 

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