Transitioning from a piston to a turbine aircraft is an important milestone in every pilot’s journey. The jump between the two might seem daunting and difficult at first, but many find that the transition is more seamless than they initially thought. Although it requires plenty of time, especially considering the additional training needed to ensure the pilot’s safety, it is well worth the effort. Once a pilot grasps the requirements to fly a turboprop, it is all smooth sailing — or shall we say, smooth flying — from there. There are two main draws to flying a turboprop that might convince you to take the leap yourself: safety and efficiency.
Turboprops have a long-standing track record of being reliable and safe. While this is partly due to the notable increase in operational control for pilots, it is also thanks to the inherent construction of the engine, which makes it durable and resilient.
For one, a huge safety advantage for turboprops is its ability to provide safer operations during inclement weather conditions. It is capable of generating more excess air, which can be used for ice protection systems such as de-ice boots. Turboprop engines are also more forgiving of operator errors. They receive less wear and tear since turbine engines reduce reciprocating mass, decreasing the vibration and fatigue, and make things easier to manage and control.
A turbine aircraft is incredibly efficient and economical. You will be able to save on expenses and earn back what you invest in a turboprop aircraft. As its engine has less moving parts involved in its construction, it is less likely to require extensive maintenance and there is also a long period between overhauls.
Although it is more expensive to acquire and maintain a turbine aircraft, the fuel it uses cost significantly lower, while the aircraft’s reliability and speed make up for those expenses. You will most likely see an increase in wages and a substantial return on your investment. This is because this aircraft is extremely powerful and has a high altitude capability, which guarantees you to fly faster and higher. You will also be receiving an expanded set of mission capabilities, which will see you flying into anything — long distances, poor weather conditions, high altitudes, and various types of airfields.
As with anything, you will not truly know if something is for you unless you have experienced it for yourself. Rest assured, the switch from the piston to turboprop is a definite upgrade. If you are sure that you want to take the leap, then you can try getting help from a mentor to show you the ropes or take you on a few test flights, or perhaps you could enroll in a comprehensive training program. The latter will not only show you how to fly a turboprop aircraft competently and safely, but will also give the knowledge you need to ace a job interview, hold your own when in discussion with your insurance company, and address any other scenario you might encounter confidently.