Saratoga best for my flying?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Seminole Pilot, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    1st post on here:
    So we live in Florida most the year but have a summer home up in Michigan where we spend all summer (2-3 months). Up to this point I have always flown commercial commuting back and forth (own a business and office is in FL), however I am now entertaining flying myself. Where we live in Michigan, the closest commercial airport is about a 2 hour drive and involves connecting flights to make it to FL (total travel time of 7-8 hours) but there is a small airport where I got my PPL about 15 min from our house. The total distance from there to the airport by our house in FL is about 900nm. I've been thinking of buying a 6 seater to fly myself back and forth over the summer (probably cut my flight time down to 5 hours +/-) and as well have the room to fly the family (wife & 3 small kids) . I've been looking at the 3 main options of Bonanza A36, Saratoga, and Cessna. I really like the club seating and it seems the Saratoga (retractable) would be best for useful load and not far off speed of the A36's. Anything I'm missing or should be thinking of?

    So far the majority of my flight time has been in a 182 so I have my high performance and complex endorsements and am about to start my IFR training as I definitely want that for the long commute if I do go this route.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    In the early 1990s I rented a Saratoga SP (normally-aspirated) extensively for business and several long family vacations. We traveled with up to five adults, or four adults + two kids, and enjoyed the stretch-out room. It trued out at a skosh over 160 KTAS at 16 gph. My wife still says that if money were no object, that is what we would own (but it is very much an object, so we have a 172 :cool: ).

    Screen Shot 2019-01-23 at 2.45.27 PM.jpeg
     
  3. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    Thanks! Yes this would be a mix of business and pleasure but I definitely plan on taking deductions for business use which helps! I've enjoyed the 182 I fly now (my father's plane) however with a growing family of five now we can't all fit if we want to go somewhere. Also it'd be nice to have the 6 seater if we want to do any last minute long weekend trips up to our place in Michigan or elsewhere. When doing hypo's on travel time I've been using between 160-180 on speed depending if we went turbo or non-turbo. It seems non-turbo might be the better option to get slightly larger useful load as well as longevity of engine for overhauls, while giving up minimal speed differential.
     
  4. drjcustis

    drjcustis Pre-Flight

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    I’ve got a Saratoga and love it. I went with a fixed gear (less cost in maintenance, not much loss in speed). We take it everywhere.

    You should see how the wife loads it up. There’s a box for snack and entertainment. She has a bag with her computer and work stuff. The baby has a car seat base installed; the older child has an aviation harness in place. Everyone hops in and gets comfortable.

    I’ve had the kids fall asleep on roll out and wake up as the wheels touch ground.

    As the children get older, they occasionally come up to the front with me for a little while.

    A trip from Michigan to Florida would be a long haul. I’d bet you would be making a stop on the way down. But, there’s plenty of spots to get out and stretch. We’ve gone 5 hours in one stretch, but that’s pushing it and everyone is cranky. Three and a half to four hours is the sweet spot.

    My two cents is to look for something more comfortable rather than faster. We have friends with a Mooney and they will get to where we are going a bit sooner, but not as comfortable.


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  5. Islandbrah

    Islandbrah Pre-Flight

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    I just sold my 6-300. Loved it! I’d say go for a 6, toga, or lance. Nothing will compare in size and after 3 hours in the air that is the only thing that matters.
     
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  6. DutchRoller

    DutchRoller Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If you've been flying a Seminole, you might prefer to stick with Piper and go with the Saratoga.
     
  7. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    No, sorry about the name as it has nothing to do with flying. I went to school at Florida State University and am a being FSU Seminole fan (we go up to all the football games in the fall). I learned in a 172, but most of my flying experience has been in a 182 my family owns currently. I also got checked out at one point and have a few hours in a PA-28 so have a little Piper experience.
     
  8. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    Thanks! That's exactly the info I was looking for. Yes we'd definitely do 1 stop on way up and back unless we got a big tail wind. Kids already love flying with me now but the Saratoga will be night and day room for them compared to the 182 we fly now. What is your typical cruising speed in the fixed gear?
     
