For commentary by all, here is my belief, but it could be wrong. If anyone
knows of an exception to this outline, please let me know. Once I have all
corrections documented, I'll put this on BAC as an FAQ. There is no
historical documentation available from Beech that clearly defines this
subject.

- The A23-24 was introduced as a 4-seater having one door, in 1964.

- A left side door was offered as an option beginning in 1965, but it was
infrequently purchased.

- In 1966, the left side door became standard, for certification reasons, on
only the 6-seat versions of the A23-24. It remained optional on all other
versions of the Musketeer line.

- In 1970, the left side door became standard on all versions of the
19/23/24.

Regarding payload, it can vary widely from plane to plane. With all four
seats installed, plus the taxi fuel allowance, and running with six quarts
of oil, my 1977 C24R has a legal payload of 986 pounds. If I carry 40
gallons of fuel for trips of three hours plus, I can load 746 pounds in the
cabin. The Sierras definitely cost more to buy, cost a bit more to
maintain, and can cost a little or a lot more to insure, depending on your
retract experience and time in type.

Personally, I consider the A23-24 to be one of the best-kept secrets of the
Musketeer lineup. They can be pocket rockets along the lines of the Piper
Archer and Dakota. I suspect that one of the reasons that they haven't yet
achieved the same market value as the Pipers, in addition to general
unfamiliarity, is that many owners have not taken steps to upgrade the
paint, interior, and avionics.

If you can handle the insurance and costs, get a 1977 or later C-model
Sierra (C24R); it has a lot of nice touches, such as a large third door and
powered overhead ventilation (on most examples). Usually better avionics,
too. If you need to keep the costs down, it would be hard to beat a nice
A23-24. Make sure you get one that is already well-maintained, and which
has all the avionics you want (including an autopilot for traveling).
Otherwise make sure the purchase price is low enough to support any needed
upgrades, as they are far more costly to add, versus buying them already in
the plane. Already-upgraded airplanes are often better maintained in other
respects as well.

Best of luck! Hope we see you in the Beech Aero Club family soon!


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