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16 Jun 2021, 07:04 [ UTC - 5; DST ]


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 Post subject: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 18:29 
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Joined: 07/23/18
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Aircraft: B757/767
In the next 12-18 months, I’ll be starting the search for a family hauling twin. Mission will be 400-700 nm with two adults and three kids- 17, 12 and 7. We live in the upper Midwest with plenty of ice and snow and I don’t want to fly a single engine in IMC, hence the need for two motors. I would like to keep the budget around $200k, but the CPA wife might let me stretch it out to $250k for the right machine. I would also like to keep reasonable operating costs- 25-27 gph and no pressurization. I’m okay with 175-180 knots in a Piper or faster in a Baron.

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?

It’s nice most of the Seneca IIIs are FIKI. I know they do well in ice and the cabin is wide and comfortable. The II I flew was pretty reliable, very few maintenance issues over the year I flew it.

Being a Beechcraft message board, I’ll expect the bias, but a 55 is a good machine, so I’ll look forward to the opinions.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 18:39 
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Joined: 01/26/16
Posts: 492
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Location: KHQZ
Aircraft: ‘67, D95a Travel Air
With the B55 interior the same as my Travel Air, I'm thinking that's going to get awfully cozy for five in a B55 for that length of time. A bit more room to stretch in a Seneca.

I think if you post this in "Twins" you'll get a lot more response from the B55 crowd.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 18:55 
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Joined: 11/20/14
Posts: 5134
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Aircraft: V35
310 is bigger inside than a 55 Baron. Some have deice. Tend to be available within your budget.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 18:59 
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Joined: 11/22/12
Posts: 358
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Location: Albany, NY (KALB)
Aircraft: 1967 Baron C55
I agree with Michael and Jesse. The back seats in the Baron are very tight, getting in and out is an adventure, and they are best left in the box on the shelf of the hangar.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 19:20 
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Joined: 01/01/18
Posts: 466
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Location: West Long Branch, NJ (KBLM)
Aircraft: 1960 Twin Bonanza
Sounds like a mission for the twin bonanza or a B58. The B55 is awesome but might be a little small. I’m not familiar with Senecas but if I was paying for a turbocharged twin, I would want pressurization.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 19:23 
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Joined: 10/28/14
Posts: 262
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Location: Fargo, ND
Aircraft: N80GA - 1979 E55
Seneca vs. 55 series Barons isn't quite equal when considering the rear cabin - should really be comparing to or looking at the 58 series if you need the room. If a 55 fits the bill for what you want to do 90-95% of the time, and pax #5 is small and not opposed to climbing in through the rear baggage door, those will generally be available at a discount to similar 58s.

Link to a recent thread on Senecas and Barons:
https://www.beechtalk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=181547

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A.P. 'Quinn' Anderson
N80GA - 1979 E55


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 20:24 
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Joined: 02/25/13
Posts: 5349
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Location: Jacksonville, FL (KCRG)
Aircraft: 1991 Baron 58
I looked at the Seneca vs. the Baron and the single Engine performance is much better with a Baron. Hot and heavy the Seneca has little extra when you lose one. As a family hauler, this May make the Baron a better choice.

On short trips the added speed won’t mean much as you have likely calculated.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 20:47 
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Joined: 01/22/19
Posts: 256
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Location: KFXE
An Aztec will outhaul a Baron or Seneca, and will carry a ton of ice if the boots stop working and not fall out of the sky. Has a much bigger cabin than either one, and more baggage space. Has more reliable Lycoming engines. Can do 170 on 26 GPH, or the Turbo version will do 190-210 on 29-36 GPH. Lower insurance rates too.

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 20:57 
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Joined: 03/22/18
Posts: 967
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Location: SW PA and E TN
Aircraft: Cessna 340A
I love me an Aztruck for your mission. Still a fair number of good examples out there.

Assuming you are still feeding the kids, and thus they are growing, I don't think you'll be happy with a B55 or a Seneca (whatever #). In the Ford v Chevy, Piper v Cessna chronicles, I have always been a Piper guy, but I have never embraced the Seneca. Aztruck or B58 (if one can be found at the your price point the way you want it) seem to be better for your mission.

Or you can stop feeding the kids so they stop growing.

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I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it...Thomas Jefferson


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 21:27 
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Joined: 07/27/09
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Location: Chicago
Aircraft: E55
Booted, Midwestern E55 owner here. I didn’t like the Seneca’s handling as much as the Baron, but it is an inch or two wider. My family didn’t like the club seating of the 58, and I didn’t like the pilot seat recline restriction (I’m tall and fly seat aft and a wee bit off top position), so we went E55. Routinely we fly 5 plus an occasional 95 lb chunky Labrador. No issues getting into the rear seats for my 15 year old or my 6’ 3” 17 year old. They use the bag door or climb over a seat. All seem comfy on 3.5-4 hr flights. TwinBo was an option until I looked at winter and away-from-home-drome hangar space (no t-hangar over nighters, and big equals gouged by fbos for prime heated space).

55s are not FIKI, but do very well in occasional ice—the FIKI Seneca I flew wasn’t much different, but I didn’t/don’t stay in ice long enough to say FIKI Seneca has more merit. I fly a lot over Lake Michigan, so unexpected winter light ice is virtually unavoidable. The booted Baron gives time to execute options. Some compromises but we wouldn’t choose differently.

Oh, Aztrucks are great, but the nickname is very appropriate

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-Tim Anderson

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 22:18 
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Joined: 08/21/13
Posts: 823
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Company: Plane Comfort LLC
Location: Charlotte NC (KEQY)
Aircraft: 1972 58 (TH-237)
B55s are far better planes than Senecas, and you will quickly run into useful load issues with the Senecas due to their lower power engines. The club seating in the Seneca is kind of a joke unless you are hauling passengers without legs. I would write it off for your mission just due to useful load issues alone though.

A B55 with 3 larger kids may be a tight but you'll have roughly 200 more lbs useful load (or more) depending on the individual plane. A C/D/E 55 would give you more nose baggage and useful load with much the same capabilities, but the cabin size is the same. It could work, but the pax may be more comfortable in something larger. I have not flown as Aztec so I can't really comment on them relative to the 55's...


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 22:26 
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Joined: 06/28/09
Posts: 12068
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Location: Walnut Creek, CA (KCCR)
Aircraft: 1962 Twin Bonanza
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

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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 22:35 
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Joined: 01/08/17
Posts: 253
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Aircraft: F33A
Once you have turbos you might as well have pressurization. The capability of topping weather alone is worth it. Nearly all the expense comes with the turbos, little with the pressurization.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 22:43 
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Joined: 05/05/09
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Aircraft: G44, R44, C501, A109
I really don't like Senecas and I really love Barons but a 55 is NOT your airplane. Find a 340, 58 Baron, older 421, anything but a 55. It simply won't work.


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 Post subject: Re: Seneca III vs B55 Baron
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2020, 22:55 
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Joined: 02/11/09
Posts: 1136
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Location: Tucson, AZ (57AZ)
Aircraft: C310Q
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.

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Ken Reed
57AZ


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