Six Seat Single?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by JamesA320, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    Just tool around? Like fun flights? Unless you're going on a boat with a guy named Gilligan, people generally don't bring bags for a three hour tour. And full tanks aren't usually required for just tooling around. I think a Cirrus would do fine for that kind of mission.

    Now if the mission is 2 adults and 2 teens or older plus bags for a week and traveling 1000nm regularly, then yeah you want something with 6 seats and probably something an 2nd engine. I haven't done the math on it, but I'd suspect you could load 4 adults and light overnight bags and still go 300-400nm in a Cirrus. 800 if you stop for fuel.

    How often do you plan to fill the seats and the baggage and the tank all on the same flight? I think quite a few owners will tell you they bought their first plane thinking they'd be packing up the family and/or friends and going on exotic trips every month only to find that 90% of their flying is solo or with just the front seats full.
     
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  2. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    I love the Turbo Lance we have. It has air conditioning. I wish it didn't.

    I'll expand on that.

    a) The air conditioning is R-12-based, as is any vehicle from that time period. R-12 might as well be fermented from unicorn farts these days. My mechanic has one remaining 30# can of it, but no idea where to get a good lead on another. Don't know about R134 conversions, but my experience in the automotive world on such isn't positive without significant changes to the system.

    b) The A/C and alternator share a drive off the flywheel. Each has their own belt. Means each belt must be smaller. They're basically overgrown rubber bands, so it seems. I'm sure the manufacturer would disagree and rant about all the engineering in that belt. Whatever. I've already lost one in-flight. It's unnerving. Pulley alignment is critical to keep it from happening again. The larger v-belt is more forgiving.

    I've had the A/C compressor removed, and, of course, belt removed. Saving some 20+ # off the nose. When it becomes convenient to remove more of the system, I will have it done.


    I love the Turbo, and what it means for me about developing power at higher-elevation airports. I flew to Springerville, AZ, to pick up some cargo, for the local charity here. The mission was broken into two so that two NA aircraft would be useful. I checked the box for both missions. My wife and I flew there, loaded up, and it left Springerville, climbing like a homesick angel. 1,000 fpm - not a problem from a high DA airport. I'm doing the same on Friday of this week with a blood-mission leaving Flagstaff, AZ.

    I've talked with Saratoga owners, and I've been met with unexpected "Lance-envy". They say they gain almost zip from the thinner wings, and lose some of the load capacity that we have.

    I do still believe the Lance is the best value in the six-seat single marketplace. Just don't tell anyone.
     
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  3. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Thank you for posting this info!

    My sense is some pilots tend to load their airplanes up all the time, especially load haulers like the PA-32. After all, that's why they bought it in the first place, right. :cool:

    Having owned a series of Piper Cherokee derivatives, including a Dakota, and now owner of a Piper Aztec, none of them have a wing that is really great at high altitude or high DA. This is especially noticeable if the plane is non-turbo and loaded up near gross.

    I'll confess, like your PA-32's previous owner, the altitude where I live was an important factor in the decision to upgrade to a twin. My attitude has always been " Fly it like a twin, load it like a single". There have been only a very few exceptions to that, such as 4 guys with tents and beer going 1200 nm one way to OSH for the week.
     
  4. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    Well this thread has a lot of great info! Again you are the experts and it’s great to hear all of these different opinions.

    As to do I really need to take my family with me, the answer is yes. I can’y justify spending $100k or maybe more and telling them to stay home. I think a smart buy is an aircraft where we can take it out for a weekend getaway (including bags). Surely not every flight will be fully loaded but I think it’s wise to have the ability.

    Also, if I am planning a 2.5 hour flight, I would most likely take at least 4 hours of fuel.

    Again I really appreciate all of the great advice coming in! Thank you
     
  5. JCranford

    JCranford En-Route

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    Turbo 210
     
  6. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Yep. With a STOL kit.
     
  7. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    Just for fun, I checked the density altitude at KVGT (North Las Vegas). It is 39C/103F. Elevation is 2,205 and the DA is 6,061.
     
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  8. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    Toga owners trade load for speed mostly......

    I’ll take getting there 7 min later vs leaving bags or fuel on the ground any day. My only wish is the TurbosPlus STC. Ain’t got $20k for it but damn I want it.
     
  9. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    Thank you for all of the wonderful input. It seems my research is pointing towards a 300hp PA-32 with fixed gear and a/c.

    Now for the fun part. Airplane hunting!
     
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  10. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    So life is changing fast. Sadly we had a tragedy in the family and we are looking to move to upstate NY to be with them. My wife’s family super close to Kline Kill airport (NY1). It is a grass strip surrounded by trees. It looks very nice but haven’t flown in there. Haven’t gotten around to GA as planned due to my own health but everything is good now (fingers crossed!).

