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If you’re in the market for a plane, you know how many different choices there are. To help narrow it down, here are the best 6 seater planes under $100k.
The five best 6 seater planes for under $100k in order from most affordable to most expensive are the Piper Cherokee 6 PA-32, Piper Aztec PA-23, Cessna 310R, Beechcraft B55 Baron, and the Piper Seneca II PA-34. Prices range from $32,000 - $90,000 at the low end for these planes.
Buying a plane can be comparable to buying a car or it can cost you many times the value of your home. There is a huge range of planes and prices for anyone in the market. In this article, we’re going to focus specifically on 6 seater planes, what they are (and what they’re used for), and the best ones that you can buy for under $100,000.
As experienced pilots and aviation experts ourselves, we want to pass on our passion for the skies to all of the readers that visit SkyTough. The only way to do that is by providing the most accurate and most helpful content on the web. So that when you come here looking for the best 6 seater planes for under $100k, you know you’re seeing the best of the best.
What Are 6 Seater Planes?
As you can probably guess (or already likely know if you’re reading this article), a 6 seater airplane is just an airplane that has, well, 6 seats. These types of planes can either be single-engine or multi-engine planes, and are most commonly turboprops rather than turbofans or jet airplanes.
Turboprop planes are great for planes like this where your focus is on transporting people relatively shorter distances. Able to operate most efficiently at lower speeds and get off the ground more quickly, turboprop 6 seaters are almost always going to be your best bet. That said, six seater airplanes will cost you a handsome amount, especially when compared to cheaper airplanes like two or four seaters.
If you’ve checked out our article on the cheapest planes you can buy and fly, you’ll notice that there are no six seaters listed. But that makes sense, of course a plane with six seats is going to be far more expensive than a plane with one or two seats, right? But you’ll have the opportunity to make much more money back with your business since you can fly more passengers around.
What To Look For In A 6 Seater Airplane
If you’re in the market for a 6 seater plane, there are some things that you should take into account during your search that are more important than others. The most important factors to consider include:
- Useful load (not just maximum payload)
- Cruising speed
Of course in this article, we’re going to focus on the last one there, since we’re only looking at 6 seater planes under $100k. But there are also other fixed and variable costs of plane ownership to keep in mind. When you upgrade to a six seater, the likely reason is that you either want to give passengers the opportunity to bring more people along (i.e. number of seats and useful load), or you want to make sure they’re more comfortable.
Most of the time you’ll be flying either families and friends or business people that need to get to either remote areas — especially if you’re a bush pilot and can fly a bush plane — or that need to bring along lots of specialized tools and equipment that they can’t get on a commercial airliner. These are some of the reasons that being a private pilot can sometimes be even more lucrative than becoming a full-fledged commercial pilot.
Lastly, you want to make sure your plane is fast enough to get people to and from their destinations quickly. We all know that airplanes fly incredibly fast, but some are much faster than others. If a family or business people have somewhere they need to be, they don’t want to be flying around at slow speeds just because you opted for a cheaper plane! You also want a plane with a decent range and efficiency so it doesn't just burn through fuel too quickly.
So let’s get into the good stuff.
Best 6 Seater Planes For Under $100k
Now that you have a bit of an idea of what 6 seater planes are and what they’re used for, let’s get into the good stuff. Here are some of the best 6 seater planes that you can buy for under $100,000 from cheapest to most expensive.
Piper Cherokee 6 PA-32
Coming in as the most affordable 6 seater airplane is the wildly popular Piper Cherokee 6 PA-32. Unlike most of the other planes you’ll see in this guide, the Cherokee 6 is a single-engine turboprop with fixed landing gear. Both of these options help keep the Cherokee 6 as well-priced as it is compared to most of the other six seaters on the market. Originally from the 1960s, the Cherokee 6 has been one of the most popular six seaters for over 50 years.
The single engine powering the Piper Cherokee 6 is either a Lycoming IO-540-E45B or a Lycoming IO-540-K1A5, depending on which year and model you purchase. These engines produce 260 hp and 300 hp, respectively. The older models with the E45B also only hold 50 gallons of fuel, compared to the 80 gallons of fuel that the newer models are capable of carrying.
The Cherokee 6 is capable of carrying over 1,620 pounds worth of useful load, which should be more than enough for just about any party of six you might be flying. Since there’s only one engine, the performance of the Cherokee 6 is a bit lacking compared to others, and has a cruising speed of just 168 mph. It also climbs to its 12,800ft service ceiling at just 775 feet per minute (fpm).
The Piper PA-32 is so affordable in fact, it’s close to making our list of the cheapest planes on the market. While doing my research, I found many of these planes for less than $35,000, with prices starting at around $32,000. That said, even if you don’t find any deals like that, you shouldn’t expect to pay anymore than $40,000 for one of these bad boys. When it comes to getting into six seater airplanes, this is the clear choice to get started.
