Included in Basair inventory is the final General Aviation company of the big three – Beechcraft Aviation. The Beechcraft Baron 55 is widely regarded as the premier twin engine small passenger charter aircraft, with a cabin seat configuration of 6 or 5 depending on club seating arrangement. The Baron, introduced in 1960 was marketed as a bridging option for private or commercial operators who wanted an aircraft which balanced the carrying capacity of the single engine Beechcraft Bonanza and the reliability and redundancy of a second engine which provided much higher cruise speed of 200 knots or 370kph. The aircraft also had a wing tank in each wing with a total capacity of 520 litres and options of additional fuel cells which increased the range to 942 nautical miles or 1744km. A pair of Continental engines with six cylinders each horizontally opposed, fuel injected and capable of producing 285BPH each, the Baron has impressive acceleration and can comfortably climb and cruise whilst still having reserves of power. In the internal cockpit features reliable vacuum air instruments with a modern GPS which meets instrument flying standards for small air transport operations. In Australia the Baron is widely used as small passenger charter and can be modified to conduct aerial survey for geological purposes, the wine industry, fire detection and powerline survey – it is a common aircraft used to charity organisations such as Little Wings which provide passenger transport for paediatric patients.
The other light twin on offer at Basair College is the twin engine version of the Piper Warrior – the Piper Seminole. From the outside the aircraft visually resembles the Beechcraft Duchess but unlike the Duchess, which was originally designed in 1976 and ceased production in 1983, the Seminole has had three production periods culminating in the most modern version available at the college with electronic display cockpit and new engines. It is an excellent option for multi engine, compared to the Baron 55, if your career path is to enter the flight instructor pathway. With a modern glass cockpit display it is an ideal pre cursor to airline operations due to the similar displays. The Piper Seminole features two 180HP, four cylinder, horizontally opposed pistons, carburetted engines which counter rotation – this makes the aircraft ideal for initial twin training because the opposing forces lessen the requirement of control from the pilot. The Seminole cabin has ideal space for private and flight training operations and sits 3 people, not including the pilot, comfortably with the option of up to 90kg of baggage in the rear compartment depending on weight limitations. Compared to the Beechcraft Baron 55, the Seminole cruises at a comfortable 150KTAS or 277 kph and with engine management can achieve a range of 700nm or 1296km. The Piper Seminole uses two fuel wing tanks or nacelle tanks which provides a total of 408 litres. The standard vacuum or air instruments have been replaced with air data computers which provide sensor data to the latest generation Garmin 1000 primary and multi function displays. The Garmin 1000 can provide real time traffic, terrain and weather data, meets the standard for instrument flying and can display detailed information to the pilot about the status of their flight. This includes items such as maximum range, endurance, time to descend, top of climb, required groundspeed for arrival time etc. In Australia, the Piper Seminole shares equal popularity with private and flying school operators – with some occasional survey work but it is a rare aircraft to find conducting small passenger transport due to the aircrafts speed and low maximum take off weight compared to the Baron 55.