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Piper Seneca or Meridian?

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Piper Seneca or Meridian?

Old 3rd Jun 2015, 21:56
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Piper Seneca or Meridian?

One potential client is considering to buy one of these 2 airplanes. Do you have any ideas about the costs of ownership of those two, especially the Meridian turboprop?

And what does involve a maintenance program for the Meridian? The only things I know is that it needs a Hot Engine Inspection at 1800hrs and an engine overhaul at 3600hrs.
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 00:41
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A hot section price depends on how much is trashed in there. But it will probably be in the $30-50K region, so it's on par with a piston engine overhaul. However, PT6's are kind of expensive to overhaul as they have such a stranglehold on the market that they can charge through the nose. Friend just did his TBM and it was well over $300K, but that's a bigger engine. Count on it being a good $250K at least.

A Seneca here in the states can probably be flown for $300-400/hr. But in Europe with the painfulness of Avgas it makes it a more expensive deal, probably. And inconvenient. Turboprops normally don't cost more per NM to run, but do cost a little more per hour. But when you factor in the much lower JetA1 price in Europe, there it actually makes more sense than here in the US.

Sometimes an older Garrett powered legacy twin can end up being cheaper to run than a TP single. Garrett's have 5400hr TBO, cost less to overhaul, burn about 20-30% less fuel than the PT6's. Add that up and a TP twin might be on par with the bigger single turboprops. Probably not the case with a Meridian in operating costs, but certainly cheaper if you factor in purchase price. MU-2's and Turbo Commanders 690B are the most common Garrett-powered twins.

Good luck!
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 08:57
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b737air, you are welcome to PM me with any questions. I have around 400 hours on the Meridian, and operate one on a daily basis.
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 10:33
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Cost wise you can compare but a Seneca v Meridian performance is not something you can really compare.

One is relatively slow and you will be stuck in the weather un-pressurized

The other is fast, reliability of a turbine, cruise in pressurized comfort.

In my book no comparison....
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 10:45
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Hi

I have a lot of experience on the Seneca Five twins! It really comes down to what your buyers mission profile is?
We compared a Seneca Five twin to a Piper Malibu the piston variety of the Meridian and the Seneca won all round surprisingly beating the Malibu climbing to 20 K
This owners needs was to fly every week across the Irish Sea, day, night, summer, winter and it comes down to the old argument of single versus twin
Ok the Meridian is a turbine and hence more reliable but a twin is still a twin and the owner wanted that comfort factor!
I flew it for him for a year and it was without doubt the right choice a comfortable economical twin which handled all weather thrown at it
Also remember the costs of running a turbine

Really the prospective owner needs to work out his mission profile and fit the aircraft to that.

I flew the Meridian and TBM750 850 and frankly felt the Meridian felt like a toy in comparison. But then again I don't have a lot of experience in the turbine singles and that is more an impression
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 10:53
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The meridian everytime. The Seneca is a shit can compared to a turbine pressurised meridian. I have significant hours in both including all the variants of each and the meridian is unsurpassed in performance. A fast high altitude cruiser that will get you over most weather.

It can handle the weather thrown at it with ease, but in reality they are so fast and can climb so high you don't even see it. I used to aim to fly everywhere at FL240/250 so rarely ever saw sig wx.

More than 80% of my hours are turbine and once you have flown them you dont want to go back to Pistons......
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 11:03
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Bose

I agree on turbines all the way but it's still the single versus twin argument !
Ideal is a twin turbine! I would not be happy mid winter at night over sea, low cloud or fog in a single turbine!
Some people are some are not!

Statistics don't mean a thing as collecting a Sea gull through a blade means you are going down! And yes it happened to a friend of mine

Pace
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 11:17
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Well, in terms of performance and comfort, I will choose the Meridian either.
But that's not about the performance here. With the Seneca V you get pretty much good performance either but you are more often weather dependable.

If the operating costs of the single turboprop are comparable to that of a twin piston, then offcourse the decision will be a turboprop (Meridian beeing the case). But I'm trying to figure out the cost margin between these 2 airplanes in terms of operation.

I agree with the fact that it really depends of his needs: How often, how far, flight hours per year etc. Don't know nothing yet.
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Old 5th Jun 2015, 08:18
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Cost wise the turbine may not be much cheaper on fuel than the avgas burner in Europe. If you are not VAT registered and/or have no AOC then most European countries will charge VAT and duty on your fuel anyway. That makes Jet-A quite expensive in some places.
Performance wise, some people just want two engines.....
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Old 6th Jun 2015, 18:00
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>> but it's still the single versus twin argument !

This is a meaningful argument if you compare single versus twin if engines are similar in performance and reliability, there is no comparison between a single turbine and twin pistons. What's worse that light twins like Senecca have horrid accident rate because amateur pilots simply can't properly handle engine-out situations. Therefore the often repeated joke "what good is the second engine for? - to get you to the crash site".
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Old 6th Jun 2015, 18:15
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Porterhouse

In level flight the Seneca five is perfectly happy. We did a crazy thing years back shutting down the one engine and flying the aircraft across the Chanel only restarting to land in France! Also remember over high mountains the Seneca five unlike the barons will fly level on one engine at over 16000 feet.
I have had an engine failure due to a fault in engine manufacture by continental
Which resulted in a brand new unit within 2 weeks.
That engine went at 200 feet at grosse weight,
I estimated it was still producing some power although it was yawing and shaking like mad!
I decided thankfully to keep the unit going with one hand on the RPM lever till circuit height when it was so bad I shut it down!
You do need to be current in any light twin but a failure is manageable
But in the single turbine although the units are very reliable if anything happens there is only one option and that is down! At least in s twin you have options!