Piper Aztec PA-23
The second entry from Piper on this list, we have the twin-engine Aztec PA-23. The Aztec is a bit more performance oriented than the Cherokee 6 you just read about, which you’ll see shortly. With the Aztec, you can carry up to five passengers in addition to yourself, and the seating arrangements in this plane are often considered more comfortable than some of the other options on this list.
As noted, the Aztec is the first twin-engine plane on this list (as are the remaining planes), so it can fly a little faster than the Cherokee 6, with a cruising speed of 210 mph. It also climbs pretty quickly, capable of reaching its cruising altitude at a climb rate of 1,490 fpm. Its low stall speed of just 68 mph also gets high marks since this means there’s less risk of stalling than other planes.
One of the most astonishing things about the Aztec is its whopping 2,267-pound useful load. You’ll have no trouble packing it full of passengers and their luggage. Its 140-gallon fuel tank serves both engines and offers a range of 760 miles. So you can’t fly quite as far as some of the other planes in this guide, but more than far enough for most trips!
The prices on Aztec PA-23s have put this great plane in a much more affordable price range in recent years, with many people getting rid of them for under $50,000. The most affordable one I found during my search was $45,000 for a turnkey plane ready to fly. That said, many of the models you find will likely be a little more expensive and sit in the $60,000 to $75,000 range.
Cessna 310 (and 310R)
The popular Cessna 310 comes up next on our list as the third most affordable 6 seater. With three rows of two seats, you can carry five passengers in addition to yourself as the pilot. The 310 and 310R have retractable landing gear and two different engines, both of which can lead to increased maintenance costs compared to some of the other options in this guide.
Thanks to the powerful Continental IO-520-MB engines, the Cessna 310R is capable of flying at over 215 mph during normal cruising speed. It also gets you up into the air pretty quickly with a climb rate of 1,662 fpm and it has a maximum service ceiling of 19,750 feet.
While being fast, it also has a fairly capable useful load of 924 pounds. If the fuel cell is absolutely full at takeoff, this useful load drops down to 719 pounds, which means it may not be able to carry six passengers of normal weight. So keep that in mind. With a full tank of fuel, it has a maximum range of over 830 miles, but most typically its range is about 400 miles to save on some weight due to fuel.
Some of the early models of the 310 from the mid 1970s can still be found used for around $50,000 or so. During my search, the lowest-priced Cessna 310 that I found was $48,000. For the 310R models, you should expect to pay just under $100,000, with prices starting as high as $95,000 and up.
Beechcraft B55 Baron
Next up is the twin-engine Beechcraft B55 Baron, which has the same seating arrangement you’ve seen so far, with three rows of two for carrying up to five passengers. Like the Cessna 310 above, this is a complex aircraft with retractable landing gear and two engines, both of which can affect the operating costs.
In terms of pure performance, the B55 Baron is incredibly closely-matched with the Cessna 310R you just read about. They have the same cruising speed of 215 mph and the Baron has a climb rate of 1,690 pounds. The biggest difference between the two is the useful load. The B55 Baron has double the useful load of the 310R, coming in at 1,864 pounds. This makes the Beechcraft an arguably better option when compared side by side with the Cessna.
With the twin Continental IO-470-L engines and its 127-gallon fuel capacity, the B55 Baron can fly a maximum of just under 900 miles. This is comparable to most of the other options on this list, and is just shy of being one of the few affordable six seaters that can actually fly a fully-loaded plane 1,000 miles. But not quite!
If you happen to catch an incredible deal on a B55 Baron, you can get your hands on one for as little as $60,000 to $65,000. But those deals are few and far between. Realistically, you’ll have better luck in the $80,000 price range, with many years and models demanding upwards of $95,000 or more.
Piper Seneca II PA-34
For the third and final time in this guide, we have an entry from Piper, the Seneca II PA-34. This late model twin-engine aircraft was released in the 1970s. The seating arrangement in this plane is a bit unique since the second row faces backward towards the third row, perfect for families or business meetings.
This plane is similar to the Cessna we looked at earlier in terms of payload and useful load, but the Seneca II is a bit more focused on speed and performance than some of the other ones in this guide. That said, the Seneca II has a useful payload of just 993 pounds and a standard cruising speed of, yet again, 215 mph thanks to the Continental TSIO-360-RB engines.
But one of the main distinguishing characteristics that sets the Seneca II apart from every other plane on this list is its range. We alluded to it with the B55 Baron, but the Seneca II is one of the only affordable six seaters with a 1,000-mile range. In fact, the Seneca II’s range is 1,001 miles even though it has just a 100-gallon fuel cell. It’s quite an efficient little plane!
As the final option in this guide, the Seneca II is also the most expensive one. At least on average. Sure, you might find the rare deal and get a Seneca II for less than $70,000 but those are incredibly few and far between. In most cases, you’ll need to spend over $90,000 to get your hands on one of these. Sometimes there won’t even be one for under $100,000, so if you see a good deal on one be sure to scoop it up!