Hello Bob and thanks for sharing some of your Meyers journey with us. Dean, Mark and Ed have answered all of your questions, but I thought I would add some details.
When you buy one of these planes you are really buying into a family. The Owner’s Association is very strong and even safely met this yer in Sedona despite the virus. You will definitely not be stranded on maintenance or parts for this airplane.
There is one guy that can answer two of your concerns quite well. That is Mr. Dave Smith. Dave restored a 200 A model (lower roofline) and won an Air Venture Reserve Grand Champion award with it the same year that he also won a Reserve Grand Champion award for his Beech Staggerwng. He loves the airframe so much that he bought the original tooling and tons of NOS parts when they moved out of the original factory. He also bought his own fleet of 200s that he’ll be restoring over the coming decade. Dave’s also got you beat on height and is plenty comfortable in the A model.
I feel extremely safe in this airplane. I would rather rely on myself and the chrome moly framework than a plane where you pop a chute, pray and 100% have a totaled aircraft. Many of these planes had off airport landings and the occupants and aircraft live to fly another day. The power and performance can get you into a lot of great places and also out of a lot of jams that you might box yourself into. You can go screaming fast and race her, you can land super slow on a grass strip, you can trim her out and smoke a lucky while she floats down an ILS approach.
The useful load has never been an issue for my family of four. Just top off two tanks instead of four and go. The plane’s range is greater than the bladder capacity of my wife and two daughters. By the way the panorama windows and ample room in the back can lead to a dispute as to who gets the privilege of sitting back there.
Negatives? Sure, everything has a compromise. The only two I see for this plane are a modern autopilot and since I live in Louisiana an air conditioner. The AC was the only thing I lusted after in a Cirrus when I was safety pilot for instrument currency with a friend. I currently have no autopilot and successfully hand fly in IFR. As I get older (and hopefully wiser) I’ll want a fully featured autopilot. Under the new FAA requirements the fleet is waiting for someone to get their paperwork caught up enough with the more popular models and finally release one for a 200. Surely it will come with so many of willing to pay cash in advance, just no way of telling when.
Dean stopped in to see my wife Karen and when he was flying cross country in 2976T. She’s a pretty girl! Good luck with your journey.