beechcraft 24r sierra vs. piper 180

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by stapler101, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. stapler101

    stapler101 Pre-Flight

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    I am looking to move up in speed and capacity from my 140.
    Money is definitely an issue.
    Two planes have my attention, the 180 and a Beech Sierra.
    I am not familiar with the Beech but I like the 2 doors and the roomy look. I have not seen one in person but the pictures look good.
    What are some comparisons and opinions on the two?
     
  2. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    It's hard to compare a 200HP retractable with a 180 HP fixed gear plane. One could compare the Sierra with the Piper Arrow, or the 180 Cherokee with the Beech Sundowner. So are you looking for folding gear or not?
     
  3. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What are you trying to achieve in the move-up?
     
  4. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As an owner of a cherokee 140 I understand the speed and load capacity limitations. But your comment of "money is definitely an issue" makes it hard to get something much faster or with more capacity without spending a large chunk of money

    One thing to consider: the maintenance costs of the 180 will likely be lower than the Beech Sierra since the 180 doesn't have retractable gear or a variable pitch prop (does the sierra have a constant speed prop?)
     
  5. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Yes, it does. Insurance costs will also be a lot higher due to the retractable gear.

    Still trying to figure out if the OP needs/wants a 180HP fixed gear or a 200HP retractable -- hoping s/he'll elucidate.
     
  6. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    LOL, except in this case Ron.

    The Sierra gives you the same speed as a Cherokee 180, but you get the bonus features of retractable gear, and no speed benefit of them folding a way - and all the extra cost associated with them. In my list of planes that I will never fly again, I only have one: The Beech Sierra. A pig with wings.
     
  7. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Well, I think the Sierra may have a bit better load, and certainly has a larger cabin, but I agree that none of the 200HP retractables outside the Mooney give you any more bang for the buck than you can get with other fixed gear aircraft for less total cost. About the only raison d'etre for the Sierra, Cutlass, and Arrow is to provide a minimum cost complex aircraft for CP and CFI training/certification, and retractable time-building.
     
  8. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yeah, I can't really see anyone owning one that wasn't on leaseback for CFI/Comm, with only a 10kt (if that) increase in speed between the 200 retract and the 180 non retract version (Arrow-Cherokee; Sierra-Sundowner; Cutlass-Skyhawk)
     
  9. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've flown both a fair amount. The Sierra certainly isn't fast but it isn't as slow as a Cherokee 180. It is a little faster--but not a whole hell of a lot. For the most part though, the Sierra is a total dog. Big cabin though :)
     
  10. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    I agree that, for my money, I'd go with a 180. However, it must be said that, generally speaking, a Beech is better engineered and better built than a Piper. Overall quality of a Beech is higher. But it doesn't come free.

    I have owned several Pipers and have been a little disappointed in the quality, mostly of interior appointments, but also in such things as door seals, latching mechanisms, that kind of thing.

    Keep in mind that Sierras can also be had that will seat 5, if that is an issue. Some models have a third row jump seat. Not suitable for carrying a family of 5 on trips, but useful if you want to take a 5th for the proverbial pancake breakfast.
     
  11. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    The myth of the "Beech Quality" is just that, a myth. It's a marketing ploy pretty much in line with "Cadillac Quality". I've owned 2 Beech's (H18 and A90) and have flown and worked on pretty much everything else they have produced with the exception of the B17 Staggerwing. Beech does some things a bit better but they also have their downsides.

    As far as the small Beech's go (Musketeer, Sundowner, Seirra) they are heavy built and slow with lots of room inside. Parts are pricey (once again, the Beech "quality") but acquisition cost are also low versus other makes.
     
  12. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Interesting.

    My experience has been limited to 1980 A36 and 1947 -35. Both are fine airplanes, handle well, are efficient, and I am always happy to fly either.

    In some places the '47 V has fairly thin sheet aluminum (The A36 doesn't suffer from this).

    The gear in each is stout and is dropped manually with little effort.

    When you consider the personal airplane market extant in 1947 it's hard to deny that Beech expanded the state of the art with the Bonanza.
     
  13. ron22

    ron22 Cleared for Takeoff

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    If cost is an issue and you want two doors. How about a Sundowner or Musketeer (some had two doors).
    It will be cheaper to maintaine then the Seira becuase of the fixed gear. It will be slower than a 180.
     
  14. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Someone has to say it. You can get better cruise and similar load carrying capability with a Grumman Tiger. Fixed gear, fixed prop, 180 HP. It will cruise at 135 KTAS and carry around 950 lbs usefull load.

    If you are stuck on either the Cherokee 180 or the Beech Sierra, I'd go Cherokee due to the simplicity.
     
  15. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    True. The Tiger is a good plane for simplicity and speed.
     
  16. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    There's nothing wrong with them just as their is nothing wrong with Cessna/Piper/Mooney/Grumman etc. Just depends upon what you are looking for and we all have personal likes and dislikes.

    Beech has always done well with marketing and brand.
     
