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BawliBooch
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Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:35 am

Which light single/twin aircraft (4-6 seat) would be most suitable for rough-field ops with short gravel/grass runways?

Single Engine:
Cessna 206
Beech G36
Piper Matrix
Piper Saratoga

Twins:
Beech Baron G58
P68

My instructor's vote was for the 206. But that looks very uncomfortable in the rear seats. But apparently very good rough field capabilities and cheap to operate & maintain as compared to others?
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Calder
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:28 pm

What are you trying to do with the aircraft?

Tote passengers around GA charter style?

Fly small cargo into remote areas?

How important is range, and how important is speed?

Lastly, what are the budget constraints?
C. T.
 
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BawliBooch
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:58 am

Calder wrote:
What are you trying to do with the aircraft?

Tote passengers around GA charter style?

Fly small cargo into remote areas?

How important is range, and how important is speed?

Lastly, what are the budget constraints?


A mix of 1& 2. Looking at something that can carry 4 passengers and around ~200lbs of baggage and fly 400nm sector into remote airstrips. 80% of these airstrips planned have proper runways but no airport facilities and no night parking either. Some of the uncontrolled airstrips do not have paved runways and some are in very very challenging terrain. I suspect some flights will require supplemental oxygen since the fields are over 10000 ft above MSL..

Aim is to replace one of the 2 vehicles in our fleet. Right now for every project we have one SUV carrying the crew & their bags and another mini-truck (a Tata 207) carrying the kit & gear. Both vehicles now set out in a convoy 3 days in advance. It typically takes 28+ gruelling hours to cover the distance by road, parts of it sometimes through dacoit infested areas (we have had atleast one incident). Some places, the roads are inaccessible or too treacherous between November & March and the only option is Helicopter (expensive) or head out by road and try your luck.

Idea is: With one aircraft, atleast the film crew and their bags can leave early morning on D0 while the Truck can leave 2 days earlier with the kit. A 400nm sector should take ~3 hours on a C206? It could make multiple round-trips if reqd to ferry more crew/bags and then fly empty to the closest field with night parking. Reverse process at the end of a project 15 days later. We will have more time to spend on the project that we now spend on the road.

Just an idea.

Budget: around $600000. We will need to pay around 50% import duty unless we get an exemption (doubt that).
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flymia
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:41 am

Will these airports have fuel? Cessna 206 offers the best useful load I think. Obviously a caravan or Kodiak would be better and safer, but you can't get any in that price point.
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BawliBooch
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:13 am

flymia wrote:
Will these airports have fuel? Cessna 206 offers the best useful load I think.

Jet-A is available in most places, though 110LL is a challenge in most places - and more expensive.

flymia wrote:
Obviously a caravan or Kodiak would be better and safer, but you can't get any in that price point.

A caravan sized aircraft would probably replace both vehicles in the fleet! :) But that would be more ambitious.

The Mahindra/Gipps Airvan GA-8 is also an option in that size category.
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Max Q
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:58 am

Always better off with a high wing on rough fields, keeps the important bits away from damage so the 206 would have my vote.

Love the Baron, best piston twin ever made but I think the P68, is that a Partenavia ? has a high wing and may be more suitable.
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BawliBooch
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:18 am

How does the P68 Piston powered version compare with the C206 in terms of payload-range as well as Takeoff performance? Does the 6 seat P68C come with Turbine option?
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BawliBooch
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:33 am

Add-on questions:

1. How do pistons like C206 or the P68C handle flying in sub-zero conditions?
2. What are the procedures for cold-starts? If aircraft is left parked in sub-zero conditions for a couple of days, how do we get it going? How much time does it take to get the aircraft flying?
3. How does maintenance on these aircraft work? I see the TBO is around 1500 hours. So with around 100 hours of flying a year, Major overhaul will be in 13-15 years? And an annual inspection cycle?

