Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

170-Knot SUV

It’s the top of Cessna’s piston line, and not unlike ground-bound SUVs, the Turbo Stationair can haul (almost) anything you can close the doors on

Since the delivery, Chris Cope has been flying his airplane all over the U.K. and Europe. “With the high cost of fuel in the U.K.,” Cope comments, “I usually try for a power setting close to 65% and burning about 15 U.S. gph. Down low, this allows a TAS of about 130 knots, as airspace restrictions above 10,000 feet make it difficult to operate much higher.”

Cope says he loves the TKS and the Garmin G1000 glass panel, but the lack of weight limitations is a major advantage: “I can fly with full tanks and the family, and carry as many bags, push chairs and as much children’s paraphernalia as we can squeeze in.”

The Stationair is certainly among the most versatile airplanes in Cessna’s lineup, adaptable to oversize bush tires, amphibious or straight seaplane floats or skis. Base price of the T206 for 2009 is $565,500 in the standard wheeled configuration.

That’s exactly $40,000 more than the normally aspirated version, but if you’re like Chris Cope and need a flying SUV with the ability to carry a big load and operate above the weather, then the Turbo Stationair could be exactly the airplane for your travel needs.

What Fits In A Stationair?

The short answer is: pretty much anything! Fact is, Stationairs often serve in the boondocks of the world as freighters with all seats except one removed. Because the forward cabin door is on the left and the aft cargo doors are on the right, some pilots leave the right seat in place to facilitate loading longer cargo.

The cabin is 12 feet long from firewall to aft bulkhead. With carrying space that’s 50 inches tall and 44 inches wide, the cabin offers an impressive 101 cubic feet of space to enclose a little of anything. This means you could theoretically load aboard anything from surfboards to mountain bikes, camping gear to a dressed out moose, or construction materials to power tools.

With 101 cubic feet of space, the Stationair offers room for bicycles (whether or not they have the ability to fold), camping equipment, personal gear and more.
Stationairs have been employed in aerial survey with cameras mounted in the floor looking down through the belly. They’ve been operated as speed-enforcement aircraft and emergency-response vehicles by various state police and fire agencies with spotlights, PA systems, tracking equipment and video recorders. They serve in power-line patrol and with fish and game departments. There are even some television stations that use the type for traffic reporting.

The greater limitation may be pounds rather than space. With full fuel aboard (87 gallons), a typical T206 offers about 600 working pounds with a pilot up front.

Labels: Piston Singles


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