When it comes to flying fast, private jets aren’t necessarily the best option. With soaring jet fuel prices and rising environmental concerns, the future of private aviation is looking back to propeller-powered aircraft.
Turboprop planes can fly the same distance for a fraction of the cost, and contrary to what many people believe, propeller aircraft are just as luxurious.
But when we take a closer look at turboprop planes, it’s easier to see that some are a cut above the rest. If you’re looking to buy or charter in 2020, here’s the best turboprop plans on the market.
Best for: Long haul flights
As a leader in American aviation, Cessna sells more pre-owned aircraft than any other manufacturer for a reason—Cessna aircraft are built to last with expertise you can trust. Released in 1977, the Conquest was Cessna’s first turboprop-powered aircraft and, over the years, has matured into a coveted aircraft for its cost efficiency and impressive speed.
Compact, lightweight, and powerful, the Cessna Conquest II boasts a maximum flight distance of 1,700 nautical miles and a top cruising speed of 370mph—comparable to jets of the same size, but with a cost saving of up to 40%. It’s also certified for altitudes of 35,000 ft, meaning you and your passengers can cruise high above the weather and peak-hour traffic.
A unique feature that makes the Conquest standout is its circle-shaped cabin, which creates a spacious, light-filled interior that’s preferred by most passengers over the regular tube shape. The cabin is adorned with rich mahogany woods and premium leather seats. It’s also equipped with a semi-private lavatory and enough luggage space for at least 4 sets of golf clubs and some duffle bags.
Best for: Intimate elegance
Easily one of the best small turboprop planes on the market today, the Piper Meridian has come to exemplify the ultimate combination of American engineering and elegance. Manufactured by Florida’s very own Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach, the Meridian combines over 40 years of experience with state-of-the-art U.S. technology and safety features to deliver a flight experience that sets a new standard for both passengers and pilots.
A master of both short-range and long-range missions, the Meridian brings together the time-honored PT6A-42A turbine engine and Garmin’s advanced avionics to yield a flight range over 1,000 miles and maximum approved altitude of 30,000 ft. You and your passengers will have no problems arriving on time and in style.
The Meridian’s interior is the envy of other aircraft. It’s spacious cabin comfortably seats up to 5 passengers with all the luxuries you’d expect from a Piper plane; premium leather, lush carpet, and genuine woods. Corporate executives will rejoice in the convenience of work tables, USB charging ports, and lighting control.
Range: 1,000 nm
Speed: 306 mph
Altitude: 30,000 ft
Take-off distance: 1800 ft
Landing distance: 1950 ft
Price: US $2 million (standard M500)
Best for: The adventurist
Are you looking for a multi-purpose powerhouse that can take you from gravel to grass or even more rudimentary runways? Don’t look past the Daher Kodiak. As one of the few turboprop planes that easily transforms into a seaplane, or from passenger to cargo, the Daher Kodiak is built to cover all kinds of crusades from construction sites to mountain ridges and even the sea.
It’s narrow wing-span, and short take-off make the Kodiak a master of tight airspaces and mini runways, while the robust gear means it can handle the toughest of terrain. But there’s more brain behind the brawn; with 21st-century technology, the Kodiak offers situational awareness, integrated autopilot, and navigation assistance safer flying in all weather conditions.
Kodiak is in a class of its own when it comes to customization. With adjustable seating and three interior packages, you can create a cabin that truly fits your lifestyle. You can prioritize functionality and freight carrying capacity with lightweight, yet heavy-duty interiors, or take your interior to the summit with club seating, cabinetry, and carpet that’s fit for your family vacation or business meeting.
Passengers: up to 10
Range: 1,132 nm
Speed: 210 mph
Take-off distance: 934 ft
Landing distance: 1933 ft
Max Take-off weight: 7,255 lbs.
Climb Rate: 1371 fpm
Price: US $2.5 million
Best for: Superior speed
When Italy’s leading aerospace manufacturing company released the Piaggio Avanti EVO, they delivered on three key business demands: speed, comfort, and cost-effectiveness. Piaggio Aerospace blended the very best in Italian design with superb craftsmanship to create a high-performance aircraft that not only turns heads for its dashing looks, but also for its superior performance and amenities.