At night over fog you hear every clink in that engine!


Pace

Last edited by Pace; 6th Jun 2015 at 18:31.
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Old 6th Jun 2015, 21:13
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>> but it's still the single versus twin argument !

Porterhouse
This is a meaningful argument if you compare single versus twin if engines are similar in performance and reliability, there is no comparison between a single turbine and twin pistons.
Not true, the single turbine relies on one HP fuel pump to sustain fuel to the engine when that fails the engine quits. Ask an owner who I occasionally flew around in a piston Malibu converted with a PT6 turbine called the Jetprop, FL240 over Switzerland exactly that happened when he was flying by himself and the engine failed it made a glide approach in to Geneva, after that within weeks he bought a Citation 501. It seems because they are powered by a turbine people think they never fail, however the turbine is far more reliable than any piston engine but not infallible.

Last edited by Above The Clouds; 6th Jun 2015 at 21:48. Reason: spelling corrected for PH
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Old 6th Jun 2015, 21:25
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>> but not infalable.

And where did I say it was infallible (I hope it was the word you meant)?
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Old 6th Jun 2015, 21:47
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Porterhouse
And where did I say it was infallible (I hope it was the word you meant)?
I didn't say you said it I was making a generalised comment about some pilots perceptions of turbine reliability, and I corrected the auto spelling thingy so you can give your head a rest from banging it on the wall.
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Old 7th Jun 2015, 09:35
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Nothing is infallible. However the safety record and reliability of single engine turbines is impressive to say the least. Not so for piston twins.
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Old 7th Jun 2015, 21:31
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>> thingy so you can give your head a rest from banging it on the wall.

I gladly will, provided you have a good explanation what exactly I said incorrectly that you replied "not true".
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Old 8th Jun 2015, 16:01
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Does anyone know the numbers for crashes caused by engine failure: Seneca v PT6 ..... ?
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Old 8th Jun 2015, 16:30
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RT

Crashes due to engine failure? What will that say? One is a single the other a twin! The challenges are different. It might tell you that many ME pilots are not current enough or not up to the job But then the TBM also has crashes due to mismanagement where they will bite! Low and slow there have been a number of loss of control accidents and fatalities due to torque stall spin accidents in the TBM which doesn't effect the Seneca while there will be poorly managed engine failures in the Seneca.

Is this the fault of the aircraft or the pilot?

is a turbine more reliable than a piston? Yes

what are the chances of loosing both engines in a twin? more than loosing one engine in a turbine? I doubt it

Pace
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Old 8th Jun 2015, 19:48
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>> Does anyone know the numbers for crashes caused by engine failure: Seneca v PT6 ..... ?

I don't recall numbers but recall reading (J.Collins analysis in FLYING) that unfortunately Seneca numbers are much worse. It is not the engine failure itself - it is very poor job unskilled pilots do trying to manage a failed engine on an airplane like Seneca. Actually statistically (and it is shocking) you are safer in a single engine aircraft in which engine failed than in a light twin when one of it's engines failed. No, it isn't a misprint, FAA/NTSB confirms that.

By the way, Meridian's maintenance, operating costs will be much higher than Seneca's, sure it is a much superior aircraft (6 seats, pressurization, speed, etc) but you need a completely different size of wallet for both. They are NOT in the same league. And Meridian will require instrument rating plus there may be other requirements for pilot qualifications. Insurance companies are very leery when a low-time pilot wants to fly an expensive, pressurized turbine aircraft.

Last edited by olasek; 8th Jun 2015 at 20:38.
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Old 8th Jun 2015, 21:23
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According to this analysis of Seneca fatal accidents, engine failure accounts for 11.3% of them.

As it looks only at the Seneca, it's based on just a small number of accidents. The overall picture for light twins is significantly better than than, but still not stellar. Mike Busch wrote an interesting article for AvWeb which takes an even-handed look at the statistics:

The overall accident rates of high-performance singles (like Bonanzas or 210s or Mooneys) and light twins (like Aerostars or Barons or Commanders or Cessna 310s) are astonishingly close. Twins have a slightly higher accident rate per 100 aircraft and a slightly lower accident rate per 100,000 hours, but for all practical purposes the accident rates are the same. The same is true if you consider only "serious" accidents that involve death, serious injury, or substantial damage.

[...]

The statistics showed that a light twin is about equally likely to have a mechanical-caused accident as a high-performance single. But the twin's mechanical problem is most likely to be gear-related while the single's is most likely to be engine/prop-related. A single is about two-and-a-half times more likely to have an accident due to engine/prop failure than a twin (8% versus 3%). And if we assume that a twin is twice as likely to have an engine/prop failure (since it has twice as many to fail), then we can conclude that an engine/prop failure in a single is five times more likely to result in an accident than an engine/prop failure in a twin.

So are you any safer flying a light twin than a high-performance single? In terms of the overall and serious accident rates, the answer seems clearly to be no. But your risk profile changes somewhat: in the twin, you're less likely to be hurt by an engine failure, and more likely to be victimized by something else.
I always find it interesting that people concentrate on the supposed safety benefit of a second engine when the statistics show an almost negligible benefit. It's an emotional argument, rather than based on reality. If what they were actually interested in was reducing risks, they would be looking at the one factor which the statistics clearly show provides a safety benefit. That's not a second engine, it's a second pilot. Of course, it's a lot easier on the ego to believe the engine is the weak link in the chain, rather than oneself.
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