Thoughts on the Beech Sierra?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by MulePilot, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. MulePilot

    MulePilot Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm curious what everyone's opinions on this aircraft are. I wanted to check here in the general populace before going over to the Beech forums. How're MX costs? Parts availability? Resale value? Would this be a decent buy or more of a headache? Opinions between the A, B, and C models? The poor man's Bonanza?
    Aaaaannnd Go!
     
  2. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Slow (this is coming from an Arrow owner) but just like the rest of that lineup, super comfy. That cabin is nawc.

    Cheap mx in line with an arrow, the arrow being slightly cheaper on account of being more proliferate. I haven't heard of any one specific part problem, though you'd be best to ask in BT. Lycoming engine is a plus in my book. Most are in trainer use, though with the commercial ACS changes they will probably get dumped to a similar degree as Arrows are. Again, less of an issue since there's so few of them by comparison. Resale is flat, as they're generally fully depreciated. Slower to unload due to uncompetitive cruise speed for the complexity.

    It could work for your mission, especially if the radius is under 400NM. For the speed difference, I'd absolutely love that cabin over the Arrow. I would not describe it as a poor man's bonanza though. That's usually reserved for comanches, as those have analogous performance numbers. The Sierra is a trainer like the Arrow, and should not be compared to a six banger XC cruiser. Different ecosystems.
     
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  3. falconkidding

    falconkidding Line Up and Wait

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    Slow slow slow for an rg. 2500 and wide open i never saw more than 125 130. Its a bit heavy on controls. Roomy though.
     
  4. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    yup, the single engine apache equivalent basically.
     
  5. j1b3h0

    j1b3h0 Line Up and Wait

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    Agree with the above, but too heavy, and feels under-powered. Then I flew a Dutchess (same basic airframe but 2 engines) and thought it was great.
     
  6. MulePilot

    MulePilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Any opportunity for an engine swap?
     
  7. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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  8. Ravioli

    Ravioli Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Slower than an Arrow, and more complicated gear mechanism.

    BUT, you get a second door. That can be all the difference in the world.
     
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  9. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    If they weren't completely unavailable, priced stupid due to training fleet, and otherwise less common than hen's teeth, I'd totally buy and operate a Duchess privately for a mission my Arrow currently does, over going over to the captive audience of conti big bore singles. Absolutely amazing cabin and 150knots with cheap to keep Lyco engines. Hella more comfortable than the Seminole, which suffers from similar lopsided pricing dynamics.
     
  10. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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  11. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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  12. ChopAndDrop

    ChopAndDrop Filing Flight Plan

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    I've flown in both a Beech Sierra and in a Piper Arrow.
    The Beech Sierra is like a flying Cadillac.

    I'm in the SouthEast and it gets very hot and humid during the summertime. the one door on the Pipers was a dealbreaker for me.
    For me, the comfort of the cabin was a big deal. The cruising speed isn't going to make any real difference over most trips, you'd spend more time just working the pattern/approaches to land; its not like a couple of minutes more or less is going to make or break the trip. but if my whole family is crammed like sardines through one door in a narrow cabin, and uncomfortable and miserable the whole trip, well that does make or break the trip for me.

    In addition to the two doors, the Sierra has _many_ air vents all around: underneath the instrument panel (for your feet), on the instrument panel (can direct onto your face or into the ipad for Cooling), and above in the ceiling, for both front seats and back seats. its nice to have all that in the summer time. In the wintertime, the heater works good also. There is an electric blower that will force ambient air through the vents (not needed when in flight because it gets ram-air from the outside), but incase you are stuck on the ramp for a while it helps with extra airflow, and you can open both doors for airflow.

    For hauling stuff, you get both front doors and a large cargo door in the rear. Infact some Sierras were configured with a child's 3rd row seat back there.

    As you can tell, I much prefer the Sierra.

    Landing gear is stout and has trailing link. they have a series of rubber "doughnuts" instead of a oleo strut. But not that I've ever tested it, all of my landings are absolutely perfect ;)

    Would you like to know more?
    get over to the Beech Aero Club website they have all the info for Sierra.


    edit to add:
    The Sierra is what it is, if you want an engine swap then just buy a Bonanza instead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
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  13. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not even worth it.

    They are ok airplanes to fly. Best thing about them is comfortable.

    Worst part is lack of support. Can be hard to get parts because they didn’t make that many of them. They aren’t like the Bonanza/Baron/Travel Airs that share a lot of common parts.
     
  14. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The beech was built for comfort,not speed. The two doors good for us old guys.
     
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  15. ChopAndDrop

    ChopAndDrop Filing Flight Plan

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    Only catch is you still have to climb-up onto the wing to get in. If you want the ultimate "get in like a car" convenience, gotta get a high-wing airplane.
     
  16. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Personally, if I were in that market, I’d buy a 177RG over a Sierra or Arrow.
     