  17. Trapper John

    Trapper John Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Slower than a Cherokee 180, but not painfully slow...

    A lot of Sundowners had really nice avionics packages, but they're pretty old now. Later Musketeers are fine, I don't know about the ones with the IO-346, might not be well supported at this point.

    Speed control on landing is more critical with a Musketeer/Sundowner than a Cherokee.


    Trapper John
     
  18. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    I'm still back where I was on post #2 -- why is s/he looking at these two essentially non-comparable airplanes? Until I figure that out, there ain't much I can tell him/her.
     
  19. Pilawt

    Pilawt En-Route

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    The Grumman Cheetah/Tiger's sliding canopy is the functional equivalent of two doors -- you can get in or out from either side simultaneously.

    The cabin is narrower at the elbow than a Cherokee or Musketeer/Sundowner/Sierra, but the expansive windows and low instrument panel provide a feeling of spaciousness that none of the others have.
     
  20. RogerT

    RogerT Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'd go with the 180. I used to have a Sundowner and while it
    was comfortable and roomy .. it was a total dog. I think the
    best plane over all that I've owned was the Grumman Tiger. About
    the same performance as an Arrow .. with no folding gear or constant
    speed prop to maintain.
     
  21. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Line Up and Wait

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    I wish I were rich and bored, I'd pit a Sierra against an Arrow of similar hours and year, have them each fresh-annualled at their respective type specialist shops, and see which one breaks more over a 200-hour span :D

    (I'm not taking one side over another -- just think it'd be an interesting exercise. I'd bet my money on the Sierra, though, the thing is built like a brick outhouse)

    I think the Sierra vs PA28-180 comparison is a silly one. If dollars are scarce, getting a more-complex plane seems a bad road to walk -- lower acquisition costs only last so long when pitted against higher repair/maintenance costs.

    The ideas for efficient simple machines like the Grumman seem in the right mindset to me.

    $0.02 :)
     
  22. stapler101

    stapler101 Pre-Flight

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    I did not see the two as incomparable.
    Yes, the Beech has retractable gear but it seems that the speed and weight capacities are similar.
    As I stated, money is an issued but I found descent prices on both the 180 and the 24r. I simply meat that I was not in the market for higher priced planes than these (such as the 36 series),
    The info about the higher cost to maintain and insure the retractable gear was the type of info I was looking for.
    My goal is to get a little more weight capacity. The 140 is great but it is certainly not a 4 people plane.
    A bit more speed is also desirable but I know I can't get a 4 passenger rocket on a budget so that is why I have considered the 2 planes mentioned.
    I am now, and probably always was, leaning toward the 180.
    I must confess that I am not at all familiar with the Tiger, but I will start research on it immediately.
    thanks for all your replies.
     
  23. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The 180 isn't a 4 person plane either, unless everyone going is 5'5" or under. At 6-3ish, it was impossible for anyone to site behind me as the pilot seat basically needed to be pushed back until it hit the rear seat for me to comfortably fly.

    If you can find a Challenger 180 they stretched the fuselage 8 or 10 inches and you get a bit more room in the back. But the Cherokee models up through the 180G are 4 seat airplanes like the Ford Mustang is a 4 seat car.
     
  24. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    In that case, forget the Sierra -- the slightly higher maintenance and probably double insurance cost will not give you anything more than the 180 Cherokee (well, maybe an extra 5 knots, or a bit less) other than retractable time in your logbook. Compare the 180 Cherokee to the other 4-seat 180HP fixed gear aircraft in its class -- Grumman Tiger, Cessna 177 Cardinal, and 180HP-STC'd 172, although I doubt you'll find many of those priced as low as a 180 Cherokee in comparable condition with comparable equipment. The Beech Sundowner does have more payload, but is no faster than your 140 Cherokee.
    Places to look:
    http://www.aya.org
    http://www.grumman.net
     
  25. CT Arrow

    CT Arrow Line Up and Wait

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    Yea, but there is nothing sexier then retractable gear!:rofl:

    As my wife tells me all the time, Fashion over function :yikes:
     
  26. CT Arrow

    CT Arrow Line Up and Wait

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    Stapler,

    Funny you mention the Sierra! Aviation Consumer just did an 8 page article on this aircraft. All in all, favorable reviews of the baby beech. Yes, there are limitations but there are in the 180 or Tiger as well.

    And I know you didn't ask for this, but I'll throw it out there anyway:

    *Do your homework regardless of what you buy. Know about the AD's and SB's. Clear title? Liens? Logboooks complete?,,,,,,
    *Get an AI/AP who really KNOWS about the aircraft you are buying.
    *Insist on an Annual inspection, not a pre-buy!
    *Buy Aviation Consumers used aircraft guide and learn and understand the pro's and cons of your model. It is an excellent reference to cross-compare models and brands!
    *Join a type specfic group for the legacy aircraft you are going to buy.

    Good luck in your search!
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  27. nyoung

    nyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It is not clear what you mean by Piper 180... You might mean an Arrow 180 or Comanche 180, but for the purposes of this post, I am going to assume you mean the Cherokee 180.

