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Info on cabin class twins???

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May 2, 2002
Anyone know of any websites where one can find performance specifications (Cruise speed, useful load, fuel capacity, etc.) on 6-8 seat twins such as Cessna 340, 414, 421, and Piper Aerostar, Navajo, Cheiftan?

Also, what are your specific opinions on the above planes regarding ownership, likes and dislikes??

Feel free to mention other planes not mentioned above.

Thanks in advance!
As for a website with this info, I do not know of one, but I will tell you what I know from experience about the twin Cessna. My favorite is the 340, it is fast. Cruise speed of 230 kts is very common. Service ceiling of 30,0000 ft. That is with the RAM IV engines. 335hp. There are 3 engine types available for the 340: TSIO-520K rated at 285hp, and then 520J and 520N produce 310hp. 340s with the 310hp are designated 340A. Many 340s have factory overhaul engines from RAM which increase the hp up to 335hp. With the increased HP and the addition of vortex generators the 340 useful load is close to 1,000 pounds. All of this performance comes at a high maintence price. Ask any mechanic what they think of a 340 and they will say they hate to work on them because everything is so compact and so complex. The 414 is a great airplane but has the same engines as the 340 and the same body as the 421B. Bottom line it is not as fast as the 340 but its power loading is great 10.2pounds per horsepower. The 421 is a nice airplane, there is the 421B model with the tip tanks and the 421C with wet wings, and the 1980 421C with the trailing link gear (best 421 model) The nice thing with the 421 is you can carry 8 people in comfort and get cruise speed higher the a King Air 90. The problem with the 421 is the expensive geared engines. If you do not take care of the engines in flight, you will be replacing them rather quickly.

If what you are looking for is a really fast pressure twin for $250,000, that can carry four people in the flight levels, I suggest the 340. If you need to carry 8 people then it would be the 421C. Good luck.
BigDave said:
If you need to carry 8 people then it would be the 421C. Good luck.

If you need to carry more than 5 people (excluding the pilot) I would get a King Air... If you put 8 people in a 421 you won't be able to carry much fuel and you will more than likely be way out the Aft side of the CG envelope... If I remember right the 421C trues out around 220-230 kts... the King Air 90 does about the same speed...

What will your typical mission be? With some detailed info we can help point you to the appropriate aircraft for your needs...
Falcon Capt hit it right on the head. Twin engine cessnas are famous for their anemic useful loads and high maintenance costs. You really need to figure out what your mission is going to be, before even thinking about pulling the trigger.

As for the comparison to the King Air, there is no comparison. There is no way you're going to put 8 people in a 421 and even get off the ground. As for the 340, look at the useful load number quoted above. 1000 lb useful load, which is generous. Well, if we take 4 people at 170 lbs per, we come up with 680 lbs. Let's throw in 50 lbs of luggage and we come to 730lbs. That leaves a whopping 270 lbs for fuel, which equals 40.3 gals. Last I checked, the 340 will burn 40 gals per hour on climb, which most definitely will not get you into the flight levels. It will basically let you go around the pattern for a couple of touch and go's.

Another food for thought is the single engine performance of ALL of the twin engine cessnas. It's bad, really bad. If you take the scenario above, you'll be pushing up daisies if you lose an engine on rotation.

I know I didn't answer your question, but don't let the hyped up performance figures cloud your brain about twin cessnas. There is no comparison to a King Air.
BigDave, Falcon Capt, Aero 99, Capt_zman,

First of all, thanks for the info so far!

Here's the scenario.....student of mine potentially wants to buy a fast light twin (in the future) for personal use and some business. The total combined weight of his family including him, his wife and 4 children is around 700 lbs (young children). He would like a plane that could haul everyone including a pilot (7 people total) that has speed and good safe single engine performance. (I have little experience with the twins in the category he is looking for). So I am looking for info, suggestions, opinions from you guys with experience.

He wouldn't carry everyone all the time, matter of fact, majority of the time it would be him, the pilot, and 2-3 others. He would like the ability to carry everyone if he wanted too. Money is not really an issue, however I think the King Air maybe too much? I don't know what the going price would be for them.

Longest legs would be in the 2-3 hour range with everyone on board.

With this, what suggestions or opinions do you have?

Also, with planes in this category, what kind of requirements would a pilot need for insurance?

Thanks again in advance, it is truly helpful.
I'll second the Chieftian, The Aero Commander Shrike series also meets the 7 seat requirement and may be able to carry the load.The Shrike has excellent single engine performance and manners, normally aspirated engines and the resulting decrease in engine maintenance costs, they do however require a mechanic familiar with the type. Stay away from Aerostars they do not meet the seating requirement and generally cost as much to maintain as a turbine.
All the pressurized piston twins will be short on useful load due to the additional weight of the structure and systems required.
Go turbine if at all possible, The Aero Commander 690 series and the Beech B-100 are often overlooked. Both are faster than the 90 series King Air and may be available near the same price. Get a good prepurchase and be prepared for the maintenance expenses involved with turbine aircraft. I have seen 100 hr inspections of poorly maintained turbine twins exceed $100.000.
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I've flown the chieftain and it is a great airplane. The only problem is, it isn't pressurized, but it will do exactly what you are asking at a reasonable speed and price. Also the insurance mins should be lower because it has less systems than the Cessnas. That said, I have more time in the 400 series Cessnas then the piper and the 421 is a fantastic plane ( B or C ). True, the engines can be expensive to fix so if you go that way buy one with 0 time engines. And fly the engines!!! The 421 is a one cowboy horse.
If the decision is giong toward a 414 then get either a 340 or the piper.
A good 421 can go for $400,000 or more. You can get a cheap King Air 90 for almost that - but dont. Dont get an A, B 90. If your student truly has the money an a C, E or even an F 90 would be the way to go, but dont scare him into somthing that is over his head and then he gets mad at aviation in general and gets out.
How about a 58 Baron - relatively inexpensive and 5 pax seats. Its a real nice airplane and pretty speedy too.
Good luck

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