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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 22:58 
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Username Protected wrote:
I didn’t like the Seneca’s handling as much as the Baron, but it is an inch or two wider.


Senecas are actually 7" wider than Barons.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 23:01 
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Company: Rusnak Auto Group
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Aircraft: Baron B55 N7123N
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The two back seats (if equipped) are for toddlers basically, and you have to load through the baggage door. It's super for 4 but not ideal for more. When my kids got bigger and I started taking the occasional 5 plus bags and the dog, the 55 was just too small.

Adam is on the money when it comes to the best way to access the 5th and 6th seats but you must have the large cargo door for sure. It’s actually not that difficult - just don’t forget to duck your head! Those seats are actually comfortable enough for an adult of a average stature. I am 6’0” 170 lbs and I can sit back there - pay attention to weight & balance so aft limits aren’t punched through. That said, with all the stuff 5 people tend to bring, you will likely have bags on the adjacent seat which might not be comfortable for that passenger depending on size. Agree with Adam that the Baron 55 is perfect for 4.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 00:25 
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Location: Minneapolis, MN (KFCM)
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Username Protected wrote:
I love the 55 Baron and I owned and restored one over 7 years and put 1,000 hrs on it. I think it's the wrong plane for a family of 5 however. The two back seats (if equipped) are for toddlers basically, and you have to load through the baggage door. It's super for 4 but not ideal for more. When my kids got bigger and I started taking the occasional 5 plus bags and the dog, the 55 was just too small. You need a B58 or a booted Twin Bonanza, there is a super nice booted Tbone for sale in peddlers talk, perfect plane for your mission. viewtopic.php?f=43&t=187626

I disagree. While I wouldn't recommend one for a family of 6 or 5 large adults, when one of the kids is only 7 any 55 should work fine for several years as long as the payload, useful load, and associated range are sufficient. With one 2nd row seat reasonably well forward (which still leaves plenty of legroom for that passenger) any "normal size" person will have plenty of room in a single rear seat.

I would recommend the C/D/E 55 over the B55 simply because most have 100lbs more useful load and all have more room in the nose for bags. Either way the relatively common large baggage door and extended rear baggage options should be mandatory.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 00:57 
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Location: san francisco (KHAF)
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Concur. We routinely put five in my C55, one smaller adult in the back, the sixth seat packed to the ceiling with luggage, and fly 3 hour trips. I doubt it’s their top preference (I hear it’s cold back there) but it beats walking.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 05:31 
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Well, it’s great to see a clear consensus here!

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 07:54 
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I always enjoy the discussions of different aircraft, and their pros and cons.


My opinion? a "personal" airplane is just that...*personal*.


No two people/plans are the same....


The company B55 Colemill conversion I fly is perfect....for what *we* do with it. (mostly 1-2 people, minimal bags, often short/grass strips, sometimes short trips, sometimes long trips).


Back in the day when I was hauling people/bags/dog...the Beech 18 was perfect.
When I was doing mostly long X-C, the P Baron worked well.


Just like you have more than one pair of shoes, as there is more than one occasion to dress for, you should have more than one airplane.....

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 08:29 
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Company: Underground Airways
Location: CYKF Kitchener, Ontario
Aircraft: Mooney Bravo TLS
Just like you have more than one pair of shoes, as there is more than one occasion to dress for, you should have more than one airplane.....[/quote]


I like your thinking!


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 10:22 
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Username Protected wrote:
I’ve narrowed the search to a Seneca III or B55. I’ve got a couple hundred hours in a Seneca II but never flown a Baron. It seems like you can get a nice turn key model of either airplane for around $200k. I just wanted to get some opinions on the pros and cons of each. Reliability?


I've had a Seneca III and two B55 Barons. You need the Seneca.


Ken, I'm curious why you take the Seneca over the Baron? You've owned both, I'd like to hear your rationale. A non-turbo'd Aztec isn't out of the realm of possibility either. I've flown them about ten hours and they're extremely stable and can haul a huge load. But dang, they're ugly...... :rofl:

I appreciate all the opinions. All of my kids are small stature, as is my wife. My two daughters will be 5'5" or shorter, my wife is a hair over 5'. My son (the youngest) will be my size, give or take, 5'10". It's nice to see taller people can fit in the rear seats of a Baron and nice to see people think it's reasonable to haul five pax.

Once the older daughter is off to college, we'll likely be hauling four most of the time. There will still be an occasional trip with five when she comes along, it's nice to know it's reasonable with five smaller people. We shouldn't have any problem stuffing soft-sided luggage for all of us in the nose and baggage compartment. We travel a lot now and the girls aren't extreme packers.

