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  the other turbine manufacturers. This is absolutely critical. Show me an airplane without factory support, and I’ll show you an airplane headed for the boneyard. The MU2’s tremen- dous support is one of the reasons why it continues to have some of the most passionate followers ever.
King Air B100
The King Air B100 has a similar following amongst its owners. While there’s no “B100 owners Group,” make no mistake that the B100 has a passionate group of owners and pilots who love the efficiency of this wonderful airplane. I’ve f lown the B100 for nearly six years, and I still have one in my hangar that I fly around 100 hours per year. The B100 is the “hidden gem” of the King Air world, in my opinion.
The Comparison
So, should you efficiently opt for an MU2 or a B100?
Think about the noise. Bar none, pound for pound, the MU2 is the loudest airplane on the planet when on the ground! The exhaust pipes on the MU2 are mere inches in length, and when it is operating on the ramp, it will blow your brains out with noise. It is always interest- ing to see people mill around the airplane as I start but quickly head for shelter after I start up. It is far too loud to hang around while operating on the ground. In flight, it is a dif- ferent story.
The B100 has the same engines, but the exhaust is about 3 feet in length, and it ports that noise out- side the engine nacelle. The B100 is still loud on the ground, but nothing like the MU2. However, in the air, passengers in either airplane en- joy a quiet ride that is nothing like the experience of those standing around the outside of the airplane on the ground.
Where the MU2 is audibly loud, it is also aesthetically interesting. I get more remarks from people about the MU2 than just about any other airplane I fly. While the King Air can be found on any ramp on any air- port, the MU2 is a topic of discussion
anywhere I go. I personally think it looks cool, but I also like redheads, ‘68 Chevy Trucks and Wilgas. So, even if you think the MU2 is ugly, you’ll still stir up a lot of comments and discussions from folks at the airport. At least before you start the engines – then everyone will head for the hills!
When discussing cruise speeds, you’ve got to consider the engine size. There are two available, the TPE331-6 and the TPE331-10. Most pi- lots call it the “dash six” or the “dash ten.” I keep meticulously accurate records on the performance of the airplanes I fly, and the average TAS for the -10 powered MU2 Marquise in cruise is 285 KTAS. In the win- ter, I can get 300 KTAS, and in the summer, I see about 270 KTAS. The MU2‘s speed is closely hinged to gross weight. Just like the faster jets, the cruise of the MU2 is faster later in a long flight as the weight of the fuel is burned off.
In the B100, I repeatedly see 260 to 265 KTAS, and it seems to vary in speed only slightly with varying gross weights. So, between the two, the MU2 is definitely faster.
While the B100 is slower, it does have far more pleasant flight char- acteristics. Bottom line, it is easier to fly. The flying characteristics of the MU2 must be weighed heav- ily by a potential buyer. The MU2 can be learned to fly safely, but it is completely different from any other corporate airplane. Do not think the transition will be as smooth as other turboprops. The MU2 training will be like a type rating, whereas the King Air B100 will be far easier.
I’ve got lots of flight time in more than 60 different types of airplanes, including some really strange ma- chines that are tough to fly like UH- 60s, Pitts S2Bs and many tailwheel airplanes. But the MU2 tops the list of airplanes that took a long time for me to become comfortable. At the end of MU2 flight training, I still felt uncomfortable in some re- gimes of f light, and I self-induced high personal limitations until my
January 2020 / TWIN & TURBINE • 7

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