Turbo vs normally aspirated

Turbo vs normally aspirated?

  1. worth it flying below 10,000 feet?
  2. how much extra cost after intial purchase?

it appears it is not worth it in your case. Unless you fly them higher there is no difference in speed (+5-7 knots). It also is not worth it unless you are flying far to get ahead of the normally aspirated plane. A lot of hassle with flying them high including getting up there (a. burns fuel b. by the time you get up there, you wasted fuel so you wont be up long) and oxygen. And they cost a lot more for maintenance. If you have money to waste, sure.

Any particular airplane we’re talking about?

“worth it” in what way? Initial cost? Maintenance? Direct operating costs? Speed?

Are you in the market for an airplane or are you just asking?

If you have to ask, its not worth it!

An M20J vs. M20K will be about 500 a year on average more to maintain. Actually, thats likely an old number so go with 750. Also, it won’t be that much per year, but very likely one big stinker every few years.

Also, the TBO’s are lower on most turbos, so your per hour reserve is higher. Insurance rates can vary as well.

In general, it’s not worth it under 10,000 feet unless you need the performance for high density altitude, STOL, Payload, etc. If you don’t like wearing O2, or going on long rides, its usually not a great idea. I bought the Ovation over the 252 and have not regretted the lost knots, even on cross the country trips.

Still, you would rather have a cherry turbo at a good price than a questionable non-turbo at a not so good one. Sometimes its hard to find a good Arrow or Seminole without the turbo because the schools will buy them up off the market.

Unless there is a specific need for a turbo I wouldn’t have one. The per hour costs are higher (slightly) the maint is more (slightly) but you can almost bet the cylinders will not make TBO and you will need to top the engine at about half life with a turbo engine. If you really don’t operate above 10 or in and out of a high altitude airport then I would stay away.


A turbo charger on an otherwise conventional engine is one thing. A turbo prop (turbine engine) is a different ball game all together. For one, the PT6A engine costs almost as much as most turbo charged aircraft. Operating cost is much higher as is maintenance, insurance and training. The benefits are 99.9999% reliability, less routine maintenance, power, high altitude efficiency and pressurization on most aircraft. Scheduled maintenance is not cheap either. I have looked into the Jetprop and its an impressive conversion and looks good on paper too. The cost is about $450k in addition to the cost of a Malibu which can range from $300k to $1million. By contrast you can buy a brand new Cirrus GTS for less than $450k.

Just curious. Which conversion did you look into on the JetProp? 86RL is the conversion and cost about $200k, then again, he got the bird for around $215k I think…

He must be really smart as he’s selling it for $895k. That’s a $480k profit. Hillary Clinton is going to start flipping them.


Just got clarification, purchased bird for $295, bought his first one (don’t remember the N-number) for $215k. Besides, everything this guy has touched since Hurricane Andrew has turned to gold.

This is not just a “bolt on” conversion, it takes three months for the work to be completed. I’ve been to their facility at Felts Field several times and they have had Malibus completely disassembled. Although not required, it is wise to have new insulation and windows installed. The stock Malibu cabin windows ice up at altitude and the cabin is not very warm.

The Blackhawk conversion for the King Air 200 is more of a “bolt on” engine exchange. Each of those PT6A-42 cost $675,000 plus installation. They also have an exchange program with P&W which brings the cost of the engine down to about half of that, depending on engine time.