I would love to be able to buy a 58, but it seems a little out of reach on $250k to find a turn key model that won't require a large improvement budget on acquisition. I think operating costs of a 310, 340, 421 are more than what I want to deal with. I can stomach the costs, but when I plug 35-40 gph into the spreadsheet, it's looks much worse to the CPA (wife) than 25-27 gph. Also the increased hangar size and increased insurance will drive yearly expenses up, and I don't want to scare her before the plane even shows up on the ramp- baby steps at this point. If she wants more room after a few years, I'll let her push the pace on that. But I want to be as reasonable as possible while I introduce her to twin-engine ownership.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 11:36 
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"I think operating costs of a 310, 340, 421 are more than what I want to deal with."

310 operating costs are much less than 340 or 421 operating costs.
310 interior is bigger than the Baron, but....

I wouldn't want to travel with 5 very often in the 310 or Baron.....but that's just me.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 11:44 
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Location: Appleton WI or Denton TX, TX (KDTO)
Aircraft: 1965 Baron B55
Lance makes some great points and I would agree that given the described mission, the C, D, & E-55 series would be a good search option for the following reasons in my mind:

1. For sure a 520 powerplant and possibly search for 550 equipped bird

2. HUGE nose baggage in C, D, E-55 series - a key benefit with a 5 pax trip load and all the attendant rollaboards/baggage.

3. Late model E55 may be found with 166 gallons fuel - potentially useful but payload dependent.

4. I echo the sentiments to have large baggage door and extended rear baggage configuration. Large baggage door makes ingress/egress for the youngest one much easier.

5. Generally, much easier on the wallet in purchase price as compared to the B58 models.

6. I have only traveled with 5 or 6 in my B55 maybe 2 or 3 times and I have the small baggage door. Two of those were with young children and once with an adult female of petite build. The pee wees loved it, the adult female - not so much......

Perhaps a T-Bone could provide a maximum level of comfort in your budget range at a somewhat slower speed. :shrug: :shrug:

Enjoy your search.

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 11:51 
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If you're going down to 4 occupants soon that changes the equation. Either of these may be fine.

My kids are 13-11-8. One sits up front with me and the other two in back with my wife. The 58 is great for 250 NM trips but everyone in back has their legs interlocked, so it's tiring for a 900 NM two-leg trip to Montana. The Baron is a joy to fly and much more solidly constructed than a Seneca.

Fuel burn for my IO-550s is about 28GPH, lean of peak. Anything with a non-turbo big block Continental should be in this range, including a n/a 310, which would be another good choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 12:00 
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Username Protected wrote:
I disagree. While I wouldn't recommend one for a family of 6 or 5 large adults, when one of the kids is only 7 any 55 should work fine for several years as long as the payload, useful load, and associated range are sufficient. With one 2nd row seat reasonably well forward (which still leaves plenty of legroom for that passenger) any "normal size" person will have plenty of room in a single rear seat.


I loaded my mom through the bag door once, not ideal... Sven's photo tells the tale. I loved that plane for 4 though, quick and nimble and flew like it was on rails, take those back seats out and you have nice room for bags plus the nose cone. I think it's a 58 or a Tbone for this mission though. I agree that the Seneca is butt ugly. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 12:57 
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Joined: 05/08/13
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Company: Citation Jet Exchange
Location: St. Louis
Aircraft: C510 C525 58P 310R
I was in a similar situation 2 years ago. Couldn't afford a well equipped B58, and wanted/needed FIKI. B55's have to have TKS or there are a few E55s FIKI. That left Seneca 2/3 and 310. We went with a 310R and haven't looked back, it's incredibly comfortable inside, although it's more expensive to maintain than Senecas. The 310R is faster at normal altitudes on the same fuel burn than the Seneca, and cheaper to overhaul the engines.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 15:38 
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Username Protected wrote:
I didn’t like the Seneca’s handling as much as the Baron, but it is an inch or two wider.


Senecas are actually 7" wider than Barons.

Probably why I didn’t like the handling...
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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 17:52 
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Location: Mandan, ND
Aircraft: 200, C90, V35
What about a Navajo? Should be able to find a good one for the budget. Burns more fuel, but hauls more and does pretty good in ice. Way bigger cabin than a Seneca. Lots of them have KFC200 autopilots (as do Seneca IIIs), but with yaw damper. Seneca’s Dutch roll in turbulence more than a Navajo.


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