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Me & My Aircraft: PA-31T provides unbeatable value for money and 'will never let you down', operators report
Essentially a pressurised turboprop powered Piper Navajo, the PA-31T Cheyenne first flew in 1969 and evolved through to the 1980s as the larger Cheyenne IIXL.

Essentially a pressurised turboprop powered Piper Navajo, the PA-31T Cheyenne first flew in 1969 and evolved through to the 1980s as the larger Cheyenne IIXL.

PA-31T operators are divided at to whether the worst thing is that the aircraft is not made anymore - or that it is too old.

Fabio Michienzi is one who is very satisfied with the dispatch reliability but rues that production has stopped. "The Piper Cheyenne II is truly a workhorse that will never let you down," he says. "You can load the aircraft up to her MTOW and still operate from very short runways without any problem."

He is also very satisfied with the value. "The Cheyenne is an old aircraft, therefore she is fully amortised and her value does not risk undergoing major changes. Since she is out of production the Cheyenne costs a fraction of a Beech 90 and will climb better, fly higher, faster and further at a fraction of the Beech's operating cost. The best thing is that it is unbeatable value for money. For typical European journeys you will take probably 15 minutes longer than a light jet to reach your final destination - still flying above most of the weather - but will be able to use many more runways and at a fraction of the cost."

Although satisfied with the maintenance support Michienzi says: "Piper does not provide much customer support but there is no shortage of spare parts in the market if needed. The worst thing is that Piper decided to cease production! With today's accent on green aircraft she would be a hot sale."

But Michienzi would like engines that provide better climb performance at high altitude and a cruising speed that could compete with TBMs. He recently installed a full Garmin avionics upgrade with MFD and is very happy with this: "With an upgraded avionics suite, the Cheyenne II is a great and very safe aircraft," he says.

Fritz Winkler of Winair GmbH & Co KG also says the PA- 31T 1 has good purchase to operational cost and operation to performance and comfort ratios and agrees the "worst thing is that is not produced anymore."

He is very satisfied with the value and satisfied with the maintenance support, dispatch reliability and operating capability. The most desirable upgrade, he agrees, is the Garmin GNS 530/430 avionics.

Michel Reinhardt says he is very satisfied with the maintenance support, the dispatch reliability, the operating capability and the value. "The best aspects are that it is easy to operate, very fast, very reliable, and the operating costs are very low. The worst thing is that it is no longer in production." The most desirable upgrade, he says, are PT6-135 engines.

Dr Walter Ebm of Businessair Flugzeugverleih GmbH is very satisfied with the value but says the worst thing is the aircraft's age and the most desirable upgrades a four-blade propeller and Cleveland brakes.

He is satisfied with the maintenance support, dispatch reliability and operating capability and very satisfied with the value. "The best aspect is the room and the payload," he adds.

Michael Fuchs agrees. "The best thing is that it is very cheap to operate and capable for short runways but the worst aspect is that the aircraft is ageing and unscheduled maintenance is increasing."

He is satisfied with the maintenance support and dispatch reliability and very satisfied with the operating capability and value.

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