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Six-Seated SEP club aircraft?

Hello everybody,

in the last few weeks, I had to turn town quite a few requests of friends and co-workers to fly with them and their families due to the lack of an adequate aircraft.
In all of the cases, they wanted to fly with their respective spouses and kids, so a C172 of which we have three, is not sufficient. Of course one could have split up the flights, but that’s not exactly the same, and as they wanted a family experience, we decided not to do this. In another case, we wanted to fly to an island, where shuttling back and forth would also have been less than ideal.
And even without the PoB-problem, there are many occasions where one could use some additional kg of payload, especially with passengers who are not exactly the 75 kg standard person ;).

So I was wondering whether we (as a club) could use a six-seater SEP. The obvious idea would be a C206 or a PA32. Neither of those would stand out, as we already have C172s and a PA28, so communality and maintenance should be manageable.

Are there clubs around which do have larger aircraft? And which one would you recommend for club use?
My gut feeling says the C206 should be better, but that’s solely based on my experience with the C172s which I think are benign, easy to fly and very good for elderly and “non-standard” PAX. I would assume the C206 to be in that line, but unfortunately have no first-hand experience. There is no C206 (or PA32) in my area, as far as I know.

The reason why I’m asking is the that people in the club keep saying that although it would be nice to have one larger aircraft, it would be way too expensive to be viable. This sounds overly negative to me, and that’s why I’m starting this thread.

So I would be happy to learn about realistic numbers for these aircraft, be it speed, payload and of course cost. And if you know a six-seater in a club, I am highly interested in the acceptance and actual useage of it!

EDXN, ETMN, Germany

Take Flight at Wellesbourne have a PA-32 which flies quite often.

EGBW / KPRC, United Kingdom

So does White Waltham.


I’ve just bought a U206F with my partner. We are doing paint, interior, avionics, prop and lots of mods. Really excited we think it will be an amazing aeroplane. Plan to keep it for a year at least.

Buying, Selling, Flying
EISG, Ireland

If you’re just looking for the opportunity to put 6 bums on seats and or haul a bit of weight with a chance of no huge costs but no thrills then a Cherokee 6 is pretty much top of the list.
Most other choices will be dearer to purchase and or dearer to own. Each may offer preferred variables but the Cherokee 6 will take a lot of beating.

Last Edited by GA_Pete at 22 Jun 22:54
United Kingdom

A GA single which left the factory with six seats in it will generally be a compromised performer with six adults aboard (‘same theme as a 172 with four adults aboard). It
ll do it, but with operational compromise. Prepare to plan for reduced capability. I always used caution flying larger numbers of people who are not used to GA flying. As the pilot, you’re busy flying. when someone in the back gets airsick, or otherwise creates a distraction, your duties become split. Make sure you’re skilled and relaxed enough flying the aircraft to take the role of both pilot, and flight attendant. And remember, you are solely responsible for all of their safety!

Recent discoveries of wing spar defects in the Piper Cherokee series have me worrying about inspections and parts support, should an inspection reveal a defect. Before buying a Cherokee, really do your homework in terms of future maintainability, and in particular, future structural parts support. I have spoken to Piper Tech Support on the topic of parts availability for legacy Pipers, and was not reassured by the answers I received. I hope things have improved.

Cessnas are not immune either. A proposed AD will be burdensome to most 172’s and 182’s, all 206’s and strut braced 210’s. Compliance will be multi thousands of dollars per aircraft, though Cessna is providing kits of parts for a cost.

If the pitch trim system of the 206 you’re about to fly has been apart for inspection, insist that the mechanic, with the type certificate data sheet in hand, demonstrate to you, the pilot, how the trim system has been correctly rigged. It can be rigged upside down, and you will have a very dangerous flight. ’Been there, done that! Reference to the Cessna maintenance manual for a newer 206H for trim rigging will make things more understandable, Cessna realized their casual wording error, and was much more clear in the newer manual.

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

I can’t add much to the feedback above but would like to amplify the point made above by pilot_dar.

Obviously (and I know you will know this already, charlie_romeo) a “6 seater” cannot usually carry 6 “modern sized” people and full fuel; this is a standard design tradeoff in GA and is a good thing because it gives you more choice. However this tradeoff is usually more severe in 6 seaters than in 4 seaters – because 6 seaters don’t have generally much bigger tanks; they are just a couple of feet longer to make room for the extra seats. So it is much easier to overload them (especially fore or aft of the envelope) if one doesn’t do the w&b right, and there have been many accidents due to this, where the plane was perhaps not over (or not “much over”) the MTOW but was loaded so the elevator authority was not there before the speed got high enough before running out of runway.

This leads to a common operator policy to not fill the tanks right up after landing – especially in a shared scenario where you don’t know who will be flying next time.

And on most 6 seaters (actually probably most types, but it is less critical on 4 seaters) you cannot visually inspect the fuel level if it is below about 50%. BUT you want it below 50% for most nontrivial flights with 6 “modern size” people… often well below 50%. The result is that one ends up doing a series of flights where there is total reliance on the useless bit of paper called a tech log, which in turns relies on how far forward the red lever was pushed during the various flights

The most spectacular result I recall is G-OMAR.

So if I was operating one of these, either for nontrivial flights of any kind or in a shared (school/club) scenario, I would install a fuel totaliser and make sure everybody knows how to use it. Also you want to make sure only honest people get access, because fiddling with the totaliser FOB figure is not exactly unknown, as I quickly found out when I used to rent mine out (and the fiddling was done by an instructor!).

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Did you consider an A36 Bonanza ? It’s got a pretty good useful load and a better CG than the 4 seater

Safe landings !
EDLN, Germany

A local club has a PA32 in its fleet. About 220€/h.
Another one a bit further away, with POH, W&B etc… on the site. Will carry total 657kg or 404kg with full tanks.
I am not a member in either clubs, so i have no indications about the flight time per year, but you can try to contact them.

ESMK, Sweden

Peter wrote:

BUT you want it below 50% for most nontrivial flights with 6 “modern size” people… often well below 50%

The use case however isn’t 6 adults, but 2 adults and 3+ children (the examples the OP gave were all family trips including children which are hopefully lighter). I’d have to imagine it’s quite rare that most people want a 6 place for 6 adults. (Well, except in the case of a certain pilot in these parts whose Cheorkee 6 could be seen lumbering off the runway with 6 adults about a dozen times during each year’s TT races!)

Andreas IOM
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