  17. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    Owned a Beech Sierra for 6 years, an undervalued airframe iMO. The plane was rock solid and the only unexpected money I spent on the gear system was ~ $300 to replace a failed lever mechanism. Useful load on my B model was 940. Most people here will probably cover all the negatives, so here's some positives:

    1) Lycoming IO-360 (could poke around under 8GPH)
    2) Johnson bar flaps
    3) Pilot side door
    4) Large baggage door (cargo area rated for 270lbs)
    5) Throttle quadrant
    6) No CG issues
    7) Interior comfort
    8) Beech Aero Club (these guys are ridiculously helpful and knowledgeable)
    9) Easy to fly (my co-worker learned to fly and solo'd in mine)
    10) Good visibility
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
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  18. ChopAndDrop

    ChopAndDrop Filing Flight Plan

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    (Warning, thread drift about Cessna 177 "Cardinal")

    From my looking around, they (the 177's, like all Cessna's) command a price premium over the other comparable planes (Arrow / Sierra). I would have to pay more or for the similar price would have much worse Avionics.
    Avoid the early 177's, they had weak performance. If I were buying again, I might get either a 177RG or a 177B (later model but fixed gear) would also be a good option to consider.
    From what I read, the Serious caveat is any chance of corrosion on the wing carry-through spar. They are effectively irreplaceable (in any economical sense) and the aircraft is ruined if that is corroded. All of this I am parroting from what I read over on Cardinal Flyers Online, I paid for a membership there when I was looking at a plane to buy. Didn't buy a Cardinal but I did learn alot from that site.

    Back to the Sierra:
    ??? huh... both of the Sierras I've seen had electric flaps, with a switch and indicator on the right side instrument panel. Maybe this was a change in later variants?
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  19. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Sorry - I’m about as sharp as a basketball. nawc?
     
  20. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    oops. nawce.
     
  21. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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  22. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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    I'm a big fan! I'm on my second one, a B24R. Yes, go to beechaeroclub.org and read up on them. According to my mechanic, they are about the same maintenance intensive as an Arrow. Can't really beat the price on them right now, or ever, really.

    My personal problems with them are few: Tons of screws on inspections panels, and some parts availability. HOWEVER, with the tremendous support of the BAC (beechaeroclub), parts are really not hard to find at all. Plus, some of the most unobtainium parts can be obtained by owner produced means, and they are usually very affordable. Look for black duct, ugh! The rubber donuts on the gear are not hard to find, and the aftermarket supply is very much cheaper than OEM, by far. That's about the only beef I really have. The club does a great job of keeping these odd balls flying. But, it's slow, like slowaira, slow. Which, is a compromise for the hangar sized cabin, and 3 doors, and strength like a Beech. Because of that Beech airframe, climbs are something to plan when hot, high, or both. Just fly it within the limits it is designed and nbd. Edit: Maybe a bit hot in the summer because of the huge windshield and windows, and the number of them.

    My personal favorites are many. The plane does about 90% of what I want it to do. My main big mission is me and the wifey, 250 lbs of camping gear: including 2 bikes, one 29'er, firewood, portable fire pit, food, water, and 45 gallons of fuel - that's MTOW. About a 950 useful load in my serial number. The only thing I wish it could do requires bigger tires and a tailwheel, so nbd. I've landed on a beach, grass and gravel runways, short rough "paved" runways.

    I usually fly with 30 gal, not the 52 that's max. Way easy to fill each tank with 15, 20, or full by visual means - tabs hang in the tank. With normal 30 gal of fuel, I have a good 3 hrs of flying to empty at 8 ish gph. I flight plan 115 kts. (slowaira) Usually, I set 2500-2700 rpm and WOT, lean as suggested, whichever is smoothest for the day - 122 kts is my usual number at 2500 and 24.5 mp. Just about 75% or so. Light weights, like I normally fly, TO and landing are less than 1000', less with practice for fun. Get one with Armstrong flaps, dump the lift, and the breaks work great.

    My fav attribute is that huge back door. The rear seats can be taken out in 2 minutes with the thumb screws from the back door. No need to climb on the wing to take them out. I can fit my 29'er in there with the front wheel off no problem. The two front doors are pretty cool to have. I'm 6 foot 2, 235 lbs. The wife is (ahem, ha-choo, cough cough, grumble) and fits just fine. Let's just say she has an hourglass figure with about 10 extra minutes. I can wear any headset and not bump the headband on the headliner. CG is hardly an issue. If it is just me and another front pax, I put 75 lbs in the cargo to make the balance aft-cg for easy flying.

    I got one with a new engine, and that Lyc IO360 is totally happy flying at high power settings. We all know that engine is really hardy. Descents with power are fine, so we get back our slow climb that way. The yeller arc starts at 145 kts (iirc) so push it over and haul butt down.

    The gear is really strong, as long as we keep in mind it is a retractable, which is a generally accepted weak spot in airframes. My old flight school never had a NLG collapse in the 5 years I was there with 3 '24R's. The ride is not smooth on the ground because of the rubber pucks, but whatever. They have a very high Vlo, Vle, so they can be put down at like 125 kts and operated at 145 (iirc). I don't operate like that, so, again, whatever. The gear is also easy to maintain and adjustments are minimal. Occasionally, the legs need to be pulled apart to lube them, but it isn't hard to do.

