Lance vs. Turbo Lance advice

I’ve been searching for a six seat airplane to fly my family around in. I’ve settled on the Lance as the best compromise for our typical mission (price, payload, cabin size, speed, range, etc). I’ve been looking for a normally aspirated Lance, but recently came across a Turbo Lance that’s close by and seems to meet my requirements for condition, equipment, and engine time.

I’m a little apprehensive about buying a turbo. I don’t think I want the extra initial purchase price, higher overhaul cost, mechanical complexity, and higher fuel burn, for a small boost in cruise speed (Although going faster is always cooler, right?!?). I don’t think we’d like putting a tube up our noses in order to fly the Turbo up where it’s advantages shine,

So here are my questions:

  1. Talking to the current pilot about how he operates the plane generated a question about turbo vs. NA IO-540’s. He says he uses 31” MP for take-off (I don’t have a POH to verify if this is the correct MP for take-off). Both engines are rated for 300 hp, but wouldn’t the turbo generate more than 300 hp at 31” mp if the NA 540 generates 300 hp at atmospheric pressure (approx 28”)?

  2. This plane has the Turbo Plus Intercooler with the cowl that has the lovers in the top of the cowl. Does this really fix the overheating issues I’ve heard about?

  3. The throttle was hard to push up, but the pilot says it gets easier when warmed by the engine. Is this a sign it needs to be replaced? I’ve heard it’s expensive, but what is the approximate cost?

  4. What about Turbo vs non-Turbo IO-540’s experience in making it to TBO or beyond.

Also, if anyone has advice whether the Turbo is still worth buying if I don’t plan on going above 12,
500’. Or if they have experience with their family not liking, or not minding supplemental oxygen.

My gut feeling is to keep looking for a non-turbo Lance that meets my requirements, but I’m getting tired of looking at all the ads daily, and being disappointed. I realize there’s a big advantage in buying a plane close to home. I also know the guy who currently flys the plane for the owners, and the mechanic who maintains it, they’re both good trustworthy people.

Thanks for the help,


  • The Lance is an amazing airplane. I've owned three Senecas over thirty years and the Seneca shares the same fuselage with the Lance and Saratoga. It's the largest cabin you can get without pressurizing the airplane. As for turbo vs non-turbo: I've owned 8 airplanes. Four have been turbocharged. Three Seneca's and my latest, a turbo Arrow. I'll take the turbo any day. Climb rate improves as you climb. Cruise improves as you climb. You can get O2 if you want (I have O2 and use it a couple of times each year) but I can go to 12,500 if I need to, like getting over Ohare Airport Class B. I can climb to 20,000' to get over weather if I have to, and I do once in a while. Hot in the summer as in high density altitude? The turbo will handle it. I can think of no downsides to having a turbo that negate all of its positives. For me, turbo every time.

    Scott Sherer
    FAA Master Pilot
    Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.
    Need help? Let me know!

  • I have to start up by saying I am selling my turbo lance.

    You really don’t get the advantage of a turbo below 9000 in cruise speed. After 9000 the plane speeds up a lot.

    As Scott said, Turbos are nice for climb

    (Getting up above 9000 means cool air if your down south and out of the bumps, it’s also a great way to put nervous passengers to sleep.

    If you plan on flying IFR in areas where you could get ice definitely get a turbo.

    A turbo is nice in the climb.

    As to turbo vis non turbo maintenance wise.
    There are a number of areas where you can get bit on Maintence other then then engine.
    I think the over all condition of the plane when you get and how you operate the aircraft will dictate your maintenance costs more than the engine in it.

    In the end If you know of a lance in good condition close to your house with the gagits you want get it.

  • I was a “victimi”of turbos..within a week of my Saratoga Turbo purchase, needed a new turbo for $5K.. BIG ouch! But I did have the consolation of knowing the aircraft was safer for flying my family..

  • HI Kent,
    Right you are. :) I'm really glad it worked out that way

    Scott Sherer
    FAA Master Pilot
    Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.
    Need help? Let me know!

  • Thanks for the advice. I ended up buying a different airplane than I was asking about, but it’s another turbo. I’m very excited about finally owning my first airplane. I’m sure I’ll be on here a lot in the near future with a lot of questions. Thanks again!

  • You're welcome. I'm here for you any time!

    Scott Sherer
    FAA Master Pilot
    Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.
    Need help? Let me know!

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