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


The second challenge is that the type-rating checkride will be conducted to the highest FAA pilot skill standards, the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) practical test standards (PTS). It doesn't matter if you hold a Private Pilot Certificate or you're an ATP, your checkride will be to ATP PTS standards. So, the new jet pilot is faced with the challenge of turning off the beloved autopilot and polishing up some little-used instrument skills, all the while learning a new, fast, complex airplane and flying to a higher standard than he or she has ever had to meet. Get serious about your instrument skills as you prepare for the leap. Wean off the autopilot and start hand-flying your airplane to ATP PTS standards before you start the jet-training process, and you'll greatly increase your chances of an enjoyable experience and a successful outcome.

9. Consider Hiring A Professional To Help

The majority of the population will choose to hire an experienced CPA to do their taxes to avoid costly and painful mistakes. Likewise, when it comes to buying a multimillion-dollar turbine aircraft, an experienced agent can help lead you through the path of least resistance, from helping select the right aircraft at the right price to avoiding costly mistakes in selection and process. The team at my firm, jetAVIVA, includes industry-recognized operational and market experts on just about every model of owner-flown turbine aircraft. Among many benefits, we offer access to a fleet of jets that can be placed in the customers' disposal for training prior to selection of a specific aircraft type. Be it jetAVIVA or another firm, enlisting the help of an expert can be money well spent.

10. Have Fun

Remember, this process should be fun and exciting. Making the leap to flying a turbine-powered aircraft is likely going to be one of the biggest steps you'll make in your aviation career. The increase in safety, performance, reliability and technology is just the beginning. The sound and sense of accomplishment associated with hitting the starter button on your own turbine for the first time is a memory few jet pilots ever forget.

Making The Leap

Allen Wolpert began flying in 1972. In 1991, he acquired a 1984 B36TC Bonanza, followed by a Cessna 425 Conquest twin turboprop in 2001. Currently, he co-owns a 2002 Citation CJ2 and a 2008 Citation CJ2+ with a charter company in Danbury, Conn.

Why did you make "the leap"?
I was paranoid about flying a 30-year-old airplane…I was always worried about what was going to break next. I remember flying over the Colorado Rockies en route to Reno, Nev., when I started to lose oil pressure in my Bonanza. I was finally able to get the plane on the ground with the engine still running, only to find oil leaking from my one of my cylinders. Unlike flying my propeller planes, I really believe that my jet is not going to kill me or my family… the confidence of taking off in weather, climbing on one engine, etc. ... I don't feel like I'm ever having to take a risk. To be honest, I've spent a good part of my net worth on my Citations, because I didn't want to have my tombstone read: "He had money in the bank, and didn't spend it on a safer plane."

How has your flying mission changedwith the jet?
When you buy a turbine-powered plane, your mission expands with the capabilities of your plane. The world becomes a much smaller place. The physical comfort of practically no noise, vibration and low cabin altitude makes a huge difference on the experience. The plane is my family's second home. We have a nice home at home... but the plane takes us to wherever we want to go, where we can rent something nice.





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