When Turboprops are Better than Jets
When is a turboprop better than using a jet?
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If you’re on a short flight of up to 400 miles, or around an hour or less, a turboprop may be the cheapest option. Light jets typically have a two-hour minimum charge per day in the United States, so even if your flight is shorter than this, you’ll still be charged for two full hours. Turboprops often carry a 90-minute minimum, which is 25% less – so if you’re flying 45 minutes in each direction, a turboprop is ideal.
Another reason to choose a turboprop is for extra cabin space, more so than what’s typically found in light jets. This is perfect for taller or larger passengers.
Turboprops are capable of carrying a large amount of luggage. If you want to bring a golf bag and overnight bag, a turboprop is a better choice than a light jet as the smaller aircraft can struggle with passengers, golf clubs and bags combined. Some turboprops can easily fit five passengers with their luggage and five sets of clubs.
However, turboprops are not suitable for longer flights. They’re slower and need more fuel stops than jets, which can become expensive. Instead, midsize jets are better suited to longer flights.
Can turboprops takeoff on shorter runways than light jets?
Jets usually need a runway of 5,000 ft. or greater in length, but many turboprops can manage with just a 3,200 ft runway. While many jets can land at regional airports, which are smaller than commercial runways, turboprops go one better by flying to even smaller airports.
Are turboprops better for places where there are a lot of mountains and shorter runways?
Turboprops are perfect for mountainous regions with shorter runways. They also respond more quickly to throttle inputs; if a pilot needs to adjust power in a regular jet, it will take some time to get the necessary thrust, but a turboprop will provide it instantly.
The Caribbean islands are another example of when a turboprop is a smart choice. For instance, jets cannot land at Beef Island; you have to fly there in a turboprop.
Which types of turboprop can carry 18-30 passengers?
Turboprops that can carry around 18 to 30 passengers are called turboliners. Unlike smaller turboprops have an executive seating configuration, turboliners usually feature an airline configuration with more (and smaller) seats.
Usually, turboliners have one seat on each side of the aisle. They typically carry 18-30 passengers, but some can seat up to 59. They are not fast and have a relatively short range, but they’re perfect for short trips with a large group of people.
Do turboliners have flight attendants or are they self-served?
Turboliners carrying 19 passengers or more are required to have a flight attendant onboard. For smaller aircraft, individual policies will vary based on the operator.