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baronn

Seneca as a jump aircraft

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A seneca is a twin engine , retractable landing gear version of the Cherokee 6. Basically the same airframe. How many cherokee 6's do you see flying jumpers? Now throw in 2 engines and retractable landing gear and you have added weight and more stuff to go wrong mechanically.

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Disclaimer: I may not know what I'm talking about since I'm not a pilot or otherwise involved in aviation other than skydiving.

I would suspect that, even if it could hold 8-10 jumpers, that 1) the low tail could be an issue and 2) with piston engines, the advertised climb rate of 1550/min would not be close in reality with a plane full of jumpers.

Anyone with better knowledge feel free to dispute!

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A quick look suggests it is just an updated version of the navajoh (PA-31 vs PA-34)? If so the Navajoh is used in a few countries already for skydiving and having done two jumps out of one I will never jump another. Super fast jump run with a ton of prop blast and tiny door (that from memory had to be closed for descent) with not that great of a climb rate. Probably ok if just lobbing tandems out otherwise, in my opinion, crap. No idea of the running costs but given it is a twin piston engine i'd imagine something like running 2 182's but only getting 6-8 jumpers instead of the 8-10 (wide body) you'd get in a 182, though I guess you're not insuring/registering and maintaining two airframes ...

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Thanks for the replies. These are all opinions and I was really looking for some info on a real operation. With a full load of fuel (720#'s), 2 people it climbs at about 1200FPM to FL 6K. started to fall off after that. Yeah, it's a more complicated bird with the gear, engines etc. but, it seems for just a tandem operation it could work.
Thanks

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Original Seneca I has 180hp Lycomings. The Seneca II & III has Turbocharged Continentals rated at 200 & 220HP, which would help with ROC, but would require lots of $$ in maintenance. Would HATE to lose an engine on takeoff in a light-light twin with full load of jumpers. I would think that flying it with the door off would probably make it a little squirrely near Vmc.

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Maybe you'll get no real-world operational feedback, because there is none? And maybe too... there is a reason for that? ;)

You almost sound like the 100-jump wonder with this... fishing around for that one illusive "answer" - which is only the one - that he really only wanted to hear. :P
coitus non circum - Moab Stone

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I use to fly a Seneca lll. It was a pretty good airplane. The ones and twos were underpowered. I wouldn't fly jumpers in any of them on a regular basis just because of the tail. I wouldn't fly jumpers in a S3 on a regular basis because of the turbos.

Low volume + high maintenance costs = you're broke even if no one takes the tail off.

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To be blunt, the door sucks and there is plenty obstacles to trip over on you way to the door. It is more difficult to spot unless you are letting the pilot spot for you. It is hard to launch anything out of as well as a poor idea to try. They are just a poor idea, you are better of with a 182, of course that is JMO.

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I have about 300 skydives out of Seneca V and III. The floor is level so there are no obstacles. The door is a bit on the small side, but it is ok for putting tandems with video out. If the aircraft is properly configured on the jump run and you do a normal exit, then you shouldn't be able to hit the tail. It climbs really fast. Ours takes about 17min to 13,5k. But it isn't cheap to operate.
http://www.prostipad.si

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I haven't used a Seneca but I have around 400 jumps from a Cherokee 6 which is the same fuselage. The door is small but I did lots of AFF from it and even 4-way with a bit of thought. The Cherokee 6s in use in the UK came in 260HP and 300HP versions, The 260 is a slug but the 300 is fine to 10 or 12K'.
I have no reason to think the Seneca would be any different except for the cost of running two engines.

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