Good medium piston twin

Hi, everyone!

I’m looking for ideas on a medium or cabin-class piston twin to buy. Wishlist:

  • About 200kt normal cruise.
  • About 900nm IFR range with reserves (at economy cruise).
  • Capable of operating well into the flight levels.
  • Known icing (either by default, or with a large fleet available that have this as an added feature).
  • 6 seats.
  • Perhaps even pressurized?
  • Costing around $200k or less.

On the issue of pressurization, anyone able to give me an idea of how much the oxygen used in an hour at, say, FL220 with, say, 3 people on the bottle costs?

I’ve been toying with the idea of a 340, but I’d like to get people’s opinions on what else is out there that fulfills this type of need.

Suggest that you add annual maintenance costs to your equation. You can get many plane in horrible shape, with run-out engines, etc. for cheap, but the annual costs will kill you.

Yep, acquisition costs on these aircraft mean nothing. You want to look at cost to own and operate.

Likely more important than pressurization is whether to get a potty or not since you seem to be signing up for 4 hour plus rides…

If you want to fly about 100 hours per year like this, you are going to spend at least 36k per year to own and operate. You could easily double that to do it well.

Yes, you guys are right.

36-40k per year is what I was thinking, so I don’t seem to be that far off in terms of that. But I guess let’s just add that to the criteria.

Potty is not that big a deal for me and the people I fly with on 4 hours. Besides, there’s always relief tubes and “little johns” in an emergency.

So any other types that people recommend besides the Cessna 340 that I brought up?

You are more likely to stay in your budget with the 340 than most of the others. You can also look at Navajo’s, and some Cessna 400 series planes.

Buying a plane like this well costs a lot of money and time. The sellers in this class are more often playing games than any other group. If you look hard, you can likely find someone who has been taking really good care of their plane, but is willing to let it go for a fair price.

What you need is an A+P who really knows these planes, and will do inspections for you. Do not skimp on this guy. You could spend 20 grand doing your search and inspections and still come out ahead.

Below 18,000 feet, you can use an oxygen saving cannula and each person will consume about 1 cubic foot of oxygen per hour at 18,000’. Above 18,000’, the FAA says that you must use masks, which I recall use oxygen much faster. There are also electronic demand regulators that say they can double or triple the duration of an oxygen tank. If you use a lot of oxygen, they are supposedly worth it. For example:

As for refill costs, the smallest tanks are generally around $25 to refill while the larger ones run $50-75.

I’ve always been kind of partial to the Beechcraft Duke… Like a pocket sized King Air!

There are two new mods for the Duke.

They have approved a turbine conversion, which does make it a pocket King Air (though it is an orphan design, while the King Air is not). Hunting for parts might be worth it though, because the Duke is SO DARN SEXY!

Also, a Centurion mod is supposedly in the works. That would be a great plane for a small charter outfit due to the low op cost. Though, the Cessna’s with the same conversion would not have the parts issue.

You’re “toying” with probably the best airplane to fit the needs you describe with the 340.

Other than I doubt you can get a good one for $200k or less.

I’ve had one for 2-1/2 years and the $36K/year costs are almost exactly what mine costs.

I can’t say enough good things about it.

May want to look into the Seneca fleet. Will seat 6, most are known icing, capable of the speeds you are looking for and in your price range. If you do go to a cabin class, the C-340 is a good choice. Like has been mentioned, not likely to find a good one for $200K.

You may want to look into turbine planes for added reliability and safety. My personal opinion, even a single engine turbine is safer than the light/medium twin pistons. But, as soon as you say turbine, you are at minimum doubling your stated acquisition cost.


Brian, you should specify what seneca fleet you’re talking about. The older versions, like the seneca ‘I’ that I flew, it not ice-equiped and it’s trues out at about 150…mph! To see anywhere near 200kts in a seneca you must be talking a seneca V, and even that might be pushing it. (i’m unfamiliar with the later models.)

I am a A&P IA and will tell you as a shop owner that several of our customers that have 400 series cessnas spend tons of money every year on maintenance …I would suggest getting a older Baron 55 or 58…My partner has a 58 and he normally trues at 190kts with 3 people on board…and we can go nonstop from KDEN to KGPT…

I agree with Mstew a Baron sounds like the best bang for the buck. I think a turbo 58 would probably satisfy all the needs on your list.

I’ve flown both the Baron and the 400 Cessnas and the Baron by far is less of a hangar queen. It will actually fly more than it gets worked on.

Happy Hunting

The Cessna 400 series are good airplanes, just look at Cape Air, but they do demand proper rigging and maintainance. Things that other types might shrug off, maintainance wise, will ground a twin Cessna. Also, be aware of the wing spar AD that was issued a while back. As with any complex aircraft, make sure you do tons of research and talk to the owners groups to see what the type specific issues are, and to get advise on shops that have good experience with the type.

Ok, I know it’s been a while on this thread, but I suddenly remembered one of my favorite cabin class aircraft… Extra EA400 (500 is better, but $$$$$) … tra400.JPG … 0front.jpg

Sure, not a twin… But, a beautiful plane that cruises over 220ktas at up to FL250. Pressurized to 5.5… Clean, composite, ahhhhhh… And the F-18 looking landing gear!! Fairly rare here stateside…

Imagine the ramp appeal… Sexy… 8)

I have been thinkign about a 340 myself. But more inclined to buy a knackered one with an OK airframe and have her refurbished, install the centurions and a garmin 600 flightdeck and new interiour. And a potty! ;o)

Job is flying from Dublin, Irland as a corporate bird desinations UK and Scandinavia. We’ll need a pilot as well.

I have flown a C-340 for about 15 years and its a very good plane with some down sides,could use more fuel and space(cabin size) but thats why they made the 400’s.
We hade it as a ram II first 8 yrs than made it a VII in 2000 and have been very happy with that flies more like a C90 king air in speed and out does it in the climb! (sl to 230 on a hot day gross wt in TX 19 min)

its a very good stabel IFR plane,25-40000 a yr is a good avg on costs.
and it has one of the best safty records of all piston twins,if you are buying turbo eng dont be afraid off the pressurazation it cost about $2000 over the last 15 yrs best money ever spent.the baron is a very good but smaller not quite a fast but burns less fuel but parts cost the airplane world there is no one shining star just what right for you,but look long,look at everything and be very well informed before buying.

I’ve actually made up my mind for the 421C and I want to do the centurion re-engining and add the winglets and do the increased weight thing. She’ll get over 2000 nm range that way :slight_smile:

Let’s just hope the budget stretches that far …

Sounds like a better and good choice!


How are you enjoying the 421? I’ve been operating one on a Part 135 for about 3 years now and love it.