Turboprops: Why so unpopular?
When asked the difference between turboprops vs light jets, a handful of everyday non-aviation specialists stated that they don’t use jet engines, and instead use propellors, this is true, but when given a chance to elaborate, some silly notions were shared. Things such as low range and noisy, bumpy flights were the cornerstones of the conversation. Most everyday customers assume that turboprops are smaller, less comfortable than light jets, but this could not be farther from the truth. Modern day turboprops are just as comfortable as light jets, most seating around 6-8 passengers, exactly like a light jet. The interiors can be customised in every possible way a light jet’s interior can, and the onboard amenities such as TVs and satellite phones are also available in turboprops.
Can you differentiate the light jet from the turboprop?
As for cabin noise levels, modern day turboprops have been outfitted with resonance technology that essentially causes noise to cancels out the propeller noise almost entirely, to the point of being equal or less noise than most light jets. Aircraft engineers build a series of tuning forks that essentially resonate at the same frequency as the engines during flight, and even without this modern day technology, turboprops, just like any other aircraft, aren’t too loud while cruising and just happen to get loud during takeoff.
As for the range concern, turboprops are in the same ballpark as light jets in terms of range, with a few exceptions of course, a traditional turboprop will fly for around 1,500 nautical miles, which is right in light jet territory. Though the turboprops maintain one game-winning lead on light jets, and that is the ability to take off and land on much smaller airstrips, and in some circumstances, can land or takeoff without a paved runway. This opens up tens of thousands landing/takeoff areas worldwide.
In terms of safety, turboprops are usually thought to be less safe than light jets or any jet for that matter, but the fact is, it is not the engines that define safety, but the redundancy of having two engines. Essentially turboprops and light jets both have turbine engines, which means even the engines are basically the same. Turboprops cost much less to charter per hour than the majority of light jets, with a few very light jets as exceptions, meaning the same degree of comfort as a light jet, for a much greater deal. The only downside to a turboprop is the airspeed, a light jet will almost always outperform a turboprop in speed, but the difference isn’t as much as you would expect. A flight from New York to Florida takes approximately 4 hours in a turboprop, or about 3 hours on a light jet. if you aren’t too pressed for time, a turboprop is always a great option. The conclusion, when comparing turboprops vs light jets, Coming from someone who has flown in a fair share of turboprops, they are great to fly in, and indeed have replaced the comfort of light jets recently.