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  Performance When it comes to cruise speed, the King Air 350 is going to win every time. With an average cruise of 305 KTAS, it can fly more than 45 KTAS faster com- pared to the PC-12 (260 KTAS average). Of course, some are faster, some slower – all dependent upon factors such as the power setting chosen by the pilot, the cruising altitude and the OAT. But while  the PC-12 is slower, it counters with a better range. With two wings worth of fuel feeding one engine, it can fly well past the bladder limit of most pilots. Either airplane will carry a load, and I do mean a load. I’ve had a King Air 350 filled with 10 people, each of them toting bags, and we still climbed out at 2,000 fpm and f lew more than 3 hours in pres- surized comfort. Similarly, I’ve f lown a PC-12 from Europe to the United States with the entire baggage area full, over- f low bags belted into the remaining rear seats, and all other seats full of people. I remember jumping off the runway at Reykjavik, Iceland, in that fully loaded PC-12 and thinking, “What a great per- forming airplane!” Both airplanes will haul an incredible load, making weight and balance issues a near nonissue. While both have good avionics suites, the two avionics suites are very differ- ent. Any King Air 350 built since 2004 will have some sort of Pro Line avion- ics, and the PC-12 will probably have a Honeywell panel. Both have a similar footprint in the hangar, both are totally insurable, and both have excellent resale potential on the market. But, aside from these similarities, let’s explore the stark differences. Those dif- ferences center around the maximum gross weight (MGW) and the fact that one is a single-engine and the other a multi-engine. Core Differences The King Air 350 is certificated in the commuter category, and as such has an MGW of over 12,500 pounds. This means the pilot will require a BE300 type rating. While the BE300 type rating is obtain- able by most pilots, the stress of going through type training is significantly higher than that of an airplane with an MGW of less than 12,500 pounds. Train- ing for any non-jet airplane below 12,500 pounds only requires “initial training.” A type rating requires a full-blown FAA check ride with a Designated Pilot Ex- aminer (DPE), and “initial training” can be provided by any insurance-approved, appropriately rated f light instructor. Plus, the cost of the BE300 type rating is higher than training that doesn’t lead to a type rating. But the main difference between the two airplanes is obvious: one is a single- engine and one is a multi-engine. The ramifications of that fact are probably what will drive your buying decision making. And I’m not talking about the, “I don’t feel safe in a single-engine air- plane” mentality, but rather the opera- tional ramifications of flying a single- engine versus a multi-engine. The venerable PT6 engine found on both airplanes has earned its reputa- tion as being incredibly reliable. Even the most vocal of the population who demand power redundancy in aviation will quietly admit that the chance of failure in a properly maintained PT6- equipped airplane is remote, save a pilot- induced fuel starvation issue. This is not a “single versus multi” discussion in terms of safety, for both airplanes are incredibly safe. The discussion needs to hinge upon the operational differences between the two planes. There are some buyers who need a multi-engine airplane for insurance reasons. Sometimes a buyer will have super high insurance coverages that de- mand the most conservative approach to aviation. When “normal” limits of cover- age won’t cut it, sometimes the single- engine airplane won’t cut it either. In these cases, flying with two pilots will probably also be required. But typically, the PC-12 is considered a very safe risk for an insurance underwriter, and I don’t think any buyer needs to worry about the single versus multi debate from the standpoint of reliability. A buyer needs to understand the advantages of a single in terms of efficiency. Efficiency is where the single-engine shines when compared to a multi-engine. The simple fact that two fuel tanks (usually in the wings) feed one engine means that any single-engine airplane will have a better range than a multi- engine comparison. And, the single will have less engine reserve costs, fuel expenses and operational costs. For this reason, much of the business aviation world is turning to the single- engine turbine. Think about it: Every turbine air- plane manufacturer is turning to the single-engine turbine. Cirrus Aircraft, Daher TBM, Piper Aircraft, and now 10 • TWIN & TURBINE / November 2019 

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