Cessna 310/320 Why not?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by MitchB, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. MitchB

    MitchB Filing Flight Plan

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    New to this Forum, and glad to be here!

    I'm a former Navy / former Airline guy, ATP rating, with lots of multi time (C-130 / KingAir 200). Very little piston experience.
    Now in a position to consider an airplane purchase that will be 60% Biz use / 40% personal travel.

    I'm doing a bunch of research and it's pushing me toward light twins.

    The usual singles (Bo's, Mooneys, Commanche) feel cramped, so I'm drawn toward the twins - particularly the 310/320s.

    The added speed and size (comfort and solid feel) kinda make the fuel costs more than bearable.
    I'm a bit smitten with the newer avionics/GPS cockpits and twins seem to be better equipped.
    Leaning towards a Turbo - I like the idea of being able to cruise higher (my comfort zone) and above the bumps.

    Prices for fairly nice / later 310s is comparable to older, slower singles. Yet - they come with more/better avionics, genuine de-ice, and better auto pilots, etc... Yes, there are two engines to overhaul, but a low-time purchase puts that 10 years down the road...

    A lot of what I've read on the Internet is 10 years old or older. What's the latest take on light twins in terms of maint and fuel now that it's at $6.00/gal?
     
  2. Pilawt

    Pilawt En-Route

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    Paging Captain Henning!

    (Henning is a member of this board who just happens to have a nice 310D for sale ... )
     
  3. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I love mine, I'd like to trade it out for an Amphib I can make some money with at this time, but if I have it the rest of my life I won't be displeased. The cabin size is nice. I actually had 3 full size adults in the back for a flight to see the Shuttle launch and they had plenty of room, they even commented.

    I run lop 21-22gph (combined) at 180kts 7500'-10,500'. The T-310R is the most capable of the lot, unfortunately it is also the biggest maintenance hog. The 310D is the best looking with the round nose and Tuna Tanks and swept tail.;) However, if you treat the 310 as a 180kt airplane rather than 190kt airplane, maintenance and fuel are reasonable. I estimate my operating costs $240-$260hr from historic knowledge of 310s. I have managed to operate mine so far for considerably less in the 100hrs/yr I put on it.

    I had a Turboed Travel Air before and found the usefulness, especially when carrying pax, to be very limited due to O2 demands. If I was going for an altitude mission again it would be with a 421 or Aerostar.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  4. olasek

    olasek Cleared for Takeoff

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    This will depend what aircraft age bracket you are considering.
    There are many (newer) singles which are far better equipped than many older twins.
     
  5. Threefingeredjack

    Threefingeredjack En-Route

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    Listen to Henning...even if he is from Florida he's right some of the time. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  6. nddons

    nddons Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Mitch, we hate you. :wink2::D

    Welcome to PoA. :thumbsup:
     
  7. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    There are many new singles with less as well, or can you not buy a steam panel anymore?
     
  8. olasek

    olasek Cleared for Takeoff

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    I agree that there is a great variety of aircraft/equipage out there, lots of different permutations of fuselage and avionics.
    I sort of envy Mitch for being on the market now....
    I hope he comes back to tell us what he got.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  9. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Mitch,

    Where do you live? Where will the plane be based? Do you have a hangar or will you rent? Will you purchase insurance or self-insure? Which shop will maintain it for you?
     
  10. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I fly and manage a 310 Colemill for my non-profit, and love the plane. With the IO-520-Es (300 HP instead of the factory 260), the performance is quite nice. Remember that turbos are really only going to help you on long trips with the plane, and my understanding is that the earlier 320s had a lot of issues with the exhausts. Still, I would like to have turbos, but that's because I mostly take long trips.

    The planes themselves are good provided they are taken good care of. Old 310s are typically cheap because they were taken poor care of, so you need to find a good example. Henning's working on the opposite philosophy - try to charge more in hopes that it will actually be perceived to be worth more. Plus he has some shiny avionics. The problems we've had with the 310 have been avionics related rather than airframe related. I think that they're better than Barons as far as how they fly and interior comfort. Barons have more stout landing gear, so I won't take the 310 into grass strips. Meanwhile, Lance (with his Baron) gladly will take his plane. I would gladly take my Aztec into grass strips, even after Tony flew it through a lake.

