Cessna 441 Guide and Specs

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Introduction

The Cessna 441, known as the Conquest II, is a turboprop aircraft.  As such, it was specifically designed to bridge the gap between Cessna’s well-known piston engine aircraft and their increasingly successful jet aircraft.

It was actually the first turboprop airplane that Cessna made and was developed in 1974, with the first aircraft being delivered to customers in 1977.  The new airplane was a great success in its time.

It was originally developed from the Cessna 435 and was renamed the Conquest II in 1983.  Why Conquest II? Well, a smaller aircraft had previously been marketed as the Cessna 425 Conquest I, hence this one having to be named the Conquest II.

At the time, the Cessna 441 seemed a good alternative to a small jet, being much more economical and also easier for piston pilots to convert to and fly. For a while, this proved to be the case, and all went well. However, fairly early in, disaster struck, with elevator and trim tab problems causing a few 441s to break up in flight.

The popularity of the new type plummeted, but only for a while.  Later models managed to sort this problem, enabling the aircraft to enjoy some success. But nevertheless,  the last Conquests were sold in 1986, with only 362 having been produced.

Specifications

Cessna 411

General Characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2 pilots
  • Capacity: 8–10 passengers
  • Length: 39 ft 0 in (11.89 m)
  • Wingspan: 49 ft 4 in (15.04 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 2 in (4.01 m)
  • Wing area: 253.6 sq ft (23.56 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 9.6:1
  • Airfoil: NACA 23018 at root, NACA 23019 at tip
  • Empty weight: 5,682 lb (2,577kg)
  • Gross weight: 9,850 lb (4,468 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Garrett TPE331-8-403S turboprops, 636 shp (474 kW) each
  • Propellers: 4-bladed McCauley

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 340 mph (550 km/h, 300 kn) at 16,000 ft (4,875 m)
  • Cruise speed: 298 mph (480 km/h, 259 kn) at 35,000 ft (10,700 m)
  • Stall speed: 86 mph (139 km/h, 75 kn) flaps and gear down
  • Range: 2,525 mi (4,064 km, 2,194 nmi) at 35,000 ft (10,700 m)
  • Service ceiling: 35,000 ft (11,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,435 ft/min (12.37 m/s)

(Data from Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft 1982–83)

Prices

The original price of the Cessna 441 was around a million dollars. But by the time the aircraft was discontinued in 1986, the price of a new one had risen to an eye-watering $1.795 million. This proved to be the top of the market, however.

By 1998 the price was down to $1.5 million, and recent examples on Trade-a-Plane are generally little below one million dollars, although some well-maintained models still sell for up to the $1.5 million mark.

Performance and Handling

Cessna 411

Despite the problems of the past, new owners cannot praise the performance and handling of the Cessna 441 enough!  It is said to be very easy to fly, with no bad habits.  It is comfortable, reasonably quiet, and safe now that those early problems have been resolved.

Overall, the aircraft is said to have pleasant, well-harmonized controls and landing gear which enables soft touchdowns and good runway handling. The speed, range, and climb performance are all said to be excellent, and fuel efficiency is better than that of most similar aircraft.

And when it comes to performance at altitude, operators report that the Cessna 441  is able to operate effectively above 30,000 feet, without the struggles which many turboprop operators find with other aircraft.

Indeed, one owner perhaps summarised the Cessna 441’s performance extremely appropriately, saying: “What other prop jet can go to 35,000 feet, fly at 300-plus knots, burn 65 gallons per hour and fly 2,000-mile legs?”

So overall, Cessna seems, despite early problems, to have produced a very successful and efficient aircraft.  Most owners certainly seem to think so, and they are the ones who matter.

Maintenance Schedule

Since the early days, most Cessna 441 problems have been sorted out, and even early models are likely to have now had most service bulletins complied with and all the snags removed.

But despite this, potential buyers should be aware of several possible trouble spots, and carefully examine the maintenance history of the aircraft to determine compliance and make sure that everything has been done.

Among the points, they need to check carefully are the following: environmental system problems, the nosewheel, starter and generator failures, window delamination, and wheel-well modification.

