Daher-Socata TBM 900
With an improving economy and fuel prices headed down, the turbine market is heating up. Early in 2014, Daher-Socata announced the introduction of the new TBM 900, which combines aerodynamic refinement with raw power to produce the fastest production single-engine turboprop on the market. Pilatus hit the ball out of the park by rolling out a prototype of their new $8.9 million PC-24 utility jet for customers and employees only 14 months after it was first announced in May 2013. Certification isn't expected until 2017, but it's clear that Pilatus is serious about entering the turbofan market. Cessna recently announced two new models—the Latitude and Longitude—to compete at the high end of the market. They've certified the new CJ3+, and they continue to deliver new Mustangs and M2s at the smaller end of their jet lineup. Late last year, Eclipse Aerospace started delivering the new, refined EA-550 jet. And there are a few companies in the on-deck circle with new products just about ready to go. Honda has been showing off the first customer airplane of the new HA-420 with the first deliveries expected later this year. In Bend, Ore., Epic Aircraft has been making serious progress toward certifying their new LT-1000 single-engine turboprop. So, whether you need more capability or you're stepping up to your first turbine, there are a lot of choices for anyone with a mission and the means to burn Jet A.
UTILITY-CLASS, FIXED-GEAR SINGLES
Need a heavy-duty backcountry load hauler? A fixed-gear, single-engine turboprop just might be the best option. The engines are reliable, fuel is widely available, and the performance is hard to beat. Swap out the gear for floats or amphibs, and you get safe, flexible operations on water.
Quest Kodiak. The Kodiak fleet has grown to about 120 airplanes, and it's easy to see why it has become so popular among both owners and pilots. It's a rugged utility turboprop that can easily haul loads out of short backcountry strips, or off the water or move passengers in comfort from city to city. The 750 hp P&WC PT6A-34 engine is smooth, powerful and reliable, and comes with a 4,000-hour TBO. The oversized cabin can comfortably manage up to 10 seats or handle 248 cubic feet of cargo that can be loaded through the large 49x49-inch rear door while allowing the crew to board through the front cockpit door. Top it off with 320 gallons of Jet A, and the range is a respectable 1,132 nm (at 135 knots). Top speed is 183 knots. At MGTW, an average Kodiak pilot can get airborne in only 934 feet and safely land in 705 feet without using reverse. The cockpit features a three-screen Garmin G1000 avionics package with a newly certified GFC 700 autopilot. Options include TKS deicing, XM Weather, GWX onboard radar, Stormscope, a large cargo pod, amphibious floats (from both Wipaire and Aerocet) and multiple interior seating packages. New for 2015: The TKS icing reservoir can now be located in the cargo pod to save room in the cockpit and make it easier to service. Interior options include the basic "Timberline" and more upscale "Tundra" interior options along with the "Summit" executive interior package with club seating and a drop-down table. The 2015 base price is $1.975 million and typically equipped Kodiaks go for a little over $2.0 million. Visit www.questaircraft.com.
|Cessna Grand Caravan EX|
Cessna Caravan. The Caravan is the granddaddy of SETPs. First delivered in 1985, the Cessna Caravan fleet has racked up well over 15 million fleet hours and an outstanding safety record. Cessna offers four different configurations to address a wide range of missions. Putting aside the very successful cargo version, the Caravan, Amphibian and the Grand Caravan EX are the most interesting to owner-pilots. All have a fuel capacity of about 335 gallons, three-screen G1000 avionics and DOC of less than $500/hour. Here's a quick look at each version:
Caravan. Newly renamed, this is the original "short body" 675 Caravan that seats 8-14, and has a maximum cruise of 186 KTAS and a range of 1071 nm. The engine is a PT6A-114A with 675 shp. With full fuel it can take on another 1,086 pounds of payload and take off in 2,055 feet. 2015 base price will be around $1.9 million.
Caravan Amphibian. This is basically an amphibian Caravan, with more storage room in the floats that can handle up to 725 pounds of cargo. Maximum speed is 159 KTAS with a range of 908 nm. Payload with full fuel is 1,006 pounds. Takeoff distance is 3,660 feet. The base price will be about $2.4 million.
Grand Caravan EX. This is the largest Caravan with a stretched fuselage that can seat from 10-14. New for 2015, the EX is now certified for operation on both straight floats and amphibians. It features a PT6A-140 with 867 hp for improved performance in the 2015. The maximum speed of 185 KTAS is achieved at 10,000 feet. Maximum range is 912 nm. With full fuel, it lifts an impressive 1,321 pounds of payload and takes off in 2,160 feet. The 2015 base price should be about $2.2 million. Visit www.cessna.com.
