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TC Saratoga vs Seneca V vs Baron 58

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Well-known member
Nov 26, 2001
My friend is thinking about buying either a late 90's Saratoga TC, late 90's Seneca V or an early 80's to early 90's Baron 58 for his business. He owns a Piper Archer III and would keep the Archer for personal use. He'd have a qualified pilot for the new airplane.

Which aircraft would you prefer and why? Advantages/Disadvantages of above aircraft are?.

Aircraft MIGHT be leased back to a 135 operator to help defray costs. Is the Baron 58 going to be that much better than a Seneca V? I know there are tons of variables like average trip...amount of people, etc. Most trips would have 1-3 pax. Typical stage length is 200-500 miles.

Basically, I'm clueless as to these aircraft because I don't have much experience with any of them. The owner wants something that is fast enough to get places but still not "too big" of an airplane that he can't fly under the supervision of another pilot who is obviously the full time guy.

Keep in mind that the people in the back would be using the air time to perhaps accomplish work, discuss stuff, etc. So space back there is important. Thanks for your input.

While it's been too long for me to give you perfomance specifications, I highly recommend the Baron. It's a beast, a workhorse, and without a doubt the finest piston aircraft I have ever flown; and yes I've flown a Seneca as well. I've yet to meet a Baron pilot who didn't feel the same way. Perhaps someone else can reinforce my emotional opinion with a technical one.

In my fantasy land where I can afford an airplane, it's always either a BE58 or BE90. I could go on and on, but I'll just say I have a great affection for the 58 and leave it at that.
Your friend should also consider the Cessna Caravan. It carries more than twice the load of the other aircraft being considered, is much larger, more comfortable, and is as fast as most Barons. (P Barons are faster, when they are not in the shop being repaired)

My former employer traded their BE58 for a Caravan. We could put ten folks in the cabin and load up the belly pod with coolers, toys and luggage. The big things, like Jetski's had to go behing the seats. (Now say that about the Baron)

Besides the Caravan's got better range and probably the PT-6 is less expensive to maintain over the life of the powerplant than the recips in the other aircraft. The Baron is certified for known ice, I think. However the setup on the Caravan is hard to beat in this price range and Fed Ex (Mountain Air Cargo) has a terrific dispatch rate in this airplane.

I know the CE208 is not in the same market as the other light twins, but you get so much more airplane for the same money.

Besides - if the airplane is to be "owner flown" the Caravan is about as easy to fly as a big C182 without cowl flaps. Yet, it is much more impressive on the ramp - looks like a big commercial airplane, which it is!
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I have recently flown all three airplanes and am the owner of a BE58. Hands down, no comparison, the BE58 is the best light twin going.

5400 lbs MTOW with a huge nose for loading cargo (fits 300 lbs of baggage). I recently packed my wife, two kids, parents, bags and 140 gals of fuel and headed to Florida from Mass with a fuel stop in SC. A seneca or saratoga couldn't come close to doing that. And if they could, they couldn't dream of doing it in 5 1/2 hours.

The only drawback I have with the airplane is in filling the back cabin. Putting four adults in the back is cramped, but then again, which light piston twin isn't?

Piper fans will disagree, but I've never had much love for them because of the way they fly. They're not bad, but they just aren't as good as beech. Don't seem to be as stable, nor as fun.

Here's a quick breakdown of the performance you can expect from the three:
1. Baron - 185-195 kts at 30 gph.
2. Seneca - 170-175 kts at 25 gph
3. Saratoga - 155-160 kts at 23 gph

Feel free to send me an email and I can give you all the numbers for the baron.


Thanks for your input.

Z Man...you have your email function turned off. Can you email me whatever numbers you can? What year do you have? Insurance? Annual MX? Etc......Thanks!

[email protected]
Your friend should also consider the Cessna Caravan. It carries more than twice the load of the other aircraft being considered, is much larger, more comfortable, and is as fast as most Barons. (P Barons are faster, when they are not in the shop being repaired)

no way a caravan is as fast as a BE-58. A caravan will only do about 150 at high cruise, 140 average cruise. The book figure of 170 kts is at 17,500 feet, not a realistic altitude for a non pressurized plane. Plus the caravan burns the same as a baron, and the overhaul is 80 grand on a 5500 hr tbo. the caravan is terrible in ice, ask any caravan pilot how they do, check out the accident reports on ntsb for the dozens of then that crashed due it ice. fedex just lost one last feb in colorado due to ice. two others were lost as well for ice last winter. the plane flies like a pig.

BE-58 cruise is around 190 kts on 33 gal/hr. Known ice and it handles it well. hands down no comparison. i have flowen them both

Don't buy a Seneca or a Saratoga, they fly like Buses.

The baron is a well built and wonderful flying airplane, but you might also want to concider a B36TC Bonanza. It's as fast as a BE58 up high and has the same wing and fuselage, but doesn't have the payload that the baron has. The B36TC is also statistically much safer than the Baron and it's easier to qualify for the insurance. Avex in Camarillo, CA has two 90's ones for sale. I used to fly one of them and loved it.

Neal, if given the choice, I would take the BE58. I've flown it as well as the Seneca II and III. The Baron flies much better, and W&B is much better. No brainer the BE58 is the only choice! Se ya at the Outback!;)
After I read the original message I was thinking, "Go with the Baron all the way." I'm glad to see some of you guys agree with me. I've flown maybe 200 or so hours in a Baron 58 and really think they are well built, aren't maintenance hogs and are fun to fly.

I do remember that you really had to plan your descent well. They don't like to slow down. If you chop the power back you will hurt the engines over the long run. I'm trying to remember, but I think we used to only bring back 2" of manifold pressure/minute in a descent. This was to prevent "shock-cooling" of the engines. Something to think about. Maybe some of you guys remember this?? If I'm wrong, let me know.
I use a 1" MP per minute and that seems to work very well. I also use the 3 miles per minute at 500' per minute and that brings me into the pattern at 17" and 150kts.

For my purposes, mostly 200 mile legs in all kinds of Northeast weather, hands down the best piston twin you could buy!


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