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-   -   Seneca or Saratoga? (https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/638707-seneca-saratoga.html)

mikeindiatango 16th Feb 2021 14:45

Seneca or Saratoga?
Question for any light Seneca or Saratoga owners...

So, I'm tentatively planning a trip for the tail end of the summer (presuming we're not all still in lockdown). I've been asked to fly some friends over to the Scottish Western Isles. I have access to either a (you guessed it) Seneca II or a Saratoga.

I'll be flying from the Midlands solo, picking them up in Dundee and heading over from there. Now, my question concerns the performance for the aircraft in question. There will be 6 up (adult males) and 1 small holdall each in the aircraft. Flight time from Dundee to Destination is approx 1hour. I've ran the performance calculations for both A/C, and given the extensive runways at both Dundee and Destination, I should in theory be able to manage this with enough fuel for the flight over and 45 mins reserve, remaining in the CofG limits etc, however it would be very close to MTOM. I'm looking for some real world experience from owners as to how feasible this actually is. I've never had more than 4 in the A/C before and don't want to end up in the Tay in a heavy heavy aeroplane.

Lastly, if its a no go for either of these options, any suggestions for something would comfortably fly with 6 up?

Thanks in advance,


Fl1ingfrog 16th Feb 2021 17:22

You say you have done the calculations and both are within the limits so nothing anyone can add to that. The difference in cost is high but presumably you are aware of this. You need to consider your currency on type as always. The twin obviously being more complex in handling than the single. The Seneca props are uncomfortably close to the ground and so can be limiting in crosswinds if using the wing down method. Always be certain that the tyres are correctly inflated. In my book a strong crosswind in the Seneca requires a combination of only slight wing down and crab. Is the runway soft or tarmac: the Seneca has a tendency to pitch down during the take-off run requiring a good amount of back pressure particularly on soft ground - those low props again. Without sufficient practice and I mean practice these two things could be an issue. The winds and weather are generally very unpredictable in the islands. Research into the destination requires gaining some good advice from the 'Destination' wherever that is with regard to the local factors.

An old adage strongly held by some: never load a light twin above its single engine performance.

horizon flyer 16th Feb 2021 20:08

If going to operate at MTOW I would take a set of scales and weigh your self and each passenger plus bag, people tend to under estimate their weight.
The single is statistically the safer aircraft for a private pilot so I would go with that.

340drvr 17th Feb 2021 12:09

Check to make sure you're under the Zero Fuel Weight limit, I know the Seneca has a limit, and I don't think the Saratoga does.
Beyond that, you could always make two trips.

avionimc 17th Feb 2021 22:31

For all light twins like the Seneca, check the rate of climb at MCTOW with One Engine Inoperative, say one engine fails just after liftoff.
It most likely will be a negative ROC, be aware of that.

And if that happens, be prepared to push the yoke to reach Blue Line. This should be ingrained in your head and repeated at each pre-takeoff briefing.

Make sure you fully understand the implications of Vmca and how the "vertical wing" (vertical stab and rudder) could stall in an instant during a OEI situation, potentially causing a fatal [snap] roll over.

Here is a good
video by Harry Horlings, (There is another good one on Vmca for the Baron, if interested I can share the link).

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