This week, we discuss the Cessna 414A, an economical piston twin that will take you where you want to go in less time, in style and comfort for a fraction of the cost of a newer, smaller airplane. Plus, aircraft ownership news, the tip of the week, and your feedback about becoming an aircraft mechanic.
The Cessna 414A Show Notes
When it comes to private air travel on a budget, nothing comes close to the Cessna 414. In many ways, it's the perfect airplane for business and personal travel. Fly in style and in pressurized comfort safely with the redundancy and speed of two engines. Not to mention, with all the mods available for this airplane, it looks great on the ramp, too.
But before we dive too deeply, let’s take a brief trip back in time ... Through the 1980s, all the major manufacturers had their hands in a new, up and coming market for executive piston twins. From Beechcraft’s P-Baron and Duke, through the Piper Navajo line, the Aero Commander, Aerostar, and of course the Cessna 300 and 400 series, there were plenty of aircraft to choose from for corporate, charter, and recreational flyers alike.
Despite the competition, in my opinion, Cessna really got it right by casting a wide net over an ever-evolving market. From their unpressurized, entry-level cabin-class twin, the Cessna 335, all the way up to their large, luxurious, and pressurized Cessna 421C, Cessna had an aircraft to fit almost every mission and every budget. Often viewed as a top-of-the-line aircraft, the Cessna 414 and 421 gave owners the most bang for the buck. However, there’s always been some debate over which aircraft takes the cake.
So let’s examine the 414 a little deeper, so you can decide for yourself. The 414 first flew in 1968 with production deliveries starting in 1970. The aircraft featured a traditional twin Cessna look with short nose, tip tanks, and electric landing gear. The 1970-1972 model 414 have fuselages that aren’t much larger than the 340, so they’re affectionately known as the short-body. From 1973-1977, the 414 fuselage got a bit of a stretch making room for more seats and aft lav and can be identified by the fifth passenger window. In 1976, the 414 officially became known as the Chancellor.
In 1978, more upgrades were made, namely a longer nose cone for increased baggage capacity, a better gear system, and redesigned wing with longer wingspan, and integral wet-wing fuel tanks, which got rid of the tip tanks. No more tip tanks means wing mods such as the popular winglet STC from RAM Aircraft. The 414A also has an increased gross weight of about 400 pounds and better pressurization system over the original 414s, giving an 8,000 foot cabin at FL-250. The 414A is equipped with two Continental TSIO-520-N engines producing 310 hp per side, burning about 17 gph each at 75% power. Again, there are a number of STC for the engines too, including a 335 hp TSIO-520-NB engine from RAM.
The 414A’s cabin is as spacious as it is luxurious, featuring the high-end air stair door, club-arranged leather seat, window curtains, work table, and aft lav, it’s a great aircraft to stay comfortable and productive on those long trips. The cabin is an impressive 55 inches wide and 51 inches tall. It’s also one of the quietest piston-twin cabins on the market. The cockpit is just as nice, providing excellent forward visibility and easy-access to every control. The panel is pretty big, providing tons of room for avionics upgrades such as GPS and MFD units as well engine monitors and weather radar.
You can expect about 1,200 feet per minute climb once the aircraft is cleaned up through the mid-teens, and about1,000 fpm through FL-200. At altitude, the aircraft will cruise at just over 200 knots true. With a 213 gallon fuel capacity and conservative fuel burn rate of 38 gph, the 414A has endurance close to 4.5 hours and range of about 850 nautical miles.
Production of the 414 ended in 1985 with almost 1,100 aircraft produced. Many aircraft are still flying today, with a heathy market of aircraft for sale, as Don will point out shortly.
Now there are few things to keep in mind if you’re looking to acquire a Cessna 414. The first thing is that there are a lot of STCs available for the aircraft. It’s very important to ensure that all the paperwork and logbook entries are there to support the installation. Also, keep an eye out for aircraft with poor pressurization system maintenance, as this system is fairly expensive to fix. Also, I found a number of service difficulty reports (SDR) that indicate cracking in the cylinders. There are also a few special airworthiness information bulletins and ADs to watch for, so you’ll want to get a thorough pre-purchase evaluation before signing the dotted line.
Welcome to The Airplane Intel Podcast, the weekly General Aviation podcast for aircraft owners, operators, pilots and mechanics. We deliver practical advice, tips and strategies to make aircraft ownership simple, safe and cost effective.