Tell me about Twins...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by TimRF79, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Insurance fraud is an economic decision.
    If the speed/payload/OEI performance of a Pa30 is sufficient, then yes there is little reason to choose an twin with only marginally better performance.

    I know you said bonanza, just to point out that the same skin on the Baron can be replaced with a STC'd aluminum part.

    But they had the part or the process to make a one-off.

    Experimental exhibition is a different animal from using a certified airplane for personal transportation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
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  2. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    It isn't so much gear up landings on the Comanche/Twin Comanche series but the gear collapses from poor maintenance. The landing gear has to be properly maintained by someone who knows the system well, especially in how to rig it. The service manual is not quite enough to do a really good job, though rigidly following with get everything serviceable. Fortunately, there is a lot of tribal knowledge out there and good third-party support plus a very strong community that helps each other out. There is a Comanche Facebook page and the Airworthy Comanche Forum on Delphi where there is access to a lot of savvy owners and mechanics who are generous with their information and tips.
     
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  3. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    Actually, landing gear struts can be weld repaired by S&B Industries and an outfit in Australia as an STC for an entirely new strut housing. They are a bit dear, but a permanent fix as they are machined and not cast or forged. Pretty much all the other landing gear parts are available and the prices are generally less than Textron will want. The one caveat is that you either need to avail oneself of a Comanche specialty shop or the owner needs to be involved in the community so he/she can find out what the best solution to any issue is and take that to the mechanic. This is because so much of the support is third party, you have to know where to go.

    Sad to say, ICS is not really the place to start anymore. Due largely to internal fratricide, most of the technically savvy owners and more importantly the professionals with the information needed to properly support the aircraft, have left ICS. The good news is the internet as one can get the information needed with a few key strokes. The Facebook site and the Airworthy Comanche Forum are the two most trafficked sites. Facebook is a bit more social and the Airworthy Comanche forum is a bit more technical.
     
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  4. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    To be sure, light twins must be operated within the limitations imposed by physics and pilot skill. I look at the Twinkie as a single where only half of the engine will fail at a time. If you lose one before clearing obstacles and you're near MGW, it's best to pull the power and take what you get, just like a single.

    Never said it wasn't... Just that relative to the Twin Comanche, it is "piggish" in fuel burn per mile traveled (nm/g). The Seneca is about the same speed as the Twinkie but burns significantly more fuel. If one wants to buy the fuel to have the extra two seats and back door (which is very nice), then it's a fine bird.
     
  5. N1120A

    N1120A Line Up and Wait

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    The Seneca is a fair bit faster than the Twinkie, particularly the turbo ones. In fact, at altitude, they will outrun a Baron. They do burn more thank the Twinkie, less than the Baron.
     
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  6. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    The Seneca I is slower. I have never seem better than 155 KTAS in a Seneca I and usually less. The NA Twin Comanche is 160-170 KTAS. A Seneca II and later models were all turbocharged. At a high enough altitude they will out run an NA Twinkie. It is a closer thing down low, and the Seneca will burn quite a bit more fuel for whatever speed advantage is gained. About the only comparison that I would credit as a "fair bit faster" would be the Seneca II in the teens against the NA Twin Comanche.
     
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  7. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    The Seneca II will also behave a little better at high altitude airports if kept LIGHT. Something to consider if those are on the “to visit” list.

    I don’t think I’d take most light twins INTO the mountains very often, willingly. OVER the mountains with O2, yes. But descending into a valley you can’t get back out of, down a mill, is a unique problem in the rocks.

    I know @bbchien has planned this out very carefully for his airplane and won’t come down an approach (VMC!) into a mountain valley he can’t climb back out of on one engine, at today’s weights and temps.

    Have to pay attention to that aspect in the numbers and fly ‘em by the numbers. They’re dogs on one engine. The phrase Kent is using, that it’s like losing half an engine on a single, is inaccurate.

    You lose more than 50% performance on almost all light twins with one down, even flown perfectly with the slight bank into the running engine and perfect rudder trim for the slightly crooked fuselage angle...

