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19 Jun 2021, 15:23 [ UTC - 5; DST ]


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2020, 17:42 
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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.



I’ve flown a few hundred hours in a Navajo and I like the plane, but they burn a fair amount more avgas than the 55 or Seneca. Wife is an accountant and the bottom line matters, especially introducing her to twin engine ownership.

I was actually the DO at the charter operator across the river from you back in the mid 2000s when we added Navajos back on the certificate. I still live right across the river from you.......


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2020, 21:12 
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I've been told by a couple of experienced Seneca owners that pushing the power above 65% shortens engine life noticeably Is that part of what you mean by "treat them well"? Do your engines have the Merlyn MAP control system? I've also heard this lets the engines run cooler and live longer.


Yes. Plenty of fuel ROP for the climb and no more than 65% power (I prefer LOP but ROP is still 65% power) in cruise. CHTs no higher than 380º and monitor TIT. My Seneca III (and my Mooney 231 with a similar engine) did not have an automatic waste gate. My P337s (similar engines) have automatic waste gates from the factory.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2020, 06:31 
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Company: W. John Gadd, Esq.
Location: Florida
Aircraft: C55 Baron
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310 is bigger inside than a 55 Baron. Some have deice. Tend to be available within your budget.



The speed and handling of the CDE 55 is fantastic.

310s way better inside over the Baron.

I think you’d have to get a Seneca up pretty high to truly run with a Baron or 310.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2020, 11:21 
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Speed alone is not the over-riding factor. If the family is uncomfortable, the plane had better be really fast. The difference between a 170 knot plane and 190 knot plane is only 30 minutes on a max range 800 NM trip. (4.7 vs 4.2 hours) When you consider that most people (non-pilots) don't want to sit more than three hours, the difference is even smaller. In three hours, there are 510 miles covered by the 170 knot plane, versus 570 by the 190 knot plane.


^^ this. My flights average about 3-400 nm. The fam doesn't notice any discernible time difference on our trips between my 185kt B55 and my 170kt BE50. The do notice the extra space though.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2020, 12:45 
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I’m with you on the speed thing, over 85% of my mission, the difference in speed would be negligible. Rarely will we be flying over 700 nm so that part doesn’t concern me- it’s really only a few minutes either way. Buy the plane that suits 80% of your mission and just deal with the last 20%, right?

I’ll absolutely find a Seneca locally and hopefully a 55 somewhere to sit inside. Maybe even fly. See what’s the most comfortable for the whole crew and go from there. I’m sure the Barons handle better than a Seneca, but I’ve flown enough in a Seneca to know I don’t hate them and if they fit the family, I could deal with the oddities.[/quote]

And then find an Aztec to sit in. You'll be amazed at how much bigger the cabin is.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2020, 21:36 
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Company: W. John Gadd, Esq.
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If the object is traveling with the family, having them enjoy the flight is the first consideration.

Speed alone is not the over-riding factor. If the family is uncomfortable, the plane had better be really fast. The difference between a 170 knot plane and 190 knot plane is only 30 minutes on a max range 800 NM trip. (4.7 vs 4.2 hours) When you consider that most people (non-pilots) don't want to sit more than three hours, the difference is even smaller. In three hours, there are 510 miles covered by the 170 knot plane, versus 570 by the 190 knot plane.

When you figure your average load, and desired distance, you'll rule some planes out right away. Many of those will be the faster planes, since they often don't have the useful load needed. Aerostars come to mind- you can get the blazing speed, but the fuel needed to do that cuts the useful load so much that it's no longer a family hauler.




Club seating is another problem for families. Sounds like a great idea, but try putting four kids in the back. They will fight over the aft seats, because no one wants to ride backwards in the middle row. It's uncomfortable. And they have to share floor space for their feet. Works with babies, and up to about 5 years old. After that it's hell.

The only planes with realistically useful club seating are the Malibu, and the Navajo, or the Cessna 340/414 series. The problem with all of these is you need a large hangar, which can really blow the budget.

Find someone who will let you and the family sit in a Seneca, and then try a Baron. See what fits better.



Indeed, club seating isn’t much to brag about unless your in a 340 or better.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2020, 11:21 
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Back in my younger days, I flew the Senaca III and B55/58 often in the same week. I loved the large gap between seats up front as one could move from back to front. You can actually bring someone up where the Baron - no way. That gap alone with elbow space was a winner. Low blue line was a huge safety advantage as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2020, 11:48 
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Location: Mandan, ND
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Username Protected wrote:
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.



I’ve flown a few hundred hours in a Navajo and I like the plane, but they burn a fair amount more avgas than the 55 or Seneca. Wife is an accountant and the bottom line matters, especially introducing her to twin engine ownership.

I was actually the DO at the charter operator across the river from you back in the mid 2000s when we added Navajos back on the certificate. I still live right across the river from you.......


Hi Travis!

