There are many different types of aircraft to choose from when selecting an aircraft for a private charter flight.

From smaller piston aircraft like the Cirrus SR-22 to large luxury jets, it’s almost overwhelming to consider all the options. One thing we are commonly asked is, “What’s the difference between a turboprop and a jet?”

Let’s take a look at the key differences between these two and consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of each aircraft.

Turboprop vs Jet Breakdown

The key difference between these aircraft comes down to propeller vs encased jet engines.  So, from the exterior it is very easy to decipher one from the other.

However, the interiors of these aircraft can be very similar. It’s actually a somewhat common misconception that jets have nicer cabins and, therefore, better accommodations, but that’s simply not the case.

Cabin of Pilatus PC-12

The cabin of our Pilatus PC-12 looks very similar to the interior of a private jet.

Learn About Turboprops

Both turboprops and jets use turbine or jet engines.  However, turboprops utilize turbine engines to drive propellers and are easy to distinguish from jets because you can see the propeller(s) typically attached to the nose or wings of turboprops.

It is incorrect to assume that a turboprop is an older or outdated plane because it does not have encased jet engines.  Turboprops are still produced today and are a popular and somewhat practical choice for anyone who wants to own a private plane.

Pilatus PC-12

The Pilatus PC-12

Compared to jet aircraft, turboprops do not fly as fast.  For example, a Pilatus PC-12 will cruise at about 265 kts while a Cessna Citation X can easily cruise at about 580 kts.  As a result, the PC-12 will take a bit longer to get you to your destination.

However, it’s important to note that many turboprops have the ability to land in places that jets cannot. Grass airfields and shorter runways are not a problem for turboprops while most jets require a typical length concrete runway to takeoff and land.

What does that mean for passengers, though?  It means that a turboprop can take you places a jet cannot, specifically, various destinations in the Caribbean.

What About Jets?

Private jet

A private jet

Jets rely on encased turbine engines to move the aircraft forward and do not have visible propellers.  The majority of commercial flights in the U.S. utilize jets so, if you’ve been to a major airport, you’ve probably seen a jet.  Although, most of the jets you see at airports are much larger than the ones utilized by the private charter industry.

Because jets can typically fly significantly faster than turboprops they’ve got longer range and are sometimes the only option for longer flights.  For instance, if you are traveling to Europe or Asia, you’ll need to charter a jet.

Additionally, jets tend to have twice the seating of their turboprop counterparts and can cruise at higher altitudes.  The ability to cruise above 30,000 feet can allow jets to get around weather that could otherwise make your flight a little bumpy.

Finally, because jet aircraft burn significantly more fuel than turboprops, they’re more expensive to operate. On top of the added fuel cost, insurance and maintenance of jets is also more expensive.  Add all of this up and the bottom line is that chartering a jet, especially for shorter flights, is substantially more expensive than chartering a turboprop.

The Verdict

Jet aircraft, not surprisingly, excel in distance and speed.  If you need to travel to the other side of the globe, you’ll have to charter a jet.

Turboprops, on the other hand, can handle shorter distances more cost-effectively and can get you to otherwise inaccessible destinations.  If you’re looking to take a trip to the Caribbean from St. Pete, FL, then a turboprop is perfect for you.

Hit the Skies

We could admit to a smidge of bias in the turboprop vs jet battle with our fleet of Pilatus PC-12s. However, we invite you to book your next flight with us and decide what you think of the Pilatus PC-12 for yourself.

Flying charter makes for a faster and more enjoyable journey. We don’t have to convince you about the benefits of exclusive and personalized service. But we can entice you to check out our destinations to give you some ideas!