Rick McGuire: Cessna 340A Pilot
I am a 17,000 hours pilot and have been flying since 1969. I have airline experience and have been a 135 chief pilot. I have had a CFI-AIM since the 70’s. You name it, I’ve flown it.
I am going to address first the yaw factor elimination involved with the 340. Without the strakes, I continually worked on eliminating the yaw for passenger comfort. (Constant rudder input). As you probably are aware, the longer the aircraft the more the yaw becomes pronounced in the aft seats. The pivot point is the center of gravity and the strakes are positioned such that the yaw is greatly reduced. I have flown the strakes in turbulent conditions and they eliminated my rudder offsets that I usually used to keep the aft end from wiggling. Does it stop all yaw from turbulence? Of course not, but it softens the yaw making the ride and control much better. I don’t ride the rudders anymore. I fly my 340 from Houston to Santa Rosa California and in the summer I go into Deming, NM, which is notorious for violent winds below 10,000 feet. The strakes cushion this ride descent.
The real advantage to the strakes is, in my opinion, that the plane can leave the runway under a heavy load without the hesitation that the short wing twin Cessnas are known for. As a multi engine instructor, I always teach my students that twin Cessnas, including the 421, like to be positioned slightly nose up and that they claw their way off the runway. I leave high density airports with 176 gallons of fuel and 600 lbs of passenger/baggage and the plane responds better in climb out than with what just the vg’s add. The worst time to lose an engine is below 1,000 msl and the strakes will offset the yaw from the loss of engine which will allow you to recover from the adverse yaw of the loss. This will save your butt. Been there in real life, done that.
I have seen a 5 knot increase at 17,500 in TAS. The question I always ask is, are the strakes worth the money? Yes, put all the factors into play and they create a great response for a plane that really gets it ability from a short wing. How do I rate the performance? Single engine control first, takeoff and climb second, yaw third, and speed fourth.
Go up with an instructor, pull an engine without the strakes, and note the yaw displaced on the DG. Do it again after the strakes and you will be shocked the lack of heading loss.
That is my opinion and yes I would do it again.
Attoney at Law