HIGH-SPEED SETP CRUISERS
Single-engine retractable turboprops offer low operating economics that make them very popular with owner-pilots and business operators alike. These are serious pressurized traveling machines that deliver a smooth, quiet ride high above most weather.
Piper Meridian. The 2015 Piper Meridian features multiple exterior paint schemes, four interior palettes and a three-screen G1000 avionics suite with synthetic vision. The Meridian combines low acquisition and operating costs with impressive performance—perfect for owner-operators. The cabin features six-place leather seating with ample baggage room behind the rear seats. Top off the tanks with 170 gallons of Jet A, and you can transport 559 pounds of payload up to 1,000 nm with a 45-minute reserve. With a maximum certified ceiling of FL300, it's possible to top most weather in pressurized comfort. In the mid-20s, the 500 shp PT6-42 helps achieve a respectable top speed of 260 KTAS. The Meridian can get in and out of a 2,438-foot field while clearing a 50-foot obstacle. Garmin GWX 68 onboard weather radar, GFC 700 autopilot and deice boots are standard. The option list includes XM Radio and Weather, TWAS, Stormscope and traffic-warning systems. The 2015 standard price is $2.219 million, which includes pilot training. The Meridian fleet size is approaching 600, and many owners can be found at the MMOPA owner-pilot organization (www.mmopa.org). Visit www.piper.com.
Daher-Socata TBM 900. With a top speed of 330 KTAS, the 2015 TBM 900 is the world's fastest production single-engine turboprop. The 900 is the result of an extensive aerodynamic refinement of the TBM 700/850 airframe that went from tip to tail to reduce drag and to improve airflow to the engine. The new TBM 900 includes a redesigned composite cowl, reconfigured exhaust stacks, composite winglets and a new Hartzell five-blade composite propeller. These improvements produce a top speed at FL280 of 330 KTAS and extend the range at economy cruise to an impressive 1,730 nm while sipping only 37 gph. A pilot door is standard, and the seating configuration is flexible. The cabin can be configured for a maximum of six or a more spacious four-seat layout that can accommodate up to 507 pounds of baggage. Maximum fuel capacity is 291 gallons. The maximum certified ceiling is FL310. The TBM 900 can comfortably operate out of runways as short as 2,840 feet (with a 50-foot obstacle.) The cockpit features a redesigned control yoke and new panel for enhanced visibility and human interface. A completely new electrical system allows semi-automatic engine starts. The center panel features a single control throttle coupled with a new torque limiter that allows the use of the full 850 hp on takeoff. Standard avionics include the three-screen Garmin G1000 with GFC 700 autopilot, Garmin GTS 820 traffic-warning system, Garmin TAWS, on-board GWX 68 weather radar and XM data weather link. Very popular among owner-pilots, the TBM fleet is over 680 with over 1.2 million operating hours. The 2015 fully equipped price is $3.599 million and $3.798 million with the Elite Package, which includes five years of warranty and tip-to-tail maintenance. Visit www.tbm.aero and www.tbmowners.org.
Pilatus PC-12/47 NG. The 2015 PC-12 is the best ever. The landing gear is fully electric with an electric motor that moves the gear through push rods eliminating all fluid. The system reduces maintenance and weight (13 pounds) while maintaining the high reliability of the earlier electro-hydraulic system. Exterior lighting is all LED for long life and low maintenance. In the cabin, the Pilatus has six interiors created by BMW Design Works. All feature premium materials including exotic woods, European leathers and fine cashmere. Up front, Pilatus offers the Connected Flight Deck to allow wireless connection between the Honeywell Primus Apex avionics package and mobile devices. Four apps allow wireless database updates (in about 20 minutes), uploadable flight-planning data, downloading maintenance and trend data, and the transmission of flight data for moving maps in the cabin. The huge cabin has room for up to a maximum of nine seats or a spacious six-seat executive configuration. The optional Wireless eConnect entertainment system works through an onboard media server with USB and WiFi inputs to access stored movies, music, photos, XM Satellite Radio and other content. The ability to reconfigure the cabin has made the PC-12 popular for executive transport, air cargo, air ambulance and special government missions. At maximum cruise of 280 KTAS, range is 1,573 nm and stretches to nearly 2,000 nm when slowed to 250 knots. The PC-12 also features a forward passenger air-stair door, a stowable enclosed lavatory and a large 52x52-inch rear cargo door. It can carry 1,029 pounds of payload with full fuel (402 gallons) and still operate out of a 2,650-foot runway while clearing a 50-foot obstacle. The maximum certified altitude is a weather-topping FL300. The 2015 fully equipped executive version goes for about $4.64 million. Visit www.pilatus-aircraft.com and www.pilatusowners.com.
