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Beech Duke Owners/ex-Owners ple help...



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 9th 04, 01:38 AM
Stanley
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Posts: n/a
Default Beech Duke Owners/ex-Owners ple help...

I am looking to purchase a pressurized twin that my ins co will let me
fly and am very interested in a Duke.

They look to be fast and fits my needs of cabin class (vs Baron type),
potty for kids' emergencies and payload to haul family of 4 over the
Sierra/Rockies for up to 1000nm. I've looked at Mojave, 414, 421,
340, etc and keep coming back to the Duke. Even though I'm low-time
(1000hrs), I've accumulated about 350hrs in a C90B so there is a
small (but realistic) chance that my ins co will actually let me go in
one of these w/o a propilot vs. "no chance" for the C90B.

My request for help: I heard all the remarks - 1) Get a good
mechanic, 2) Cost much to keep in the air, 3) Not enough payload, and
4) Req too much runway.

I'd like to hear from current/former Duke owners to get the skinny on
these concerns. Any specific answers to the following would be much
appreciated:

1) What is/was the ave annual maint expenses? Does it escalate after
a certain no of TTAF?

2) Are there availability of good svc facilities/mechanics?
(Northern CA)

3) What is a "safe" runway length you would fly out of (SL)? How
does it perform in high alt field in summer?

4) What ADs and etc one should look for? I'm thinking of 3,000hr
TTAF 1980-2 (the "B"?) model.

5) Was insurance a difficult proposition for you?

6) What do you like and dislike about the Duke?

Thanks much in advance for the insights.

Stanley
Ads
  #2  
Old February 9th 04, 02:21 AM
Jeff
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

good questions, I am trying to talk my wife into letting me get a Duke, I
have to have some serious good reasons for her to say yes to one of those.

Stanley wrote:

I am looking to purchase a pressurized twin that my ins co will let me
fly and am very interested in a Duke.

They look to be fast and fits my needs of cabin class (vs Baron type),
potty for kids' emergencies and payload to haul family of 4 over the
Sierra/Rockies for up to 1000nm. I've looked at Mojave, 414, 421,
340, etc and keep coming back to the Duke. Even though I'm low-time
(1000hrs), I've accumulated about 350hrs in a C90B so there is a
small (but realistic) chance that my ins co will actually let me go in
one of these w/o a propilot vs. "no chance" for the C90B.

My request for help: I heard all the remarks - 1) Get a good
mechanic, 2) Cost much to keep in the air, 3) Not enough payload, and
4) Req too much runway.

I'd like to hear from current/former Duke owners to get the skinny on
these concerns. Any specific answers to the following would be much
appreciated:

1) What is/was the ave annual maint expenses? Does it escalate after
a certain no of TTAF?

2) Are there availability of good svc facilities/mechanics?
(Northern CA)

3) What is a "safe" runway length you would fly out of (SL)? How
does it perform in high alt field in summer?

4) What ADs and etc one should look for? I'm thinking of 3,000hr
TTAF 1980-2 (the "B"?) model.

5) Was insurance a difficult proposition for you?

6) What do you like and dislike about the Duke?

Thanks much in advance for the insights.

Stanley


  #3  
Old February 9th 04, 11:15 AM
Abafon Goula
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Posts: n/a
Default

On Sun, 08 Feb 2004 18:21:47 -0800, Jeff wrote:

That's it in a nutshell - 1) Get a good mechanic, 2) Cost too much to
keep in the air, 3) Not enough payload, and 4) Req too much runway.

Wow, an insurance company that WANTS you to fly a Duke! Here's my
take:

1. When it comes to a Duke, if you have to ask the prices, you can't
afford it. And if you can afford it, the newsgroup isn't a place to
ask questions. It'll be your accountant's office.

2. The annual trips to Flight Safety for recurring training can
really bite into your schedule.

3. A Duke is generally an aircraft for people that have more money
than sense, or control a company that will probably never get audited.

4. Look elsewhere, as Beech's support for the Duke is RAPIDly going
down hill.

  #4  
Old February 9th 04, 05:06 PM
Mike Rapoport
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Abafon Goula" wrote in message
...
On Sun, 08 Feb 2004 18:21:47 -0800, Jeff wrote:


1. When it comes to a Duke, if you have to ask the prices, you can't
afford it. And if you can afford it, the newsgroup isn't a place to
ask questions. It'll be your accountant's office.


Your accountant knows the TO distance for different airplanes?

Mike
MU-2



  #5  
Old February 9th 04, 05:23 PM
Mike Rapoport
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Posts: n/a
Default

I can't help you with a Duke but I would consider where training is
availible for any airplane you are considering. In my case the only
training center is 2100nm away which is an issue when you have to go every
year. If training is an issue, I would buy the King Air and not insure it.
KA training is availible at lots of place as is maitenance.