    With the IO-520-Es running LOP, we burn about 25 GPH combined to do 175 KTAS average. Bit faster in the winter when empty, a bit slower in the summer when heavy. I've gotten it down to 20 GPH combined at 168 KTAS at 13,000 ft with a load. But really, I typically fly between 6,000 and 11,000 ft happily. Fuel burn does go down slightly with altitude.

    We've had the 310 for coming up on 2 years and about 400 hours of flight time.
     
  11. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Interesting stat that I've never seen published before. My T-210N got exactly the same speed at the same altitude burning ~15 gph. Max cabin load was ~1,000# with full tanks.




     
  12. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    But you only had one engine!:rolleyes::D
     
  13. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, and that's the best part! I know he's sensitive about the subject and didn't want to rub it in. Had turbo and FIKI too. :D

     
  14. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    Wayne, did Lou Betti hack your PoA password? :rofl:
     
  15. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Probably. Is he still driveling the Red Board with that crap?

    Not to worry, I got more time in 210's than Lou has in the chow line and my stories are about when/where I flew it, not when my partner did.;)
     
  16. DaleB

    DaleB Pattern Altitude

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    But can't you buy two 310s for the cost of a T-210? :D

    :stirpot:
     
  17. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, they're worth about half as much and cost about three times as much to own and operate, so that sounds about right.:wink2:
     
  18. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Only if you're a **** poor operator and try to fly 195 because, "I didn't buy this plane to go slow." Every one I told them they bought the wrong plane. I'm very pleased with my economics and engine indications and inspections. I don't know a recent T210 operator that can show a receipt record across acquisition, upgrade and around 100 hrs operation I can, especially not at 180ktas. I can also show you the prior 2 owners 12 years receipts and records which explain why I can run at that efficiency, the last two owners spent a bucket of money over 12 years making the plane new with next to no time being flown. So I did the panel and I have another $6-12k to go, maybe an autopilot if they let me use an experimental model. I can't see the money for me for any of the brands available as they have horrible maintenance costs. At this point with the way the other manufacturers are getting about support, the only one I can see worth getting is a Cessna 400 and only then if I can do a low cost, no STC install. Even then I see the value marginal at best.

    I really hope for action on owner maint, that will be a true game changer for me. It's super easy to drop her onto a float carriage.;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  19. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You're looking at the wrong numbers. For 100 hours/yr, hangar, insurance and MX will cost ~$200/hr in Dallas, and that's before you burn any fuel.

    The money somebody else spent before you bought it can have some value for a period of time, but thinking it's an annuity or get out of jail free card for future years is delusional.

     
  20. MitchB

    MitchB Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the replys, guys. All good info.

    My target - 310-wise anyway - is about '66 to early 70's.. I think those are the "Q" versions. I like the swoopy tip tanks, but not necessarily the longer snout of the "R's"... shooting for under 4000TT, sub 750 SMO...ish. Under $80K...ish... All just goals - not a hard target. Lucky for me - there are some really nice A/C out there. I'm probably 6-12 months from purchasing.

    I fully expect to put in a all new interior, because none I've seen are even close to what I envision. Why do so many have $100K+ airplanes with the interiors of a farm truck? One of quirks of GA I cannot understand...

    I assume I will have it insured. Will likely finance half, give or take.

    Maint / Annuals - not sure as yet. I now live in Southern CA. Orange County area - there should be plenty of options...

    I wouldn't spend "310 money" and not keep it in a hangar. There are hangars avail in the local area for $300.00/month. (There are others that are much more...).

    Some of my trips will be up and down the coast for weekends away. For work, I see my flying as trips 200 to 1000 miles (I have family on the East Coast, so who knows?) often solo - so a good panel / autopilot is required. I may not always fly high, but want the option. Not sure about the O2 thing (never had it without a full mask/helmet..)