Bismarck Aero Center has two IIIs they manage and fly for clients. I have flown both. Interestingly 101ML has intercoolers (forget brand, can find out if you are interested ) and will routinely true up in the 170s at 8k, while burning about 14/ side. 101ML has Johnson bar flaps, which is handy. The other III is 550ST. This one does not have intercoolers, but has the speed mods (cowls, hubcaps) and electric flaps. The electric flap model does not have a “notch at 10 or 15 (forget which) but can be prepositioned between 0 and 25. It is a stretch to get it over 165ktas in that plane, most often low 160s. Unsure why.

BAC does all the maintenance on these two and would be a good source for info. Back in the day, BAC managed a II for a client and they put 7k hours on, so they are very familiar with the birds.

There is also a Fiki II in town that may be a good candidate for a resto mod. IIRC it is 42HH. It got flown over to Mandan for long term storage, as I don’t think it is airworthy. Unsure if it is for sale, or if it would be a feasible project.

I am the CP for BAM. PM me if you ever want to connect in town.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2020, 14:07 
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Another ding against the Seneca (and many other Pipers) that isn't often thought about is the low maneuvering speed which, in the Seneca, is in the area of 125 KIAS. The Baron's Va (156 KIAS) is about 30 knots faster and a good testimonial to the build quality of the Beechcraft over any Piper. Imagine descending in a Seneca whose max structural cruise speed (Vno, bottom of the yellow) is a paltry 163 KIAS. But then you see some buildups ahead that look like they're going to be adventurous. You'll have to slow down nearly 40 knots to ride through those bumps with caution, which is not going to be easy while also trying to descend.

Also keep in mind that C/D/E55s and 58 have higher Vno than 470-powered Barons. This is very handy especially if you have a 550-converted Baron. B55 PII are often cruising in or near the yellow arc. Descents are nearly always in the yellow arc, which is 182 KIAS. The 520/550-powered Barons Vno is 196 KIAS and that extra 14 knots makes it much easier to keep my 50+-year-old D55 out of the yellow arc during normal ops. Food for thought...


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2020, 15:27 
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Interestingly 101ML has intercoolers (forget brand, can find out if you are interested ) and will routinely true up in the 170s at 8k, while burning about 14/ side. 101ML has Johnson bar flaps, which is handy. The other III is 550ST. This one does not have intercoolers, but has the speed mods (cowls, hubcaps) and electric flaps. The electric flap model does not have a “notch at 10 or 15 (forget which) but can be prepositioned between 0 and 25. It is a stretch to get it over 165ktas in that plane, most often low 160s. Unsure why.


I would have liked intercoolers on my III.

Have a G58 now. I like going faster but miss turbocharging. Especially going over high terrain, where likely on one engine I would be drifting down from 8000 ft into turbulence and icing conditions. So the sort of like a piston single in that regard but with the added threat of Vmc.

The III could hold 12000 or there about. Was very nice and care free. Certainly was the perfect starter twin for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2020, 18:53 
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Username Protected wrote:
Also keep in mind that C/D/E55s and 58 have higher Vno than 470-powered Barons. This is very handy especially if you have a 550-converted Baron. B55 PII are often cruising in or near the yellow arc. Descents are nearly always in the yellow arc, which is 182 KIAS. The 520/550-powered Barons Vno is 196 KIAS and that extra 14 knots makes it much easier to keep my 50+-year-old D55 out of the yellow arc during normal ops. Food for thought...

While you're munching on that, keep in mind that Va and the basis for Vno decrease in both airplanes with reduced weight so if you happen to be flying a C/D/E at 5100 lbs you should be observing the B55's limits.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2020, 19:29 
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Username Protected wrote:
I would have liked intercoolers on my III.

Have a G58 now. I like going faster but miss turbocharging. Especially going over high terrain, where likely on one engine I would be drifting down from 8000 ft into turbulence and icing conditions. So the sort of like a piston single in that regard but with the added threat of Vmc.

The III could hold 12000 or there about. Was very nice and care free. Certainly was the perfect starter twin for me.

Sounds like you're a good candidate for TAT's TN B58 if that finally happens.

Meanwhile, for the OP and anyone else considering a Baron, the PII (IO550) converted B55 will hold 12000 on one at gross, and the P600 or Savanah (IO520) converted B55s will easily hold about 10,500 even if you're so unlucky to lose an engine up high while still very close to max weight. IIRC, every 100 lbs less weight gives another 500-1000 ft of absolute ceiling.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2020, 21:28 
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Sounds like you're a good candidate for TAT's TN B58 if that finally happens.


Hah, I wouldn't go for any kind of stc that is not mature or provided by the manufacturer.

I have my G58 for now, but will be looking for a turbine when this covid thing gets under control.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2020, 13:25 
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Take your wife for a demo flight in both. I did and she chose the Seneca--mostly because it was so much easier to get in and out, was quieter and had a lot more room. From a pilot's standpoint "handling" is overrated in a transportation airplane. Stability is more important.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2020, 13:58 
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Take your wife for a demo flight in both. I did and she chose the Seneca--mostly because it was so much easier to get in and out, was quieter and had a lot more room. From a pilot's standpoint "handling" is overrated in a transportation airplane. Stability is more important.


I agree 100%. And I'm planning to do that......


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