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The Best Single Engine Freighter  
User currently offlineIndianGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (15 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2885 times:

I am looking for some names and technical specs of aircraft(pref. single engine, or cheap twins) suitable for use as light (upto 1-2.5 tonne capacity) freighters, with a min. cruising speed of 150kts, and quick turnarounds.

I need the following info:

1. Capacity in Kgs
2. Cabin Volume
3. Pod Volume
4. Range @ Cruising Speed
5. Fuel Burn Rate
6. T/O distance
7. Retractable Landing Gear?
8. Can operate from semi-prepared air-strips?
9. Estd. Price in US Dollars

The grand caravan, Explorer 500 immediately come to mind. Any others? And do you have the tech. specs of these aircraft?


8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7906 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (15 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2825 times:

If you are looking for cheap and a decent payload I'd suggest the Piper Cherokee Six 300(not the 260), the Piper Lance, or the Piper Saratoga. (they are all based on the same airframe and from the same family and are all power by the Lycoming IO-540 and are either fixed or retractable gear... The Six and some Saratogas are fixed... Lances and some Saratoga's are retractable geared. A lot of small freight carriers in the US use these planes a lot. Though I don't know how well they'd work from less than well prepared gravel strips. And they are pretty cheap... you could probably find them starting around $40K and up... they were not as popular as their Cessna and Beechcraft counterparts so they can be found cheap... except for the Saratogas. Also worth looking at is the Cessna 206/207 Stationair. Cessna now sells 206s and Turbo 206s new for around $300k. There are a variety of used aircraft guides available... I'd suggest checking out Sporty's... they probably have a website and they have a wide variety ok books on general aviation. Or try to get a hold of Trade-a-plane magazine.

Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineCitation From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (15 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2798 times:

I work at Cessna Wichita, KS. The Caravan and Grand Caravan are built in the building that I work in. I don't work with the Caravans, and I only know a few numbers off the top of my head, I will try to get more at work this week.

7. No
8. Definitely yes
9. About US$1.2M

We build about 70 Caravans a year. They come in the following options; two fuselage sizes, with and without windows, with and without cargo pods, and with and without floats.. We delivered Caravan number 1000 in 1998. We have built about 350 of the smaller Caravan Model 208s and about 750 of the Grand Caravan Model 208B's.
The Caravan on floats is an awsome sight. Even on floats it can land on runways with wheels that extend from out of the floats.

User currently offlineIndianGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (15 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2795 times:

Thanx Guys.

I am looking for specific figures. Any place where i can get that?

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30408 posts, RR: 57
Reply 4, posted (15 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2795 times:

Somebody beat me to the Cheerokee Six.

Allthough I think I would go with the 235 version rather then the more gas hungry 300.

The Cheerokee is a bit better then the Lance for the rough strips. This is because you can't really stick a larger tire on the retractable aircraft but on the fixed gear Cheerokee are routinly fitted with much larger then stock tires up here in Alaska. Besides the low wing makes it somewhat easier to preform a soft strip.

Matainence wise the Cherokee is a dream. All of the control cables run down a central bay that runs between the rear seats and are really easy to get it. The engine on is a four banger too.

User currently offlineIndianGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (15 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2784 times:

Isnt the Cherokee Six-260 a little small? I am only incl. aircraft in the 1-2.5 tone payload category.

User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7906 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (15 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2779 times:

Ok... if you are looking for something that can carry a bit more you have 3 choices.

First the Cessna C208 Caravan or the -B Grand Caravan. Like Citation said there are available with cargo pods, without windows, and FedEx uses them as feeder freighters. Though I would doubt that you would find one for less than $500K.

another choice is the Pilatus PC-12. It is pressurized, has trailing linking gear and is pretty rugged and can work from less than ideal strips. It has a large rear cargo door as well. Though they are not cheap either...

Lastly there is the Pilatus PC-7 or is it the PC-9... its not fast, best cruise is 120KTS... but it is rugged, can fly from short strips, its rather ugly. And could be found somewhat cheaper. I think they are still made.

IndianGuy... are you actually starting a frieght operation??? B/c unless you have a lot of capital to work with your best bet might be one or two Cherokee Sixes.

Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineIndianGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (15 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2769 times:

A major consideration is the initial price factor, and the Lease-or-Buy debate. The initial put down price of $1.2M for a single Caravan, means that it will take more than 2 years of revenue operations to make a first profit! Leasing has its share of pitfalls as well.

A few friends have suggested taking East-European/Russian aircraft which are extremely rugged, and most importantly CHEAP. A brand new russian model will cost about half as much as a second-hand US aircraft!

Can we operate East-European aircraft in the US? Does the FAA provide certifications easily for these aircraft?

On another note, how is the DH6 Twin Otter? I believe its operating economics are quite attractive, despite being a twin-engine.

Another question that i would like to ask is are single engine props subject to any limitations while flying over water? Just like TwinJets have the ETOPS specification, are props also subjec to this kind of rules?

User currently offlineRichie From Switzerland, joined Dec 1999, 143 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (15 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2756 times:

Desert Jet

you probably mean the PC6 (find of rugged looking high wing flying box with a very long snout and a tiny looking turbine up front).

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