Overall, it's a great plane. Handles weather well, easy and fun to fly (but hard to land smoothly), well built, and fairly reliable.
The cockpit is roomy, but the seats are only worth about two hours before your A$$ is pleading for mercy.
On the downside, it's noisy, and the active noise cancellation system that some of the later models have is so hard to maintain, most of them are deactivated.
The plane could use more power (what plane couldn't?). When you're full and it's ISA+25, you're lucky to drag it up into the high teens. It's also slower than other smaller turboprops like the Brasillia and DO-328. Saab advertises 280KTAS, but most of them do about 265.
I wish we had some Saab 2000s. That's sort of a Super Saab 340. They have 68 seats, 4000 horsepower a side, and are quieter than some jets. Like the Dash 8 Q400, it's a fantastic plane, but arrived when RJs were getting popular, so few were sold.
Plan on changing shirts every other turn if you want to stay fresh in the summer. The cockpit will smell like a locker room in the summer. The only air you get on the ground is through the wiskey hatch. In the winter your feet will be frozen after about two hours of flying. Other than that it is a good plane. Better radar and auto pilot than we have on the EMB145. Plan on suiting up when you put the gear pins in at night, it's filthy under there.
I thought the Saab was a great plane to fly from the pilots perspective. As a passenger it is a little small/ and noisey. ( although I can say the say thing for RJs only they dont rattle and shake as much)- Like Eagle RJ said- fun.. great in wx(swedes know something about snow and ice) but 2 hours was long enough...
I will echo some of the sentiments on the Saab and reiterate some of them as I make my claims:
1- Hot as hell in the summer. The AC is weak and it's hard to imagine a warmer cockpit... Though I have HEARD horror stories about the ATR. Hot in the cabin, too... Finally cooled my cabin off the other day after a full hour at 16k feet.
2- Roomy. Plenty of room for you and your stuff.
3- Slow as a glacier, at least the tired A-models that I fly are. 265kts? Really? I don't think I have EVER seen over 255 in level flight at any altitude. 250 or so is typical.
4- Climb performance to cry for. With a full load (33pax) in the summer, expect climb speeds under 150kts at 500fpm.
5- Yes, hard to land smoothly. If you pull off a particularly good landing, clearly you have the Gods on your side.
6- Doesn't seem particularly cramped in the cabin, no matter what anyone says. The back of a DO328 is no better, even though it is much newer and much faster.
7- Little gremlins live in the electrical system. At one time or another I have seen practically every light on the Caution/Warning Panel. Keeps you on your toes.
Basically it's a workable slug, similar in performance in every way to the larger ATR42 (from what my sources tell me). It's NOT fun to fly IMHO, but it's not NOT fun to fly, either, if you follow.
I've said it before and I'll say it again... It's no Beech 1900, that's for sure. Take that for what it's worth, for good AND bad.
My little bro went from the right seat of the J31 to the left seat of the Saab. His reaction to the cockpit the first time he saw it: "wow! Cup-holders!"
Oh, the things we take for granted.
BTW, one of my brother's incidents in the '340 may generate an AD. The lavatory service door popped open during cruise...and the cabin started climbing 1000 f.p.m. Seems the disturbed airflow from the service door fouled up the static ports for the pressurization system. Who'd've thought?
I agree with most of everything that has been said prior. We have the last "B" models made so they may true out a little better than the older ones. In the summer mid 260's are the norm and in the winter the mid 270' are seen quite often. The "A" models, well, it's a whole other world. I'm not sure about other operators, but our ANC's are not deactivated, but it's not uncommon to have one deferred for a few days awaiting maintenance. As far as landing, I can say it's a heck of a lot better than the Dash-8. That thing lands like a tank. The landings are about the only thing I like better in the saab vs. the dash. Otherwise I'll take the dash over the saab any day. Overall the saab is an adequate aircraft. Does most things O.K. but very few items are exceptional.