Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Caravan for the Jet Set
Cessna’s Caravan goes plush, with all the accoutrements of a jet (except the speed)
Quick cruise isn’t the Caravan’s strong suit, but operators don’t seem to care. The big Pratt & Whitney PT6A doesn’t mind at all if you go to the whip for cruise. Reeves says speed typically settles on 165 knots at max cruise and about 300 pounds per hour (45 gph), and he typically blocks the airplane at 155 to 160 knots. “We use max torque most of the time,” Reeves comments. “Because our stage lengths typically aren’t that long—usually 350 nm or less—it’s uncommon for us to fly legs longer than two hours, so clients rarely complain. Our Caravan is fitted with all the distractions of business jets—DVD screens, stereo systems, computer ports, WiFi—but much of the time, people used to flying high in jets are fascinated with the view of the world passing below.”
“Our airplane is a dedicated executive machine, and that’s the only way we fly it, but if we wished, we could convert it to a freighter, load it with a forklift through the huge aft left cargo door and use the airplane in the boonies. It’s the perfect tool for our mission.”
The airplane has almost a locomotive’s sense of straight ahead, but it’s surprisingly maneuverable when you feel the need to twist and shout.Linehan Aviation has discovered a different kind of business flying with its Grand Caravan, still operating in the lap of luxury with all the conveniences of a corporate office or a recreation room, but slower and lower. Perhaps surprisingly, that’s the way Linehan’s clients want it.
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Labels: Piston Singles