    I prefer IFR to VFR for trips. I work in Aviation as a DoD consultant, so hopefully a portion of the flying will be deductable write offs.

    Sorry, I'm not a fan of the high wing Cessnas. It's not you it's me. Too many out there - they all tend to look the same...
    I like to sit off the ground a little. The 310 cockpit reminds me alot of the KingAir, so there is a familiarity with that.
    If the security of the extra engine - and well, sex appeal - costs 5 gph... So be it.
    Lastly, for me the Singles can't match the ramp appeal of the 310. Call me shallow...
     
  21. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Hangar cost is equal, my insurance is lower.
     
  22. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    My old boss Ward Foley out of Long Beach and his truck. You don't get a better twin Cessna guy.
     
  23. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Since you're an acknowledged shower-dick kind of guy, just go ahead and get a 340 with the air-stair door. You'll look a lot cooler waving to the crowd.:D

     
  24. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    I had a 1972 C-310Q for 10 years, it was a great airplane.

    The 1970 through 1974 models were the "Q's" which are the best years of the 310 (IMO).

    I would definitely avoid anything prior to '64 due to overwing exhaust problems. Even on those earlier models that have been converted to underwing exhaust, if they were not properly maintained you will have major cost involved if a repair becomes necessary.

    Good luck in your search, it's a buyers market. A few nice planes out there, but also a lot of neglected junk.
     
  25. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Very true, that was the first thing I looked at when I was told about this plane. The owner had just gone through all that and had receipts. The way I operate all the augmentors collect is fine white lead powder, they'll last me a lifetime and are worth about 5 kts best I can tell.

    I agree the Q is probably all around "Best of Breed", but unless you need 6 passengers the big tube is a drag penalty, plus I never liked cantilever tanks and pointy nose. To me the D is the "Beauty of the Breed" and is also the most cost efficient 310 format, FI 260hp 470s. Without those 2 factors and the given condition I wouldn't have bought this plane.
     
  26. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Keep in mind that I publish what I observe, not what I wish I observed. It surprised me when I got those numbers, but it proved repeatable. As I said, though, I don't fly up there regularly - not much of a point without turbos. The only times I've taken the plane above 11,000 have been to avoid icing.

    Yeah, but I look cooler doing it. And I need to look cool, hence the long hair.

    And you were only doing it with one engine. ;)
     
  27. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    FTFY:rofl:
     
  28. MitchB

    MitchB Filing Flight Plan

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    Just WTF is that supposed to mean?

    It never ceases to amaze me. Every forum has a guy who looks for any posting to preach his sermon. Lucky me - you found me on my very first post!

    I guess it doesn't occur to you that everyone else either provides something postive, something constructive, or nothing. But not you.

    No where in my posts did I ask about Cessna singles. That was not an oversight. Still - you have to tell the world "mine's better...", and I'm some kind of dick for not agreeing?
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  29. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dude,

    Read the last line of your previous post. Wasn't that a set-up line and meant to be funny? If not, pardon the hell out of me.



     
  30. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Touchdown! Greaser!

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    :rofl:

    Wayne's sense of humor can take some getting used to. Plus, he and I give eachother a hard time about piston singles vs. twins.

    The 310 I fly is an N model. I agree that I think the Q is the best, having the bigger cabin without the phallic nose of the R model. That said, I think the N is probably one of the best-looking planes with the standard body. So that should fit within your '66-'70 range. I don't know anyone who's flown a 310 who didn't like it. They're just some great-flying planes.

    Given that you live in California, turbos could be useful for crossing the Rockies if you intend on doing so. However, Mari on here used to fly a 320 out of Denver, and I believe she said that in the event of an engine failure, clearing the mountains wasn't going to happen. If you want true single engine performance out of a T310 that is going to clear those peaks, you'll need a RAM T310R with the 335 HP engines. A friend of mine has one, and it's turboprop performance on piston dollars. He will routinely go up to FL190 and do 230 KTAS. He's also burning about 45 gph combined to do it.

    Beyond that, you're probably just as well off with naturally aspirated. Again, unless you plan on flying on long trips where you can take advantage of going up high and thus needing to put on the O2 mask.
     
