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 Post subject: Hello From Sitka Alaska (P Baron)
PostPosted: 07 Apr 2021, 17:50 


Joined: 04/01/21
Posts: 6
Company: Smith Aviation
Aircraft: Baron 58P
I am currently a Cessna 185 owner (amphibs) and am looking to purchase a P Baron. Starting my research here. would love input from any P Baron owners (how they use them, how they like them and what are the negatives)?


 Post subject: Re: Hello From Sitka Alaska (P Baron)
PostPosted: 07 Apr 2021, 20:08 

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Joined: 09/16/10
Posts: 8283
Post Likes: +1654
Hi Gary. Some P Baron owners here, and many things have been discussed. Probably also lots of information if you play with the search feature. :thumbup:

If you think nobody cares about you, try not paying your income tax.


 Post subject: Re: Hello From Sitka Alaska (P Baron)
PostPosted: 08 Apr 2021, 10:42 

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Joined: 04/23/11
Posts: 1517
Post Likes: +1355
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Aircraft: 1984 58P
As a 58P owner, I will step in.

The 58P is a fabulous airplane, but it is more suited to cross-country than short hops around the patch. It is the heaviest Baron, and therefore offers the best ride in turbulence and has a very solid, big airplane feel. But it is not suitable for short runways. My home 'drome is 4000 feet and there were occasions when it was snow and ice covered that I wondered if we were going to go off the end on landing. Anything 3500 feet or shorter is an A-Game landing. For me, shorter than 3000 feet is no-go. The P needs good weight-adjusted approach speed control to avoid long floats down the runway. Having written that, some P's have micro VGs which make them better on short strips. Mine does not.

Some say the air conditioning is nice to have. A more correct way of expressing it is that air conditioning is necessary. 100% of the cabin air comes through the turbochargers, so it's warm. In the summer, you'd cook without it, so make sure the AC works well in any plane you consider.

I'm an ice-chicken. The FIKI is used to blast through ice on the way up or down, but not to cruise in it. Others say that the P is capable of flying all day in light with occasional moderate icing, but I have no experience with it.

There are two panel styles - dual yoke "Piper style" for model years 1984 and 1985, and earlier "Beech style". Mine is 1984 - Piper style. The dual column "turbine style" engine gauges in the '84-'85 planes are problematic. I experienced a lot of down time until I designed them out of the plane with a panel upgrade. Even when they work, they are inaccurate.

Useful load is 1700 to 1800 pounds. Claims above this mean the plane hasn't been weighed. My plane has a maximum zero fuel weight of 5700 pounds, which means a fuel load of 500 pounds (83 gallons) given the 6200 pound gross. I flight plan for 42 gallons first hour, and 32 gallons for subsequent hours. So if you load up the plane to its maximum payload, you've got about an hour of flying with reserves. Or, you can carry 800 pounds of people and baggage for four hours with reserves. Or, 600 pounds of people and baggage for 5 hours with reserves.

When light, the 58P is a rocket. Winter climb rates of 2000 fpm are not unusual. Summer climb rates when heavily loaded are sub 1000 fpm. Low and slow cruise TAS is 170-180. High and fast is 195-205. I have seen 225 in mine when operating at very high power, but most of the time I pull back the power, fly LOP around 27-28 GPH and get speeds around 190-195. What I like about the 58P is the flexibility you have for operating altitudes and fuel burn. You can fly low into the wind, or high with a tailwind, without any efficiency penalty.

Sweet spot altitudes are below turbines and above most normally aspirated planes - 13,000 to FL 200. With little traffic at those altitudes, direct routings are the norm. The plane is certified to FL 250, but I stay below FL 200. The pressurization yields cabin altitude about 10,000 feet less than cruise altitude. Canadian regs under which I fly require oxygen with cabin pressure altitudes over 10,000. So unless it is only for 30 minutes or less, unless I want to wear a nose-hose, my practical ceiling is FL 200, which is fine by me.

