Edmund Hewertson, md of the UK-based PropStar Aviation, says the Seneca V stands head and shoulders above its rival piston twins. "From a pilot's point of view, having recently passed my 400th hour on the V, I can testify to its excellent handling characteristics and strength," he says.
"Having flown most of the other twins around at one time or another it stands head and shoulders above the rest. I think the best aspects still remains the simplicity whether from the point of view of a pilot or an owner."
PropStar Aviation operates two Piper Seneca V aircraft, one based at the company's headquarters at Kemble in Gloucestershire and the other from Liverpool's John Lennon international.
Hewertson says: "The latest variants of these aircraft are very well appointed with full leather interiors and the latest avionics kit. In addition they have features usually found only on larger aircraft such as TCAS, weather radar, air conditioning and even yaw dampers. These are truly the aircraft for air taxiing in the 21st century. In addition our aircraft have the latest IO360-RB engines which, combined with modern shaped propellers, allow the Seneca V to cruise at 180 knots, getting our customers to their destinations 20 per cent quicker than the ageing Seneca II fleet operated by the majority of our competitors."
Hewertson says PropStar Aviation chose to operate the Seneca V after exhaustive research because it offers the most versatile combination of payload, fuel burn, reasonable purchase price, proven track record, ease of maintenance and speed.
He adds: "It is not by luck that the UK air taxi business has been dominated by Piper twins (Aztec/ Seneca/Navajo) for nearly 40 years. From an operator's point of view it is such a shame there may never be a Navajo V." In order to accommodate customers' needs, PropStar Aviation has added a B200 King Air to its AOC.
Hewertson says maintenance is straightforward and rates the performance as much the same as any flight school PA34 but he reports that the cruising speed is "nicely enhanced."