The Cessna 340 series aircraft aimed to straddle a gap between the entry-level unpressurized twins, such as the Cessna 310, Twin Comanche, Beech Baron, Piper Aztec, and the larger, more expensive Cessna 414, Piper Aerostar, and the Beechcraft Duke. One of the first light twins to offer a pressurized cabin and a proper cabin-class interior accessed by air-stairs rather than climbing over the wing for entry, sales of the Cessna 340 soared when introduced in 1971.
The 340 was a hybrid of the smaller 310 and larger 414 series aircraft, utilizing the tail of the 310 and the 414 wings and undercarriage unit.
Initially powered by two 285 horsepower Continental TSIO-520-K engines, owners considered the original 340 aircraft underpowered. With approved third-party modifications surfacing for installing 310 horsepower engines, in 1975, Cessna moved to release the 340A model, powered by two 310 horsepower Continental TSIO-520-N engines.
Customers were impressed by an aircraft of that size with a pressurized cabin. Proving the most popular of the 340 series, 948 of the 1,287 Cessna 340s produced were the 340A model.
1980 Cessna 340A Specifications
|Engines||Weights and Capacities|
|Model:||Continental TSIO-520-NB||T/O / Landing Weights Normal:||5,990 lbs|
|Cylinders:||Six||Standard Empty Weight:||3,966 lbs|
|Displacement:||520 cu inches||Max. Useful Load:||2,024 lbs|
|Horsepower:||310 each engine||Baggage Capacity:||930 lbs|
|Aspirated||Fuel Injection||Oil Capacity – per engine:||13 quarts|
|TBO:||1400 Hours||Passenger Configuration:||5|
|T/O Manifold Press:||38 inches||Crew:||1 Pilot|
|Model:||McCauley CS/76 inches||Wing Span:||38.1 ft|
|Fuel:||Cabin Height:||4.25 ft|
|Octane:||100||Cabin Width:||4.58 ft|
|Capacity:||102 Gallons Std Tanks||Cabin Volume:||170 cu ft|
|Burn @ 75% Power:||204 lbs per hour||Internal Baggage Volume:||66 cu ft|
Cessna 340A Prices
The original 340 aircraft retailed at US$201,000 in 1971, while the more powerful 340A went on the market at US$365,000 four years later.
The average price for a used Cessna 340A at the time of print was US$230,000, having approximately 4,000 hours total time airframe (TTAF) and engine times of around 600 hours. The prices range from low hour models with less than 2,000 hours TTAF, which are selling for just over US$535,000, while older aircraft from the mid-1970s will sell for approximately US$115,000.
The less popular 340 model, of which there are fewer available, appears to sell between US$75,000 to US$180,000.
340A Performance and Handling
The 340A doesn’t have too many vices, and like most Cessna light twins, it’s pretty stable and comfortable to fly. The main complaints seem to be a reasonably involved fuel system involving six fuel tanks requiring a distinct methodology for use. However, most owners report that after a few hours of flying, it all becomes second nature.
The aircraft is also quite sleek, requiring some thought to slow down and come down without shock cooling the engines and incurring expensive repair bills. Getting the aircraft back to the 160-knot flap extension speed takes some thought, after which it gets easier to slow to the 140-knot gear extension limit. However, once flaps and gear are down, you drop to the other side of the lift/drag curve, requiring you to maintain power to stop high descent rates. You’ll need to maintain some of that power right down to the flare.
With a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet, owners report normally operating the aircraft from high tens of thousands to mid-twenty thousand feet, giving a decent cruise and fuel burn combination while staying nicely away from the smaller players below and the heavy iron above. With airspeed truing out between 190 and just over 200 knots at 65% power, fuel consumption sits around 30 gallons an hour. Push up to 75% power, and you can expect 200 to 215 knots at 32 to 34 gallons fuel burn per hour.
Performance and Handling Specifications
|Cruise Speed (Kts)||Stall Speed (kts) (Flaps up)||79|
|75% @ 25,000 ft||229||Stall Speed (kts) (Flaps down)||71|
|65% @ 25,000 ft||219|
|55% @ 25,000 ft||202||Service Ceiling (ft)||29,800|
|Service Ceiling (ft) Single Eng.||15,800|
|Fuel Consumption (GPH)|
|75%||34||Best sea-level rate-of-climb (fpm)||1,650|
|65%||30||Single-engine rate-of-climb (fpm)||315|
|Take-off Ground Roll (ft)||1,615|
|Max Range (nm)||(with reserve)||T/O Dist. over 50-foot obstacle||2,175|
|75% @ 25,000 ft||1,105|
|65% @ 25,000 ft||1,250||Landing Ground Roll (ft)||770|
|55% @ 25,000 ft||1,375||Ldg Dist. Over 50-foot obstacle||1,850|
|Est. Endurance (hrs)||Do Not Exceed Speed (kts)||234|
|65% power w 1 hr reserve||5.5||Max Structural Cruise Speed (kts)||200|
340A Maintenance Schedule
The Cessna 340 adheres to the standard Cessna maintenance schedule, with the most frequent inspection being the 100 Hour inspection.
