The dream scenario

Having the means to have it all

The customer: Married couple and a dog with places to go and a big budget.

The mission: You, your spouse, and your pup love to travel. You’re nearing retirement, and your businesses have done very well. Living near New York City is a necessity for work, but the three of you love the ocean, and you have a condo in the Bahamas. You’re looking for an airplane that beats the airlines, provides a comfortable ride, and doesn’t require superhuman piloting skills in order to stay proficient. You only visit longer paved runways, and aside from the occasional fishing pole, your baggage is at most two full-size suitcases. While charter or a jet card are options, aviation is your passion, and you value the pride of ownership. [email protected]

The budget: $2 million.

Let us know which aircraft you would choose! [email protected]


It’s sort of cheating to use the TBM as an option because this mission is pretty much the aircraft’s core customer. Speed, range, simplicity of operation and maintenance, and especially creature comforts make the TBM the go-to choice for owner-pilots looking for that personal go-anywhere machine. This budget will require you to step back to a TBM 850 from 2007 and earlier, but you’re still getting more than 300 knots and a Garmin G1000.

Eclipse 500/550

Laugh all you want, the Eclipse is still a viable option. There are a few hundred on the registry, which means that someone will be making parts long into the future, and a low acquisition cost means being able to get into the light jet world in something that is modern, efficient, and fast enough for your mission. Plus, you’ll get twin-engine safety for flying over water. The very light jet craze didn’t fizzle, it just matured, and the Eclipse started it all.

Twin Commander

Want to take off out of Teterboro at breakfast and land in Marsh Harbor for lunch? A Twin Commander will do that, and make it halfway back up the East Coast before needing to stop for fuel. Speeds push around 300 knots and range up to 2,000 nautical miles for a later model in the production run. Twin Commander can compete with much bigger and faster aircraft on block times. You can get into one with a Garmin G950 for this budget.

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly is senior content producer for AOPA Media.

Related Articles