2020 Flying Buyers Guide

The market for new airplanes is on the rise. Here's a look at the top models.

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Letter from the Editor

Your first airplane, the one you have the key (or fob) to on your ring—that’s your ticket to a special place, one where you have access to the sky on your schedule. You can choose—up to the limits of your bank account—how and when you make avionics and engine upgrades. You can change the paint scheme, the interior colors, even the registration number (within certain parameters) according to your taste and discretion.

As I’ve talked with fellow pilots, a similar connection flows through so many relationships we have with our airplanes. There’s responsibility matched with freedom and pride partnered with humility as the machines inevitably teach us lessons when our hubris demands it the most.

So, whether you’re looking for family utility, business expansion or personal development, there’s an airplane within this guide that might just suit your needs and desires. When you’re buying an airplane to fly yourself, you must take a hard look at what you will be comfortable flying too, in order to get the most from the airplane and stay safe. A mismatch between wallet and skill can end in grief—but so too can an airplane that just doesn’t do what you need it to do. 

That’s why we’ve organized the 2020 Buyers Guide section featured in this issue a little bit differently, more by mission than by spec sheet. If you’ve entertained thoughts of aircraft ownership, you probably know the broad category that interests you: single-engine or multiengine ­piston, turboprops, or jets from light to super-­midsize. While not a comprehensive outline of every airplane on the market, we’ve chosen a selection that offers the best blends of utility, speed, style and customer support in each category, and then we help you define your mission. We’ve also given you updates on insurance, the latest in aircraft mods and gear for owners, and a lot of good reasons to join a type club when you’re starting into the purchase process.

That key to your airplane awaits.

Julie Boatman


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