Mike
MU-2

"Stanley" wrote in message
om...
I am looking to purchase a pressurized twin that my ins co will let me
fly and am very interested in a Duke.

They look to be fast and fits my needs of cabin class (vs Baron type),
potty for kids' emergencies and payload to haul family of 4 over the
Sierra/Rockies for up to 1000nm. I've looked at Mojave, 414, 421,
340, etc and keep coming back to the Duke. Even though I'm low-time
(1000hrs), I've accumulated about 350hrs in a C90B so there is a
small (but realistic) chance that my ins co will actually let me go in
one of these w/o a propilot vs. "no chance" for the C90B.

My request for help: I heard all the remarks - 1) Get a good
mechanic, 2) Cost much to keep in the air, 3) Not enough payload, and
4) Req too much runway.

I'd like to hear from current/former Duke owners to get the skinny on
these concerns. Any specific answers to the following would be much
appreciated:

1) What is/was the ave annual maint expenses? Does it escalate after
a certain no of TTAF?

2) Are there availability of good svc facilities/mechanics?
(Northern CA)

3) What is a "safe" runway length you would fly out of (SL)? How
does it perform in high alt field in summer?

4) What ADs and etc one should look for? I'm thinking of 3,000hr
TTAF 1980-2 (the "B"?) model.

5) Was insurance a difficult proposition for you?

6) What do you like and dislike about the Duke?

Thanks much in advance for the insights.

Stanley



  #6  
Old February 9th 04, 06:45 PM
Stanley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

=========
Jeff/All,

Thanks for the posts.

Understand the overall concerns.... but I'd like to know a little more
specifics if anyone can provide it (esp owners/ex-owners).

FS currency is something that I've accepted as good for safe piloting
of the type of aircraft I would like to operate w/ kids in the back,
so that is less of an issue in my book.

My accountant aside, would someone comment specifically on their
experience in keeping a Duke "in the air" re "typical" maintanence
costs, operating costs and insurance requirements? Also, the comment
re declining Beech support - anyone else experienced this?

Thanks again for any replies.

Stanley
  #7  
Old February 13th 04, 02:10 AM
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 9 Feb 2004 10:45:39 -0800, (Stanley) wrote:


My accountant aside, would someone comment specifically on their
experience in keeping a Duke "in the air" re "typical" maintanence
costs, operating costs and insurance requirements? Also, the comment
re declining Beech support - anyone else experienced this?


How much experience do you have with the care and feeding of a twin
turbo-supercharged piston-pounding pressurized deiced twin?

How many hours a year do you plan to fly?

How important are dispatchablility/downtime issues?

How much time have you spent either flying or maintaining a Duke?

How many owners have you contacted outside of the newsgroups?

How many service centers have you found with valid Duke experience,
let alone in your geographic area?

Any good shop will be more than willing to dig through their bills and
give you typical out-the-door costs for Duke 100hr/annuals. If they
can't, you DON'T want them maintaining your Duke.

The first exposure I had to a Duke was working a combustion heater
gripe on a transient aircraft back in the late 80's. Owner/pilot
operating on another's 135 ticket. Had operated the aircraft for 300
hours/18 months. Was absolutely tickled ****less that his last 100
hour had come in just over $10,000.

It is a complex aircraft that does not share many parts/systems with
other Beech aircraft. The engines/cylinders are a nightmare. No, I
have never owned one-I was just the poor ******* that had to call the
owners every other oil change to tell them they just bought a couple
of more cylinders.

You are aware that the engine series was used on three very limited
production aircraft 25 years ago. It might be easier to get a quote
for an engine overhaul than it was 10 years ago, but I somehow doubt
it.

Getting airframe parts will be an absolute nightmare.

If you are looking for a unique airplane to fly around in and you have
an unlimited budget, buy one.

If you need to count on it for "working" transportation, buy two.

An above-average maintenance facility will be required, and if they
have any sense, they won't want to deal with you. The aggravation vs.
profit quotient isn't a desirable one. If you've never experienced
"blank check" Raytheon Authorized Service Center maintenance before,
try it once, you're in for another rude awakening.

Last Duke owner I dealt with was a long-time aircraft owner. After
first having to inspect/repair the aircraft, and having to listen to
16 verses of the "you're screwing me on the bill" litany, I told him
in no uncertain terms that I had not bent him over a wing and
whispered in his ear.... "buy a Duke"

TC

  #8  
Old February 13th 04, 09:30 PM
Stanley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

TC:

My experience w/ TC'd engine has been limited to 300hrs in B36TC. I
understand the "care and feeding" of these types of engines but have
no experience in the 380HP monsters on the Duke. I understand that
there are current issues surrounding the crankshaft and lifters... and
that there may be a fix re "weeping crankshafts" from Fire Forward.
Any insights on this?