  9. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    Fly one first....it's a different animal than a 182. I had a Six for years and liked it. IMHO club seating is over-rated. If you find a nice one that's got standard seating don't let that ruin the deal. I rarely used the middle seats...often times those seats were out.

    btw....I sold it to upgrade to something smaller and faster....a 195kt V-tail Bonanza. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  10. DutchRoller

    DutchRoller Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Ah, both Seminole and Pilot made me think it was about flying being that it is on a aviation page. :cool:
     
  11. drjcustis

    drjcustis Pre-Flight

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    I say I cruise at 140 knots.

    In the lower to mid levels and 18 gph, I get about 145.
    Slightly higher up and 14gph, I get about 135. I can run LOP.

    I typically pull the rpms way back. Much lower noise. The back of the plane at 2100 rpm is about 78-80 decibels.

    With just me and the wife, we can climb and cruise at 15-17,000 and take great advantage of winds. The kids restrict our altitude.


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  12. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    1980 Piper ad:

    pa32-c210-a36.jpg

    Video of a 1990 family trip in the Saratoga from Medford, Oregon, home to Van Nuys, CA, with a stop at Nut Tree, CA. (Excuse the very old-school video technology)

     
  13. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    Thanks, we’ll need a 6 seater though as we are a family of 5 and some trips will be with everyone. If it was just me, or myself and 1 or 2 others I’d definitely be looking at something smaller & faster however I’m in need of a mini-van/Suburban of the skies....
     
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  14. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Indeed, very few singles compare with the volumetrics of the -32/34 variants. That said, the 182 is not what I would describe as a cramped cabin.
     
  15. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My wife and I have a Turbo Lance (same thing) and call it our Suburban of the skies.

    It meets our needs nicely. Sounds as if it would yours as well.
     
  16. AnthonyS1

    AnthonyS1 Pre-Flight

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    How come the Saratoga seems to burn so much more fuel than the bonanza/cirrus and is still about 15 knots slower??? Can the lycoming in the saratoga not be ran LOP? The saratoga IISP I had time in did about 155ktas at 18GPH. Very spacious and roomy cabin even more so upfront it seemed than the cirrus and I believe the cirrus technically has a wider cabin. Just not a very efficient airplane..
     
  17. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    It's bigger inside...and has more frontal area...which translates into drag. But, they'll haul more than a Bonanza or any other single too. Mine had a useful load of 1550 lbs....

    I think it's 4-5" wider....it's considerable and very noticeable. I miss the large cockpit. At one point I was close to 300 lbs....and was very comfortable flying it. Probably wouldn't be as comfortable in the Bo that size....but I'm smaller now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
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  18. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    I own a 82 Saratoga SP. Flew the family from NJ to the outer banks this summer. Four of us in total, and kids are both over 100 lbs. A weeks worth of bags, beach stuff, and even food. Still had enough useful load and a little to spare to carry 80 gallons of fuel. It was about a 2 hour ride, and everyone was comfortable.

    You can get the fuel burn down to 13 to 14 GPH with some leaning ( still stayed ROP). I do have a JPI 830 in the plane that helps a lot with that however.

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  19. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I’m pretty sure every time you brag about your v-tail it gets 5 knots faster....
     
  20. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    well....it is a turbo. :D
     

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  21. AnthonyS1

    AnthonyS1 Pre-Flight

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    What is your true airspeed at that fuel burn? (13-14GPH)
     
  22. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    I generally see about 150 knots IAS if I set power and lean for about 60 to 65 % power at 6000 feet. My ground speed at that altitude usually reads around 160 knots.

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  23. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Cleared for Takeoff

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    @Seminole Pilot , I used to rent a 2000 something Turbo Saratoga before buying our plane. It was the newest/nicest plane I'd flown. While I do think a Saratoga/Lance would probably fit your mission the best, I would suggest finding one of the leaner versions. The plane I rented was turbo, had O2 and air conditioning. It burned 17-18 gph to keep the TIT's in check down lower. Kids and supplemental O2 usually doesn't work well. By the time I loaded my family up, we couldn't carry much gas and range was hamstrung by those burn rates.

