Saratoga II HP or Bonanza F33 on unpaved runways ?


I am on my final decision of buying a plane. My home base will be a 2800 feet dirt runway, in very good condition, at seal level (I live in south Brazil).

I prefer the Toga to have the 6 seats and better CG flexibility. For the same money, the Toga will be 94/95 and the F33 90/91, both in the 2000 hours range. An A36 is out of my budget and my family wants a newairplane, so an older A36 is not under consideration.

But I have some concern about the Toga landing gear being used on a normal basis in the dirt runway. Is the Piper retract system tough enough ??? Or I should go the Bonanza F33 looking for a more massive and resistant system ???

As I have read a lot about both planes performance, comparisons, etc, I would like to keep the issue of this post JUST ABOUT THE LANDING GEAR ROBUSTNESS POINT (or as close to it as possible) and the convinience and/or safety of using the Toga on a dirt runway as a rule.

I will really appreciate any comments.

Tks. a lot.



Can’t answer on the landing gear, but having a low winger myself and landing on grass strip ONE TIME, only comment I will have is be prepared to do massive cleaning from all the prop stuff tossed back and most likely you doing a short field takeoff, you probably will have flaps down only to catch more gunk tossed back.

Hope somebody will give a complete answer on the landing gear, but figured to toss that in for food for thought.



Like lieberma said, i’m even little bit convinced that most of the RG planes aren’t made for turf runways!

I you need the loading go for a Saratoga, if you need a better plane i would go for the F33A, i myself almost bought one but it got away before i got my hands on it.


A well maintained, level dirt runway should not cause undue damage or wear to the landing gear on either airplane. A poorly maintained, potholed, rutted and rocky runway is another story.
For dirt, make sure you clean and inspect the landing gear after flight. Dirt can find its way into the struts (both main landing gear and retraction mechanism) and cause seals to go bad prematurely. Piper flap assemblies are pretty straightforward and shouldn’t be affected by dirt much at all. I have to imagine the beech flaps are pretty similar. Limit static runups as much you can (while considering the short field) to minimize wear to the prop.


I agree with james.

The Beechcraft should be able to handle a well maintained dirt runway. However, my OCD wouldn’t let me do it. :wink:

If you have model specific questions, you can also ask them at the following Beechcraft owners / pilots forums:

Owners of that specific model might be able to help more.