    There are some issues that the club has been very successful in helping me keep my plane awesome. The aileron and rudder bushings can easily be owner supplied, really tightened mine up. Cost, 0. NLG bushings can be owner supplied by John Deer, or the aviation department at your local machine shop, very cheep brass sheets cut into circles. Some club members have complete airframes they are parting out for cost, and my plane has a few of these parts.

    It is really fun to fly! Fiddly prop, floppy gear, fuel injection, fancy 430, 'ugejass doors. It does fly pretty solid, and not very sloppy. Takes turbulence easy, not much to bend. :) I fly mine with an inop AP in the clouds whenever I wish, within reason. VFR on top is fun to try to do, however, plan the climb. :)

    PM me if you want more info, and my real cost to own. If you live near KSEA, I'll give you a ride. If you get on the Club's forum, ask for a ride and someone will jump at the chance for the excuse to go fly. BTW, the club members are really great folks. Very happy, friendly.
    20151216_153550.jpg 20151216_153607.jpg 20151216_145911.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
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  23. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    Nice bird Eric
     
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  24. MulePilot

    MulePilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Is there any height adjustment for the front seats? Any need for it? I’m 5’8” for reference.
     
  25. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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    Nope. I really don't think you will have any problems. Wifey is as tall and she can see or fly fine. Sit in one and you will feel like you're sitting more on top of the wing, rather than being occluded by structure like in a cezzna. I may be a bit too tall as my eyes are just at the top of the side windows when I sit up tall. I'll post a video I made of me taking some family for a ride. There's a few camera angles that you can judge the interior.
     
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  26. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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    Check out this video I made. Took my auntie and unclie out for a tour.

    I usually don't post videos since I make them for just me and whoever I fly with. But you can see how super awesome a Slowaria is with some trick editing and killer muzak.
     
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  27. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    flaps started out johnson, electric optional then stock, original a & b variants were known as super Rs 200.. but often called sierras'

    early didn't have rear pax door & 28v came in at the end etc..
     
  28. MulePilot

    MulePilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't johnson bars like the flap bar in the PA28-140?
     
  29. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Yes
     
  30. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    I knew they were slow, but damn that's slow...
     
  31. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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  32. MulePilot

    MulePilot Filing Flight Plan

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    This is a great video! I liked having the audio and different camera angles. Thank you very much!
     
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  33. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have a Sundowner - the fixed gear equivalent of the Sierra. Yes, these are slow airplanes. But....for sub 400 NM trips they are great. Before I bought my Sundowner, I flew mostly Cherokees - 140's and Warriors. One door, and you rubbed shoulders with whoever was sitting next to you. I had never even heard of a Sundowner or Sierra (I did not know that a Musketeer morphed into a Sundowner). One came up for sale and the instant I had my first experience of a pilot's side door AND not touching my passenger, I was hooked.

    I have moved on to a 1995 Commander 114B - again, not a blazing fast four place complex - but the reason I moved into the Commander was because of my experience wiht the Sundowner - two doors and lots of room. Once you experience that, you cannot be satisfied with no pilot's door or a cramped cabin.

    And yes, joining the Beech Aero club is a MUST for anyone considering this type. The club site alone is worth buying the airplane. In fact, I enjoyed the club so much I kept my Sundowner just so that I could remain a member of the club!
     
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  34. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    I have always liked them but think they are overpriced for what they are. You would be much better off in an older Bonanza for the same or less money unless you really crave the space. If you need the space, well there really isn't anything else that compares. A tricycle Maule would be around the same price and room but you would burn more fuel to go as fast. The other options are Commanders, and Socata.
     
  35. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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    What's your main mission? Of course, the thread only took two days to get to the bo. I thought of an older bo, but then I looked at what a mess the panels were for the same price at the time I was looking. I kinda like to fly in the clouds with an IFR GPS that is still supported. Same reason I stayed away from 182s in the same price range. Cezzna 1968 radios and inop gizmos. Talk about over priced!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
     
  36. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Hmmm kind of like this??
    https://www.trade-a-plane.com/searc...24R+SIERRA&listing_id=2327740&s-type=aircraft

    there are poor radios and avionics in every airplane made before last year at the rate products are changing.
     
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  37. MulePilot

    MulePilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Ain’t that the truth.
     
  38. MulePilot

    MulePilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Looking at the Bo, 6 place configuration, is club seating the only viable option? I’ve heard the middle seats can be flipped but doesn’t that create a w&b issue?
     
  39. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don't know if you are IFR rated, but this type is an excellent IFR platform. My Sundowner does not have an AP and it is very easy to trim out and fly in solid IMC. The thing is so stable that it is unbelievable. That may be the best attribute for the Sierra / Sundowners - not exciting planes to fly by any means but very easy to fly and very stable.
     
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  40. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    I would save the cash from the Sierra and get the aerobatic Musketeer. At least you can have fun going so slowly.
     
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