MARKET TRENDS

Turboprops—workhorses of business aviation

Advantages include fuel savings, short fields, reduced DOCs, efficient low-FL capability, good icy runway characteristics.




Comparative prices of in-production turboprop aircraft.

Daher-Socata TBM850

TBM850's upgraded PT6A engine, delivering 850 shp, lifts payload with ease while cruising above 300 KTAS.

TBM850 is Socata's answer to the Piper Meridian and other aircraft in the same turbine class. With a comparable interior cabin measuring 120 cu ft (same as that of the Meridian), the TBM850 boosts itself into the air with a more powerful version of the PT6A (delivering up to 850 shp versus the Meridian's 500 shp).

According to Conklin & de Decker, this upgrade in engine power almost tripled the full fuel payload (931 lb) compared to that of the Meridian (358 lb) and just under that of the PC12 (1009 lb).

Equipped with the Garmin G1000 and a 15-in central MFD, the TBM850 has dual zone environment controls. These, combined with up to 6 leather seats in the back, will ensure that passengers will remain comfortable in an aircraft that has up to 1102 nm of range with its seats full. Cruising at 320 KTAS will cut valuable travel time out of the equation, delivering the passengers to their destination faster, further and in comfort.

RUAG Do 228NG

Now assembled by RUAG, the Do 228NG has upgraded engines and a new glass cockpit.

The Dornier 228 has shared production lines with various different manufacturers since 1981. Hopping from Dornier to Fairchild Dornier and Hindustan Aeronautics (which still produces the fuselage, tail and wing sections for Indian-built examples), the 19-seat Do228NG—a more advanced Do228—has landed at RUAG for final assembly.

While airframe and performance data remain comparatively the same (versus the original Do228-212), notable improvements include updated TPE331-10 engines (an upgrade from the TPE 331-5 seen on previous models) as well as 5-bladed propellers. With the additional blade, cabin vibration and noise levels are decreased while improving passenger comfort. The advances with regard to the engines make hot-and-high operations more feasible as well.

Pilots will notice the new glass cockpit manufactured by Universal. According to RUAG, while the outboard flight displays show the data needed for handling the aircraft, the inner MFDs provide aircraft system information, checklists, airport charts, navigation and terrain data, and even sensor pictures of the operator's console. In addition to avionics improvements, the system will update every 28 days to ensure that all navigational data is up to date.

Balanced field lengths and landing distances for turboprop aircraft. Asterisks represent OEM predicted figures.

Dornier SeaStar

Dornier SeaStar's composite amphibious airframe and dual PT6As producing gentle centerline thrust will appeal to a diverse client base.

Perhaps one of the most innovative seaplanes currently in development, the Dornier SeaStar brings amphibious aircraft to a new level of technology, design and versatility. Dornier Seaplane Company describes the SeaStar as the first purpose built amphibian to hit the market in 50 years.

A fully-composite airframe and hull design, the SeaStar is suited for both freshwater and saltwater operation due to its corrosion resistance. With the SeaStar, says the manufacturer, corrosion will be a worry of the past.

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