Jets vs. Turboprops – Making The Right Choice and How They Compare

How do you make the right choice in aircraft….well…as they say… it all depends. It depends on your required mission profile.

How do you make the right choice in aircraft….well…as they say… it all depends. It depends on your required mission profile. If your mission is nonstop from NY to LA, then the choice is a mid to large cabin jet. However, if your mission is similar to 80% of private aviation that travel approximately 1,300 NM with less than three passengers then the options open up. For this mission, turboprop planes are making a big comeback in business aviation. Today’s new generation of turboprops offer industry leading fuel efficiency and a level of comfort and luxury not seen in similar category jet aircraft.
Turboprop planes use a gas-powered turbine engine with a propeller that controls their velocity, making them more efficient than their jet counterparts burning up to 40% less fuel per hour. That means less cost and less carbon footprint without sacrificing either speed or comfort.
Once eschewed on grounds of being too noisy and their inability to fly above choppy air, the 21st century turboprop no longer has those limitations.
In fact, today’s turboprops can achieve a cruising altitude of 41,000 feet so you can climb above the choppy air and enjoy a smooth flight. In addition, at least one of of today’s aircraft offer rear mounted propellers and excellent attention to acoustics so you can relax, hold a meeting or work with minimal engine sound to interrupt your thoughts.

Roomy and Spacious

Some of the new generation turboprops have luxurious, mid-size cabins that allow you to stand tall without crouching over. Oversized leather Captain’s seats, LED lighting and connectivity for smart phones and laptops may now come standard. It’s also possible to enjoy a roomy cross section on par with a mid-size jet.
In addition, you can bring the golf clubs without sacrificing cabin space. Some turboprops offer a baggage compartment large enough for four full-size golf bags plus four suitcases.
Of course, there are advantages to using either a light jet or a turboprop plane.

How Far Are You Flying?

A turboprop engine is more fuel-efficient than a jet. For charter flights less than 500 nautical miles they’re the most cost-effective way to travel since they use less fuel. In fact, some turboprops can use up to 40% less fuel.
With today’s volatile fuel prices, using less fuel can save a traveler a significant sum by lowering the hourly rate of flying. Lower emissions means turboprops are more environmentally friendly with several having the lowest carbon emissions in the industry.

Where Are You Going?

Turboprops are nimble. You can easily access remote airports because they require less runway space for takeoff and landing than most jets.
Depending on the model, some new generation turboprops can even take off with as many passengers as their jet counterparts.

Two Considerations

Though today’s turboprops may fit most of your needs, there are some instances when a jet is more appropriate.
If you’re flying 400-1,300 miles - typical of a business or personal trip, a turboprop could be your best bet. If you plan to fly from New York to LA without refueling, you probably need a jet to cover the extra distance.
In some cases, the ability to fly in and out smaller or regional airports will make the difference for you and in others; you may need the increased flying distance of a jet. In all, jets and turboprops have their differences but comfort is no longer one of them. Which aircraft fits your needs?

About the Author

This guest post was provided by Avantair, a leading provider of fractional aircraft ownership, leases and flight-hour card programs. With a focus on customer service, safety and comfort, Avantair’s fractional jet ownership program is the solution to your private travel needs. Fractional ownership provides all of the advantages of owning your own private aircraft without the hassle and maintenance. Whether you are interested in jet ownership, jet leasing or jet cards, Avantair has a program that’s right for you!
Avantair is the exclusive fractional aircraft ownership provider of the Piaggio Avanti. The P180 Avanti turboprops offer the lowest carbon footprint in the industry. Their unique shape and design allow for the efficiency of a turboprop with speed that rivals most light cabin jets. The Avanti has room for seven passengers, a fully enclosed private lavatory and the most spacious and luxurious stand-up cabin in the light jet cabin category. Avantair offers the best overall value in private aviation.

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Always enjoy seeing this blog in my inbox. Look forward to reading it. One day I will fly into Guyana, find Mr. Farley, and ask if he wants to go have a beer.

Wayne Farley

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About Wayne Farley

I am Wayne, a career air traffic controller. Engage me while I share my thoughts, experience, and news from around the aviation world. A post titled “13 Characteristics of an Air Traffic Controller” written in 2010 went viral and established me as the unofficial ambassador of ATC.

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