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Topic-icon Saratoga mentor/instructor needed

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3 years 9 months ago #816

Hello and I hope your Saratoga quest is proceeding according to Hoyle. I have a few answers to your questions below.
Scott Sherer
N344TB

Kens, thanks for your message. I have tons of questions. Responses to any of them would be much appreciated. Apologizes in advance if these are answered somewhere else.
1)What are the primary differences between the original Saratoga and the Saratoga II?
2)What's the typical cruise speed at altitudes where you don't need oxygen? Considering that my family is unwilling to wear oxygen masks, is there any point to me buying a turbo and paying the higher maintenance costs?
>>> Given the choice I'd never have a travel airplane without a turbo. I've owned three Senecas, all turbo charged and over 25 years have never had any expense related to turbo charging. The performance is awesome versus non-turbocharging.
3)What do you think of the Avidyne displays? I have lots of experience in G1000 and a little with Aspen, but none with Avidyne. I like G1000 much more than Aspen. Is it true Avidynes require significant maintenance?
>>> Last year I converted my Seneca from Garmin (which is terrific) to Avidyne (which is equally terrific). Reliable: totally.
4)What are the typical annual costs and maintenance costs? Would you expect significantly higher maintenance costs for an older Saratoga vs. a Saratoga II?
5)Could it make sense to buy an older Saratoga and upgrade to Aspen or Garmin glass panel? Or would you keep the steam guage? It's been a couple of years since I have flown IFR with steam gauge but I suppose I could relearn.
>>> Unless you have won the lottery or other large cash source, keep the steam gauges. Unless you're looking at Aspen.
6)How do the KFC 150 autopilots compare to the Stec in terms of flying coupled approaches? What about in terms of maintenance and other factors?
>>> KFD150 autopilots are excellent as are STEC. Get an attitude-based autopilot if you can rather than a rate-based autopilot like STEC. STEC is fine, attitude-based is better.
7)Is it true that bonanzas are more fun to fly than Saratogas?
>>> Beechcraft are like Buicks and Piper's are like Chevy's. Everyone I've talked to says that the Bonanza's are a delight to hand-fly. My Seneca, on the other hand, is heavy on the controls. Nevertheless, the Seneca is a stable cruising platform and I don't hand fly it much anyway. That's what George is for on long trips. Happy hunting!

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3 years 9 months ago #821

Thanks all for the responses. Scott, one question about your avionics upgrade. Did you upgrade the entire panel from steam to glass or just change a Garmin 430? I imagine you considered upgrading to Aspen or Garmin glass panels before choosing the Avidyne? Can you give me a sense of what prices you were quoted for the equipment and installation of different options and why you chose Avidyne? Also, you mentioned attitude based autopilots. Which models of those come on Pipers?

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3 years 9 months ago #822

Hi and thanks for writing. Regarding my six-pack. I still have steam gauge instruments but I have a second AI and DG (HSI) for backup. I'd like to get an Aspen at some point but can't yet justify the cost. An overhaul of an AI is a few hundred dollars once every 12 - 15 years and an Aspen costs $15k installed. No ROI on that so I'm waiting for a winning lottery ticket. However, the center stack is a different story. I sold off my Garmin 340 audio panel, 530 GPS and Narco transponder and got $13k for the three of them, and that's after 12 years of ownership. I purchased Avidyne audio, 540 gps and Mode S/es ADS-B out transponder. Since they all fit in the old Garmin trays the install cost was minimal. Additionally, I installed a NavWorx ADS-600B ADS-B in receiver/UAT (also known as the Avidyne MLB-100) and the whole install for everything was under $8k, (including radio, heater, white walls...). Helluva a good deal for another 12 years. If you have old Garmin equipment sell it while the resale is still very high. If you do, make sure you run an advertisement on our FOR SALE forum. If you don't want to pay $5k to $8k for installation of new Garmin equipment, get Avidyne. BTW, Avidyne is giving away an ADS-B UAT (in and out) free with a new GPS. :) Regarding autopilot: This is easy! In my opinion, don't get an STEC. They are rate-based and no where as good as attitude-based autopilots. I have a Century 2000 which I purchased used, about two years old. I have a GPSS roll-steering adapter and altitude pre-select, too. I paid about $8k used and it's awesome. Also, Century is the only autopilot manufacturer that I know of that will sell an STC and install kit for a used autopilot. STEC won't. This is a great way to get an almost new autopilot for about half price. Keeping in mind that a full-blown autopilot like mine would cost over $25k installed and new, which is like overhauling an engine. My like-new high-tech Century 2000 cost me about $12k installed and I got about $1,500 for my old Century 3 autopilot on Barnstormers.

Good look and let me know if there's anything I can do to help. Have a good night.
Scott Sherer
N344TB

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3 years 6 months ago #914

I have owned my 2001 SARATOGA Turbo for 2 years now. Upgraded to a 2 tube Aspen set up, and an Avidyne 540/440, and a JPI engine monitor. I previously flew an SR22 with Avidyne R9. LOVED the ease of use with Avidyne. That is why I had the 540/440 install. This is an updated version of R9, smaller screen. I also like the Aspens. Very reliable, as is the Avidyne set up. No problems. I also, like Scott, appreciate the climb performance. I fly with my wife and two teenage sons, and have loaded the Toga with lots of bads. Still get 500 to 1000 ft climb rates if I need it. Good luck!

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3 years 6 months ago #915

I forgot to mention ...don't know your home location, but John Bartelt in Sturgis, Michigan (where I found/purchased my Toga) is very knowledgeable and helpful. He is a NO pressure broker, would give you info without any sales pitch. Business is Bartelt Aviation. They have a good website.

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