  31. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Wayne has a million hours is bus jets and doesn't think planes between a 210 and King Air should exist and that nobody can operate a plane for less than what every jerk off throttle jockey business pilot will get, he knows what it cost his 195 knot ROP guys. Also, nothing less than a G-V is suitable for cross country flights.

    The main problem Wayne has though is he's a bean counter at heart and lives by the spreadsheet and anybody that makes a decision based on anything but the bottom line is an idiot. There is also the fact that his buddy/partner augured in their 340 and he carries emotional scars from that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  32. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He can speak for himself, but it's more that when he sees BS, he calls it. And, well...
     
  33. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And my personal airplanes are a Cessna 180 and a Taylorcraft L-2, which should prove conclusively that I'm a big-iron guy. Want me to review your record of aviaition accomplishments?

     
  34. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    That would take up the space of a text message, right? :rofl:
     
  35. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not quite, unless you included his full name.
     
  36. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Clearing the mountains on one engine wasn't going to happen. Continuing the takeoff wasn't going to happen either. As long as you had it in your mind that it was a glorified single it was fine. This was a 1967 320E.

    I can't comment on owning one for personal transpiration, though. I flew it for a company which did mapping. I also flew a turbocharged Cessna 206 of about the same vintage for the same company and would say that the 320 had more maintenance issues. I chalk a lot of that up to the fact that the 320 had two of a lot of things which the 206 did not.
     
  37. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I did not say what you are implying. You are including more than what I said. I specifically excluded 210 and smaller. No Wayne, I know damn well you are a pilot at the core. When you look up you smile, we share that I know. I know that you will always have a small plane and you have the one I would choose if I was you, but again, it's the best pilot/ bean counter choice because you consider any mission beyond that of a 210 absurd in a slow, unairconditioned, cramped, plane and should be done in first class of a jet. Thing that spoils you is that you have access to advanced jet aircraft I will likely never have. IIRC, you got into all that due to bean counting ability. So me as a life long professional equipment operator, boat captain, I come at it from a different perspective. I know how to not break crap. I will take the greatest capability machine I can afford and run it at 55% or so load, just reaching up on the pipe (~10.5 @7.5-9.5) getting me three miles a minute. I'm back down under 160 lbs and I like flying, and I like that I can Ft Lauderdale to Seattle in ~15 hrs. That is the mission I like capability for because it's one I'll use. I've spent enough professional time down low I feel safe there anywhere in the CONUS. This is also the plane I cannot rent nor do I have access to anything more capable. For me it's this or the airlines and I can fly my plane cheaper than flying first class. I lose a whole day to doing it on an airline because I'll likely have stop overs. Personally I'd rather take my breaks at FBOs than Terminals.

    You can't fathom that it can be done for those costs, and you can't fathom flying a 3 mile a minute plane across the country, especially with no autopilot, so you write me off as nuts and delusional, but I'm not, I'm just nuts.
     
  38. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Having never flown any of the 320s, I'd be curious to see the performance down here closer to sea level. Also, as I recall, you were typically pretty heavy with mapping equipment. The Navajo is pretty marginal on two engines, and I keep that in mind flying it. We accept flying it that, if the engine fails at a bad time, we're probably crashing. if it fails at a good time, we're hopefully making it back to the airport.

    The Colemill 310 has the nice benefit of actually having decent single engine performance, so long as you're close to sea level. That's part of why I like it so much.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  39. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Even with 260s I do fine this side of the Rockies with my typical load.
     
  40. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Ad there in is a consideration for a twin, if at the MEAs you will be flying it is only going down after an engine failure are you just more likely to have that fatal failure carting around more engine to fail? Are you going to have to keep the weight down to prevent that issue?

    Just things to think about, there are places that I'd want a turboed twin but might be ok with a NA single due to SE ceilings of the twin. If I'm going to fly a twin I'd like the good engine to take me to an airport, not the scene of the crash if I loose one.


    but I'm also a VFR flat land pilot so I wouldn't see much benefit from a second engine.