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Deciding between Pilatus PC-12 or Citation

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Deciding between Pilatus PC-12 or Citation

Old 5th Aug 2014, 05:57
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Deciding between Pilatus PC-12 or Citation

Hi All,

New to the forum and working for my boss on understanding the options he might have for purchasing his first privately-owned plane.

In the past, he has used XO Jet, Marquis and other similar services to fly a 900NM route between two mid-sized but commercial airports (737's, major carriers, etc). He is starting to look into purchasing his own and has a couple friends who have recommended the Pilatus PC-12 (there is a local ownership group that has 3 or 4 which makes maintenance, chartering out to others and pilot scheduling easier). Cost-wise, this seems to be a clear winner, given lower operating costs, in addition to the cheaper price if he buys a lightly used model. Would be for around 125-175 hours of flight time per year, mainly for himself and family along with some friends.

The key thing he wants to understand is how he should view this compared to a small to mid-sized citation (CJ2, CJ3, XLS) or similar type jet. He is familiar with some of the citation models but not with many other manufacturers. Beyond it being closer to a 2 hour flight in the jets, compared to 3+ hours in the Pilatus, what would be the other key advantages to owning a jet.

Any thoughts, pros/cons, advice for either option would be greatly appreciated. Also, happy to clarify if there is more information I could provide to be helpful.

Thank you in advance
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Old 5th Aug 2014, 21:44
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hi (from a native born san franciscan (Lowell))

As wonderful as a plane like the PIlatus is, a jet is probably a better bet.

Two jet engines. Simply put, jets are, by their nature , simpler than a turboprop. Simplicity is good, complexity is bad.

IF it is truly cost, then use cost as your guide. IF NOT< buy the jet.

Mind you, jets are a bit more demanding in terms of piloting (though in some ways not as demanding as some turboprops). And certainly more expensive. And if you screw up as a pilot, you get to the crash site faster in a jet.

I have flown many turboprops and jets and jets are better except for very short fields, and certain "TIGHT" mountain locales.


Two engines vs One. Complexity of prop. Speed, time is money.

the jet wins.

but if you don't have the money, nothing wrong with the turboprop.

happy landings
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Old 5th Aug 2014, 23:03
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Get a TBM 850, they are not as roomy as the PC-12 but are faster.
TBM just announced the -900 and there are lots of nice -850's on the market right now for good $$'s.
You can get it checked out (pilots too) in Camarillo.
A single turboprop is a lot less $$$ to operate than a CJ2 and not that much slower, block time for what you described as the needs.

f
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Old 6th Aug 2014, 00:53
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Have you considered a Phenom 100?
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Old 6th Aug 2014, 15:24
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You get what you can afford, if you can afford a jet, you won't be looking at SE TP's.

Simples.
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Old 6th Aug 2014, 20:26
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Thank you for all the replies. The money issue is not really a concern, he is just judicious with his money and the extra 45minutes to an hour of flight time isn't worth more than double the fuel burn in the medium sized jet (that is the difference in fuel burn that I have been told by someone else), UNLESS there are some other merits to the Jet. The VLJ's aren't likely ideal as he would prefer 6-9 seats and he also often has reasonable payload (2-3 sets of golf clubs and some baggage).

Sounds like the CJ2, CJ3 or XLS are the citations that would work, though I've heard there are some discontinued Citation models that might fit the above requirements that could be purchased for less than $4.5MM if anyone could list some of those possibilities, also ones that are the most fuel efficient?

Because he is only familiar with Citations, does anyone have any other manufacturers and models that would be inline with the above options?

Finally, related to the jet vs. prop, does anyone have any links or data that points to the safety record of jets / 2 engines being safer or any literature on the safety of jets vs. turbo props? Given the flying will mainly be on the west coast, I have also heard that the jets are generally able to get up and above most weather, as it peaks around 30-35k feet, whereas turbo props can't go above the higher west coast weather and have bigger issues with icing.

Thanks again for all your help!
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Old 6th Aug 2014, 23:21
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CJ2's and 3's are good aircraft and can get into smaller airfields.
Where does he live/work?
" is the 'plane going to be hangered/operated from?
SFO is out as far as parking, San Carlos you have to deal with SFO airspace, Oakland or Hayward in the E. Bay, or somewhere else in the Peninsular.
CJ's can get into Gnoss Field (Novato) and there may be hangar space there, PC-12's can get into San Rafael and I'm sure Petaluma, as there is at least one KingAir there.
Then he needs a pilot, and someone to keep the Docs in order.
Seriously, west coast weather with a modern turboprop is hardly a factor.
I've more info, check your PM's in 30 mins or so.
f
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 00:39
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can you give us an idea of where you would base the plane. I am very familiar with SF Bay area airports.

Does it have an instrument approach? Do you plan to go winter flying to high altitude airports etc?

A two engine jet beats a single engine turboprop on many levels.

Though a jet may (key word may) require two pilots and you should have two pilots even if technically not req'd.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 03:07
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How many hours a year will he fly, the price difference between the 2 may justify a used jet. Or buy a KA200 add new -61's, a new panel, interior, and paint job for about half the price of a newer used PC12. Then figure out how many hours difference at 4-500$/hr you could fly, I would think somewhere in the 2-3000 hrs
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 04:06
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If it was the Pilatus, it would be based in san carlos most likely with a group that takes care of paperwork, maintenance, scheduling pilots and also chartering the plane out (this is one of the major draws for him as the above items can take up a ton more time and money if its not handled by a ownership group that can split the costs where possible between several owners).