    But 1st... the Beech. I got my license at the University of Illinois in the early 90s, and at the time, their primary flight training planes were Beech Sundowners (180hp fixed gear, 4 place Beech) and the 180hp converted Beech Sports. The Sierra is a retract version of the same plane, but with an 200hp engine. Interestingly, even though they had a fleet of about 15 Sundowners, and used Duchesses for multi-training... they did not have any Sierras. Instead, the complex plane was a Piper Arrow.

    Sundowners have a large cabin with a lot of headroom (you sit very tall/vertical). The downside of that is frontal area and the resultant drag. According to the Sundowner owners manual, WOT on a Sundowner @ 8000ft gave about 124KTAS @ 11gph. I don't ever remember them going that fast. 115-120KTAS is more realistic. I think will translate to the Sierra as well. Even with the retract wheels and 20 extra HP, I suspect a Sierra will not hit 140KTAS.

    The Sierra and Sundowners do have the 2 doors, which is nice especially if frequently flying with passengers in the plane.

    I currently own a '71 Piper Cherokee 180F that has a number of speed mods on it. Compared to the Sundowner, it climbs better, lands shorter, and can cruise @ 130ktas once I get up to 8k. The cabin is a bit shorter (although I am 6'3" with a long torso, and I fit fine). The Cherokee 180s got a ~5" backseat legroom extension in 1973. That's almost a must if you are going to carry anything besides a kid back there. Having said that, I flew a ~20 hr X-C with 2 other guys to SNF last year. It was not comfortable, but it can be done.

    The Cherokee is basically still in production via the Piper Archer family, so many parts are still easily available. In addition, they are one of the most common planes, so any mechanic should be able to work on them. The Sundowner and even more-so the Sierra are uncommon. At this age (many are approaching 30 yrs old) I wonder if parts are an issue.

    From a handling standpoint, The Sundowners did have a small tendency to porpoise on landing due to setting the nose gear down too hard. The rule at the University was that 1 bounce was ok, but to go around if you bounce twice. It would be interesting to know if the Sierras have the same behavior... and if it is a concern given the retract nosegear.

    Anyway, I never thought the plane handled badly, and frankly, in comparing 4-seat 180hp planes... they are all about the same. ~1000ft takeoff and landing rolls and 800fpm initial climb.

    When I bought my plane back in 2000, I briefly thought about a Sierra and ultimately decided on the PA28-180. Given the choice again, I would do the same.





     
  28. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    A waste of money. Instead, sign up for the teaser subscription to Aviation Consumer, log on to the web site, download all of the relevant aircraft reports, and then cancel the subscription before they hit you for the $85 a year or whatever it is now.
     
  29. W. Stewart

    W. Stewart Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ken! Isn't that the magazine you used to edit?

    Wells
     
  30. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't think there's anything "sexy" about a Sierra! ;) :rofl:
     
  31. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Ken edited Aviation Safety, which isn't as good as it was when he was there.
     
  32. CT Arrow

    CT Arrow Line Up and Wait

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    What, did Av. Consumer crap in your wheaties or something? I think its a good reference and provides useful info.
     
  33. CT Arrow

    CT Arrow Line Up and Wait

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    Kent, you know, deep down inside you lust for a Sierra. You know you want one!!!:rofl:
     
  34. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    No, but Belvoir Publications (which owns Aviation Consumer as well as several other aviation publications including Aviation Safety, of which Ken was formerly the editor) did.
     
  35. CT Arrow

    CT Arrow Line Up and Wait

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    Reading the comments before yours Ron, I put that together....
     
  36. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Ken's credibility here (and everywhere, come to think of it...) is excellent.
     
  37. silver-eagle

    silver-eagle En-Route

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    Another possibility is to keep the 140 (if you like it) and upgrade the engine. There appears to be a few STCs to upgrade to a 160 or 180 HP engine. Though I'm sure that path has more than a few problems, a quick search will show you what your other options might be.
     
  38. Armcorp

    Armcorp Pre-Flight

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    My first post..........I own a 74 Cherokee 180. I am a low-time Pilot. It has been very stable and reliable and I would highly recommend it. I get about 9.5 gph. It has been a great ride.
     
  39. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    the big problem that I've heard with the upgraded engines on the 140's is that you don't get a significant gross weight increase, so you're still stuck with the same problem of only being about to fit 2 real people in the airplane.
     
  40. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    I don't mean to air dirty laundry or anything. I edited the 8th edition of the Used Aircraft Guide. It sold for $49.95. All of the content in the Used Aircraft Guide is available on the AvCon website for the teaser subscription of, what is it now, 19.95 for 7 months. There's 30 bucks in your pocket.

    As for the merit of an ongoing subscription to AvCon at whatever their current subscription rate is, well, I personally do not see the value in it. Having seen up close and personal how the process works, I do not think the content is as fair and free of bias as they would like you to believe. And virtually all of it is available for free or at a much lower cost from other sources.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009