The small left-side rear cabin door is a deficiency compared to the big right side barn doors of the normally aspirated 58. Rear seats can be configured into club seating (the norm), or forward facing, or they can be removed. I have weight and balance sheets for every possible configuration. Mine is configured with the middle row forward facing, and the aft row stored in the hangar. It is therefore a four seater, with all seats being accessed from the front door. The aft door is used to load baggage, into the cavernous baggage area. Configured this way, you can carry more stuff in the 58P than in any car.

As for negatives, the 58P has more systems than some other Barons - pressurization, inflatable door seal, air conditioning, FIKI (boots, hot plate and heated props). It may also have radar and ground proximity radar and the autopilot is likely to be a KFC 200. All of these require maintenance which if neglected will be brutally costly to bring up to snuff. For example, a common problem with the air conditioning is that owners don't change the dryers every 10 years like they should. The desiccant bag breaks and dumps desiccant all through the air conditioning system, which has to be completely taken apart and flushed. Other common problems are pressurization systems that make full pressure at climb power but not at cruise power. You have to find the cabin leaks - wing root cable bundles, pressure bulkhead seals, rear door windlace, front door inflatable seal, safety and outflow valves, cable and pushrod seals, floor drains, etc. Another problem is inherent to the engine design. There is no air-oil separator on the TSIO-520WB/LB so the breather tends to deposit oil mist on the underside of the wing. Some have 3rd party air-oil separators installed. Mine had undocumented Airwolf A-O separators that I removed. The clean the breather discharge but dump condensed water back into the sump. The solution is an occasional cleaning under the wings.

If you find a frequently flown 58P that has received the proper attention and maintenance from the previous owner, it will be a dream airplane. I cannot imagine a better pressurized piston twin. It is small enough to fit in a regular T-hangar, can fly high and fast over weather or mountains, or low and slow. But if you want cabin class, Cessna has better options. I think of the P as being more of a sports-car pressurized twin, which is ironic given its weight.

Hope you find what you are looking for. Be patient.



 Post subject: Re: Hello From Sitka Alaska (P Baron)
PostPosted: 12 Apr 2021, 13:33 

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Joined: 12/11/15
Posts: 522
Post Likes: +198
Location: Boca Raton, FL(KBCT)
Aircraft: Baron58P TJ488
I have been flying pressurized Barons for the past 35 years. In summary, they are fantastic airplanes. I agree with the comments made before me on this site. My bird will true at 20,000 feet ROP using 17.5 gals per side, 30"MPx 2300RPMs at TAS of 215kts with TIT of 1550degrees. I do not have VGs on this plane and I do not want them. I do have spoilers which are the best of all upgrades because you can descend out of altitude without reducing power thus avoiding the shock cooling of the engines. Frequent flying is important for both pilot and aircraft. Do a very good pre-buy inspection and flight to determine all systems work. I have 3000 feet as my low limit for runway and 3500 is even better. Good luck finding a good Baron58P!


 Post subject: Re: Hello From Sitka Alaska (P Baron)
PostPosted: 12 Apr 2021, 14:11 

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Joined: 11/13/11
Posts: 581
Post Likes: +313
Location: Sandpoint, ID (KSZT)
Aircraft: 58P
Username Protected wrote:
Would love input from any P Baron owners (how they use them, how they like them and what are the negatives)?
Hi Gary,

I moved from an A36TN to the 58P. The 58P is 5-30kts faster depending on how much fuel you want to burn; so not a huge step up. Pressurization is a game changer. Ability to fly over some weather plus radar and FIKI open up many otherwise marginal days... if you are careful with planning. Biggest negative in making this move was the inability to get into shorter runways.

And then it costs more... but it does more.

Been to Alaska once in my 58P, all over and as far north as Barrow. Lots of territory where there is no good place to land so having a twin is great peace of mind. While I wouldn't say the prop tips are close to the ground (a duke is worse) some caution is needed when operating out of unimproved strips. Did go into Bettles but checked ahead of that to make sure they had steel plates for startup... once moving on gravel don't stop!

Good luck in finding a great example.



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