Piper Saratoga Versus Beech Bonanza - Need Opinions

BluDevAv8r

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I was wondering if some of you Bonanza/Saratoga experts could help me out with a situation. I have a close friend who is in the market to buy a slightly used $375k to $475k 6 seat piston airplane. He specifically wants something 2000 or newer with less than 500 hours. He previously owned a 1999 Piper Archer and is biased towards the Saratoga (older TC or newer HP). He knows nothing about the Bonanza but I am starting to think a 2000-2003 A36 is the way to go. He wants a 6 seater for the occasional times he needs 4 adults in the plane and he wants the size and stability of a slightly larger airplane.

What would you tell him? I know the Bonanza is faster but the Saratoga has a better useful load. And the Bonanza also flies and handles better and is constructed better. Am I missing something? I want to print this thread out with some of your opinions and show him...just so he can get some perspective beyond my own ignorant opinion.

Also, for those with Bonanza experience, what mods would you advocate getting and why? Gap seals? Tinted windows? Tip tanks? VG's? Are there any pitfalls to flying and operating an A36? I have a good amount of knowledge about the Piper line but I know zippo about Bonanzas.

I'm sure there will be some responses questioning his need for a 6 seater or advocating a Cirrus, etc. I've already been through this with him...at this point we are solely looking at these two airplanes.

Thanks in advance everyone...I appreciate the info and tips.

-Neal
 

EMB145XR

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Hey Neal,

I'd tell your buddy to go for the A36 for the reasons you mentioned. I've flown both, and the A36 is the hands down winner. The Saratoga can carry a load effortlessly and might offer a little more room for those in back, but I think the A36 is still the better product. Speed, craftsmanship, durability, and a better market for mods are all in the Bonanza's favor. A stock A36 is a better airplane than a "modded-out" PA-32R.

Many have said that maintenance costs are out of sight for any Beech product, but so are prices for Piper products. Though, I doubt maintenance costs are of much significance for somebody that can afford either model.

Good luck in the hunt. PS- I enjoyed your BQN overnight last week!
 

climbhappy

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neither

if he has that kind of cash, i'd go for a panther navajo. speed, known ice, and twin engine safety....

but if that is outside the scope of the debate then:

go with an 85 to 87 malibu with the continental IO 500L conversion. bulletproof... same type as in mooney ovation, being put in scores of older 210s.... they're known ice certified, have a hot windshield and many have co pilot instruments. everyone is retrofitting them with Garmnin stacks...this is in your price range... shopped them in DEC for a friend of mine who has a cirrus 20.

But if it has to be either a piper saratoga or bonanza, what's more important? useful load or handling? saratoga if its useful load. bonanza if its handling. you can't have both....

good luck
 

deadstick

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-Beech parts are more expensive.
--Therefore, the insurance is usually higher, too, but the hull value is the driving force.
-Both are rugged.
-Has your friend sat in both aircraft? Size and height can be issues.
-Beech can have aft CG issues and no nose baggage to off-set it.
-Mods...what will be the most common trip (legs and load)?
-Have you looked-up the American bonanza Society?
 

ksu_aviator

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I have flown both and the Bonanza was definetly more fun to fly. I suggest you find a Bonanza and take it up for a trip around the patch.

Also, consider how the aircraft performs during abnormal conditions. One down side of the Bonanza is the manual gear extension. Single pilot, that can be a long tedious event. I had to do it in a Baron (same system) and it was not fun. Furtunately I had another pilot with me.
 

Slice121

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Would he rather drive a Benz or a Chrysler? I've flown both and would take the Bonanza if I had the $$$.
 

Lead Sled

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The question that I would be asking myself is how many passengers and how much luggage. If he's going to flying around with 3 or 4 seats filled most of the time then the Bonanza is the hands down winner. If he's planning on doing any amount of flying with 5 or 6 seats filled AND any significant amount of baggage then the Piper is the only practical choice.
 

Pilot Doc

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Bonanza

Also consider the Tornado Alley turbo conversion available on the Bonanza. Makes for a 200 Kt airplane - Veeeeeery nice.
 

deadstick

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Also consider the Tornado Alley turbo conversion available on the Bonanza. Makes for a 200 Kt airplane - Veeeeeery nice.


I'll give you that, Doc. That STC is pretty sweet. I'd only put it on a newer airframe, though. I wouldn't put a $$ STC on a $120k '69 36. You just have to look at the percentages. It's like putting $30k of Garmin avionics in a $35k 1958 172. You might have a $50k airplane on your hands.

The newer 36's have a higher empty weight, too, and not all models get the same increased gross weight. From the demo, the G36 gets it up to 4000 lbs with a useful of about 1300 lbs. With full fuel, you would get 856 lbs in the cabin. That's not bad at all.
 

BluDevAv8r

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I hope one of you is a chick. :erm:

I don't know about XR but I'm certainly not. He is referring to the fact that my jet broke down in AUS and I was supposed to end up in BQN that night. He must have been recrewed to enjoy 33 lovely hours in Aguadilla PR. I was a very happy camper that night, even though I spent it in the EWR Holiday Inn.

-Neal
 

EMB145XR

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I hope one of you is a chick. :erm:

I don't know about XR but I'm certainly not. He is referring to the fact that my jet broke down in AUS and I was supposed to end up in BQN that night. He must have been recrewed to enjoy 33 lovely hours in Aguadilla PR. I was a very happy camper that night, even though I spent it in the EWR Holiday Inn.

-Neal

Neal's post is correct.
 
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