    And most of us aren’t SuperPilot. Give yourself some error margin... please. Numbers. Use them.
     
  8. mooneyflyfast

    mooneyflyfast Filing Flight Plan

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    I flew a Seneca 11 for 10 years. What I liked: Nose and aft baggage, tons of room in the wide cabin, large useful load, quiet cabin, vmc of 66 knots, docile s.e. handling, s.e. service ceiling of 13,000+ feet, rear door for loading pasengers. It is stable which is what you want in a cross country airplane, especially flying ifr. An airplane with "responsive" controls that you fly with your fingertips and have to watch like a hawk is not good on a transportation airplane.
     
  9. N1120A

    N1120A Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah, I'm going to disagree there. When you become proficient in a plane with "responsive" controls, as you put it, they make the best "transportation" airplanes. My Tiger is a great example.
     
  10. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    That is an interesting way of saying that the Seneca does not have very responsive controls. The Seneca I's ailerons are so unresponsive that it is a danger in a gusty crosswind. Piper changed the ailerons with the Seneca II to give them somewhat of a Fowler effect, but they are still lack anything that could be confused for crisp roll response. The strength of the Senecas are the cabin and cargo door. Unfortunately, they don't have the useful load to make fuel use of it, though perhaps some of the later versions have upped the useful load. My experience has been with the I's and II's.

    A Twin Comanche is responsive and very nice to fly. It can be hand flown in IMC, but like any aircraft, it is fatiguing in the extreme to have to do so. An autopilot is a key feature of any traveling machine, IMO. Problem solved.

    A Twin Comanche with tip tanks allows about 3.5 hours (500nm) of endurance and 700-750lbs in the cabin. If a prospective buyer needs more, my preference is an Aztec. It is more versatile, hauls more, and can be had in turbo models. The engines are more bulletproof than the Seneca II-V's engines and the airplane is more docile and better performing on one engine. It is also better in ice and is structurally stronger than the Senecas. The airframe requires more labor to maintain and inspect, but the engines are less costly to keep going. I have not owned or managed a Seneca II for long enough to have first hand knowledge of the maintenance issues, but people who have tell me that while the Seneca's TSIO-360's will now generally make TBO, the cylinders generally do not and one has to plan to pay to replace or overhaul the cylinders during the life of the engines.
     
  11. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    As you know, responsive and stable are not mutually exclusive until you get into the extremes of one or the other. Most modern aircraft generally get a pretty good balance between the two.
     
  12. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    I fly my NA Twin Comanche in the mountains from time to time. I don't descend into a valley unless I intend to land there. That means that there is an airport in the valley. The Twinkie, like all twins, we stop descending at a higher altitude than it can climb to on one engine. My Twin Comanche will stop descending at between 7 & 8,000 DA. This will allow me to get to the airport, most places. Obviously, taking off from a higher DA airport leaves a much larger window of vulnerability in a twin than does taking off at sea level. I ameliorate that with generally reliable engines, good maintenance, and engine monitors. Really no more dangerous than flying a single engine airplane out of a place like Denver.
     
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  13. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not sure where you're getting those numbers, but... No, that's not the case, especially if you're comparing turbo vs turbo and na vs na.

    This.

    How so?

    I mean that phrase in a couple of ways:

    1) If you lose one in a must-climb situation, it's generally better to just pull the power and land, unless the remaining engine can extend your glide to a better spot to put down.
    2) If you're in a really high DA situation, you're not going to be able to maintain altitude if you lose an engine. The twin, at least, will have an extended glide.

    There is NO situation where a single is better than a twin when it comes to losing an engine except with a pilot who doesn't fly and train enough to maintain proficiency in OEI operations.

    This is really what I mean by the "half an engine failure" comment. You'll have more ability to get to safety with half an engine than with no engine, and in many situations you still need to treat the twin like it's a single since it can't always fly away from an engine failure. The advantage to the light twin is that it has a better "glide" ratio with one engine out than a single, and that with both engines operating it should have excellent climb rates.
     