If it were a jet, I am not sure where it would be based. I assume it would have to be hangered somewhere much cheaper than the bay area but close enough that the positioning flight to get it back down to SJC or SFO wouldn't be too costly. If he were to get a jet, ideally, it would be great to find an ownership group like the one above that can help out with maintenance, chartering, pilots, etc.

He will probably fly 150-200 hours per year with ~125 of those hours being between SFO/SJC/SQL and KGPI (northwest montana, 9000' commercial airport runway, cold and snow during the winter, 3000' above sea level)
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 06:34
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take off/landing performance could be a decisive issue here, which airfileds are you going to operate on? If airfield length isn't a problem, I would go with a jet due to reasons mentioned above. Some Citations are single pilot rated , which could depend what FAR part the jet is operating under.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 06:56
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Is KSQL more convenient for your boss? The drive down to KSJC during rush hour can erase much speed advantage of the jet, whereas KSFO is often plagued with weather delays.

Is KHWD a possibility at all? It should be able to handle the jets you are considering.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 10:03
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If the fuel costs are so important along with field performance then as mentioned a B200 GT should be on your list. Long before a PC12 I would have thought. Especially if carrying family and friends.

However in all cases fuel is just a small part of the overall equation. At 200 hrs per year it shouldn't be the deciding factor.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 13:12
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travb

I have flown out of San Carlos many times. I can understand the convenience of this airport to people who live or work near there.


Even though a plane is capable of operating out of San Carlos airport, one must ask should you operate of this airport?

Also, a company which hires out the plane and provides pilot services etc reminds me of a pseudo airline that was to start up using the pilatus.

All of which makes me very concerned. That company would PUSH using the pilatus as it is the only thing seemingly making sense for this airport AND their needs. Again, THEIR NEEDS.

I take it you are not to be the pilot TravB?


I have worked for pilot service out fits and didn't care for it.

I have flown twin turboprops in and of San Carlos and it is as marginal airport for all operations in this class of plane. Couple this with weather and minimal instrument approach options and inherent delays associated with the proximity to San Francisco.

For a fee, the former moffett nas is available and well suited to silicon valley flying. It would take some doing.


I tell you, flying over parts of california and then enoute to montanna I would take a twin engine plane (the jet) over a single engine turboprop.

It sounds like he (the owner to be) is frugal, but that is how you become wealthy enough to own a plane! ;0

so, unless you could consider hayward, it will be a logistical nightmare positioning etc.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 13:16
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Ask the boss what he would sooner hear his pilot say "Sir, we have lost the engine" or "Sir, we have lost an engine." Just kidding, of course.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 16:23
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I believe Surf Air operates scheduled flights to SoCal out of San Carlos using PC-12s, so the runway may be okay for a SE turboprop. KGPI is much further, but you may or may not have a full plane either.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 18:53
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curiouspeter hit the nail on the head

is someone from that company suggesting the pilatus to you?

I know it is a hard choice. But after doing marginal larger plane ops out of both San carlos and Palo Alto, I would just say, forget it.

Better to go to SFO, sjc , hayward, or if you have the "PULL" moffett (no longer active navy).

can you tell us what city bossman works in or lives near? v ery familiar with bay area
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Old 8th Aug 2014, 14:42
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All very helpful guys. He would be commuting from Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley area and I would say he is indifferent between going out of SJC or SQL. As brought up, SFO can have weather and higher traffic density issues. Though SQL is probably slightly closer than SJC for him, the reason it was ever considered was because the PC-12 operation was based out of there and he was trying it out. In the past with the NetJets, XO, etc. he has always been out of SFO and SJC which does not bother him at all.

The PC-12 operation is certainly biased towards that plane, however, the main pilots are rated in some small jets and mentioned to him that they have been considering adding a jet to their fleet (Looking for an owner willing to buy one and they would accommodate it). It sounds more and more from you guys that, if it isn't an economic stretch to get the second engine, a CJ2/CJ3/Excel/Falcon400/Falcon800 may be the better move?

The Pilatus operation was able to give him a printout showing that based on X hours of personal use, Y hours of charter these are the economics of owning it. Does anyone know a site that can do similar calculations or where that data might be available for these medium sized jets?
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Old 9th Aug 2014, 16:12
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I've never heard of a Falcon 400 or 800. Perhaps you're thinking of Hawkers, and that would be a bit of a step up from the smaller Citations regarding operating cost. There are lot's of companies on the west coast that can handle the entire process of obtaining, scheduling, operating and maintaining any of the aircraft previously mentioned, some are very solid and some are shady. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Beware of putting the aircraft on someones 135 cert as they will be operating it in their own best interest for a profit. If the airplane is operated part 91 and managed by one of these companies their only motivation is the owners satisfaction regarding their performance.

Last edited by 67cooper; 9th Aug 2014 at 16:27.
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Old 9th Aug 2014, 18:08
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Why not a jet AND a PILATUS, best of both worlds.
Pilatus PC-24 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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