Perhaps this post should have been in Tech-Ops?
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Flyer732
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:51 pm

I flew the Cessna 210 for nearly two years in the bush of Namibia. Beats the 206 and 207 hands down in speed, which on a windy or summer day keeps the passengers out of the bumps since the flights will be pretty significantly shorter. I'd blow by the Caravan in cruise, but it had better performance on the ground.
Only thing that came close to the 210 on cruise was the Kodiak, which frequently would have shorter flight times due to its ability to climb faster and get to cruise faster
 
kabq737
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:59 pm

Flyer732 wrote:
I flew the Cessna 210 for nearly two years in the bush of Namibia. Beats the 206 and 207 hands down in speed, which on a windy or summer day keeps the passengers out of the bumps since the flights will be pretty significantly shorter. I'd blow by the Caravan in cruise, but it had better performance on the ground.
Only thing that came close to the 210 on cruise was the Kodiak, which frequently would have shorter flight times due to its ability to climb faster and get to cruise faster

Can't you get a pressurized 210? That might be helpful to avoid supplemental oxygen.
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Flyer732
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:12 pm

kabq737 wrote:
Can't you get a pressurized 210? That might be helpful to avoid supplemental oxygen.



You can, but the useful load takes a pretty big hit, the doors, windows and frame are quite a bit bulkier, plus the pressurization system adds to it as well.
I'd regularly cruise above 10,000, I did 12,500 on a longer flight just to put some distance between myself and the mountains, once I was clear of the highest terrain I dropped back down to about 10,500.
 
shamrock137
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:44 pm

BawliBooch wrote:
Add-on questions:

1. How do pistons like C206 or the P68C handle flying in sub-zero conditions?
2. What are the procedures for cold-starts? If aircraft is left parked in sub-zero conditions for a couple of days, how do we get it going? How much time does it take to get the aircraft flying?


1. Cold weather is tough on any a/c. I would think the 206 would be better overall. Much easier to source parts for a Cessna in remote locations and find mechanics who are familiar vs a P68C. Would you be flying into icing conditions? The aircraft would need to be FIKI certified, not sure what country youre in, but FAA part 135 you would need to develop an approved deicing program for snow, frost etc.

2. The engines would need to be preheated. You can use blankets that go over the cowling, electric block heaters, and kerosene heaters that have hoses to blow hot air in the inlets.

Have you looked into the BN-2 Islander? Slower aircraft but high useful load and they can be configured as a combi with seats and cargo tiedowns.
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zeke
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:23 am

Cannot go past a Pilatus PC6, in an out in 650 ft, can also be equipped with floats or skis. The PAC P-750 XSTOL can also be fitted with high flotation tyres for unprepared fields and has good STOL capabilities.
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BawliBooch
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Re: Best Light Twin/Single for Rough-field ops?

Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:40 am

zeke wrote:
Cannot go past a Pilatus PC6, in an out in 650 ft, can also be equipped with floats or skis.

The PC6 is AWESOME! Took a joyride in one in Nepal and made a hairy landing & takeoff from a remote airstrip called Syangboche which was just a strip cut into a mountainside. F***ing AWESOME!

But arent Pilatus aircraft very pricey?

shamrock137 wrote:
1. Cold weather is tough on any a/c. I would think the 206 would be better overall. Much easier to source parts for a Cessna in remote locations and find mechanics who are familiar vs a P68C. Would you be flying into icing conditions? The aircraft would need to be FIKI certified, not sure what country youre in, but FAA part 135 you would need to develop an approved deicing program for snow, frost etc.

2. The engines would need to be preheated. You can use blankets that go over the cowling, electric block heaters, and kerosene heaters that have hoses to blow hot air in the inlets.


Thanks for the detailed response @shamrock137! Yeah the 206 is emerging as the most appropriate choice. The P68C is assembled in India by Taneja Aerospace and some major sub-assemblies are also made & exported to the parent company.

Most FAA regulations are followed to the "T" by our local DGCA - one to one correspondence in regulations. Except that the paperwork here is three times more!

Most of the airports we plan to use now have PC12's which is fast becoming the replacement for the ubiquitous King Air's in this part of the world. Brilliant aircraft the PC12! Got to start saving up for one of these! :)

The high-altitude places I referred to have only Helicopter service though I did see a C208 make a test landing once on the "Advanced Landing Ground". Have also spotted Dornier 228's making approaches/landings at a couple of places. Flying in would be a HUGE time saver. It takes over 24 hours driving over treacherous terrain to reach here, but flying time from closest airport is less than 20 minutes.

shamrock137 wrote:
Have you looked into the BN-2 Islander? Slower aircraft but high useful load and they can be configured as a combi with seats and cargo tiedowns.

Only one Islander flying in India that I know of. Owned & operated by the Administration on the Nicobar Islands. Support may be a problem.
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