Frequently Asked Questions
What is JetPROP's STC status?
- The JetPROP STC was handed to Darwin Conrad during AirVenture '98 (August 3, 1998) by the chief of the certification branch of the FAA.
Is ground school and flight training included in the conversion cost?
- Included in the price of the conversion is a multi stage training program. This course will include a comprehensive ground school, with emphasis on turbine operation, emergency procedures and hands on systems training. The flying phase will be constructed around the needs of the pilot. Our first concern is the safe and confidant operation of the aircraft. In addition, the training will include a minimum of 8 hours of flight time. Additional time can be arranged to meet individual insurance requirements. The scope of the training program will depend on whether or not the customer has had previous Malibu flight experience and high altitude certification. Insurance companies require special training for Malibu pilots, and we can provide that training in addition to the course work specific to operation of a turbine aircraft. All phases of the training program are included in the price of the conversion.
How many, and at what cost, are used Malibus and Mirages? And are some year airframes better than others?
- There have been approximately 800 Malibus and Mirages built, and most of those have been in operation in the U.S. The Malibu was introduced in 1984 and the Mirage in 1989. The difference between the two is in engines (Continental TIO520 in the Malibu, Lycoming TIO540 in the Mirage) and interior appointments. Externally, and in flying characteristics, they are the same. Prices of used airplanes depend on the age of the aircraft and the engine time, so it is difficult to be precise, but Malibus in the 1984 to 1988 vintage will sell for approximately $300,000 to $400,000, while Mirages from 1989 to 1997 will be in the range of $450,000 to $750,000. A new 2007 Mirage, for comparison purposes, sells for $1,141,500. Most Malibu and Mirage owners outfit them with very complete instrumentation and avionics, often including color radar, so it's rare to see a basic airplane.
- An excellent source of used Malibu pricing is Aircraft Shopper Online.
What is the relationship of Rocket Engineering to JetPROP LLC?
- JetPROP LLC is the company formed to make these conversions, and has contracted with Rocket Engineering to do the actual work. Rocket has been engaged in Mooney engine conversions for a number of years and has completed over 150 conversions while obtaining a number of STC's related to these conversions. JetPROP LLC is able to leverage these strengths in the Malibu and Mirage turbine conversions.
What is the TBO? And are hot section inspections required?
- Pratt & Whitney has confirmed the TBO and warranty terms of this engine is 3600 hours and five years respectively. The requirement for a hot section inspection has been eliminated by the installation of an optional trend monitoring system, which is part of the Shadin fuel flow monitoring system. This monitoring system keeps track of all in-flight engine operating parameters and stores them in a special memory device. This information can then be downloaded into a computer and a plot of operating trends can be produced. These trend lines then allow the service technician and owner to spot adverse trends as they develop and corrective measures can be taken before they can affect the performance of the engine or cause significant damage. A hot section inspection, which is usually recommended midway through the TBO, is designed to do the same thing, but as it is a one-time inspection with no trend indications, it may or may not accomplish the same thing as a continuous trend monitoring system.
What are "New dual wingtip & heated pitot system" described here?
- Most Malibus have dual air speed indicators, but both are driven from a single pitot tube under the wing. We have modified this system to include two pitot tubes, each driving its own air speed indicator. To increase the accuracy of the air speed measurement, we have mounted the pitot tubes at the end of the wing where there is less turbulent airflow.
Is the plane certified "Known Ice"?
- The Malibu and Mirage are certified for flight into known icing and the standard anti-icing equipment includes wing and tail surface inflatable boots, prop de-icing boot, heated pitot tube, heated stall warning tab and heated windshield. We have supplemented this with the aforementioned dual heated pitot tubes, along with anti-icing accessories unique to turbine operation such as heated air inlet and ice expulsion system.
What is the total fuel capacity?
- The standard Malibu or Mirage fuel system contains 120 gallons, 60 gallons in each wing. The fuel is pumped from either of these tanks into the engine. We have supplemented this with an additional 10 gallons capacity in each wing, along with a 11.5 gallon header tank just aft of the engine. The wing tanks drain into this header tank from which the engine draws its fuel. The total capacity of the fuel system in the JetPROP DLX and DL, including the wings and header tanks, is then 151.5 gallons of Jet-A.
Four blade propellers lower the sound level by 10 dB, but from what level? Is it a headset off cockpit?
- The four bladed propeller on the JetPROP DLX and DL, along with a prop speed of 2000 RPM, modifies the noise level dramatically. However, the higher power of the engine and the higher speed of the aircraft produces a different noise signature than in the piston aircraft. We always fly with headsets, even though the sound level is different.
Does the bleed air provide for the pressurization, and what is the psi differential?
- Engine bleed air provides the pressurization for the aircraft. The differential pressure is 5.3 psi, which provides a cabin altitude of 8,000 feet at a pressure altitude of 25,000 feet. The JetPROP DLX and DL are certified to 27,000 feet, and the cabin altitude is then 9,500 feet.
Can you describe the flying characteristics of Malibu vs. other high performance aircraft?
- Open-ended comparisons like that are difficult, but the Malibu was designed from the ground up as a high altitude, cabin class aircraft, and the long wing of this airplane was designed for high speed cruising at these altitudes. Conversely, the long thin wing is less effective at takeoff, and the standard Malibu and Mirage are generally not recognized as good short field aircraft. The greater power of the turbine conversion, along with the reversible prop alleviates the short field characteristics so the JetPROP are a superb short field aircraft with takeoff and landing distances of 800 to 1000 feet.
Some operators occasionally fly low with the power back, still getting fairly high speeds with low fuel consumption. What is JetPROP DLX' speed if low with power pulled back? What is the power limit at low altitudes: temp or airspeed, or torque?
- The Malibu was designed to fly high and fast and so we operate these aircraft mostly in this flight regime. Even on a one hour flight, it is common to go up to FL210-220 to obtain the high speed and fuel efficiency specific to these altitudes. However, there is no problem in flying low and slow. There are no limitations of torque, temperature or airspeed when flying low and slow, as the engine is operating well beneath its limitations in these circumstances. Even at high altitudes, the engine operates well within its temperature limitations.
Where is the modification performed and how long does it take?
- Average conversions are completed approximately 12 weeks after delivery of your aircraft to Rocket Engineering in Spokane, WA.
Does ATC know the difference between the Malibu/Mirage and a JetPROP?
- The short answer is yes, if you tell them. FAA Order 7340.1 CONTRACTIONS specifies the "P46T" designator for turbine powered Malibus. A JetPROP owner with GPS would file "P46T/G". The "P46T" designator tells the controller that the JetPROP's "CLIMB/DESCENT RATES based on average enroute climb and descent profiles at median weight between maximum gross takeoff weight and landing weights" is 1,500 fpm in climb and 1,500 fpm in descent. For comparison purposes, Order 7340.1 rates the standard Malibu/Mirage at 1,000 fpm in climb and descent.