    My understanding is that Lance's in general have larger useful loads...may be something to look into. If I got a Toga it would be normally aspirated with no O2 or A/C. They do seem to have the roomiest cabins in the single class.

    Good luck on your plane search. :)
     
  24. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback. So far confirms we are probably on the right path so far. Think we’ll definitely do retractable but thinking maybe no to turbo. All flying will be on East coast. As noted anywhere from short trips to as long as FL to MI. Really looking forward to taking last minute weekend trips here & there with the family. From what I’m seeing so far most Saratogas are in the 175-225K range with fairly updated avionics & low SMOH engine hours. Does that sound about right? Anything I should look out for specifically when looking at them? Looks like there is one dealer in Michigan that specializes & sells a ton of them, even offering a 3 day class once buying.
     
  25. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    Thanks! Just the info I was looking for!
     
  26. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    If you're gonna spend $200k....I'd be looking at A36's. Faster and better loading and finish quality.

    IMHO....togas are nice, but the Chevy brand.
     
  27. bluesky74656

    bluesky74656 Line Up and Wait

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    I have access to a few different Bonanzas, a couple 35s and a 36. I’m also a family of 5 with three small children. With 4 of us going, I’ll take the 35 Bonanza all day every day. The first time I put 5 people in the 36 I was shocked at how little room was left over for stuff. If I’m ever in the position to purchase a plane of my own, I think the Saratoga would beat out the Bonanza just for that reason.

    Although in my dream I’d spring for the TN version so it would keep up with the Bonanza. And also get the de-iced version so I can fly reliably in the winter.
     
  28. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    My Saratoga SP is retract non turbo, has AC, has a bigger cabin than A36 and a useful load of #1285. Thst is hard to beat. If I pulled the AC I would likely gain another 50# useful load.

    Bonanzas are great and faster, but earlier toga's will always beat them in cabin size and usually useful load.

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  29. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    well....if you really want to haul the family and all the crap....I'd go for a 300 HP straight legged Six. It will carry everything you'll put in my Yukon XL along with the people. Can't do that with the other PA-32 retracts....but, you'll be tooling along at 135-140 kts and 16-18 gph.

    Ya also won't be climbing much higher than 8-9,000 feet....it runs out of umph quickly.
     
  30. bluesky74656

    bluesky74656 Line Up and Wait

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    Once you’ve tasted 170 in a Bonanza it’s hard to go back to 135.
     
  31. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    Not unusual for those to ha e over 1400 lbs useful, but they are 10 to 15 knots slower.

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  32. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    :thumbsup:

    I hear that's one of the benefits for guys of my advanced age...you shrink, and Mooneys and Bo's don't seem as cramped as they used to.
    Just sayin' :D
     
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  33. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    and a turbo....will spoil things too. Climb performance up into the teens is real nice in the summer.
     
  34. bluesky74656

    bluesky74656 Line Up and Wait

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    I’ve heard reports that the TN Saratoga will hit 180 up high. That would be acceptable.
     
  35. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    If you were running a NA Lycoming 540 at 18 gph its you, not the airplane, that is not very efficient. If it was a turbo, well....
     
  36. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    Unless you're an A&P, which I am, that will require more care and feeding $$$.....;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  37. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    What year is yours & typically what do you see as a cruising speed? Curious for our longer flights to get an idea of how long it would be flight time. Your specs are similar to a few I’ve started to look at.

    Thanks
     
  38. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    There are a few in the 130-150 range but seems most of the better fitted & lower hours are around 200 as noted. Bonanzas I agree are very nice but the useful load really gets me as I think they’re too low for what we are needing.
     
  39. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    go out on FlightAware and punch up the PA-32's...you can see what folks are getting in speed. You can also look at their other trips too.
     
  40. Seminole Pilot

    Seminole Pilot Pre-Flight

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    Didn’t even think of that. Thanks!