Swapping avgas for Jet-A

Piston airplanes converted to turboprops are a foot in the door

September 1, 2011

'AOPA Pilot' Editor in Chief Tom Haines Strapping a fire-breathing turboprop engine on your average piston single confirms that one man’s toy is another man’s tool. To some, such a swap seems like a questionable use of resources. After all, with such conversions the top of the airspeed’s green arc in the piston version becomes the red and white barber pole on the turboprop; meaning in order to get high cruise speeds you have to go up high where indicated airspeed is low and true airspeed high. Turboprop fuel burns tend to be high down low anyhow.

However, if you’re willing to fly high and wear oxygen masks you can get breathtaking performance out of your former pedestrian piston-powered airframe. Or, as is often the case with the converted Cessna 206 profiled in “The Ultimate Family Truckster” on page T–4, you can have the climb and speed performance necessary for special operations, such as skydiving. Any purpose-built turboprop will be much more expensive.

September 2011
Turbine Pilot Contents

For some, the Rolls-Royce-powered 206 will be their entrée into turbine flying.

Meanwhile, CFI Neil Singer revels the gotchas in some straight-in approach minima. In “(Not) Straight-In,” on page T–12, he advises some straight-in approaches ought to be treated as circling by those flying turbines.

If you’re someone who has recently made the transition from pistons to turbines (like our profile of novelist Stuart Woods on page T–16) 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 at: memberservices@aopa.org. 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 at pilot@aopa.org. —Tom Haines, Editor in Chief