421 Spoilers

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    I have heard both good and just luke-warm opinions on spoilers for the 421. Some folks say you only need them in the busy areas like NY where they tend to drop you in, but don’t really need them otherwise. My thinking is if you are able to maintain your airspeed during descent, within reasonable ranges of cruise speeds, the engines will be happier to not have an increase of cold air that comes with increased airspeed.

    Those that have them, do you believe they are worth the investment to add on? I can convey to ATC what needs to happen, but it is always easier when you are able to comply.


    I have spoilers on my 421C, I have only needed them twice in the 9 months i’ve had the aircraft. They are nice since you are not supposed to chop power on the geared 421 engines. I’m not sure if i would get them if the aircraft didnt have them, but i did look for an aircraft with them since they are a desirable option….

    Alot of people swear by them, but I’ve pretty much been able to do without them so far.


    Not an upgrade I’d add to a 421. The airplane slows down easily enough and I’ve never found myself in a situation where I really needed them…

    Considering the gear speed is 175kts, and the airplane slips quite well, there are many ways to slow the bird down without using spoilers.



    Thank you for your responses.

      quote tallen:

      ….. spoilers…..are worth the investment to add on?

      I absolutely loved having spoilers on my 421. But then I was flying out of a busy Class B airport and often would find myself at 9,000 feet 10 miles from the airport. So they help with slam dunk approaches, but more importantly they allowed me to keep my speed up longer which is what the controllers are constantly admonishing me to do. I routinely would cross the final approach fix at 170 KIAS and then start to slow. Spoilers were a huge help in keeping up with the airliners at my airport.

      I also found that popping them out in the landing flare would help settle airplane more quickly. That was nice on short runways.

      So, whether they are worth it or not depends on the type of flying you do and,of course, your wallet. I will not be putting spoilers on the 303. It’s not as fast as the 421 and I am more comfortable pulling the power way back in flight since it doesn’t have geared engines.


        Bob, I’ve wondered about the use of spoilers when landing. Did you make it your standard practice to use them? When exactly did you hit the button?


        Does anybody know ballpark figures for spoiler installation cost?

          quote SWORLEY:

          Bob, I’ve wondered about the use of spoilers when landing. Did you make it your standard practice to use them? When exactly did you hit the button?

          I’d deploy the spoilers when just a few feet above the runway. Because of the high angle of attack in the flare, it doesn’t kill the lift dramatically. So you don’t drop to the runway, they just help the airplane settle faster. It also allowed me to leave just a little power on the engines instead of bringing the throttles back to idle. Better for the GTSIO’s.

          I’m not sure of the current cost, but I think they run around $10 or $12K installed.


          We also are held high by ATC and with are somewhat chilly Winters the spoilers are a great help, ours, installed, painted came to a total of $12,000Cdn.


          I have an accepted offer and pre-buy being scheduled on a trailing gear model now. I will fly it for a bit and see how many times I wish I had spoilers.

          quote RLORETTO:

          We also are held high by ATC and with are somewhat chilly Winters the spoilers are a great help, ours, installed, painted came to a total of $12,000Cdn.

          I flew in and out of CYYZ extensively and they were always jockeying our speed up and sown and would hold us high.


            I considered spoilers for my 340, but didn’t do it. I fly a lot in class B airspace around LAX, SFO and SEA. The 340’s gear speed is 140 knots so one has to be prepared and if posssible tell ATC what you are capable of. I have had a few conversations with controllers on the phone after landing to remind them that I help pay their salary, and they don’t pay mine. They need a reminder sometimes about who is in charge and that happens to be the pilot; some don’t like the reminder, but that is too bad as far as I see. Our twin Cessnas can keep up with the airliners inside of 10 miles from the runway.

            In my many years flying for the airlines when controllers used to hitch a ride with us, I like to remind them who paid their paycheck. There wasn’t much conversation after that.


            The 421C gear speed and first notch of flap speed is so high that they are effectively spoilers 🙂 So far, I have only “needed” spoilers once, and this was due to bad descent planning on my part. As others have posted, it may matter where you are located (or intended to fly)

            I think the most important 421C mod is the vortex generators, and it is not that expensive.


            You use the spoilers every now and then. You can always use extra fuel and speed. The more you add the slower you go.


            I understand the economic and performance flexibility benefits of Spoilers on a 421…..But before I get them I am wondering about the problem of “out Decending” the cabin. Cruising in the mid 20’s and staying higher longer before a 2500-3000 fpm spoiler decent might catch the cabin that was at 9-10k and Decending at 500-800 fpm before leveling off. Of course ATC might not let you do that anyway, and one is not likely to maintain such a long decent at that rate, but it begs the question. Losing cruise time at altitude just to stay above the cabin in the later stages of the decent seems to reduce the economic benefit some. Jets don’t have this issue as the differential is higher, so the cabin is not as high at start of decent. Thoughts?

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