Turboprops take flight
When speaking about private flights we normally link the whole experience with jet aircraft. Well, although jets are the fastest option, there are times when chartering a turboprop makes more sense, especially for shorter routes and when cost efficiency is at the top of the list. Furthermore, in February the EU authorized these types of aircraft for commercial flight even during the night and in bad weather conditions, which will undeniably bolster their use across the continent. In the US market, turboprops have been allowed for charter flights since 1997.
In essence, more than 80% of private flights are under two hours, so trading slower speed for lowers costs is, in fact, the wise decision if cost efficiency is the primary objective. And even the slower speed is somewhat debatable, because for a one or two hour flight, the difference between flying in a Beechcraft King Air 350i or a Hawker 400XP jet will only be a thing of minutes.
Comfort or luxury shouldn’t be a concern, either. The interiors of some turboprops are as luxurious, spacious and comfortable as some mid or heavy jets. Furthermore, turboprops have an operational capability that the majority of jets no not feature: the possibility to land on far shorter runways and in different types of airfields (grass, gravel, sand or snow) makes them one-of-a-kind.
Now to the airplanes. Monarch Air Group is a private jet operator based in Fort Lauderdale and offers a wide array of turboprop aircraft. The have plenty of experience in short haul flights due to the extensive network of runways in the South Florida area, much of which are separated by two hours or less. Here are their top turboprop planes for rent:
King Air 350i
Announced by Beechcraft in October of 2008, the King Air 350i is the latest version in the B300 series with major improvements to the passenger cabin being the highlight. The King Air 350i is one of the most comfortable solutions for short-haul flights. It has a tremendous payload and range capability that is nearly unmatched in its class. It also is significantly more economical than comparable jets while offering nearly the exact same flight time for short to medium distances.
- Passenger Capacity: up to 11 passengers (std config)
- Max Range: 1,806 nm
- Max Operational Speed: 312 ktas
- Cabin Dimensions: 4.75 ft high, 4.5 ft wide and 19.5 ft long
- Baggage Capacity: 71 cu ft
The Pilatus PC-12 is a single-engine turboprop aircraft manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. The latest model of the PC-12 is the Pilatus PC-12NG (New Generation) and debuted in 2006 at NBAA in Orlando, FL. The interior layout of the PC12-NG, created in partnership with BMW Designworks, makes the most of the available cabin size. Large openings in the cabin side panels increase room at the hip. The side rails are positioned at the perfect height to function as armrests for the chairs. Even the worktables fold out flush with the side rails to increase usable area.
- Passenger Capacity: up to 9 passengers
- Max Range: 1,845 NM
- Max Operational Speed: 285 ktas
- Cabin Dimensions: 4.3 ft high, 5 ft wide and 16.11 ft long
- Baggage Capacity: 40 cu ft
Cessna Grand Caravan
The Cessna Grand Caravan has been known for decades for its dependable and efficient performance worldwide. The Grand Caravan EX was engineered for the most challenging missions, high payloads and short, rough runways while delivering single-engine economy and simplicity. The Grand Caravan EX outperforms many other single-engine turboprops, no matter the conditions are. With a range of 900 nautical miles, a max cruise speed of 195 knots and useful load of more than 3,500 pounds, the rugged, versatile Grand Caravan EX gets in and out of tight places with short runways.
- Passenger Capacity: 10 (std config)
- Max Range: 964 NM
- Max Operational Speed: 195 ktas
- Cabin Dimensions: 54 in high, 64 in wide and 16.9 ft long
- Baggage Capacity: 32 cu ft
Daher-Socata TBM 930
The TBM 930 is a single engine turboprop manufactured but DAHER-SOCATA in France. The 930 is the newest and fastest version in the TBM family. Introduced in April of 2016 the 930 comes equipped with an upgraded interior along with the latest avionics. The TBM 930 offers performance close to that of many light business jets with a maximum cruise speed of 330 knots (611 km./hr.) and a maximum range of 1,730 naut. mi. (3,200 km.), it provides greater flexibility with their load-carrying capacity and the ability operate from small airports.
- Passenger Capacity: up to 6 passengers (std configuration)
- Max Range: 1,730 NM
- Max Operational Speed: 330 ktas
- Cabin Dimensions: 4 ft high, 3.11 ft wide, 14.4 ft long
- Baggage Capacity: 30 cu ft
Article written by Felipe Reisch, PR Manager at Monarch Air Group.