Choosing an Aircraft
Unless you saw the entire charter fleet together, you would never imagine the
range of choices you have. The number of passengers traveling with you, the
nature and amount of baggage or cargo you'll be carrying, the ultimate
destination of your choosing, your aircraft preferences, and budget parameters
will dictate what kinds of charter aircraft are appropriate for your trip.
Before you charter a trip, you can expect an operator or broker to explore your
travel needs with you, and what we'd like to offer the reader is an idea of some
of the information that an informed purchaser of charter will have considered or
will need to consider with an operator or broker.
The first question asked will be how many passengers will be making the trip
and where will you be going? The number of people in your party will tell the
operator what size aircraft you'll need and your location will indicate the
required range. Some high-altitude airports like Telluride, Colorado, have
limited accessibility, or accessibility that changes seasonally depending on the
Speed is another factor. Cruising speeds vary widely, but a rough speed
estimate for propeller planes is about 200 mph/322kmh, while jets fly at
something closer to 500 mph/805kmh. When estimating flight-times, add 10-15% for
the time necessary to achieve cruising speed and altitude. With these figures in
mind, it's fairly easy to conclude that an 800mile/1,287km flight from Dallas to
Chicago would take four and a half hours in a propeller-driven aircraft, but
less than two in a jet. Think about your destination and how fast you need to
Aircraft performance, size and passenger capacity all determine price, and
choosing the right plane involves trade-offs. At first glance, price might make
the propeller plane more attractive, but consider that unless the aircraft has a
lavatory, you probably will need a pit stop. Also consider noise level. Jets
have pressurized passenger cabins and fly at altitudes where the noise of the
engines drops off, making conversations and meetings held at normal speaking
volume possible. While it isn't impossible to converse in a propeller plane
flying at 8,000 feet, you probably could not manage a nuanced business
negotiation or romantic chat with your sweetheart. Do you need to stand up and
speak to your group, make a phone call, have a cooked meal, watch a DVD or enjoy
a few hours of uninterrupted sleep? Be ready to talk to you operator or broker
about your needs and they'll help find the right aircraft for you.
You should also disclose any special type or quantity of baggage or equipment
you'll be bringing along. A safe flight depends on appropriate weight and
balance. You'd be surprised by some items that cause trouble. Snow skis, for
example, are too long for the baggage compartment of many small aircraft.
Operators are not allowed to lay loose items such as skis in the aisle.
Travelers with monster golf bags can encounter similar snags. Also disclose
things like the presence of heavy smokers, pets, or unusual items such as oxygen
canisters or potentially flammable material.
To learn more about the different categories of aircraft, click on the links
More details about the aircrafts