Cessna 350: Cessna’s New-Generation Single
Is the Cessna 350 the new NGP?
|Under The Same Roof: Traditional & Modern |
Walk into the showroom at Tom’s Aircraft (www.tomsaircraft.com) in Long Beach, Calif., and you’re presented with a contrast of airplanes. There are Skyhawk SPs available for less than $300,000, and turbocharged Cessna 400s priced at more than $600,000. Throw in an occasional Caravan plus a sprinkling of T-Skylanes and T-Stationairs, not to mention the subject Cessna 350, and you have the makings of an airplane for every mission.
With the flaps set at the first notch, 12 degrees for liftoff and climb, expect an initial 1,200 fpm with a full load from sea level. Better still, you’re liable to maintain 1,000 fpm through at least 5,000 feet. Service ceiling is 18,000 feet.
Like the Cirrus SR22, the Cessna 350 relies on a combination of copious power and extreme aerodynamic cleanliness to overcome drag. Officially, the airplane’s max cruise speed checks in at 191 knots, but that’s probably not the way most pilots run the 350. The penalty for big cruise is big fuel burn, not very popular at a time of $6-per-gallon gasoline.
Cessna’s 350 uses a normally aspirated version of the same engine rated for as much as 350 hp in the Lancair IV application. The engine can pull 75% of 350 hp, i.e., 263 hp, roughly 85% of the derated power. In fact, Cessna lists max cruise power slightly lower at 81%.
Specific fuel consumption is fairly immutable, and with an SFC of 0.43 pounds/hp/hr, max cruise burn comes out to about 113 pounds/hr, roughly 19 gph. With 98 gallons in the tanks, that translates to almost four hours of IFR endurance (plus alternate plus reserve) at high cruise, worth an easy 750 nm. Cessna’s figures suggest a range of 1,395 nm at 55% power (158 knots) on just under 10 gph. That’s not to suggest anyone is likely to run the airplane at that setting (it’s sort of like driving a 911 Turbo at 70 mph on the San Diego Freeway in sixth gear), but for those strange folks who like to fly fast airplanes slow…