Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

10 Tips For Stepping Up

If you’re considering the leap from piston to turbine, here’s what you need to know

2. Make A Budget

Stepping up to a turbine-powered aircraft requires a considerable investment of not only money, but also of time and emotion. While making a budget for emotional expense may be challenging, creating a budget and schedule for making the transition to flying single pilot is a little more quantifiable.

The expense will certainly be affected by the aircraft-type choice, method of training/operation and the specific pedigree and maintenance status of the aircraft purchased. Again, the best source for getting credible cost-of-ownership information will be discussions with current owners of each airc­raft type.

3. Evaluate Service And Support

When buying a turbine-powered aircraft, understanding reliability, service and support for each aircraft type/manufacturer is a mandatory step in the process of making the leap.

Each manufacturer has pros and cons with regard to service and support. For instance, someone stepping into a Citation Mustang will benefit from a factory-owned and operated service network that supports over 6,000 total Citation jets.

4. Meet With The Factory

Give your local factory representative a call and ask for the dog-and-pony show. In today's economy, factory representatives will fall over themselves for the opportunity to pitch you on their products. Even if you're thinking it's unlikely to buy brand-new, factory representatives will jump at the opportunity to present you with some options. Be open and upfront about your capabilities and range of options.

Robert Luketic (below right) flies an Embraer Phenom 100 (above). The Hollywood film director and avid pilot stepped up to the light jet from a Cirrus SR22.

5. Be Thoughtful About How You Might Use The Plane

Think long and hard about how you plan to use your first turbine. Will you be flying over mountains or water at night in weather on a regular basis to meet with clients? Will you need all-weather capability? Will you be flying out of hot and high conditions? One of the best tools for understanding how your candidate airplanes stack up against one another is through the use of accurate performance models for most turbine aircraft on You can create a profile for free, and run flight plans to compare and contrast various aircraft with respect to speed, fuel consumption and range performance.

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