The Cessna 414 is on the brink of extinction, leading to a bustling market for these planes.
Early 414 models, recognizable by their tip tanks and shorter nose, evolved significantly in 1976. That year, Cessna redesigned the 400 series, starting with the 421, its best seller.
The revamped design introduced a bonded wet wing, replacing the older riveted, tip-tanked wing.
By 1978, these modifications reached the 414, renaming it the 414A Chancellor. This new model featured a longer wingspan and an extended nose, with a simpler, more efficient fuel system.
It used Continental’s TSIO-520-J engines, later upgraded to TSIO-520-Ns for the 414A, both rated at 310 hp.
Given the demanding flying conditions, these engines have faced numerous issues, being sensitive to abrupt throttle movements and negligent operations.
Initially, their Time Between Overhauls (TBO) was 1,400 hours, later extended to 1,600. However, many owners find the original 1,400-hour estimation more accurate for the engine’s lifespan.
Airworthiness directives predominantly concern the engines. Additionally, compliance with those related to the airframe should already be complete.
Given the airplane’s usage, averaging over 200 flight hours annually, owners should have addressed most engine ADs or service bulletins by now.
For instance, those mandating the replacement of airmelt process-made crankshafts. Exhaust manifold clamps and elbows require inspection every 100 hours.
However, RAM Aircraft Corporation offers improved parts. Lastly, a recent directive mandates recurrent inspections of McCauley three-blade propellers across the 414 line.
The 414s boast a spacious cabin-class interior but aren’t notable load haulers in their stock configuration. A typically outfitted 414A offers a full-fuel payload between 500 to 700 pounds, varying with equipment.
You could travel around 1,100 miles, but with only two friends and limited luggage. In a well-equipped 5,100-pound airplane, six people with little luggage can travel for about 2 hours with IFR reserves.
This limited carrying capacity has led many operators to seek modifications. RAM’s modifications, including winglet or vortex generator kits, can increase the 414A’s maximum takeoff weight by 300 to 355 pounds.
However, the winglets, intended to add speed at higher altitudes, showed minimal gains in our observation, aside from the increase in gross weight.
Micro Aerodynamics and Robertson also provide VG kits offering gross weight enhancements. Specifically, for tip-tanked 414s, RAM proposes a 415-pound increase, achievable through engine/prop upgrades and the application of VGs.
No pilot would deem the 414 a spirited handler. It has heavy but very stable control forces, ideal for an IFR airplane. AOPA Air Safety Foundation reports recorded 46 accidents with 414s from 1983 to 1993.
Pilots were at fault in almost all 414 accidents, with weather often being a contributing factor. VMC rollovers are notably absent.
The airplane’s huge rudder and the engines’ low power output, positioned far outboard on the wings, minimize the risk of VMC rollovers.
Vortex generator manufacturers claim their products eliminate VMC. Accidents post-engine failures often involved overloaded airplanes and improper handling with a failed engine.
The 414’s single-engine rate of climb is 240 feet per minute, and the 414A achieves 290 fpm with gear and flaps up.
Passengers will enjoy the 414’s roomy cabin, sharing its fuselage with the turboprop 425 (Conquest I). Unfortunately, the stock 414s’ useful load doesn’t match their ample space.
The 414A features expansive nose baggage and avionics bays, accommodating items like skis and golf clubs. The wing lockers also offer additional storage or can house auxiliary fuel tanks.
For optimal performance, the 414 needs to fly high. Its true airspeeds at lower altitudes aren’t impressive, and fuel consumption is high.
Above 12,000 feet, the 414’s turbocharging increases speed, claiming 224 knots at FL 250 at 75-percent power.
Prices for the 414 can significantly differ, based on modifications and equipment. Finding a completely stock model is rare due to numerous modifications, enhancing the airplane’s utility with higher gross weight.
The 414 offers flexibility, accommodating six people for a 2-hour journey in a cozy, pressurized cabin or two people for around 1,200 miles.
However, its large cabin incurs a speed disadvantage. Models like Aerostars, Dukes, and the 58P Baron are faster but less comfortable and noisier. The wide range of available modifications also makes the 414 preferable to some buyers over its rivals.