June 1, 2011
By Thomas B Haines
As our directory of single-pilot turbine airplanes showcases, the choices for stepping up to light turbines are vast, from single-engine turboprops to monster twin turboprops (the King Air 350i tips the scales at more than 15,000 pounds) to light and medium-size twinjets. The choices are varied and broad, however the taxiway to light turbine certification is littered with failed or sputtering projects—Adam A700, Emivest, Spectrum, Visionaire, and many others. Still others, such as the single-engine Cirrus Vision, Diamond D-Jet, and Piper Altaire jets, move forward in fits and starts.
Regardless of what’s available at any moment in the light turbine market, there’s no reason anyone with high-performance piston airplane time can’t easily transition into light turbines with the proper training. And a frequent reason for doing so is to get pressurization (see “ Pressurization Points”).
Speaking of pressure, the aircraft market is feeling it big time. Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, says the turbine market remains soft. However, improving corporate profits around the world bode well for future aircraft sales as companies return to using aircraft to boost productivity. In our Logbook Entry, “ Renewed Optimism”, Bunce notes increased flight activity also shows promise for a turnaround.
If you’re someone who has recently made the transition from pistons to turbines or likes to think such a transition might be in your future, read on. These special-edition pages are for you. Only a small subset of the AOPA membership gets this special Turbine Pilot edition—those who we believe have an interest in reading about higher-end aircraft. In this monthly special edition you get all of the content in the standard edition, plus these extra pages. If you would rather not receive this edition, just let us know. We’re happy to switch you back to the standard edition.
I hope you learn some new advanced flying techniques and a little about turbine operations in these pages. Let us know what you think.
—Tom Haines, Editor in Chief
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
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