    If I were to buy an airplane based on what I know today it would be a fixed gear Saratoga. I think turbo would be good but don’t think it is justified on the East Coast. Air Conditioning would be great, as would anti ice. It might just help reselling though. How is the performance of 6 seaters on grass fields? I heard the Saratoga/PA 32s are nose heavy. Is that a problem on grass fields? Is there a big difference between six seaters’ performance on grass fields? Or is it better to just avoid grass strips?
     
  11. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    PA 32 will be fine on a grass field, just keep things a couple hundred pounds below gross.. The cruise speed relies on the wheel pants, especially on post 78 models. They're gonna get beat up. I'd get a Lance for the same money. togas can be a bit porky, FG ones included. Sorry to hear about the family issues, 2020 has been a harsh year all around. Cheers.
     
  12. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Welcome back.

    This may not add much to your question, but the one time I hauled a piano (yes, like the ad shows) in a Saratoga SP it was out of a grass strip. We (two up front) were still well under gross). I wouldn’t consider the PA32R nose heavy, but that’s just me. The T-Tail Lance may be more likely to give that impression since the stabilator isn’t as effective at slow speeds during the takeoff roll.

    I would have no issue with the Cherokee Six or Saratoga on a well maintained grass strip as long as I wasn’t pushing the limits on obstacle clearance on every takeoff or landing.
     
  13. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Don't bother with air conditioning. It doesn't really do much for you, except add weight and draw power. It's also another thing to screw up if you miss it on your before landing checklist. Even in the PA32-300 it must be off during takeoff and landing because there is some part (I forget which) that extends when it is on.

    Point of reference: I co-owned (14 owners in the corp) a '75 PA32-300 for 5 years. It had non-op AC for the first 2 years. Then there was enough interest in fixing it. First year it was operating there were squawks that we had looked into because obviously the initial repair was substandard. Well, after futzing with it for a year or two we came to the conclusion that it is what it is.

    I haven't been in a '75 car in quite a while, so maybe the Piper A/C was on par with it's time when it was made, but you can't expect it to work like a modern car A/C and if your only getting it to solve "spousal concerns" you'll be in the hell our group with through. [Now that's funny, no A/C == hot as hell :)]
     
  14. JustinD

    JustinD Line Up and Wait

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    The whole 6 seat to carry 4 is just a rule of thumb and a myth I think that got lost with time. The useful loads on the cirrus especially the newer ones, including the turbos are so high that you should have no problem carrying 4 average people and bags. I have a 182 and often carry myself, and 3 friends plus some bags on 2+ hour flights well within the limits of the aircraft.

    of course the altitude adds a margin of performance you’ll probably want, but my point being I wouldn’t limit myself to looking at 6 place planes just cause of the old adage of 6 seats to take 4
     
  15. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    If you don’t mind EAB, Bearhawk offers a 4 place tailwheel and just announced a 6place tail wheel, each with amazing useful loads.
     
  16. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I never considered this option. That Bearhawk looks very cool! What do these things generally cost?
     
  17. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    I sure wish C-207s weren't so rare and expensive. You could put six people, a hot tub and a sauna in one of those things...
     
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  18. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    True that. But since they were pretty much all working airplanes, I would bet they have been ridden hard and put away wet.
     
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  19. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah, but nobody is selling them for cheap because of high time or wear and tear...

    I've seen a few basket cases and thought they could be rebuilt with 206 parts and a few calls to Kansas...
     
  20. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    I know this isn’t a 6 seater but an oppurtunity to buy a Cirrus might pop up. That was the plane I was originally interested in when I joined the POA community. It is a friend’s airplane. A very good friend of mine, he was my roommate in college. He just put in a new engine (overhauled I assume). I know how he treats his airplanes so that might be a great benefit. His family has grown from 4 to 5 and I believe he was looking into a 5 seat Cirrus. I hope to have details soon
     
  21. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Columbia (1B1). Problem solved.
     
  22. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    To conform with forum rules, one is required to recommend the plane that they are flying, regardless of the question asked. Also, somewhere in the TOS is a rule that every 'which airplane' thread needs to have the phrase 'buy a bonanza, because that's what you are gonna get eventually'.

    Soo.

    For
    - 4+ bags
    - from a grass field
    - in the northeast


    ....I would recommend a 70s era A36 converted to a IO550. If air conditioning is a must-have, there is an after-market solution which according to those who have it works very well:

    http://www.ftaaviation.com/bonanza-a-c.html

    It is a R134 system and it doesn't have that fold-out condenser that the old Piper system uses. It doesn't have a takeoff limitation and runs off its own belt on the rear of the engine (Conti alternator and starter are gear-driven). It's not cheap to add and requires some downtime. Also there is a 41lb weight penalty (the earlier planes have enough useful load that this would typically not be a problem for your use-case).

    An A36 does just fine flown off well maintained grass. Its also a few knots faster than a Lance or Saratoga. You do trade some cabin width and it curves in at the top rather than the rectangular profile of the Piper. I am 6'3" and fit just fine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  23. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Administrator Management Council Member

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    Moderator confirmed.

    OP needs a Skywagon.
     
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  24. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I knew it !