However, Cessna has introduced a range of airworthiness directives and SIDs, known as Structural Inspection Documents, aimed at the worldwide fleet of aging Cessnas.
While not mandated in the US, some national airworthiness authorities are making compliance mandatory. This program requires extensive and expensive inspections at specified hours or cycles, severely affecting aircraft resale value as the aircraft ages. These SIDs affect the Cessna 340, and all prospective purchasers would be wise to establish whether compliance is required in their country before purchase.
340A Modifications and Upgrades
Ram Aircraft offers a series of horsepower upgrades, with their Series IV upgrade package giving 325 horsepower from overhauled engines, new propellers, prop governor, fuel management system, and vortex generators. This package allows an aircraft gross weight increase of 335 pounds useful load, while Ram claims an extra 3 inches of manifold pressure at takeoff, a further 165 feet per minute climb, and an extra 10 knots at all cruise settings.
Propjet 210 Aviation offers the installation of two Rolls Royce 250B-17F turbine engines, each producing 450 horsepower. The finished aircraft cruises at 245 knots, offers 151 pounds increased useful load, 3,500-hour TBOs on the engines, and a range increase of 30%.
Riley Aviation was well known for its modifications, offering piston and turbine upgrades to the 340 and 340A. These may still be seen in second-hand aircraft for sale.
Notable airframe mods include Aircraft Performance Modifications (APM), which offers strakes under the rear fuselage close to the empennage. These re-energize and straighten airflow, which gives reduced fuel use and an increased cruise speed by 4 to 6 knots. More importantly, they reduce adverse yaw and stall speed while improving climb rates. There is also a spoiler STC that enables rapid descents without careful planning while preventing engine damage.
340A Where To Find Replacement Parts
The Cessna 340 is one of the most successful light twins still flying, with almost 600 registered in the US alone, and it has become the world’s best-selling piston-powered, cabin-class pressurized twin.
Therefore, finding parts to support the aircraft is not difficult. Preferred Airparts, based in Ohio, provide worldwide customers with surplus new Cessna original components and used parts from dismantled aircraft.
With the rise in FAA-PMA approved manufacturers, many have niched down to support a particular aircraft type and finding trim (knots2u, Texas Aeroplastics or AvFab), landing gear components (Robair Repair), or lighting (Whelen Aerospace Technologies or AeroLeds) for your 340 is not hard. The more generic components such as filters, wheels, tires, and brakes are off the shelf and stocked by large aviation suppliers like Aircraft Spruce & Specialty or Wag Aero.
340A Common Problems
There are no real ‘gotchas’ with the 340; however, there are areas of which to be aware.
The Continental TSO-520s have a known history of crankcase cracking. While Continental did switch to heavier crankcases in the mid-1970s, cracks can still occur. Catastrophic failures are rare, but all repair shops are aware of this issue, with inspections carried out regularly to ensure integrity. On a well-maintained aircraft, the problem is usually easily spotted.
One well-known issue with several Cessna twins is exhaust cracking and failure. As a result, an airworthiness directive that includes the 340 was issued and mandates regular inspections, repair limits, and replacement requirements.
Owners may install a new rudder balance weight rib due to cracking of the original fit. If the aircraft has the old rib, it is subject to 100-hour inspections until the installation of the new rib.
340A Insurance Options
The standard aviation insurance all aircraft owners take is liability coverage, while hull coverage is optional. The greater the experience of the owner/pilot, the lower the premiums.
Liability coverage covers damage caused by the aircraft, including passengers, while hull coverage covers damage to the aircraft itself.
For a private pilot with 1,500 hours total time, an IFR/MEL rating, and 500 hours on multi-engined aircraft, the 2021 cost per year for liability coverage is in the range of US$900 to US$1,500 per year. Pilots with less experience can expect this range to rise to between 1,200 to 1,700 per year.
If the insurance includes additional hull cover for US$215,000, the annual premium for the experienced pilot will be between US$4,000 to US$5,000 per year, while the lesser experienced pilot can expect US$6,500 to US$11,000 per year.