The Avanti EVO exceeds speeds of 460 mph, making it the world’s fastest turboprop plane—even faster than some jets and at a fraction of the operational cost (30% lower than jets of the same class). It’s also one of the few turboprop planes that can fly direct from New York to San Francisco, with an impressive range of 2,759 nautical miles. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your ecological footprint—the EVO emits 40% less CO2 emissions compared to other light aircraft.
Before you even board the Avanti EVO, you can appreciate the aircraft’s striking beauty. Its curved aerodynamic design provides a sleek profile, while the spacious and light-filled cabin offers headroom of 5 foot 9 inches and an abundance of space for up to 8 passengers. The standard EVO even comes with a restroom.
Passengers: up to 8
Speed: 463 mph
Range: 2,759 nm
Altitude: 41,000 ft
Take-off distance: 3,190 ft
Landing distance: 3,282 ft
Price: US $7.8 million
Best for: Corporate world
With a maximum flight range of 1,806 nautical miles and an impressive capacity of up to 11 passengers, the Beechcraft Super King Air 350i can carry your entire office from Los Angeles to Chicago non-stop. First released in 1972, the corporate heavy lifter has undergone 40 years of continuous innovation and improvement, making it today’s best-selling business turboprop plane.
True to its name, the Super King Air rules the skies with twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60A turbine power engines and high-performance propellers. Pilots can take advantage of the latest NextGen-ready touch-screen avionics and MultiScan weather tracking for simple in-flight aviation. However, the Beechcraft team aims to please those who want to fly, just as much as those who want to be flown.
Passengers can enjoy executive seating, fold-out tables, power outlets, and wifi connectivity in the sound-proofed cabin, which measures 17-feet-long. Yep, it’s a cabin fit for a king. There are 6 interior design packages to choose from, ranging from elegant silver and pewter tones to timeless saddle tan with distinctive rich woods.
Passengers: up to 11
Range: 1,800 nm
Speed: 359 mph
Altitude: 35,000 ft
Take-off distance: 3,300 ft
Landing distance: 2,692 ft
Price: US $7 million
Best for: Special missions
Since 1939, Pilatus has designed and manufactured aircraft that epitomize Swiss engineering—and its brand new PC-12 NGX brings years of intelligent thinking into arguably the best single-engine turboprop of 2020. Fitted with the brand new Pratt & Whitney PT6E-67XP engine, the PC-12 NGX climbs and cruises faster than its predecessors without any increase in horsepower.
The Pilatus PC-12 NGX was built for versatility. It’s perfect for business executives, with up to 10 passengers treated to a true office in the sky with the latest entertainment and communication devices, as well as reliable wifi and USB ports. Designed in conjunction with BMW, you can choose from six flashy interior packages featuring European leathers and ergonomic seating.
But where the PC-12 NGX really excels is the aircraft’s safety profile. With almost 1,700 PC-12s in the air and over 600 million flight hours, it’s considered one of the safest and most reliable aircraft. It’s also one of the most versatile single-pilot turboprop planes used all around the world for business charters, air ambulance, surveillance, law enforcement, and cargo transport.
Passengers: 20 plus 1 pilot
Speed: 334 mph
Range: 1,765 nm
Altitude: 30,000 ft
Take off distance: 3,300 ft
Landing Distance: 1,033 ft
Price: US $4.7 million
Best For: Remote Trips
With over 30 years of proven capability in turboprop aircraft, the Cessna 208 Caravan is an economical and dependable single-engine suitable for a variety of missions. Its powerful 675-horsepower turbine engine delivers a rare combination of high performance and low operational cost.
As the name suggests, the Caravan is a people mover, with the capacity to transport 11 passengers in comfort with easy “air-stair” boarding and ample luggage space of 342 lbs. You can customize the seating arrangement of the cabin to match your mission and optimize revenue on each flight, although the color-scheme is limited.
No corner of the world is out of reach with the Cessna Caravan—landlocked or surrounded by water. With rugged and versatile landing gear, the Caravan can adapt for land, sea, or sky, making it an obvious choice for aviators who need remote adaptability. Fitted with the latest aviation technology, pilots can take advantage of Garmin’s next-generation avionics, flight control system, and satellite data link, which offers voice and text capability for remote locations.
Speed: 214 mph
Altitude: 25,000 ft
Take Off Distance: 2,055 ft
Landing Distance: 1,625 ft
Price: $2.3 – 2.6 million