Which Saratoga to Buy
As promised in my last post, I am looking for input on which model Saratoga to purchase this year for my family. Because I live in Colorado and consistently head west over the Rockies, I have determined that a turbo is a must for me. I cannot decide between these three groups (in order of current preference):
1. 1980's Turbo Saratoga (fixed gear)
2. 1997+ Saratoga II TC
3. 1980's+ Turbo Saratoga SP (retract)
I love the idea of the fixed-gear Saratoga for the reduced maintenance and insurance, but I have heard the turbos in the 1980s were a bit finicky. Also, with the aircraft already being 40 years old, will the maintenance bills tend to start stacking up more quickly? The useful load for these is really nice for when we want to use all 6 seats. The price is pretty good if I can find one that does not need an overhaul in a year.
If I increase my initial budget a bit, I could fit some of the Saratoga TC's into the realm of possibilities. My thought is that the likely reduced maintenance budget of the newer airframe would help offset the higher purchase price. It would also allow me to have a newer airframe for better resale value if I wanted to upgrade in the future. It is a fairly light hauler with a useful load around 1050lbs; but that is all that I need most of the time.
Then there is the SP. It is my least favorite option at this point due to the increased maintenance because of the age and the retract. But maybe there is something that it provides that the other two options do not. There are definitely a lot more of these available.
Please let me know your thoughts! I have been going back and forth on all of these options for the past few months, and I cannot nail down what I really want to do. Thank you in advance!