Performance and the POH
When you find an airplane that you are interested in, try to arrange to go up in one, if you can. If it is a newer aircraft perhaps you can find a demo pilot, to see how it flies and handles. If it has a glass panel, that may take some getting used to. One of the first things that you should try to do is to get the POH, if possible, for whatever airplane you are considering transitioning up or down to. Take a look at it, and look through the sections. Become familiar with its procedures, checklists and performance data. It is critically important to understand that performance data is derived from test pilots, in new airplanes, with the goal of obtaining the best performance data, to sell airplanes! Test pilots are obviously highly trained and know how to extract optimum performance from an airplane. We can not expect to duplicate that! What is your skill level, and what is the condition of the airplane you hope to move up to? To be conservative (and realistic), add at least 25% or 30% to the performance data to get a better idea of what you should expect.
As you make the move up or down, you will also have to consider the engine. For this discussion, we will say that you are moving up to a higher performance, complex single. In today’s market this could also include single engine turbo-prop aircraft such as the Pilatus Porter PC-12, the Piper Meridian and the TBM 700. This opens up a whole new world, if you decide to go with turbine aircraft.