Chapter 14—Transition to Turbopropeller Powered Airplanes

Table of Contents
The Gas Turbine Engine
Turboprop Engines
Turboprop Engine Types
Fixed Shaft
Split-Shaft / Free Turbine Engine
Reverse Thrust and Beta Range Operations
Turboprop Airplane Electrical Systems
Operational Considerations
Training Considerations


The medium and high altitudes at which turboprop airplanes are flown provide an entirely different environment in terms of regulatory requirements, airspace structure, physiological requirements, and even meteorology. The pilot transitioning to turboprop airplanes, particularly those who are not familiar with operations in the high/medium altitude environment, should approach turboprop transition training with this in mind. Thorough ground training should cover all aspects of high/medium altitude flight, including the flight environment, weather, flight planning and navigation, physiological aspects of high-altitude flight, oxygen and pressurization system operation, and high-altitude emergencies.

Flight training should prepare the pilot to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of airplane performance, systems, emergency procedures, and operating limitations, along with a high degree of proficiency in performing all flight maneuvers and in-flight emergency procedures.

The training outline below covers the minimum information needed by pilots to operate safely at high altitudes.

  1. a. Ground Training
    1. (1) The High-Altitude Flight Environment
      1. (a) Airspace
      2. (b) Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) section 91.211, requirements for use of supplemental oxygen
    2. (2) Weather
      1. (a) The atmosphere
      2. (b) Winds and clear air turbulence
      3. (c) Icing
    3. (3) Flight Planning and Navigation
      1. (a) Flight planning
      2. (b) Weather charts
      3. (c) Navigation
      4. (d) Navaids
    4. (4) Physiological Training
      1. (a) Respiration
      2. (b) Hypoxia
      3. (c) Effects of prolonged oxygen use
      4. (d) Decompression sickness
      5. (e) Vision
      6. (f) Altitude chamber (optional)
    5. (5) High-Altitude Systems and Components
      1. (a) Oxygen and oxygen equipment
      2. (b) Pressurization systems
      3. (c) High-altitude components
    6. (6) Aerodynamics and Performance Factors
      1. (a) Acceleration
      2. (b) G-forces
      3. (c) MACH Tuck and MACH Critical (turbojet airplanes)
    7. (7) Emergencies
      1. (a) Decompression
      2. (b) Donning of oxygen masks
      3. (c) Failure of oxygen mask, or complete loss of oxygen supply/system
      4. (d) In-flight fire
      5. (e) Flight into severe turbulence or thunderstorms
  2. b. Flight Training
    1. (1) Preflight Briefing
    2. (2) Preflight Planning
      1. (a) Weather briefing and considerations
      2. (b) Course plotting
      3. (c) Airplane Flight Manual
      4. (d) Flight plan
    3. (3) Preflight Inspection
      1. (a) Functional test of oxygen system, including the verification of supply and pressure, regulator operation, oxygen flow, mask fit, and cockpit and air traffic control (ATC) communication using mask microphones
    4. (4) Engine Start Procedures, Runup, Takeoff, and Initial Climb
    5. (5) Climb to High Altitude and Normal Cruise Operations While Operating Above 25,000 Feet MSL
    6. (6) Emergencies
      1. (a) Simulated rapid decompression, including the immediate donning of oxygen masks
      2. (b) Emergency descent
    7. (7) Planned Descents
    8. (8) Shutdown Procedures
    9. (9) Postflight Discussion

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PED Publication