Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Jets And Turboprops Buyer's Guide 2014

Jet-A dream machines for 2014

Turbine Conversions And Upgrades

For many, the idea of simply hanging a new turbine engine on their trusty piston or turbine airplane makes a lot of sense. That might be a workable option depending on your pocketbook and what airplane you fly.

Aviation Alliance Excalibur 421
Aviation Alliance is working on a modification of the Cessna 421C with new PT6-135A engines to create a whole new airplane. This is essentially a complete tip- to-tail rebuild that provides a new interior, a Garmin avionics suite, winglets, aft strakes and a whole new electrical system. The projected top speed will be 327 knots with a 142- nm range (with FAA IFR reserves.) Initial pricing will be $2.5 million with first deliveries predicted "real soon now." Contact:

Blackhawk Modifications, Inc.
With more than 300 customers, Blackhawk has one of the longest histories and broadest offerings of any company offering turbine conversions. Conversions are available for Piper Cheyennes and Cessna Conquests, but the most popular are new engines for the King Air 90 and 200 series, and Cessna Caravans. Compared to the stock aircraft, these conversions significantly increase climb and cruise performance while decreasing operating costs. In the case of the Cessna Caravan, a Blackhawk conversion can double the climb rate, improve MTOW, takeoff performance and increase cruise speed beyond a factory-new airplane. Contact:

O&N Aircraft Modifications
In their 26th year of business, O&N Aircraft Modifications, Inc. has performed more than 100 Silver Eagle and Silver Eagle II conversions of Cessna P210s and 210s to turbine power. The conversion to a Rolls-Royce 250-B17F/2, 450 shp turbine produces climb rates over 2,000 fpm and cruise speeds of 215 KTAS. O&N also offers the 340 Silver Eagle a turbine conversion
of the popular Cessna 340 twin. Contact:

Rocket Engineering
Among the most successful companies converting pistons to turbines is Rocket Engineering in Spokane, Wash. Although the company has certified a number of different conversions, with nearly 280 deliveries, the most successful is the JetProp conversion of the popular Piper Malibu/Mirage. Buyers have a choice of three engines: the P&WC PT6A-21, -34 and -35.

The conversion takes about 12 weeks to complete and includes a full firewall forward conversion with new engine gauges, new fuel plumbing (with a header tank,) dual pitot tubes, new operating limitations, documentation and training. With the -35 flat-rated 560 hp conversion, the initial climb rate is about 3,000 fpm, with a maximum cruise speed of 268 KTAS at FL240 at only 39 gph.
At the maximum certified altitude of FL 270, the range is a respectable 1,000 nm with a full-fuel payload of 356 pounds. Rocket also offers conversions for the B36TC Bonanza, the Beech Duke, the Beech Baron and the Beech P-Baron. Contact:

Soloy Aviation Solutions
Since 1983, Soloy, had converted over 60 Cessna 206 Stationairs to turbine power. The Mark I conversion utilizes the 418 hp Rolls-Royce 250-C20S turbine engines that have a 3,500-hour TBO. The Mark II conversion incorporates the RR 250-B17F engine with 450 hp for even more performance. These conversions add reliability, load-carrying capability and performance to a versatile airframe for applications in law enforcement, backcountry operations, skydiving and water operations. Contact:

Texas Turbines
For 20 years, Texas Turbines has modified a number of aircraft with Honeywell (Garrett) TPE331 engines that feature an impressive 7,000-hour TBO. They currently specialize in modifying DHC-3 Otters and Cessna Caravans. The Super Otter utilizes the TPE331-10 or -12JR engine to bring a whole new level of capability to backcountry operators flying in harsh conditions throughout Alaska and Canada. The recently STC'd Caravan conversion (the Supervan 900) incorporates a 900 shp TPE331-12JR engine to improve take off performance, speed, climb and operating economics for jump operators and others. Contact:

Twin Commander Aircraft LLC, Grand Renaissance Commander
There's a lot to love about Twin Commanders; but, it's an aging fleet. The Grand Renaissance program addresses that issue with a total aircraft overhaul to new standards. Engines are converted to Garrett TPE 331—10T with 1,000 hp and 5,000-hour TBO. All of the structures, hydraulics, landing gear, instruments, flight controls, cabin environmental equipment, ice protection systems and appearance items are completely disassembled, inspected, updated and repaired. The result is a modern, like-new, 300-plus-knot twin turbine with seven seats and a range of over 1,700 nm at an acquisition and operating cost unmatched by new production aircraft. Contact:


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