These are all issues which have all been mentioned over the years as causing difficulties  But apart from these, all maintenance should be standard as for other turboprops, and not too difficult to arrange.

Modifications and Upgrades

Cessna 411

Unlike for many smaller and more common aircraft, there are not that many modifications available for the Cessna 441, or indeed for similar turboprops. The reason is simple: there is simply not enough demand for them.

However, there are a few which are worth mentioning. Two which are significant are the conversion from the stock -8 engines to the more-powerful -10 variant and also the conversion from the stock three-bladed propellers to new Hartzell four-bladed propellers.

These new propellers reduce noise and also improve acceleration and climb performance. These are all things that could be very useful for the Cessna 441 owner.

There are two main companies that do these mods, and a few others, on the Cessna 441. The first is Executive Wings, which will do the engine conversion, the propellor conversion, and also soundproofing packages and winglets.

Then there is West Star Aviation, which also does engine and propeller conversions, along with soundproofing. In addition, West Star will install a custom interior to convert a 441 to an air ambulance, as has occasionally been required by some operators.

Where to Find Replacement Parts

Cessna Replacement Parts

Both of the Cessna 441 Owners organizations (mentioned below) offer a selection of spare parts.  In addition, the company Preferred Airparts offer parts for the Cessna 441, as well as for a large number of other Cessna aircraft.  Cessnaparts.com also offers Conquest II parts.

Overall, this means that replacement parts for the Cessna 441 are not too difficult to find.  One way or another, you should be able to find a selection online, and most engineers are likely to be able to source them for you.

Common Problems

In the early days, soon after production, the Cessna 441 was beset with problems, as has already been briefly mentioned.  Most of them centered around the elevator and trim tab, which gave difficulties for years, even causing a number of serious accidents.

Cessna eventually sorted out the whole problem, although not before the whole fleet had been grounded at least once.  Eventually, early owners were compensated, and all problems sorted out. But the whole situation did little for the credibility and perceived reliability of the Conquest II.

Eventually, as already mentioned,  the whole unfortunate affair was completely resolved.  Early owners actually benefited from it in the longer term, as Cessna did everything they could to support the plane and the owners. And the problems did not occur in the redesigned later models, so gradually, the whole situation was forgotten.

The most serious problem since that time is power loss in the engines. During 1979 and 1980, there were reports of unexplained power loss as aircraft time passed 500 hours or so.

This was found to be caused by carbon build-up in the combustion chambers, causing erosion of the hot-section parts and consequent loss of power.

Eventually, a new modification resolved the whole issue, and most 441s have now had this mod installed.  So these days, you should not encounter any problems with the Cessna 441.

Insurance Options

Cessna 441 insurance, like all aircraft insurance, is broken down into two parts: liability insurance and hull insurance. Briefly, liability insurance is mandatory and covers damage caused by the aircraft, and hull insurance – which is optional – is for damage or loss of the aircraft itself.

For the Cessna 441, liability insurance is typically offered in amounts between $1,000,000 and $1,250,000 per incident.

This includes cover for passengers, but companies will probably limit the amount to between $100,000 and $1,000,000 per passenger. Passenger liability coverage is included within the total liability coverage amount.

When it comes to hull insurance, the agreed value is decided during the initial insurance quoting process. This means in practice that the aircraft owner requests an insurance quote for his or her Cessna 441 Conquest II, and states what he or she thinks the aircraft is worth. The insurance company then has to agree to this value before giving a quote.

To give some examples, in 2021 there were eight companies offering insurance for Cessna 441s, and for an annual policy with $1,000,000 in liability coverage and $1,250,000 in hull coverage, the cost for qualified pilots varied between $6,800 and $9,600 per year.

For liability cover only, the cost was, of course considerably less, varying between $1250 and $1600 per year.

Resale Value

As with all aircraft, the resale value depends to a large extent on how well the aircraft has been taken care of.  But generally, the Cessna 441 keeps its value fairly well, as a look at sales figures over the years will clearly show.

The type originally sold for around a million dollars, rising to about a million and three-quarter dollars some years later. These days, while you can sometimes obtain one for $600,000 upwards, a million dollars is still the approximate cost in most cases.

