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The Ultimate Skydiving Aircraft

Texas Turbine Experience:

Bobby Bishop, the president of Texas Turbine Conversions, Inc., is very experienced in the skydiving arena.  He and his family owned Skydive Texas for more than 14 years and operated numerous jump aircraft to include C-182, PC6 Porter, DHC-3 Turbine Otter, DHC-4 Caribou, DHC-6 Twin Otter, SC-7 Skyvan, and a DC-3.  Bobby not only piloted all these aircraft, but also jumped from all of these aircraft as a static line and AFF jumpmaster/instructor.  He has over 1300 jumps and a very good working knowledge of jump aircraft and what it takes to be profitable with these airplanes.


Skydiving Aircraft Comparison:

NzoneSkydive QT09-400There are numerous skydiving aircraft in the industry and there are numerous types of dropzones around the world from pure tandem DZ's to DZ's with a mix of tandems and experienced skydivers.  Many dropzones are in a transition state between piston aircraft and turbine aircraft and struggle with the decision of what aircraft will be the right choice for their operation.  Therefore, we have taken an existing spreadsheet that has been circulated around the skydiving industry for years and cleaned it up with newer data to help the DZ owners determine what the right aircraft for their operation is.  The spreadsheet is not perfect and may require some manipulation to tailor it to your DZ operation, but it is a good starting point to see that the Supervan 900 Caravan is a great fit for both small and large dropzones and allows for growth without sacrificing revenues.

Comparison Charts

Breakeven Hours

Breakeven Hours

Breakeven Loads

Breakeven Loads

Cost per Jump - Full Loads

Cost per Jump
Fill Loads

Cost per Jump - Average Load

Cost per Jump
Average Load

Net Profit per year - Average Loads

Net Profit per year
Average Loads

Net Profit per year - Full Loads

Net Profit per year
Full Loads

Purchase Price

Purchase Price

Total Cost per Hour

Total Cost per Hour


Engine Cycle Comparison:

Engine-Partial-CycleComp-TPE331-12-vs-PT6A-114A-and-PT6A-42A-thm300One of the biggest drivers in turbine engine overhaul costs is the cycle life-limited components (i.e. turbine wheels and compressors). Skydiving is a business that places some of the highest demand on turbine engines from an engine cycle standpoint.

All of the small turboprop engines used in skydiving require the operator track both full cycles (a start, takeoff, landing, and shut down) and partial (or abbreviated) cycles (leaving the engine running for numerous takeoffs). Partial cycles have come about due to the additional fatigue caused by variations in power and temperature as a result of numerous takeoff and landings.

These partial cycles can dramatically affect the life on the life-limited rotating components of the engine. Therefore, we have put together a comparison of various engines to show how the Honeywell TPE331-12JR engine is the superior choice for the skydiving industry because of the low impact that partial cycles have on the expensive life-limited rotating components. This comparison was built using Honeywell and Pratt and Whitney's applicable service bulletins for special use aircraft (this includes skydiving).

Download Comparison Chart in PDF Format: 
Engine Partial Cycle Comp- TPE331-12 vs PT6A-114A & PT6A-42A.pdf

Life-limited Part Comparison

TPE331-Life-Op-Cost-vs-PT6A-114A-and-PT6A-42A-thm250In the previous paragraph, you were able to see how the Honeywell engine works great for skydiving due to the low impact that partial cycles have on the engine. Once the components begin to "cycle out" (their life-limit is used up), this is another area that the Honeywell engine is superior to the Pratt and Whitney. 

The life limited component cost is substantially less than that of the PT6 engines.  This will dramatically affect the final cost of hot-sections or overhauls for the operator and in-turn affects the bottom line. The following life-limited parts cost comparison was created using Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney list pricing in 2009 less 25% discount on all engine parts.

Download Comparison Chart in PDF Format: 
TPE331 Life Op Cost vs PT6A-114A & PT6A-42A.pdf