  14. N1120A

    N1120A Line Up and Wait

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    Only the Seneca I was NA. The Seneca V is definitely faster than a Baron at altitude
     
  15. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    My point was you never just lose “half” of available climb ability in a twin. Due to aerodynamic factors you always lose more than half. When windmilling you lose WAY more than half. Then you fix that and end up below half. So size the remaining engine accordingly... and most of us can’t. We’re flying light twins. So all we have control over is load.

    And there is one scenario where that gives the single the advantage. A true “partial power” scenario where you truly did lose only half or so on the single. Not common. But happens.

    You SHOULDN’T really limp a single back to the airport on a rough engine but it happens successfully all the time. So reality vs training here... it could kill ya when it quits completely.

    If you toss one on a *typical light* twin (the qualifiers are important...) at high DA, you’re landing straight ahead off airport. You MIGHT limp the single back to the runway. MAYBE. The prop became your aerodynamic enemy instead of friend. Haha. Bastard. :)

    It’s all what you’ve got for horsepower left to hold you aloft, and all of these are total emergency scenarios however you slice and dice them. Just fun to speculate about.

    With most pilots not remembering to even try both mags in that scenario, I highly doubt most of us are truly ready for any of it. But at least in the twin if we’re proficient we’ll get it stopped and feathered maybe. Not on departure though... not with eight seconds to do it when windmilling at this altitude. You’re hitting terra firma. The performance just sucks too much.

    The other concept was the mountain valley. You’re pooched either way in a mountain valley with no airport below, but I’d rather do the crash landing in the single there. Energy dissipation and what not, I can safely get most singles much slower while still in control.

    Fun to talk about. Here’s hoping none of us ever face it. Especially on a day without enough coffee. :)
     
  16. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    And you didn't even stop at KOLM and say hello. Hope you had a great trip.
     
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  17. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Only thing worse than one geared lycoming is two geared lycomings.
     
  18. Deano

    Deano Filing Flight Plan

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    I was referring to the 500, 500A, 500B, 500U, and 500 shrike that all have non geared Lycoming's.
     
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  19. Kristin

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    Are you saying that a Seneca V is faster than a turbo Baron or are you comparing apples with oranges?
     
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  20. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yes, I know that. I was NA, II was turbo 200hp, III-V were/are turbo 220hp, all with various limitations.

    However, like I said, when you compare turbo vs turbo and NA vs NA, no way the Seneca outruns a Baron. A Seneca V is definitely not faster than a B56TC or a B58P at altitude.

    True... But you still don't lose it all when you lose one engine.

    Depends on the situation. If I have areas to land along the way back to the airport if it quits entirely, I'm gonna limp back to the airport. If there's a field right in front of me and a bunch of trees and/or rocks between me and the airport, not so much.

    Depends what you mean by "typical light". IIRC you did your multi in a Seminole, which has about the worst single-engine service ceiling out of any twin - 3800 feet IIRC. The Twinkie's is 7000 feet, and theoretically if you do everything right, that's a 50 fpm climb. But it should maintain pattern altitude for you unless the day is hot. Otherwise, it will slowly drift down. But it's still going to be able to go farther than a single with OEI. ;)

    Which is why it needs to be treated like a single in that scenario.
     
  21. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Turbo Seminole actually. It’s closer to the Twinkie than the NA one, and they’re both still not going to hold pattern altitude in Denver on anything but a winter day here... or a cool Spring/Fall day. :)

    Neither will any of the others we were discussing. Nor will any of them stay above the valleys in the mountains west of here, which was what we were talking about, and why I said they’re great “above the mountains but not down in the valleys” airplanes.

    Or as someone else said, never down in the valley unless there’s an airport in it. :)
     
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  22. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    NA Twinkies do better than NA Seminoles and Turbo Twinkies do better than Turbo Seminoles. Not sure why you keep comparing turbocharged aircraft to NA aircraft and think that it means anything.