So the conclusion is clear – take good care of your Cessna 441, and it will take care of you and maintain its value.

Owner Reviews

Reviews of the Cessna 441 are mixed, which is not surprising considering the aircraft’s chequered history.  Buyers who bought some of the early ones found definite problems similar to the ones already mentioned.  Here are some examples:

“I bought serial 79 new at the beginning of 1979 and thus unwillingly became a member of Cessna’s experimental department. When the airplane was flying again with a new tail in December of 79 (and a number of other updates and improvements), I was a fairly disgruntled customer.

Cessna provided me with a 340 to use during the downtime, which was better than nothing but not very satisfying after having laid out a million dollars for a turboprop.”

However, once the early problems had been sorted out, most owners were very happy with their purchases, as you might expect to be the case for an aircraft costing around a million dollars!  Here are a few comments on more re4cent Cessna 441s:

“The handling characteristics are a pleasure. Control harmony and response to inputs is simply superb; the airplane is wonderful to fly.”

The same owner then continued:

“I believe the 441 to be one of the finest combinations of power, performance, range, and economy in its class. It had few serious competitors in the 70s and 80s and may have even fewer now. It is in a class by itself.”

Other owners had similar comments and opinions.  Most of them said that the aircraft was “a delight to fly,” with few vices.  They claimed it was easy to operate and – contrary to the early models – very safe.

Even owners who had bought an early model and had to have it updated and improved due to the tail flutter problems claimed that after this was done they were actually very happy with their purchase. They also praised the aircraft’s comfort, economy, and performance.

So, in summary, owners’ reviews are mainly positive.

Similar Aircraft

beech starship

As some owners claimed, to a large extent, the Cessna 441 is in a class by itself. Not too many aircraft bridge that rather large gap between piston twins and jet aircraft, as the Cessna 441 manages to do. There were almost none in the early days when the Cessna 441 was first produced.

However, several turboprop aircraft have been introduced since the Conquest was developed, among them the Beech Starship and Piaggio Avanti. These are probably the most similar aircraft to the Cessna 441.

Clubs You Can Join

Perhaps surprisingly, considering that there are relatively few examples of the type, there is a specific owner/operator organization for the Cessna 441 – the Conquest Aircraft Operators Group.

There is also a Cessna Conquest Owners Organization. These are probably the most useful clubs for owners and operators to join.

In addition, the Cessna Flyer Association is still an excellent club for Cessna 441 owners, as for any owners of other Cessna aircraft. There is also the Cessna Owner Organisation. Then there is a small Facebook group for owners of Cessna 441s and several other similar Cessna types.

But on the whole, there seem to be fewer specific groups than for many smaller and more popular aircraft.  Perhaps this is not that surprising, given that not many more than 300 of these aircraft are still flying worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why is the Cessna 441 Called the Conquest II?  Is There a Conquest I?

Answer: Yes, there was indeed a Conquest I.  The Cessna 425 had been marketed as the Conquest I earlier on, so this aircraft had to become the Conquest II.

Question: How Much Does it Cost to Operate a Cessna 441?

Answer: For an average owner flying around 450 hours per year and with fuel costing $4.25 per gallon, the Cessna 441 Conquest II has total variable costs of about $550,125 and total fixed costs of an estimated $59,758.  So in total, you would need and an annual budget of $609,883.

Question: Is the Cessna 441 Difficult to Fly?

Answer: According to most owners, it is an easy airplane to fly. However, as a turboprop, it is more complicated than a piston engine aircraft and also very different.

So if you are converting to the Cessna 441 from something simpler such as a single piston-engined aircraft,  you would need to undertake adequate training before attempting to fly it solo.

Conclusion

As has hopefully been proved, the Cessna 441 Conquest II is a popular, safe, and easy-to-fly aircraft.  As a turboprop, it neatly bridges the gap between Cessna’s piston-engined aircraft and their jets.

It could be an excellent choice for a pilot moving on from simple piston-engined aircraft, who doesn’t want to make the huge jump to a jet, so long as they have the million or so dollars needed to buy a Cessna 441 and the money for its upkeep. If this is the case, they are unlikely to be disappointed.

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