I plan to fly 100-150hrs per year, primarily for personal use so
"dispatchability" is lesser of concern vs "what the heck did I buy" if
they are truely the hanger queen variety. I have no direct experience
in a Duke and am considering C340 and Duke (as dictated to me by ins
co). One alternative would be to try something else and self-insure
it, but that probably isn't the brightest move.

There is an experienced Duke maint facility around here w/ decade plus
trackrecord w/ 10's of them - they've been useful, but the reason this
post is to hear directly from other owners/ex-owners who would have
the least amount of bias. Also, others who have worked on it (e.g.
"watch out for the Magnesium Tail assembly and signs of corrosion")
have been extremely helpful. I'm tracking down couple of owners now...

Anyone w/ experience flying these in warm weather out of high altitude
fields (yeah, I don't plan to, but like to know first hand
experiences)?

Keep those posts coming!

Stanley
  #9  
Old February 14th 04, 12:09 AM
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 13 Feb 2004 13:30:10 -0800, (Stanley) wrote:

TC:

My experience w/ TC'd engine has been limited to 300hrs in B36TC. I
understand the "care and feeding" of these types of engines but have
no experience in the 380HP monsters on the Duke. I understand that
there are current issues surrounding the crankshaft and lifters... and
that there may be a fix re "weeping crankshafts" from Fire Forward.
Any insights on this?


Most of my experience with the 541 is with the geared variery a la
P-Nav. Did see one cam head south, but that engine was of dubious
origin. The lifter design is unlike anything else Lycoming has put
out there.

The intake port "outer" wall seems to be extraordinarily thin on these
cylinders, my SWAG is that it looks like they had to machine them off
for clearance to the adjoining cylinder. It was by no means an
uncommon occurence to see a fuel stain on the bottom side of the
intake port, 95% of the time this indicated a crack in the outer port
wall.

Have also seen the intake port cracks migrate to the spark plug hole.
This problem could also be attributed to the limited pool of
cylinders, have no idea what the actual cycles were on the failed
jugs.

I plan to fly 100-150hrs per year, primarily for personal use so
"dispatchability" is lesser of concern vs "what the heck did I buy" if
they are truely the hanger queen variety. I have no direct experience
in a Duke and am considering C340 and Duke (as dictated to me by ins
co). One alternative would be to try something else and self-insure
it, but that probably isn't the brightest move.


If you can stand a little down-time, it makes a big difference if you
have to wait on parts.

It's the day-to-day stuff that adds up. Had an alternator head south,
found out that the Lear/Siegler (sp?) alternator wasn't a real common
unit (have never seen any in service aside from the Duke install).
That means limited/no access to exchange units, and paying 2-3 times
what a more common unit can be purchased for.

Any aircraft of this type is going to have similiar systems and
complexity, and require a similiar amount of maintenance. But the
engine deal, and the great RAPID team just don't give me a warm fuzzy.

There is an experienced Duke maint facility around here w/ decade plus
trackrecord w/ 10's of them - they've been useful, but the reason this
post is to hear directly from other owners/ex-owners who would have
the least amount of bias. Also, others who have worked on it (e.g.
"watch out for the Magnesium Tail assembly and signs of corrosion")
have been extremely helpful. I'm tracking down couple of owners now...


You may find this hard to believe, but very few shops are going to try
and mislead you when you ask them direct questions. There is really
nothing to gain by giving you garbage numbers. I would look pretty
silly telling you that a typical annual is 30 hours and $400 for parts
before you buy it, and then hand you a bill for $15,000 for an
inspection.

If they still do some Duke maintenance, it is likely that they would
stock commonly needed parts, especially ones with a bad availability
history. In the late 80's/early 90's, we kept more of the
"consumable" Piper parts in stock than the factory/distributor chain
did.

The magnesium skin issue hits Bonanza's, Baron's etc., not just the
Duke. The primary issue is deterioration/improper application of the
original conversion coat/paint film, or improper
stripping/conversion/priming/re-painting. Have had a couple of older
(50's-60's) vintage Bonanza's with skins corroded to the point that
the trailing edge seam could be zippered off with a pair of pliers.
Any repair/painting of these parts must be done by someone familiar
with the problems inherent in magnesium parts.

Anyone w/ experience flying these in warm weather out of high altitude
fields (yeah, I don't plan to, but like to know first hand
experiences)?


My first take-off in one was off of 4,000 ft at 800 msl approx. 65 F
OAT. Had two hours of fuel and one other soul onboard.

