Pilot Journal
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Twin Commander 1000: The Ultimate Turbine Commander

The 1000 is the apex of the ultraluxurious Twin Commander line of corporate turboprops

Perhaps the major benefit of FarSight's Twin Commander is its flexibility, facilitated by an avionics suite that's both sophisticated and easy to manage. With the Meggitt avionics system installed, Obernolte's corporate transport is as talented as most airliners. The dual PFD/MFD Magic EFIS screens and the Meggitt 2100 Digital Autopilot provide confidence at all RVSM altitudes where the FAA requires the airplane to be flown on autopilot.

Obernolte and many of his 23 employees regularly utilize the big turboprop for trips as short as 70 nm to Orange County or Van Nuys Airports. FarSight's missions often demand meetings with clients at various locations around the Los Angeles Basin, and meeting a schedule while contending with the L.A. freeway system using automobiles would be nearly impossible. The company has clients in the Bay Area, Seattle and at other places all over the States, and the Twin Commander also makes those trips far easier and sometimes quicker than on the airlines.

"One of the Twin Commander's fringe benefits is that it's actually a good short-field machine," says Obernolte. "Using approach speeds of 100 or even 95 knots, I can handle strips as short as 3,000 feet. Even here at Big Bear on a summer day, I have an acceptable balanced field length. I can accelerate to rotation speed, lose an engine and elect to either stop or go, my choice. You can't do that in many turboprops from this airport."

In fun mode, Obernolte says he can load up two couples and four kids and fly for as long as a parent can stand it. "We have a full video system installed in the airplane so passengers can watch DVDs or play games if they wish. The kids really like the isolation of the aft compartment with a door they can close and their own windows. They can sit back there, have fun or whatever while we watch the sights from up front."

The exec says he sees performance at the very top of the turboprop class from his Twin Commander. "Climb is excellent, as much as 3,000 fpm, even from Big Bear's 6,700-foot-high mountain runway. The airplane will climb straight to FL350 with a full load, but FL290 is the default altitude for us," Obernolte comments. "Unless we're going a long distance or there are strong tailwinds up high, we'll use 290 most of the time. At that height, we see slightly better than 300 knots, depending on load, typically burning 500 pounds/hour. That's only about 75 gallons/hour, so we still have good range. If we do elect to fly tall, we can go to FL350 and still score 285 knots on more like 400 pounds/hour. The high 6.7 psi pressurization system helps assure that the cabin stays down around 10,000 feet, even at nearly seven-mile altitudes."

Labels: Turbos


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