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Cessna 340

Does anyone have any experience of owning, maintaining, operating these?

Have been looking for something a step up from the usual PA28R/SR22/DA42 types that I have flown to date. Looked at the PA46 Mirage but not keen on the engine package, or a single piston in general, so then looked at the Baron 58 which is great to fly but being non-turbo and requiring oxygen above FL100 seems a bit limiting and so doesn’t offer much more than an SR22/DA42 except for a lot of extra expense!

An SET (Meridian) would be great but the capital cost is on another level, and you would “only” end up with a Meggitt/Avidyne panel‎ unless buying a very new (G1000) model which is even more expensive again.

So going back to the piston twin idea, but pressurised, lead me to a Cessna 421 but this is unnecessarily big. And hence I arrived at the 340 which I had not seen before. ‎Obviously they are old aircraft, but there seem to be well looked after examples in the US, and could plan for a fairly major avionics/interior refit (G500/GTN etc) and still be well below a single turbine capital cost.

Interested to hear if anyone has any practical experience of ownership or operation, preferably in Europe.

ortac wrote:

Interested to hear if anyone has any practical experience of ownership or operation, preferably in Europe.

During the 1990ies I co-owned a flying business that among other aircraft operated a C340 for it’s owner. Then (it would be 20 years older now…) it was a reliable aircraft. For our commercial operation it was too small and too uncomfortable for passengers – they complain in anything smaller than a Citation Excel and double-complain in anything with propellers. But for the business and holiday flights of the owner (who did not fly himself) it was ideal.

Like any other part-23 aircraft one must be aware that one gets either all seats occupied or all tanks filled but not both at the same time. Bearing that in mind it is a very capable aircraft that can carry three grown-ups over the full range or six grown-ups for two hours.

I can’t recall any recurring problems with this aeroplane apart from the usual avionics failures. But that would certainly be solved by upgrading to more modern stuff as you plan to do. The engines never had any issues as long as we had the aircraft in our operation. The electrical gear and flaps always worked flawlessly (other than the hydraulic ones of the 421 and 500 series…) as well as the de-icing installation and the cabin pressurisation. But don’t expect to see the claimed speeds in typical central European operation at FL150-200. 180KTAS is realistic. Everything more than that requires climbing to FL250 which takes so long that the speed advantage will be lost in the slow climb. The same applies to all piston twins I have flown.

When the owner decided that he would lead a happier life without his aeroplane we sold it to the States and ferried it over. As it was equipped with six tanks (two main tanks, two auxiliary tanks and two wing locker tanks) the trip could be done along the “normal” route without ferry tanks or any modification. This six-tank design on the other hand is one of the shortcomings of the 340 as it is overly complex and has led to quite a few incidents and accidents. Should you buy one, make sure that a very competent persons explains the fuel system and it’s shortcomings to you!

Overall a good aircraft. Personally it would be among my top three choices if I were ever to buy an aircraft again. However, my first love was the 421 and the 340 will always remain it’s smaller sister. A Golden Eagle may cost 30 percent more to operate than a 340, but – to me at least – gives 100 percent more flying pleasure. Stable, quiet, significantly more comfortable in the cockpit and in the rear, forgiving undercarriage (the later C models with trailing link), excellent short field performance with vortex generators installed and fool-proof fuel system.

EDDS - Stuttgart

The mission ist not to buy it, the mission is to operate a 340/414/421. 1k/h you need, plus a littel pocket money for some extras. Thats why they sold for nothing and a PA46 is for times more to pay for it!
Big SID list is a good extra!


I suggest to look up older issues of the PPL/IR magazine which are free on their website. One of the chairmen used to run a 340 syndicate and in order to save money they sold it and purchased a PA46 Jetprop. Apparently that worked out quite well…

Jerry Temple is an expert on Twin Cessnas and he has written many good articles for various magazines. Some of them are on his homepage. He sure is the goto guy for a 340.

Aufwind GmbH
EKPB, Germany

Just an alternative in this category: Aerostar. Will run much faster on less fuel, or further. Fully supported. No onerous SID’s. Same price. Great upgrades available.

I suppose you are aware of ?

LOAN Wiener Neustadt Ost, Austria

All good info, thanks. And what_next gave the 340 a surprisingly positive endorsement, “top three favourite” no less! To be honest, I was expecting more like “too old, too expensive, too unreliable, stay away”.

Issue 85 of the PPL/IR magazine has the story of the move from a Cessna 340 to a Jetprop. It talks about unscheduled maintenance on the 340 being too high at 15,000GBP+ per annum, with this plus Avgas prices being the main driver for the move to a Jetprop. But with the Jetprop costing them 805,000USD purchase price (an accident damaged example), it would be interesting to know how the depreciation on this, plus any finance costs, compares with the 15k/year of maintenance savings, if indeed these were realised, and if the move has saved them any money in reality.

With an aircraft like this I think it is going to need a substantial upfront and proactive “restoration”, rather than simply spending 15k/year fixing problems when they come up. I wonder how much the following guy spent on his 414 restoration, compared to the cost of buying a JetProp/Meridian:

I did take a look at the site, but didn’t post there, as you will only get a one-sided pictured there in the same way that everyone on the BeechTalk forum will tell you that the Baron is the greatest twin ever, and a quick browse around EuroGA would have you believe that the TB20 is the future :)

I would be very cautious of older twins. Yes some are nice aircraft but the maintenance cost and cost to modernise them can be eye watering. Purchase price is not the only metric. You get an Avidyne Meridian and there is not much to do – and almost everything is predictable. A 340 or 421 and maintenance is a lottery.

EGTK Oxford


This 414 conversion is featured in the September issue of Flying magazine. He already started out with a G600 cockpit but still spent $120k on the panel refresh alone. If you put that on a 35 year-old airframe that you may be able to buy for $300k with RAM engines you are not too far away from early model Jetprop territory.

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