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Piper Saratoga

Piper Saratoga with open doors parked on landing strip

The Avionics Engineering Center’s Piper Saratoga (N8238C) is a single engine, low-wing aircraft, which can seat up to six occupants. It is an excellent research platform due to its large cabin size and useful load.


  • Type: High performance single engine pistonPiper Saratoga
  • Year: 1980
  • Engine: Lycoming IO-540, 300HP
  • Seats: 6 including pilot
  • Dimensions: Wingspan 36'2", Length 27'8", Height 8'2"
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 3600 Lbs.
  • Fuel capacity: 107 gallons
  • Maximum speed: 227 mph.
  • Cruise speed: 159 mph. at 8000' and 65% power
  • Maximum altitude: ≈15,000'
  • Maximum range: ≈900 nautical miles at 65% power

Research equipment/capabilities

  • Equipment rack: 19" wide, 31.5" high, 23" deep
  • Electrical power available:
    • 50A @ 14VDC (power source for equipment and converters/inverters)
    • 2.14A @ 115VAC, 60Hz
    • 20A & 28VDC

Research antennas available

  • Antcom G5Ant-3AT1 L1/L2 GPS, Glonass, OmniStar
  • King KA-60 DME/Transponder (top and bottom of aircraft)
  • AeroAntenna Technology AT130-1 UAT
  • Dorne & Margolin DMN48-1 VOR/LOC
  • VHF Com
  • Comant CI-310-22 L-Band/UHF
  • Additional 6.25"x5.75" research antenna patch panel on bottom of aircraft

The Saratoga has been used in many different AEC research missions

  • Microwave Landing System (MLS) / Mobile Microwave Landing System (MMLS) Tests
  • Approach guidance and Curved approaches
  • Curved missed-approach and departure evaluation flight tests
  • MLS/ILS/GPS simultaneous data collection/characterization flights (ACY)
  • Sector DME demonstration flight tests
  • Low-power DME evaluation flight tests
  • Safe-Flight 21 - ADS-B demonstration support and flight tests
  • Oshkosh AirVenture - ADS-B target aircraft for Safe Flight 21/ UPS display
  • Runway Incursion Reduction Program – flight and ground test aircraft
  • LAAS DGPS VHF Data Broadcast measurement
  • P-static testing for Loran-C navigation systems