There are many pilots out there who initially get a license to fly a piston single or twin engine airplane, but over time want to transition to flying lighter jets. Before you think that the only way to do this is with a commercial license, there is an option that is an in-between: a single-engine turboprop (SETP) plan. These planes can be flown by pilots with private licenses as long as they have the correct training and certifications and follow some specific rules and guidelines. If you want to transition to a turboprop plane, here are a few things you should know.
Start with Proper Training
Turboprop planes are very different from piston-engine planes, so before you even think about trying to fly a turboprop, it’s important to find a training program that will provide you with instruction for safe operation. The right training program will provide you with materials to properly learn how to fly a turboprop plane, which are likely to be far more intense and in-depth than your study materials for learning to fly your first plane, simulator training, and in-aircraft training plus time with a mentor.
Understand the Increasing Complexity
A turboprop airplane is far more complex than a piston single or twin engine. In addition to things like fuel systems, flight controls and power plants on any plane, you have to understand more complicated electrical systems, pressurization, hydraulics and pneumatics, weather equipment (including radar), de-icing equipment, and more. Larger airplanes will also have weight variations that require pre-flight calculations for things like airspeed and altitude to operate as efficiently as possible.
Certifications and Endorsements
In addition to the private pilot’s license you already have, it’s important to know what other certifications and endorsements are essential for turboprop planes. Most importantly, you should look into getting a high altitude endorsement, complex endorsement, and high performance endorsement. You may want to consider a multi-engine license if you plan to fly turboprop planes with more than one engine in the future.
One final adjustment will be transitioning from a piston single or twin with just you at the helm to a turboprop that mostly likely will be designed with a cabin for two. For most pilots this means starting in the right-hand seat where you will mostly observe and help with various tasks throughout the flight to make it more efficient, such as radio work or charts. Over time with more experience you can transition to doing some of the flying, and eventually end up in the captain’s seat.
Flying a SETP engine can be a lot of fun, and with the right training you can transition to these larger jets. Contact Flying A Turbine today to learn more about our training programs and instructors to be on your way to flying your own turboprop plane.