Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Living Large

Transitioning from a piston to a turbine

Understanding The Costs

The world of turbine ownership isn't for the financially faint of heart, so having a clear understanding of the costs before you take the leap will help align your expectations with reality. A good source of realistic information about costs can be found by joining one of the many type-specific turboprop and jet-owner organizations. Sign up, log on and ask questions—you'll find a world of help.

This is a big subject, and we've only touched on some of the important issues. It takes commitment but once you get there, living large in the turbine world is an incredibly exciting and rewarding achievement.

Turbine Engines

There are many types of turbine engines, but most generally work by pulling air through a gas generator and compressing it using a series of axial and centrifugal compressors. The compressed air is mixed with fuel in a burner can, and the expanding gases are sent through a series of axial power turbines. In a turboprop, the power turbines turn a gearbox that drives a propeller. In a modern high-bypass turbofan engine, the power turbines directly drive a large ducted fan at the front of the engine. The fan produces thrust by imparting a small change in velocity to a large mass of air and is most effective at lower altitudes. Additional thrust comes from the direct jet exhaust, which imparts a large velocity change to a small mass of air—more effective at higher altitudes. The cool air generated by the fan surrounds the central core of hot exhaust gas and helps make the engines significantly quieter. Modern turbofan engines are far more fuel-efficient than early pure-jet engines and with fully automatic digital engine control (FADEC), far simpler to operate.

Turbine Owner/Pilot Organizations
Cessna Citation

Phenom 100/300

Eclipse 500

Socata TBM 700/850

Pilatus PC-12

Piper Meridian

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