One of the most important considerations in selecting the right aircraft, is knowing what your mission is. You wouldn’t purchase a computer with out knowing if it will do what you want, or a house with out knowing if there are enough rooms right, therefore why would you not want to understand your needs when buying an aircraft.
As we briefly touched on in 4 Tips in Choosing the Right Aircraft, each aircraft has been designed with the optimal range and payload. Understanding your mission profile is a must in the aircraft selection process. We will review very basic specifications of two aircraft that were previously introduced, the King Air 350 and the Challenger 605, after that we will apply the information to a sample destination.
When we are looking at the destinations you travel to we will also be looking at how often you make the trip. Why is this important?
First we will define a couple of terms that are important to understand when looking at what aircraft will be required to fulfill your needs. Normal Range- The total distance an aircraft can fly between takeoff and landing, as limited by fuel capacity this is published based on full fuel and normal power settings to cruise at the normal cruise speed. Passenger Capacity– the number of legally usable passenger seats
Tip #1 Sample Destination Planning
Beechcraft King Air 350
|Normal Range||1440 Nautical Miles (2686KM, 1669SM)|
|Normal Cruise Speed||310 Kts (574 Km/h, 356 Mph)|
|Passenger Capacity||9-11 + 2 crew Standard is 9|
|Max Take off Weight||15,000 Lbs.|
|Max Landing Weight||15,000 Lbs|
|Payload with Ful Fuel||1,489 Lbs|
|Capital Cost||$2,500,000 to $6,000,000|
|Annual Fixed Cost||$559,600|
|Direct Hourly Operating |
|$1,256.54 per hour of flight|
As a result the above specifications make the King Air 350 a vary comfortable and capable aircraft for trips of 3 to 4 hrs. in length. For example this aircraft has the ability to do Toronto to Miami non-stop.
Bombardier Challenger 605
|Normal Range||3834 Nautical Mile (7104 KM, 4415 SM)|
|Normal Cruise Speed||459 KTS ( 850KM/H, 527 Mph)|
|Passenger Capacity||10 passengers with 2 Crew Members|
|Max Take off Weight||48,200 Lbs.|
|Max Landing Weight||38,000 Lbs.|
|Payload with Full Fuel||1,298 Lbs.|
|Capital Cost||$8,000,000 to $16,000,000 (2015)|
|Annual Fix Cost||$692,875.60|
|Direct Hourly Operating |
|$2,914.33 per hour of flight|
The Challenger 605, is a super mid-sized jet that is capable of reaching Paris in approximately 7.5hrs meanwhile allowing he carrying up to 10 passengers non stop. As a result the Challenger has become very popular corporate aircraft.
Tip #2 How Many people can I carry on board my aircraft?
How many people regularly travel with me? This is important for 2 reasons, firstly having enough seats for your passengers. Secondly and most importantly is the operational need to evaluate the number of passengers, crew, fuel requirements, and baggage.
Every aircraft must operate within weight and balance parameters. There are max weight limits for takeoff, landing as well as a center of gravity point. The aircraft must be within these limitations to insure the proper balance of the aircraft during all stages of flight.
So, you may be wondering how these weight limits factor into the seating capacity needs. The aircraft has a basic empty weight in other words a weight of the aircraft with no fuel, crew, passengers and baggage. This needs to be subtracted from maximum weight limitation. As a result you are left with a weight that is then spread across your fuel, crew, passengers, and baggage.
For example on the King Air we have a max take off weight of 15,000 lbs. and a basic empty weight of approx. 9,955 lbs. See below a quick example of how a crew member would use this information.
|a) Max Take off Weight||15,000|
|b) Basic Empty Weight||9,955|
|c) Payload available (a-b)||5,045|
|d) Fuel required||3,000|
|f) Weight available g & h (c-d-e)||1,645|
As a result of the calculations in the example you would have 1,645 lbs available for passengers and baggage on a trip of approximately 3 hrs. In other words, the number of seats onboard is important but if the 1,645 is used up by 5-6 people and their baggage this will leave 3-4 seats empty that cannot be filled.
Tip #3 Weather
The weather was mentioned in the first tip and it is the least of the 3 mission planning factors from an aircraft selection perspective. Most aircraft are capable up get up and above the weather or easily navigate around them. However if you are looking at smaller aircraft there are limitations that should be considered. For example the Navajo below is an aircraft that will have some weather limitations to consider. This is due to the fact it is not pressurized and as a result it is limited to operating below 10,000 feet unless crew and passengers have oxygen masks.
What does this all mean?
In conclusion, the selection of the right aircraft starts with understanding what your needs. Every aircraft has similarly cost operational specs and cost they are however proportional to the size of the aircraft. As a result as the size increases so do the cost associated. This is why it is extremely important to understand your needs.
If you are regularly traveling to Florida and once or twice travel to Paris would you want the increased capital and fixed cost to have a Challenger 605, when the King Air 350 would fit the mission. However if you would exceed the weight limitations of the King Air often and do make the odd trip to longer destination then the Challenger 605 may be the right option.
This is were enlisting the the service of professionals will certainly aid in making the process more enjoyable.
Where will your aircraft take you?
If you would like to share you travel needs with Above and Beyond Aviation Services Inc, we would be happy to provide you with an suggestion of an aircraft that may fit your needs as well a quick financial review of ownership cost. Please click below to direct you to a quick form that will assist us to complete some preliminary research on your behalf.
Disclaimer- the weights and specifications as well as travel times and ranges should be verified prior to purchasing an aircraft. This information researched online for demonstration purposes and are not to be used for navigation and weight and balance purposes.