Acceleration was scary slow, was definitely not happy with indicated
speed at the 2/3'rds point (compared to all the other twins I'd been
in), but hung in there. After rotation (and gear retraction) it
accelerated at a more "normal" rate, my gut feeling is that the slight
airspeed gain allowed those shortie props to get a bigger "bite".

I really don't want to think about the actual accelerate/stop
distance.

snip

TC

  #10  
Old January 13th 10, 12:46 AM
dmark1 dmark1 is offline
Junior Member
 
First recorded activity by AviationBanter: Jan 2009
Posts: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by View Post
On 13 Feb 2004 13:30:10 -0800, (Stanley) wrote:

TC:

My experience w/ TC'd engine has been limited to 300hrs in B36TC. I
understand the "care and feeding" of these types of engines but have
no experience in the 380HP monsters on the Duke. I understand that
there are current issues surrounding the crankshaft and lifters... and
that there may be a fix re "weeping crankshafts" from Fire Forward.
Any insights on this?


Most of my experience with the 541 is with the geared variery a la
P-Nav. Did see one cam head south, but that engine was of dubious
origin. The lifter design is unlike anything else Lycoming has put
out there.

The intake port "outer" wall seems to be extraordinarily thin on these
cylinders, my SWAG is that it looks like they had to machine them off
for clearance to the adjoining cylinder. It was by no means an
uncommon occurence to see a fuel stain on the bottom side of the
intake port, 95% of the time this indicated a crack in the outer port
wall.

Have also seen the intake port cracks migrate to the spark plug hole.
This problem could also be attributed to the limited pool of
cylinders, have no idea what the actual cycles were on the failed
jugs.

I plan to fly 100-150hrs per year, primarily for personal use so
"dispatchability" is lesser of concern vs "what the heck did I buy" if
they are truely the hanger queen variety. I have no direct experience
in a Duke and am considering C340 and Duke (as dictated to me by ins
co). One alternative would be to try something else and self-insure
it, but that probably isn't the brightest move.


If you can stand a little down-time, it makes a big difference if you
have to wait on parts.

It's the day-to-day stuff that adds up. Had an alternator head south,
found out that the Lear/Siegler (sp?) alternator wasn't a real common
unit (have never seen any in service aside from the Duke install).
That means limited/no access to exchange units, and paying 2-3 times
what a more common unit can be purchased for.

Any aircraft of this type is going to have similiar systems and
complexity, and require a similiar amount of maintenance. But the
engine deal, and the great RAPID team just don't give me a warm fuzzy.

There is an experienced Duke maint facility around here w/ decade plus
trackrecord w/ 10's of them - they've been useful, but the reason this
post is to hear directly from other owners/ex-owners who would have
the least amount of bias. Also, others who have worked on it (e.g.
"watch out for the Magnesium Tail assembly and signs of corrosion")
have been extremely helpful. I'm tracking down couple of owners now...


You may find this hard to believe, but very few shops are going to try
and mislead you when you ask them direct questions. There is really
nothing to gain by giving you garbage numbers. I would look pretty
silly telling you that a typical annual is 30 hours and $400 for parts
before you buy it, and then hand you a bill for $15,000 for an
inspection.

If they still do some Duke maintenance, it is likely that they would
stock commonly needed parts, especially ones with a bad availability
history. In the late 80's/early 90's, we kept more of the
"consumable" Piper parts in stock than the factory/distributor chain
did.

The magnesium skin issue hits Bonanza's, Baron's etc., not just the
Duke. The primary issue is deterioration/improper application of the
original conversion coat/paint film, or improper
stripping/conversion/priming/re-painting. Have had a couple of older
(50's-60's) vintage Bonanza's with skins corroded to the point that
the trailing edge seam could be zippered off with a pair of pliers.
Any repair/painting of these parts must be done by someone familiar
with the problems inherent in magnesium parts.

Anyone w/ experience flying these in warm weather out of high altitude
fields (yeah, I don't plan to, but like to know first hand
experiences)?


My first take-off in one was off of 4,000 ft at 800 msl approx. 65 F
OAT. Had two hours of fuel and one other soul onboard.

Acceleration was scary slow, was definitely not happy with indicated
speed at the 2/3'rds point (compared to all the other twins I'd been
in), but hung in there. After rotation (and gear retraction) it
accelerated at a more "normal" rate, my gut feeling is that the slight
airspeed gain allowed those shortie props to get a bigger "bite".

I really don't want to think about the actual accelerate/stop
distance.

snip

TC
I Love it! You guys have never owned one but you know all about them. I, on the other hand have owned one for 17 years and never had an annual over 10K (bladders) average 5K. Burns a lot of gas, looks cool, goes to TBO every time if operated right (mine went twice).

Don't listen to these clowns, Stanley. They no not what they are talking about.

Most mechanics have no problem with them, the ones that do probably shouldnt be in the fixit business.

Mark
 




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