May 1, 2011
By Thomas B Haines
Slippery. Perhaps more than any other one skill, the transition from piston airplanes to turbines requires the pilot to learn the art of descent planning and, really, energy management. With piston airplanes, we have lots of drag and frequently numerous tools available to help us add more drag quickly. And, being relatively small in mass, piston-airplane energy is relatively easy to manage. Stabilizing on approach a 10,000-pound turboprop or light jet with a low-drag frontal area and a fair amount of residual thrust takes a finesse that many pilots of light piston airplanes never need develop. Most accomplished piston pilots can make quick work of a little hot and a little high on final. In a heavier, higher-energy airplane, such a situation can lead to a runway overrun before you can say “reverse thrust.”
Training to help you master the slippery beast will likely come in the form of a full-motion simulator or sophisticated flight training device. Our story, “ ABCs of Simulators.”, helps decipher the nuances of Level D from a Level 7 and everything in between. An airplane that will definitely demand a high level of training to get the most out of it—and it has lots to offer—is the classic Mitsubishi MU–2.
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 Edition—those whom 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 editions, 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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