Plane & Pilot
Thursday, September 1, 2005

New Piper’s Saratoga II TC

Still “The One” for the turbo six-seaters

Any list of general-aviation evergreens is bound to include certain airplanes: The Cessna 170 and 172 would be near the top of the list; Piper’s venerable Super Cub would be a strong contender; Beechcraft’s straight-tail Bonanza would definitely qualify; and the Piper Cherokee Six also would likely make the list." />

No matter what the stage length, the Saratoga TC’s turbo allows the pilot quite a bit more flexibility when the point of departure is high or hot. Critical altitude, the height above which power begins to fall off, is nearly 15,000 feet, so even Leadville, Colo., (at 9,927 feet of elevation) in the summer would pose no great problem for a careful pilot.

The Saratoga TC’s pilot and passengers luxuriate in a cabin that measures 49 inches across by 42 inches tall. Even rear-seat occupants enjoy plenty of elbow room. If baggage allows, rear riders can recline their seats back, put their feet up on the aft-facing center seat cushions and stretch out practically full length.

Piper used to advertise the Cherokee Six, Saratoga and Seneca fuselage with the aft four seats removed and a small piano in their place, and once you climb inside, you’ll understand why. It’s a large enclosure, over 10 feet long, but more importantly, the cargo doors allow you to place large loads aboard.

The long fuselage could easily allow loading the airplane outside the aft limit, and Piper provides a forward baggage compartment to help offset the problem. Mounted directly in front of the main cabin and behind the engine, the front baggage container can handle as much as 100 pounds of miscellaneous stuff, and it’s far enough forward to balance the CG. It’s also naturally heated by that big, 540-cubic inch Lycoming only a few inches farther forward on the opposite side of the firewall.

Like the old Cessna 210 Centurion and Beechcraft’s A36 Bonanza, the Saratoga TC may shine brightest when it’s time to return to Earth. The airplane manifests good stability in instrument conditions, making the type a popular choice for businessmen and pilots who need to fly pretty much whenever and wherever. Driving down an ILS in hard, turbulent IFR in a Saratoga is about as simple as it gets.

With plenty of pre-stall buffet, a 61-knot limit dirty stall speed and reasonable handling at low speeds, it can use 80-knot approach speeds in VFR conditions and fit into 1,500- to 2,000-foot strips without anxiety. Crosswind manners are excellent, judging flare height is easy, and ground handling characteristics are exemplary.

Equipped with the Avidyne avionics, air conditioning and Piper’s TKS system, the Saratoga II TC offers good performance, plenty of room and ultimate capability. If you’re interested in an unpressurized, turbocharged six-seater, the Saratoga TC is tough to beat.

For more information, contact New Piper Aircraft at (772) 567-4361 or log on to

SPECS: 2005 New Piper Saratoga II TC

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