340A Model Resale Value
There are seven aircraft factors influencing resale and many economic factors. The seven aircraft factors are:
- Airframe Total Hours
- Engine Hours Since Overhaul
- Installed equipment, specially avionic fit-out
- Maintenance schedule compliance
- Damage history
- Paint condition
- Interior condition
These seven items are all within the control of the owner. If an owner has taken a ‘maintenance only as required’ approach to their aircraft, they can expect that the lower resale value will more than recoup the money they might have saved. Those owners who try to operate their aircraft on a shoestring are pursuing false savings.
The Cessna 340 is a high-performance aircraft that requires regular and comprehensive maintenance, and if looked after and regularly updated, the aircraft will hold its own on resale.
As we saw earlier, current prices sit between US$115,000 to US$550,000. However, the 340A is a popular aircraft with considerable numbers worldwide, and unless some economic or aircraft supply-side variable changes, you can expect the 340A to command a reasonable resale price from someone needing a practical, reliable twin.
However, as aircraft age, they don’t get cheaper to own or operate, and the price will reflect that. The 340A does have a main wing spar service bulletin requiring considerable cost, yet that doesn’t occur until 15,000 hours, and with most 340As sitting around 4,000 to 6,000 hours, it will be another 30 years before this bulletin seriously impacts resale.
The larger question is more on the resale value of twin-engined aircraft in general. With less than 70 twin aircraft manufactured in 2010 compared with thousands in the 1970s, if the demand for twin-engined aircraft continues to drop, who can tell where your resale goes from there.
340A Owner Reviews
Of the owner reviews I have read, all love their Cessna 340A. Common themes are the higher maintenance costs and the fact that the aircraft is tail heavy when empty, so weight and balance need attention. No one feels these facts should prevent the purchase, only that prospective owners should be aware.
Many speak of wanting the spoiler mod, which is available as an STC. Given the need to carefully plan your descents, sometimes ATC doesn’t play ball and requires you to drop like a stone at a moment’s notice. The spoilers allow you to oblige without causing terminal damage to your engines. Others advise on the Ram Aircraft engine modifications to gain the extra useable weight and performance gains.
If you’re a larger-sized pilot and the right-hand front passenger is pretty big, getting into your seat can be a challenge, but once there, the room is plentiful. All state that their families love this aircraft.
Insurance costs are as previously described, with many owners required to do insurance-approved recurrency training on type each year to maintain acceptable premiums.
Most owners have owned their aircraft for 20-years or more and wouldn’t trade them. They describe the Cessna 340 as a stable and reliable IFR platform, which is relatively easy to fly.
340A Similar Aircraft
Aircraft of similar configuration, age, and role include the Beechcraft Duke, Piper Pa-31 Navajo, and the Rockwell Aero Commander. All sell at similar prices, although the 340 does appear to hold its price well in comparison. Comparing performance, the Cessna 340 appears to have the edge in climb rate, cruise, and service ceiling.
340A Clubs You Can Join
Owners recommend two groups—the Cessna Pilots Association, located at www.cessna.org, and the Twin Cessna Flyer, at www.twincessna.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What does service ceiling mean?
Answer: An aircraft’s service ceiling is defined as the height at which the aircraft cannot climb at a rate greater than 100 feet per minute.
Question: What is the meaning of the term TBO?
Answer: TBO means Time Between Overhaul, which is the manufacturer’s recommended running time, in hours or calendar time, before overhaul.
Question: To what does TTAF refer?
Answer: TTAF stands for Total Time Airframe, which refers to the number of flying hours the airframe has accumulated since new one. It is an indication of age and use.
Question: Aircraft Gross Weight refers to what?
Answer: Gross Weight is the total aircraft weight, including pilots, passengers, fuel, oil, and cargo.
Question: What does Empennage mean?
Answer: Empennage refers to the aircraft’s tail section, including the vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, rudder, and elevator. It allows the aircraft to maintain straight flight.
Question: What are FAA-PMA Approved Parts?
Answer: FAA refers to the Federal Aviation Administration, and PMA means Parts Manufacturer Approval. It is an approval granted to a parts manufacturer to manufacture specific aircraft components.
Question: To what does the term IFR/MEL refer?
Answer: IFR means Instrument Flight Rules. When pilots are flying IFR, it means they are under the control of Air Traffic Control. MEL, in this case, refers to Multi-Engine – Land. Both refer to ratings or approvals that a pilot must achieve to enable the operation of a multi-engined aircraft or flight under instrument flight rules.
Question: What is an STC?
Answer: An STC refers to a Supplemental Type Certificate. An STC is an approved modification to an aircraft, engine, or component. All aircraft, engines, and components have type certificates that approve their use. That is why an approval to modify them is classed as ‘supplemental.’
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