    I am guessing you haven't much time in a Twinkie. At an DA of about 8,500 my Twinkie will not hold altitude. It comes down at about 100 fpm. That is a pretty good "glide" ratio.

    Not sure why one is flying a lot in valleys when there are no airports there. I have crossed the Sierras and the Rockies more than a dozen times in my NA Twin Comanche. Will be doing it again this weekend as I am heading from SIT to APA. The airplane happily cruises at any altitude up to about 15,000 DA, and will go higher. If one packs it in on me, I anticipate no particular problem in finding an airport for 90%+ of the journey.

    The proper comparison is between a single and a twin. While a Twin Comanche will not hold pattern altitude in Denver in the summer, no single, anywhere, at any time, will hold pattern altitude after losing an engine.
     
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  23. PaulMKE

    PaulMKE Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Curious on any thoughts on the Aerostar (PA-61 or equivalent)? Saw one at Airventure and was intrigued.
     
  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    We are discussing all types because the guy can buy any of them.

    We’re discussing down in the valleys because I asked him what his intended desrinations were with a warning not to be fooled by owning a light twin that it’ll climb out of every problem of an engine quits.

    Your last statement is exactly what I was conveying to him. A light twin at SOME destinations is a descending glider. He’s not buying a King Air.

    Make more sense with the summary?
     
  25. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    We chose a 310R (non-turbo) after a lot of thought and research, and window shopping of course. I could sit here and agree and disagree with almost every post but ultimately it's a personal decision on what fits you, your mission and your budget best. We spend a lot of hours crossing the Rockies between Arizona and South Dakota, day and night, summer and winter. Although only 30ish knots faster than our 182RG is really opens up the operating window. Having two homes also means we bring a lot of things back and forth.... last winter I took a full size hanging lamp and an office chair with me. Oshkosh 2018 my husband and I took 2 friends with us from Phoenix to Oshkosh and back. Plenty of room for all of us and our stuff. I should have kept track of how many gallons of fuel we burned but frankly I didn't really want to know. We fly day or not, rain or shine and we have that extra margin of safety in that we have two engines, vacuum pumps, alternators, deice boots etc. Having two engines is a lot more than just the two engines it's all the other redundant systems as well. You do need to stay current though and make it a point to do so. Twins are less forgiving than singles.

    I think our last annual was around $5k. Included an overhauled heater (per AD, and I was getting a little chilly) and a few other small things. We find ourselves replacing things throughout the year rather than waiting so it may be skewed a bit. Just had to overhaul one of the engine driven fuel pumps to the tune of $900 though. Yippee.

    At the end of the day you're the one that needs to see the benefit in whatever you buy. I don't think a Twinkie makes sense for your mission, but others do. I think 310s and Barons make the most sense for a mission and budget like yours but it's up to you to decide.

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  26. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    Discussing is good and I agree with your general conclusions about light twins. However, it appeared that you were intent on making broader comparisons between turbo versions of some aircraft and NA versions of others.

    I would also caution anyone from believing that they are going to climb out of a valley on one engine in a light twin recip, even if it is turbocharged. Aside from the fact that the climb will be anemic, the potential for overheating the good engine is pretty high. The use of a turbo is to keep you have having to descent into a particular valley, essentially allowing you to choose your valley.
     
  27. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Yep. The broader discussion was just letting the OP have info for options if they regularly fly out west to mountainous destinations, or would consider it more with a twin. Turbos are a a available but they may not be a huge help.

    Local car dealer owner even managed to plaster his twin as I recall, many years ago (early 90s? Will have to dig for the accident report...) into a mountain in Rocky Mtn National Park when he couldn’t escape (or didn’t plan a proper escape!) from downdrafts attempting to cross Corona Pass westbound with tons of people aboard. Airplane heavy, couldn’t make the escape turn.

    I honestly now can’t remember if everyone survived. The searches kinda run together in my head that far back. Hours and hours of looking for most of them. That on sticks because it was found fairly quickly.

