In our ongoing quest to buy a touring aircraft, we now have an opportunity to purchase a non - turbo T-tail Piper Lance.
Do any of you have experience of flying these machines? Initial research shows the take off distance required to be considerable. Is it really as bad as they make out? Would you take one in and out of a 600m tarmac strip lightly loaded?
Any experiences appreciated.
9th Sep 2004, 14:59
It all depends!
No pax, low fuel, wind in the right direction, capable pilot - probably (but would check all of the graphs first). Actually under these conditions I would be more than happy to do it but that would be my choice.
Loaded to the limits (legal) and nil wind even 800 mtrs might make you twitch a bit.
Have seen aborted departures with airspeed increasing very slowly and the Pilot deciding not to risk it. Don't like that personaly.
Easy to overload as well.
Wouldnt be my choice as a touring aircraft to operate from 600 mtrs.
9th Sep 2004, 21:08
DON'T DO IT !
The T tail Lance was a fad to fashion and can be a pig.
The low tail Lance, Cherokee 6 and Saratoga are excellent load lifters and superb touring aeroplanes.
Keep looking, don't get suckered in to a T tail, they are not worth the grief.
My experience is 800 hours + on (low tail) Lance and Cherokee 6 parachute flying at all sorts of weights and balance - I speak from experience.
10th Sep 2004, 00:36
A friend had one. The problem with the T tail on this aircraft was that it was out of the propellor wash and lost effectiveness at lower speeds. So rotating it on takeoff on a short field was problematic.
10th Sep 2004, 06:15
Flying a straight tail Lance in and out of there would work but not the T-tail.
Ask yourself why they made the T-tail only for 3 years and now do the Arrow but only with teh straight tail.
10th Sep 2004, 06:45
DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!! Find a nice Cherokee 6 or Saratoga. The Lance is a pig when you get a bit slow- no airflow over the elevator.
10th Sep 2004, 07:56
The T-tail Lance is actually a great plane to fly. However, it does not like short runways unless you are light and have a decent headwind down the runway.
There used to be one kept on a strip near Droitwich, however, I presume it was normally operated out with light loads.
I used to fly one based at Birmingham and even with 2605m, it was always reassuring to use full length when six on board.
I remember coming out of Henstridge with the owner flying + 2 other POB with two stages of flap and that was a short hard strip.
I should add that landing on 600m is no problem....usually.
Take-off was never a matter of back pressure and feeling the aircraft fly off like say a Seneca. You had to physically lug it off the ground.
I have since flown a Saratoga IITC and that leaps off the ground by comparison.
10th Sep 2004, 16:39
Another point which was made to me by an engineer when I was looking at one - cos the elevator is so ineffective at low speed due lack of airflow you cannot unload the nose wheel on take off/ landing run therefore if opperating off grass expect higher than normal maintenance costs for undercarriage .
I didnt invest so my comments 2nd hand?
11th Sep 2004, 13:59
Thanks for your inputs guys. This is an awful lot of aeroplane for half Bonanza money so I would be willing to tolerate the T-tail handling quirks. It would be operated from a large airport but we occasionally visit the 600m strip (2 up with half fuel) and I've had 310s in there before.
How much fuel are you guys burning? 17gph giving 150 kts indicated? And what are you paying for annuals? £3000? Engine replacement for an IO-540 £22000?
Does the gear give you a lot of recurring problems?
I am guessing with the costs here so would appreciate any more experiences. Found a great site Piper owners.com but not much UK input.
11th Sep 2004, 19:47
I'vd had a Lance for 4 years and it's one of the very few single engines to really take 6 people or realistically full tanks, 5 + sensible baggage. Yes she's a bit heavy to fly ..bit like a people carrier on the road, but she does get 140kts IAS too.
She can be leaned down to just over 15 gallons an hour in the cruise, but I normally work on 18 per flying hour, taking account of taxi, takeoff and climbs. I've had one problem with the undercarriage in that time, seemingly an old AD that hadn't been complied with many years ago. I suspect that it depends upon how gentle your landings are that determine your longterm costs, as with all retractables. I budget a couple of thousand pounds for an annual, but it depends what they find. I like around 750m for a takeoff (landings need much less), but I am super cautious and I haven't really tried serious short field.
Sadly I'm selling mine as I want to fly twins. Message me if you want any further advice...