Multi-engine turboprops offer twin-engine redundancy, reliability and excellent performance—generally without the need for a type rating.
|Beechcraft King Air C90GTx|
Beechcraft King Air C90GTx. With well over 7,100 King Airs racking up over 60 million flight hours, Textron Aviation now owns one of the most successful GA turboprops in history. Although it's the baby of the bunch, the C90GTx delivers very respectable payload and performance numbers. For 2015, the C90GTx features even better takeoff and landing distances, improved handling characteristics and enhanced passenger experience. New features include Hartzell swept blade props with a 30-degree blade sweep and a 96-inch diameter arc. That's a six-inch increase over last year's model. That reduces takeoff distance by 23% to 1,984 feet at MTOW. Dual aft body strakes increase directional stability at low speeds while improving aircraft handling characteristics and ride quality. That result is a slower approach speed and a 10% shorter landing distance over a 50-foot obstacle of only 2,160 feet. A new high-speed nose tire improves tire lifetime. The C90GTx features composite winglets that look great and improve both climb performance and fuel efficiency. With dual PT6A-135, 550 hp engines, the C90GTx can climb to FL300, has a 272 KTAS top speed and can transport four passengers 1,127 nm with NBAA reserves. Payload with the tanks filled with 384 gallons of Jet A is an impressive 750 pounds. The spacious cabin can accommodate eight to nine (including crew) and features a 48-cubic-foot, in-flight accessible, interior baggage area that can handle up to 350 pounds. Throughout the cabin, 26 dynamic sound dampers are electronically tuned to damp propeller noise and produce an amazingly quiet ride. Passengers are treated to large, fully adjustable leather seats with plenty of shoulder room, light and luxury. Up front, the 2015 cockpit features the capable three-screen Rockwell Collins Proline 21 avionics package with enhanced displays along with TWR-850 weather radar with four-color, six-range capability. The C90 series fleet size is over 2,000, and 2015 prices start around $3.9 million. Visit www.beechcraft.com.
Piaggio Aero Avanti EVO. The newly renamed Avanti EVO rewrites expectations for aviation elegance, economics and performance. It combines Italian style and advanced aerodynamics to create an airborne work of art that pampers passengers in the world's fastest twin turboprop. The small rear wings, drooped forward wings and lifting fuselage all produce lift and reduce drag while maximizing cabin size. With a maximum speed of 402 knots (at FL310), the EVO isn't only fast, but it's significantly more efficient with lower carbon emissions than most jet aircraft. At the maximum certified ceiling of FL410, the range is an impressive 1,720 nm with four passengers with FAA IFR reserves. The spacious cabin is nearly tall enough for standing and features six large leather seats with materials and finishes worthy of an Italian super car. The Avanti can maintain a comfortable 6,600-foot cabin altitude (9 psi differential) at FL410, and there's 44.15 cubic feet of dedicated baggage space. The twin pusher PT6A-66B turboprops send exhaust, heat and noise out the back, keeping the five-blade props clear of ice while creating a cabin environment that's quieter than most jets. Fill the tanks with 3,226 pounds of Jet A, and you can still load an impressive 1,050 pounds of payload and get in and out of a 3,282-foot runway. Improvements include anti-lock brakes and low-maintenance landing gear, all LED lighting and a new steering system. Visibility from the cockpit is excellent, and the capable ProLine 21 avionics system provides state-of-the-art navigation capability. The Avanti fleet is approaching 250 and has racked up well over 800,000 flight hours. The 2015 price will be around $7.2 million, which pits the EVO against higher-end light jets in price, size and performance. Visit www.piaggioaero.com.
In The Wings
|A number of new turbines continue to work their way through the design, test and certification process. Many of the specs and delivery dates are hard to nail down, but here's where things currently stand.
