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Are you planning a trip to relax in the field or to chill on a beach? Go with a turbo-propeller aircraft! Agile, fast and comfortable, these airplanes took care of the market that requires landing on earth or gravel tracks. Jets, most times, cannot operate in those conditions due to the need of a larger track and/or paved ground, making the turbo-propeller the ideal model for those sceneries.
Here are some characteristics and curiosities on two aircrafts that are among the highest ranked in the section: the twin-engine American BEECHCRAFT KING AIR B250 and the Swiss monomotor PILATUS PC -12.
- The PC-12 possesses a smaller operational cost compared to B250, because the absence of one motor and for having reduced weight, however it maintains a competitive performance to him
- Both operate well in tracks that aren’t paved, spite the PC-12 having a special landing gear for such mission type, that reduces the transmission of the impact of the wheels to the cabin and consequently the vibration
- Both turbo-propeller possess the very well spoken motors Pratt & Whitney PT6A, guaranteeing fast time of scale and cruise speed of 280 knots (around 500 km/h)
- The PC-12 possesses a speed of reduced approach when compared to B250, being indicated for smaller track race, larger inclusion of places for landing, and smaller consumption
- Both aircrafts can be piloted in a SINGLE-PILOT regime, where it is only obligatory one pilot presence to accomplish the operation. In Brazil, under rules of air taxi, the aircrafts B250 and PC-12 need two pilots
- Both possess impeccable indexes of safety, being considered some of the turbo-propeller airplanes with more insurances of the world. Since their release, as much B250 as PC-12, registered few cases of accidents
- King Air possesses more luggage space, sheltering up to 7 pieces of big suitcases, in comparison with Pilatus, with capacity around 4 cases
- Pilatus is equipped with a larger cabin, perfect for customers of high posture, guaranteeing more comfort and peacefulness during the itinerary
Accommodating up to 10 passengers in configuration Commuter, up to 8 in configuration Executive and up to 4 executive seats + load (motorcycle, supplies, pallet) in configuration Kombi, Pilatus PC-12 it is the airplane that comes to mind when we talk about SUV of the skies.
Proving that high performance is not exclusive to the jets, that turbo-propeller flies with maximum roof of 30 thousand feet, until a maximum distance of 1600 nautical miles, with a cruise speed up to 285 kt (around 500km/h), thanks to the motor Pratt & Whitney PT6A of 1200shp.
The motor is located in the front of the airplane, with configuration of 4 or 5 shovels in the helix, being metallic or composite material. In the cockpit, we find an extremely modern suite with completes aviônicos HONEYWELL PRIMUS APEX of last generation, with 4 screens of 10″ each, controlled by a located keypad below the inferior screen, being two main in front of the pilots (PFD), one in the superior center of the panel (to show the navigation) and one in the inferior center (showing the status of the systems and warnings for the crew).
The aircraft possesses a resistant fuselage with generous windows, private bathroom, flat-ground (without steps between seats and corridor), reduced cabin noise (extremely convenient in longer flights) and a landing gear style trailing-link to soften the unprepared tracks in fields or beaches. In short, this airplane will make you feel in a jet since the moment you see the exterior until the end of your trip.
King Air B250
Speaking about multi motors, KING AIR B250 is easily differentiated from other aircrafts. Showing two reliable motors Pratt & Whitney PT6A of 850shp each, with 4 shovels of composed fiber, besides a high syrup in T and wings extremely aerodynamics endowed with winglets (tip of the wing curved to increase the efficiency), KING AIR B250 approaches a lot of times the size of jets and marks presence where it lands with a robust reinforced landing gear.
This model cabin is wide and very well distributed, with access to the luggage rack during the flight and a lot of natural light, originating from the classic round windows that improve the external look and provide an excellent vision of the landscape along the trip. Those details, aligned to the aerodynamic improvements, technology of noise reduction and vibration of the cabin, make the passengers and crew enjoy a calm trip for the whole course.
Being manufactured in the 70’s decade, the King Air line was very well accepted in the market for its speed and elevated roof, when compared to light jets that sometimes can have a way inferior comfort.
Speaking about the transport capacity, in the total configuration of seats, the aircraft can accommodate up to 7 passengers, being the seat of the lavatory ratified for takeoff and landings in some cases.
B250 possesses a maximum reach of around 1580 nautical miles, with a speed of up to 290kt (around 530km/h), in a cruise altitude of 35.000ft. Those characteristics when combined, resemble a lot the performance of light jets, which don’t possess the same comfort of a great turbo-propeller and can cost a lot of times a fraction of their prices. Besides, in the case of breakdown or defect of one of the motors, the aircraft is equipped to return to the closest aerodrome, operating with just one of the motors.
The cockpit of this aircraft is equipped with avionics suite COLLINS PROLINE FUSION, with 3 great sensitive screens to the touch, being 2x PFDs and 1x central MFD, in the most modern versions. KING AIR B250 is in the top of the list of technologically advanced aircrafts for any mission type, reducing the load of the pilots’ work considerably and maintaining the crew’s focus in the flight and safety of the operation, since the system only shows the necessary and in organized ways in the main screens.
As a whole, we can say that both aircrafts possess different characteristics of the same world and are considered excellent models for missions of up to 4 hours, being able to extend depending on the customer’s need and respecting the operational limits.
About the Author
Alison Basso is pilot and the crew member of A32F. In the pilot profession since 2015.