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I am soon to do my multi ir on a seneca. Could any one who has flown these tell me about any unusual characteristics of this aircraft. From the point of view of the beginner and besides the theoretical stuff is their any thing to beware of for the potential student from taxi to upper air work to landing.The stuff you wont see in the techical books.But what is discoverd as you do the flying.I leave know stone unturned.I do not like hearing those words (oh you need a few extra dual hours.If there is anything quirky please tell me as to be forewarned is forearmed. Thank you.
I suspect all Senecas have the same unfortunate characteristic of landing flat and heavy compared to other twins. Difficult for a new stude to get a sequence of decent landings which can be a confidence sapper.
Other than that, relatively easy to fly - stable and smooth. Single engine is usually OK, but climb performance can be poor to non-existant. Makes the assymetric missed approach a bit tricky.
After something well over 1000 instructional hours on IIIs and IVs perhaps I may be permitted to offer the following advice.
1. It has no real vices although the control loads, especially rudder, can be a bit heavy. However, that is what the trimmers are for. It is, however, a pretty stable platform and if properly trimmed will do all the flying for you.
2. I have rarely had any asymmetric climb problems, although to be honest it is rare to operate at max all up weight.
3. On finals it is sensitive to small speed and power changes so for that stabilised approach keep it in trim. Not a problem as all the ones I have flown have an electric trim.
4. While on the subject of finals, it is not forgiving if you try a high, steep approach. If you do find yourself higher on the glidepath than the ideal, reduce power, lower the nose and get back down to where you should be. In a light single it is possible to close the throttle and glide in to land from a steep approach. Try that in a Seneca and the only thing that will beat your rate of descent is likely to be a free fall parachutist. The reason is that when the throttles are closed the props go to full fine in an attempt to maintain max RPM. Since there is not enough power from the engines what happens is that the airflow now drives the props giving rise to huge amounts of drag.
5. Someone made a comment about flat landings. It is easy to do but nearly as easy to prevent. At the same time as the throttles are closed for the landing and the flare is started, trim nose up [electric trim remember], and keep doing so until the mainwheels touch.
6. Engine failure after take off is not a big deal but donít expect much in the way of a rate of climb unless the speed is reasonably close to blue line [92 knots]. Also at full power and blue line the rudder trim will not take out all the foot loads.
7. Stalling is conventional but expect fairly high stick forces at the stall. It is not advisable to trim all the way to the stall, about 85 knots is a good time to stop. The reason for this is not aerodynamic but more a matter of the stick forces on the subsequent recovery. As the turbos cut in there is a pronounced pitch up tendency. If the aircraft has a lot of nose up trim at this stage events, shall we say, can get interesting.
I donít know what variant you will be flying, but there are two and three bladed prop versions around. There is no appreciable difference in any of the handling qualities. The three bladed ones need a slightly higher power setting on downwind and ion the hold, but that is pretty well all the difference you will notice if you fly both variants.
The bottom line is that I find it a pleasant aircraft to fly but one that needs a little bit of attention to detail to fly consistently accurately. Enjoy and good luck with the IR.
If you are using the NAV lights during the day, when you put the gear down the gear globes are dimmed thus if the sun is behind or it's a bright day you get a little fright as you think your not dangling the dunlops.
The switch is a rolling switch that also contols the panel lighting. You can roll the swith to turn the NAVs on but if you roll it all the way (or more than you needed to) the panel lights which include the gear lights go dim. This will open yourself up to a situation where you may choose to do a gear up landing for absolutely no reason at all.
I think from memory most Pipers have the same silly system.
Other than that (and afew other things mentioned above) a great little cruising twin. Enjoy.
Oh yes also the Seneca 1, don't bother you may aswell fly a seminole.
Hmm, I don't like the sound of trimming in the flare. I was taught, Trim for Vref speed-somewhere around 76 knots. Then as the throttles come to the idle detent, move both hands on the the control wheel and look ahead (far end of the runway). Using both hands stops the yoke being froced to one side (instead of using one had-that squeeking sound) and reduces the friction required t move it, which coupled with both hands allows a more accurate, smooth flare/touch down. Looking way ahead helps, because it is too easy in the seneca to look close in front and think you have assumed the position (flare) before you have. It also give better peripheral vision perception.
The Seneca II POH recommends three twists of nose up trim on final, to help in the flare. Also some schools bung 50l of water in the baggage compartment if you're flying around 2 up. When you chop the power in the flare, the nose drops like a rock, so haul back (hard, its heavy) on the control column, and do not let it forward. I almost crashed once in Sedona doing this, let the nose drop and we started bucking around like mad. They say that on the third bounce the under carriage normally collapses, so I count myself lucky
Nice aircaft to fly, Seneca I is a bit of a dog, the II is great though (not flown any of the others). SE ceiling of ~13000, climbes fine two up on one engine, on both it is a beauty. If you have never done a power on stall in one, my advice would be to slow down before applying full power. Otherwise you'll become Chuck Yeager with your nose pointing about 50į up. Its ok, just you loose the horizon. If flying a turbocharged one (the II), be careful not to overboost the engines (ie. don't firewall the throttles). I open it up to 25" on the brakes, then release the brakes and increase MP to 39" on the roll. You may find one turbo kicks in before the other and you *may* get some yaw at the initial roll. No biggie though.
I found that on steep turns in a PA34-200T, once you pass about 40 degrees AoB, you need a marked (read: very hard) pullback to prevent a spiral dive. Caught me out first time being mainly used to Aztecs and Seminoles. Some nose up trim doesn't go amiss for the first few attempts.
Having flown the above plane, i can honestly say, that i would not do a multi in that aircraft or my IR, having flown other twins.
I have flown the Seminole and Duchess, while on the lighter side tend to be more pilot freindly as they are more like a single with 2 engines.
machonepointone offers good advice, but as you can see, there are a lot of little things that make it a little more difficult to control and i mean speed control, cruise and all the usual are ok , heavy on the elevator on landing which tends to suprise people, flat landings are common!!
Believe me I have Im based here in ireland. There are other schools here with seminoles and duchess. The swaying factor is the instructor I would training with Has a very solid reputation.Is experienced both fixedwing and heli. and flies commercially. I am not jumping in with any ould instructor ever again. no disrespect to the industry but every time I turn my back I meet a cad chancing is arm for an extra dual hour.I know there are many decent instructors out there but there is equally a huge amount of crooks.I had a nerve racking experience in south africa hours building and ppl.