MARKET TRENDS

Turboprops—workhorses of business aviation

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




Variable costs per hour for in-production turboprops.

One of the most notable characteristics of this aircraft is the single-line thrust offered by the dual pull/push Pratt & Whitney PT6 engines mounted above the passenger cabin. While a multiengine rating is still required to pilot the SeaStar, engine-out procedures and characteristics will be more inheritably stable should there ever be an emergency situation. This will greatly assist the pilot's workload and increase overall aerodynamic safety during operation.

With a 287 cu ft cabin capable of carrying up to 12 passengers in commuter configuration, the SeaStar has a 150-nm range with full seats. Best suited for short to medium distances, the SeaStar is aimed at island operators or individuals looking for a capable aircraft qualified for both land and water operations. It may even become a viable helicopter replacement in downtown settings.

King Air C90GTx/250/350iER

King Air C90GTx delivers efficiency and value with new features such as composite winglets and a quiet interior.

Since establishing itself as an industry standard in the 1960s, Beechcraft has nurtured and developed its King Air family into versatile, long-haul workhorses capable of lifting demanding cargo or medical patients out of dirt strips or business executives to their next board meeting.

With worldwide multimission capability, Hawker Beechcraft has now introduced the newest models in its lineup—King Air C90GTx, 250 and 350iER.

The King Air C90GTx delivers efficiency and value to customers requiring a capable entry-level aircraft with a solid history. According to Conklin & de Decker, Hawker Beechcraft says that an increased gross weight doubled the full fuel payload to 737 lb. In addition, new composite winglets give an increased climb rate while maintaining a low rate of fuel being fed to the PT6A-135A engines.

Electronically tuned to absorb the vibrations and noise, the 220 cu ft cabin will transport any payload in jetlike comfort.

Next in line is the King Air 250, a midclass continuation of the B200 turboprop that provides more comfort while maintaining the range and short field capability that King Air owners have come to expect.

King Air 250 provides the same level of comfort and performance that previous B200 owners have come to expect.

The 250 comes equipped with PT6A engines swinging 93-in Hartzell propellers. Hawker Beechcraft outfitted the 250 with a new ram air recovery system which reduces inlet turbine temperature as well. These features simultaneously deliver better performance on remote runways while reducing the vibrations and noise inside the 303 cu ft cabin for passenger comfort.

Hawker Beechcraft's latest innovation is the King Air 350iER—the most advanced King Air yet. Designed to combine utility with executive-level comfort and amenities, the 350iER can carry a full load of passengers almost 1750 nm (with NBAA IFR reserves) in a 355 cu ft cabin.

Another key feature is the new Flexcabin design, which lets the operator reconfigure the cabin for specific missions if needed. This allows the cabin to become more spacious for a VIP with the ability to become a raw transport aircraft.

All 3 of these most recent members of the King Air family come equipped with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics suite as well as the traditional roomy flightdeck.

Piaggio P180 Avanti II

P180 Avanti uses principles of laminar flow aerodynamics to reduce drag by more than 34% compared to conventional aircraft.

Known for its radical design and pusher-prop design, the Piaggio P180 is a sleek and capable aircraft also aimed at multimission capability.

Pushed by 2 updated PT6 engines and a fuselage designed to be highly aerodynamic (using principles of laminar flow that minimize drag and maximize performance), the P180 is one of the fastest turboprops on the market.

Normal cruise is set at 365 KTAS with a range of 1370 nm fully loaded with passengers and fuel, according to Conklin & de Decker. Further, the P180's design uses 3 different lifting surfaces. Piaggio says this reduces drag by more than 34% compared with other conventional aircraft.

Other improvements to the P180 II include the addition of the Pro Line 21 avionics stack, which is fully integrated with all aspects of the aircraft's navigation and communication equipment.

Inside, the aircraft remains much the same with regard to passenger comfort and low noise level. The large 375 cu ft cabin is capable of carrying a 1348-lb payload with full fuel. This allows for larger passenger manifests as well as configuration flexibility for special mission use.

P180 combines speed, range, efficiency, payload capability and reliability in an appealing package.

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