Epic Aircraft E1000. Based in Bend, Ore., Epic has significantly ramped up certification efforts for its new six-place, all-composite E1000 single-engine turboprop. Determined to set a new standard, the company aims to blend luxury, comfort, sophistication and functionality into every aspect of the E1000. Exact performance numbers have yet to be released, but flight-testing is targeted for the end of the year. The company is targeting a top speed in excess of 325 KTAS, a generous full-fuel payload of over 1,120 pounds and an IFR range of over 1,650 nm. The spacious cabin is designed to accommodate 6'6" pilots and passengers with vertical storage for things like upright golf bags. The ergonomic cockpit will feature a G1000 flight deck with numerous options. The targeted, fully loaded operating cost is under $520/hour. The company is currently taking reservations at a base price of $2.95 million with a fully refundable deposit of $29,500. Visit www.epicaircraft.com.
Pilatus PC-24. The new PC-24 twin jet has a projected top speed of 425 KTAS, a range of 1,950 nm (with four pax) and maximum seating for 10-12. It's aimed at operations from short, non-improved strips and features a large rear cargo door with a fully configurable cabin. Balanced field length will be 2,690 feet at MGW, and it will be certified to FL450. Maximum useable fuel will be 888 gallons, which will allow a payload of 915 pounds. The cockpit will feature a four-screen Advanced Cockpit Environment system from Honeywell. Price will be $8.9 million (in 2017 dollars) with the first deliveries projected in the 2017-18 time frame. Pilatus looks pretty serious about this one, and the Swiss are pretty good at telling time, so there's a good chance it will happen on schedule. Visit www.pilatus-aircraft.com.
Kestrel. The Wisconsin company headed by aviation legend Alan Klapmeier continues to make quiet progress toward certification of their all-composite, single-engine turboprop. The plane will seat up to eight with a full-fuel payload of 1,200 pounds. A 5,000-hour TBO Honeywell TPE331-14GR, 1000 hp turboprop engine will produce a top speed of 320 knots with a max range of 1,300 nm. The cockpit features a touch-screen Garmin G3000 avionics system. Delivery dates and prices haven't been announced yet. Visit www.kestrel.aero.
Diamond D-Jet. The on again/off again Diamond single-engine D-Jet will be certified to FL250 at speeds up to 315 KTAS. With seating for four to five, the D-Jet is projected to have a range of 1,350 nm and a price approaching $2 million. The program has been pretty quiet for a while, but it could spring back into the news any time, so stay tuned. Visit www.diamondaircraft.com.
Cirrus Vision SF50 Jet. The Cirrus Vision Jet program continues along the long path toward certification. Powered by a single Williams FJ33, the SF50 will have a maximum altitude of FL280, with a top speed of 300 KTAS, seating for five (with an option for two additional "kid seats") and a range of "about 1,000 nm." It will be capable of operating out of a 2,128-foot field and will have a 400-pound full-fuel payload. There's up to 31 cubic feet of cargo baggage space and useable fuel will be 288 gallons. The flight deck will feature the Garmin Cirrus Perspective with SVT. Prices are anticipated to be less than $2 million. First deliveries are targeted for late 2015. Visit www.cirrusaircraft.com.
SINGLE-PILOT LIGHT JETS
Light jets offer incredible performance, cruise high in the flight levels above most weather and come equipped with more technology than many airliners. They aren't cheap, and they all require a type rating, but if you've got the means, the skills and a mission, it's hard to beat jet travel. The safety record for single-pilot jets is outstanding, and there are a number of options if you want to fly one on your own.
|Eclipse Aerospace EA-550|
Eclipse Aerospace EA-550. It may be a small jet, but the fully certified EA-550 has big capability. It can climb directly to FL410 and cruise at 375 knots while burning a total of only 59 gph, making it the most economical twinjet on the market. Top the tanks with 251 gallons, and you can transport 636 pounds 1,125 nm with NBAA reserves. Short fields are no problem since the EA-550 can get into and out of a 2,790-foot field while clearing a 50-foot obstacle. Standard anti-lock brakes provide powerful stopping power, and optional auto throttles with under and over speed protection reduce pilot workload. The interior can accommodate up to six seats with 16 cubic feet of pressurized baggage space. The cockpit features the Avio IFMS avionics suite supplied by Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S). The three-screen system features dual keyboards, full system synoptics along with support for synthetic vision and enhanced vision system (EVS). Numerous options let customers customize each airplane according to their needs. It's good to know that the entire Eclipse fleet of 275 aircraft has racked up an impressive 260,000 hours of accident-free operations. The 2015 base price is $2.895 million. With auto-throttles, color radar, TAS, sixth seat, TAWs, iridium phone and copilot SDU, the typical price will be about $3.1 million. Visit www.eclipse.aero and www.eclipsejetpilots.org.