    Trade offs and risks in everything. I think we got a good summary out there if the guy wants to go west and buy turbos! :)
     
  28. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They'll get you a lot of knots out of a reasonable amount of gas. However, they are terribly unforgiving on one engine and can be maintenance hogs as well. They're certainly not something you would want as your first twin.
     
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  29. Kristin

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    The maintenance costs on an Aerostar run the gamut from typical light twin to almost Duke levels. There is a wide gap between the 600 Aerostar which is non-pressurized and normally aspirated to the 700 and Machen souped up pressurized Aerostar.

    Nice flying and once clean and has the speed up, it isn't too bad on one engine. However, with 20 degrees of flaps for takeoff and the thin wing, there is a long window of vulnerability from rotation until getting the gear and flaps up and having accelerated to blue line.
     
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  30. Initial Fix

    Initial Fix Pre-Flight

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    So what I’m reading is yes, complex aircraft like a twin cost more to operate. Not entirely surprised at that. And there is the extra gotcha of the eventual overhaul of two motors which explains why many twins are for sale with different overhaul times left and right.

    Curious if anyone has data for insurance for equal priced high performance single to twin?
     
  31. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    With 12 hrs of multi time and a fresh ME ticket : huuge
    With 3000hrs multi time and 200hrs in the last year :little difference on a per $1000 hull basis.
     
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  32. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    That wasn't my experience. I resemble the latter remark and when I did some looking for myself, total ME time seemed to matter eff-all to them by comparison. It was the "make and model" time that they honed in on. At that point I laughed and moved on with my life.
     
  33. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    :yeahthat:

    That's my experience too. My insurance company won't let my kid brother fly my Aztec unless he logs 10 hours of dual with a qualified instructor first.

    He's got a ton of twin turbine time including the MD F-18 Hornet, twin turbine helicopters, and more than 20 years flying narrow-body and wide-body jets for the airline. But he hasn't flown a piston twin since the late 1980s. And that's all that counts for the insurance company.

    For me? The insurance on the Aztec, for comparable coverage, is almost identical to my Husky. And the Husky could hardly be considered a "complex single".
     
  34. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Heck, I'm baffled when I see both engine times the same, unless it's a plane that was being used to make money. Why would you overhaul the second engine when the first one goes just because they happen to be attached to the same airplane? Only good reason I can think of is if one is already showing signs of needing a full overhaul and then the second one goes unexpectedly.
     
  35. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Line Up and Wait

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    Wow. I'm glad we're not alone.

    I tell my wife if we pack any more stuff she's forcing an upgrade to a Navajo.
     
  36. Twin_Flyer

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  37. Kristin

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    Considering that F-18's and transport category jets have little in common with an Aztec, 10 hours of dual is pretty reasonable, IMO.
     
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  38. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    For some it could be about dispatch rate and downtime, especially if they have the money and don’t need to be frugal about it. Swap em both and get on with life.

    Probably do a whole bunch of other stuff to it at the same time.

    “It’s already in the hangar so do all this stuff on the wish list while you’re swapping engines.”
     
  39. FlyingTiger

    FlyingTiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sep 9, 2014
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    Lehman, PA
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    FlyingTiger
    To rent the Aztec at our FBO, you need 500 total hours, 100 ME and 25 in Type.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  40. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    weilke
    I see that I didn't write what I meant: Once you have a pile of hours in your twin, the per $1000 insurance cost decreases to a level similar to that of a complex single with a similar in-type experience. Then it comes down to what you put on replacement value for your aircraft on whether you pay more or less than the comparable single. A cursory look at the market suggests that 'twins are cheaper to buy'. While that is true for 'slightly neglected twins with high time engines', any example with recent quality overhauls, updated avionics and P&I is going to cost the same or more than the comparable single (e.g. BE58/A36, PA34/PA32). Some twin owners like to compare a decked out A36 with a tired B55, but that's just not the same thing.

    And yes, insurance doesn't care much whether you flew C141s 40 years ago but haven't been in a light twin since 1972.