C-421 Ops

Talian

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I might be getting the opportunity to do some flying for someone in a C-421 ( not sure what model yet).
I have heard that operating this aircraft with the geared engines you have yo be very careful in how you operate these engine to avoid damaging them. I was told I would go through training on them but was looking for some input on what to expect when flying the 421 from people who have experience in them.
 

skier17

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I might be getting the opportunity to do some flying for someone in a C-421 ( not sure what model yet).
I have heard that operating this aircraft with the geared engines you have yo be very careful in how you operate these engine to avoid damaging them. I was told I would go through training on them but was looking for some input on what to expect when flying the 421 from people who have experience in them.

I've got around 700-800 hours in a C-421C. You're right, you do have to take it easy on the geared engines. No abrupt power changes, aside from t/o and landing of course. Pull the power back 1 inch/minute when starting your descent from cruise to avoid shock cooling. We did oil changes every 25 hours on the plane that I flew, just because we were flying it a ton doing aerial survey work. The plane did really well between FL180-230 if you had some distance to cover. I got around 215-220kts true at those altitudes burning 40gph. Good luck getting the job flying the 421. It was one of my favorite planes to fly, I'm sure you'll enjoy it as well.
 

340drvr

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Best general advice I ever heard (and followed), always move the power levers as if you had raw eggs between your hand and the knobs.........couldn't hurt to operate any aircraft this way, but especially appropriate for the 421's Gitso engines.
 

avbug

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As with any propeller driven airplane, you should never pull the power back far enough that the slipstream is driving the propeller. To do so is poor airmanship...but it's the way most pilots have been trained from day one...idle descents and power off descents...and the worst offenders are those with turbine experience (as one can get away with it in a turbine powered airplane.

I recently experienced a fairly explosive rapid depressurization in a 421B, when the windshield blew out. I was working with a student at the time, and he was in the left seat...and ironically it was his side window that blew out. His first flight in the airplane. A number of nearly identical blowouts have occured in 421's. This one took the glareshield, some of the interior trim, and part of the instrument panel with it.

Piper's original windshields were considerably thinner than the replacement. They were made by an outside vendor, and pre-drilled. I've found that the screws tend to be corroded, and aren't centered in the holes...they develop cracks where they can't be seen, and can (and occasionally do) fail.

The 421 has fairly dismal single engine performance, like many light twins. Plan accordingly.
 

Salukipilot4590

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Yes, what you've heard about the 421 is correct...fly the airplane like you would hold a new-born. Create or use the company's descent timetables and everything will work out perfectly!

All that said the 421C was one of the finest airplanes I've ever flown!
 

"Next Wave"

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Plan your descent early

It's been a while since I flew Serial number 008, but my recomendations to you are to be gentle and very early on planning. Other than that its a fine handling airplane. Enjoy!
 

svcta

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EDIT: I guess this is more just general advice for operating Continental engines, but does apply to any geared motor, as well

As I recall we operated our 3 and 400 series cessnas on a 7:1 descent path. This in order to be able to really coddle the engines during the descent. As mentioned above, give 60 seconds between any engine control movement and the next. Every half an hour at cruise change the RPM a small amount (just an audible change is fine). We paid a lot of attention to the fundamentals of recip management, too. The general idea was to avoid temp changes as much as possible and make the unavoidable ones take as long as possible. Things like keeping climb power on the airplane for about 60 seconds after you leveled out to compensate for the increased airflow (cooling) over the cylinders, as an example. Once it's hot- Keep it hot.

As for the geared part, think of it like this: Your job is to keep the nose case (that's where the gear reduction is)from "lashing". Always keep the engine driving the prop. This may (and usually does) mean even preventing the engine from truly idling. We would always carry 11 or 1200 RPM on taxi in the twin commanders with the GO-480 and 435. This kept the prop from slinging around as the engine loped at idle.

Every recip should be operated as if it were geared IMO if you want greatest life of the powerplant. We had over 20,000 hours on C-310s alone and only had 3 engine failures in that point of time.
 

CopilotDoug

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Done!
I've got around 700-800 hours in a C-421C. You're right, you do have to take it easy on the geared engines. No abrupt power changes, aside from t/o and landing of course. Pull the power back 1 inch/minute when starting your descent from cruise to avoid shock cooling. We did oil changes every 25 hours on the plane that I flew, just because we were flying it a ton doing aerial survey work. The plane did really well between FL180-230 if you had some distance to cover. I got around 215-220kts true at those altitudes burning 40gph. Good luck getting the job flying the 421. It was one of my favorite planes to fly, I'm sure you'll enjoy it as well.
How was it as far as oil consumption?
 

skier17

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How was it as far as oil consumption?
It did ok up to the 25 hour mark. Once you started stretching beyond that it seemed like it would go through roughly a quart every 10 hours or so. I was flying that thing 40-50 hours a week sometimes though.
 

Nack55

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Fun plane. I agree 6:1 or 7:1 descent profile. ATC is usually pretty good about giving the golden eagle enough time to get down, if not ask for it, they will understand. The plane got a bad rap from people that didnt understand how to fly them. You take care of it, it will take care of you. They heater can be a little cranky at times.
 

SEVEN

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Good airplane and fun to fly. I have lots of time in both the B and C model. All the above is correct. Take it easy on the engines. Usually brought the power back 2 inches of manifold every 5 miles starting at 30 miles out. There are different methods, but they all work as long as you take it easy on the geared engines.
 
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