Cessna Citation Mustang. With a fleet of over 452 aircraft that have racked up nearly 450,000 flight hours, the Citation Mustang has been a very successful entry-level jet, and it's easy to understand why. With its enviable safety record, the Mustang boasts easy single-pilot operations, low operating cost, exceptional reliability, outstanding field performance and great passenger comfort. The cabin features spacious four-place club seating, side tables and a curtained lavatory. Top the tanks with 385 gallons, load 765 pounds of payload and the Mustang can climb directly to its max-certified altitude of FL410 in only 27 minutes. The Mustang can climb at over 3,000 fpm and achieves a normal cruise speed of 340 KTAS. The maximum IFR range is 1,206 nm. Baggage compartments in the nose, cabin and tail provide 63 cubic feet of space with capacity to handle up to 718 pounds. Standard anti-lock brakes help the Mustang operate out of runways as short as 3,100 feet (SL [email protected] MTOW). The well-integrated cockpit features a three-screen G1000 system with the GFC 700 autopilot. Deice boots keep the airframe free of ice while the GWX 68 weather radar and XM Weather link capability provide weather data. Options include XM entertainment, Garmin chart options and satellite phones. Operating costs are under $3.00/nm (at $5.50/gal fuel). The 2015 base price will be about $3.3 million. Visit www.cessna.com and www.citationjetpilots.com.
|Cessna Citation M2|
Cessna Citation M2. With nearly 40 aircraft in the fleet, the Citation M2 brings new life to the successful CJ1+ airframe while creating a step-up path for Mustang owners. Winglets and other aerodynamic improvements, along with new Williams FJ44-1AP-21 engines, produce a maximum cruise speed of 404 KTAS with a max IFR range of 1,580 nm. The M2 can climb directly to its ceiling of FL410 in only 24 minutes while operating out of runways as short as 3,210 feet (SL [email protected] MTOW). Full fuel payload is 704 pounds with seating for up to eight (pilot+pax) and maximum baggage capacity up to 725 pounds. The cabin features a fully enclosed rear lavatory, fully adjustable leather seating and the optional Heads Up Clairity Wireless integrated audio/video entertainment system. Options also include provisions for both global and domestic inflight Internet service. The cockpit has been optimized for accessibility, comfort and convenience, including ample storage space for iPads and phones along with USB charging ports. The panel features the three-screen Garmin G3000 Intrinzic avionics package with dual touch-screen keypads. The WAAS-certified G3000 includes split-screen capability, advanced vertical navigation capability, standby flight plans and advanced FMS features. The 2015 base price should be around $4.4 million. Visit www.cessna.com and www.citationjetpilots.com.
Turbine Conversions And Upgrades
|Sometimes, it makes sense to hang a new turbine engine on a capable piston or older turbine airplane. That might be a workable option depending on your budget and what airplane you fly.
Blackhawk Modifications, Inc. With over 500 new engine upgrades, Texas-based 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. New for 2015 is an 867 hp, PT6A-140 conversion for the Caravan line. These conversions provide significantly increased climb and cruise performance while significantly decreasing operating costs. In the case of the Cessna Caravan, a Blackhawk conversion can double the climb rate, improve MTOW and takeoff performance and increase cruise speed to better-than-new performance. Visit www.blackhawk.areo.
Rocket Engineering. Located in Spokane, Wash., Rocket ranks among the most successful companies converting pistons to turbines. With 284 deliveries, the most successful product has been 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. Full avionics retrofits are also available. 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 FL270, 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 TurbineAir with about 14 delivered), the Beech Duke (Royal Turbine with about 18 done) and the Beech P-Baron (Cougar Baron with a growing fleet of eight). Visit www.rocketengineering.com.
O&N Aircraft Modifications. In their 27th year of business, O&N Aircraft Modifications, Inc., located in Pennsylvania, has performed over 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 has also STC'd the 340 Silver Eagle—a Rolls-Royce turbine conversion of the popular Cessna 340 twin. Visit www.onaircraft.com.
Texas Turbines. For over 20 years, Texas Turbines has modified a number of aircraft with Honeywell (Garrett) TPE331 engines with an astounding 7,000-hour TBO. They currently specialize in modifying DHC-3 Otters and Cessna Caravans. With over 40 sold, 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 STC'd Supervan 900 conversion of the Cessna Caravan incorporates a 900 shp TPE331-12JR engine to improve takeoff performance, speed, climb and operating economics for jump operators and others. Over 50 Supervans have already been sold. Visit www.texasturbines.com.