    All kidding aside, a skywagon (or a 185) would be an excellent 4+bags aircraft to fly off a grass strip. Should be about the same UL and speed as a fixed gear PA32. A bit spendier to buy, but you get that back on the re-sale (and if Cirri are in the OPs sights, a few $$ up front may not be an obstacle).

    It doesn't require AC either.
     
  25. Glen R

    Glen R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Surprised it took this long to recommend the A36. It's perfect for his mission and certainly flies a lot nicer than the Piper/Cessna suggestions. Also great off of grass fields.
     
  26. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    I came here to recommend an A36 (I want an A36).
     
  27. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Actually, the second post recommended a 'Bonanza'. I just think for the specific family hauling task, the A36 has some advantages, mainly the favorable CG range and the extra door for the passengers. I have club-seating, but not everyone wants to travel backwards facing. The middle row can be turned around and 4 people (and bags) can be spread around in pretty much any configuration (the only thing the manual iirc prohibits is to have one seat forward and one backwards facing in the middle row).
     
  28. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    The G5 and later SR22 has a 3,600 lb max gross and around 2,400 lb empty weight (depending on how you configure it).. unless you plan to fly 700 nautical mile legs that should be enough for 4 people and reasonable gas

    OR.. Piper Malibu.. much cheaper, comparable speed, maybe even faster, and pressurized and 6 seats
     
  29. Glen R

    Glen R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wouldn't fly either of those onto a grass field. Also assumes he wants to spend 500K or more?
     
  30. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    I didn't realize that was a requirement..

    Are grass fields that common? outside of plum Island in the last 20 years I don't think I've ever landed on a grass field or had the need to

    But, if the grass field is a requirement then that basically relegates him to high wing

    RE: $500K
    There are some nice Malibu that I found around the 400k mark.. not sure what his price range is but since he mentioned Cirrus I assumed that price point was not unreasonable
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  31. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    As I think it over, being based at a grass field in upstate NY is not the best idea. A grass field just so happens to be the closest airport to our family. But I can drive 10 more minutes and base out of an airport that I could land at night. Or in some weather that is less than great.

    So grass fields is no longer a requirement. It would be great to do it now and again. The 185 and Bonanzas are airplanes that I know absolutely nothing about. So I shall do some research. Ideally budget is $125k(ish)

    Thanks!
     
  32. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Then my vote goes to Bonanza
     
  33. Glen R

    Glen R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You should get someone to fly you in any of the planes you are considering. I know if you go to www.beechtalk.com and introduce yourself you will have guys willing to take you for a ride. Not sure about Cessna/Piper forums.
     
  34. Glen R

    Glen R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    185 is a tail dragger. Not sure if that matters to you. 125K is kind of thin for a decent A36 but that's the plane you need.
     
  35. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    yes, my post may have not been clear. that’s an airport not an airplane. Columbia County.
     
  36. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    Thank you for the great idea! I will look into it

     
  37. JamesA320

    JamesA320 Pre-Flight

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    I have never flown a taildragger. That is not a disqualifier by any means though.

    The Bonanza is an idea that I never really considered- I think I heard that they were very expensive to acquire and maintain and that they have a smaller cabin. Maybe I was incorrect with my assumptions so I will researcg them more
     
  38. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When talking about Bonanzas, you need to keep in mind that there are two main flavors, short and long. The regular V-tails (BE35) and Debonair (BE33) types are 4-seaters* with one door. They are great, and you will find people who can regale you with stories from the 70s when their family of 5 with a dog flew all over the country in theirs, but the reality is they are tight inside and often have some center of gravity limitations. This is in contrast to the A36 which is on paper a 6-seater with two doors. The last row of seats is weight limited, iirc to 200lbs combined, so those two seats are really for kids or skinny women. Apples to apples, useful loads in a A36 is slightly lower than what you would find in a similar vintage Lance or 210. Unless your goal is to fly with 6 adults, the typical UL of an older A36 is going to be entirely adequate for a family of 4.
    As for 'expensive'. I doubt there is going to be much of a difference between a similar condition A36 and a Lance or Saratoga. You can probably find a basket-case Lance for a little bit less than a Bo, but for well maintained and equipped models, I doubt the difference is significant. They do use continental engines rather than Lycoming which gets you into religious debates as to the merits of either. Neither of these planes is 'cheap' to maintain, but they basically have the same number of systems.





    * some came with a little kiddie-seat in the luggage compartment, but that doesn't really qualify them as 5 or 6 seaters.
     
  39. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    You should look at Cessna 210s as well. Some people here are afraid of potential landing gear issues, but they carry a load and cover ground quickly.
     
  40. Heftiger

    Heftiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In the spirit of suggesting the airplane you own, I think a Lance fits here.
    We use our Lance for 4 adults + 2 kids and baggage. This last trip we even added the dog.

    I do think that getting a ride in some examples mentioned above may provide some clarity. Be sure to bring the wife along, something you think is no big deal may be a nonstarter for her.