The Piper PA-34 Seneca is an American twin-engine light aircraft produced by Piper Aircraft since 1971.
The Seneca was developed as a twin-engine version of the Piper Cherokee Six, with a prototype designated as the PA-32-3M. It was a Cherokee Six (normally equipped with a 300 hp Lycoming O-540 front engine) that had two wing-mounted Lycoming O-235 engines (with 115 hp each). For this reason, the prototype was flown as a tri-motor aircraft in the initial stages of the test-flying program.
Certified on December 11, 1996, the Seneca V was put into production as a model for 1998. Again, the cowls were redesigned for increased performance, several cockpit switches were relocated from the panel to the headliner, and an improved engine variant, the Continental TSIO-360-RB, was used. One difference with the TSIO-360-RB is an intercooler that improves performance and reduces engine wear and fuel consumption, while the turbocharger has an automatic wastegate valve that prevents damage due to turbocharging or excessive temperatures. Thanks to a lower air intake temperature, it can be flown with a leaner mixture, and it sustains its power curves up to 19,500 feet. The computerized display provides fuel, engine and engine control system readings, greatly improving situational awareness. The optional three-bladed McCauley propellers decrease the cruising speed by 4 knots but also reduce noise and improve take-off and climb performance.
The Seneca V has the same gross weight as the III and IV: 4,740 lb (2,150 kg) for takeoff and 4,513 lb (2,045 kg) for landing. However, the Seneca V’s empty weight surpasses that of the Seneca II; in other words, its useful load has decreased despite having the same gross weight.