Twin Commander Aircraft LLC, Grand Renaissance Commander. Twin Commanders are great airplanes, but it's an aging fleet. The Grand Renaissance program, now based in North Carolina, 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. Standard warranty is one year or 200 hours. Visit www.twincommander.com.
Soloy Aviation Solutions. Since 1983, Soloy has developed numerous fixed-wing and helicopter conversions. Over 60 Cessna 206 Stationairs have been converted 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 172 KTAS cruise at 25 gph and a ceiling of FL200. The Mark II Sentinel version is aimed squarely at law enforcement operations. These conversions add reliability, load-carrying capability and performance to a versatile airframe for applications in law enforcement, backcountry operations, skydiving and water operations. Visit www.soloy.com.
Aviation Alliance Excalibur 421. Aviation Alliance aims to deliver a STC'd modification of the Cessna 421C with new PT6-135A engines to create a whole new airplane. This is 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 1,420 nm range (with FAA IFR reserves.) Initial pricing will be around $2.5 million with first deliveries targeted for Q4 2015. Find more information on the Excalibur 421 Facebook page.
|Embraer Phenom 100E|
Embraer Phenom 100E. Since the first delivery in 2008, Embraer has delivered well over 300 Phenom 100s, and that makes sense. It's the fastest jet in its class, the spacious, modern cabin features large windows and operating costs are lower than most turboprops. The 2015 model features multifunction spoilers to make speed control in the air and on the ground easier than ever. Buyers can choose from eleven interior themes with reclining leather seats that allow swiveling and lateral adjustment for the ultimate comfort in flight. There are also a number of refreshment and storage cabinet options. With its six- to eight-place interior, the smallest Phenom offers more than entry-level performance. P&WC PW617F-E engines with 1,695 pounds of thrust produce a top speed of 390 KTAS (0.70M MMO). Top the tanks with 419 gallons of Jet A, load 780 pounds of passengers and bags, climb directly to FL410 and the Phenom 100E can travel an impressive 1,178 nm with 100 nm NBAA reserves. There's plenty of room for bags with 73 cubic feet of cargo space. In back, there's a fully enclosed lav. Up front, the easily accessible cockpit features the Garmin G1000 Prodigy flight deck with three 12.4-inch screens. Onboard weather radar, XM Weather, charts, TWAS, WAAS capability, system synoptic displays and traffic alerting all make single-pilot operations safe and manageable. Wing and tail deice boots provide ice protection. The Phenom 100E features numerous standard features like LED lighting, trailing link gear, low carbon emissions and brake-by-wire anti-lock braking. Base price is about $4.1 million and typically equipped price is about $4.7 million. Visit www.embraerexecutivejets.com and www.phenom.aero.
Honda HA-420 HondaJet. Honda recently announced that they expect certification of their $4.5 million HondaJet sometime during Q1 2015 with customer deliveries to happen shortly afterward. The company certainly has the industrial muscle to do it right, and they've logged over 2,000 flight hours in four jets as a part of their certification program. With over 100 orders on the books, the company will soon be conducting customer demonstration rides in over a dozen cities in the U.S. The six- to seven-seat HondaJet has a top speed of 420 knots (at FL300), climbs at nearly 4,000 fpm, has a maximum certified ceiling of FL430 and boasts a 1,180 nm range with NBAA IFR reserve. The FADEC-controlled, 2,050-pound thrust, Honda HF120 engines were developed in partnership with GE and are mounted on the top of each wing to increase cabin space and reduce noise. The highly efficient engines coupled with laminar flow wings and nose help make the HondaJet the most fuel-efficient aircraft in its class. Takeoff distance is less than 4,000 feet, and landing distance is less than 3,000 feet. External baggage volume is 57 cubic feet in the tail and nine cubic feet in the nose. Up front, the HondaJet features a three-screen Garmin G3000 avionics suite. With 11 customer aircraft already on the production line, you should expect to see a HondaJet appearing on a ramp near you sometime in 2015. Visit www.hondajet.honda.com.
Do-It-Yourself Turbine Kits
Lancair International Evolution. If you want to build your own turbine, there's only one option: Lancair, now in its 30th year of delivering kit planes. The Lancair Evolution is an all-composite, four-seat turboprop with a top speed of 300 KTAS. The 2015 models have a higher gross weight limit that allows a typically equipped airplane to top the tanks and still carry 800 pounds of payload while covering an impressive 1,133 nm between fuel stops. Build time is estimated to be about 1,500 hours with a price of about $1.2 million. Visit www.lancair.com.