Has the emergence of the single engine turbo prop plane improved our flying options?

09 July 2018

Once upon a time, private air travel was considered the crème de la crème of luxury however, hiring your own aircraft can be far more cost efficient and simplistic than you may think. There are more options in air travel now than ever before, and it is the emergence of planes like the single engine turboprop that has made private flying accessible and, in many cases, a sensible travel option. 

The Pilatus PC-12 has for several years been the world’s best-selling single-engine turboprop plane and has an outstanding reputation for its reliability and performance. As a single engine aircraft, the PC-12 may be considered to be less safe in comparison to a twin-engine aircraft. However, the aim in its manufacturing is to match the safety and flying performance of a twin-engine, while maintaining the efficiency and low running costs of a single-engine aircraft. Because there is only one engine to run, the costs of fuel and oil are economical, and the Pilatus PC-12 specifically can perform to the same standard while consuming just over half the fuel required for an equivalent twin engine aircraft.

In addition, the Pilatus PC-12 is licensed to be flown by only one pilot, making it a far more accessible and economic option to potential fliers. This fact is indicative of the overall simplicity of the single-engine turboprop plane, which also features fewer controls than larger and more complex aircraft, as well as simpler electrical and fuel systems for a seamless flying experience.

PC12 in front of the grimming

You may be concerned about the single engine and how safe this is, however total engine failures in a single-engine turboprop plane are an incredibly rare occurrence, and the Pilatus PC-12 uses a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engine, often considered to be one of the best and most reliable of its type in the world. The key to safe flying is relying on careful planning and the proficiency of your pilot, and it is less likely that the aircraft itself would be the cause of any problems. 

The emergence of the single-engine turboprop plane has most certainly improved our flying options, offering private air travel that is economical, efficient and easier than one may think. The Pilatus PC-12 has been described as having ‘the benefit[s] of a luxury jet with the capabilities of a true workhorse’, which summarises what you get from a single-engine turboprop aircraft perfectly; a flying experience where only what is needed is paid for, without compromising safety, efficiency or comfort.

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