If you are here for the answer to How Far Can A Twin-Engine Plane Fly, then we suggest you read our safest twin engine aircraft review. Many airlines prefer twin engine aircraft due to their low operating cost, and frightening as losing an engine might seem, there is a generous safety margin on all twin-engine aircraft.
How Far Can A Twin-Engine Plane Fly
As a requirement for certification, an aircraft must be able to take off and climb out of a missed approach with flaps fully extended on the power of a single engine alone. It must also be able to cruise for an extended period.
All twin-engine aircraft have an extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) rating. This is the time a particular aircraft type is certified to continue flying with one engine out.
A long ETOPS rating gives an aircraft a big commercial advantage since it allows them to operate on long trans-oceanic routes, far from airports to which they could divert in an emergency.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has an ETOPS rating of 330 minutes. The Airbus A350-900 has an even longer ETOPS rating of 370 minutes, more than six hours, which Airbus says allows it to operate up to 4630 kilometres from the nearest airport.
This means the A350-900 can operate over any route since there is nowhere on the planet further than that from the nearest commercial airport.
Among the many decisions you will make when choosing an airplane is whether to purchase a single-engine or a twin-engine model. Thousands of business owners and recreational pilots begin their venture into aviation with a single-engine piston airplane, while others find a twin-engine better fulfills their needs.
Comparing the capabilities and features of each in terms of performance, peace of mind, training and maintenance will help you determine which aircraft will help you best meet your goals.
safest twin engine aircraft
Both twin-engine and single-engine piston aircraft are well-suited for short missions under 300 miles. They can easily access smaller airports with shorter runways, increasing the number of airstrips they’re able to reach within their ranges.
The second engine increases an aircraft’s payload and speed. In addition to faster cruise speeds, the added horsepower of a second engine also improves takeoff and climb performance.
Peace of mind
Intangibles such as peace of mind are often decision-makers for owners and operators. Many prefer the redundancy of a twin-engine aircraft when their typical missions take them over mountains or large bodies of water. Some twin-engine models, like the BEECHCRAFT® BARON® aircraft, include added engineering that keeps all systems—even cabin comforts—running off one engine.
Of course, modern single-engine airplanes are also incredibly advanced. They’re equipped with the latest technology, including autopilot systems that help with handling.
Flying a single-engine or a twin-engine aircraft requires the same base instruction and licenses, but if you’re planning to fly a multi-engine aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration requires more training, because with two engines, there’s more to manage and monitor in the cockpit.
Any complete aircraft type rating demands intimate knowledge, practice and preparation for safe operation.
If your mission profile still has you deciding between a single-engine and twin-engine aircraft, maintenance costs could be the deciding factor. A common misconception is a twin-engine aircraft costs twice as much to maintain and operate, because it has two engines. While it’s true keeping up with inspections, overhauls and unscheduled repairs will cost you more on a twin-engine than a single-engine, overall it’s considerably less than double the price.
Once you review these four considerations, match your specific needs to the available models. Your options should narrow to just a handful of choices—a much more manageable task.
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When weighing out the advantages and disadvantages of twin engine versus single engine turbo-prop aircraft, most operators will think of safety first. Having the redundancy of a second engine means that in the case of an emergency where one engine quits and the aircraft has enough altitude, the second engine will provide the pilot with the ability to navigate to an emergency landing location. Aircraft with twin engines also generally have more backup components such as twin starter generators which provide additional safety in the event of failure.
There are also performance and operating cost differences between single engine and twin engine turbo-props. In general, twin engine aircraft allow for faster speeds, and faster pickup, while single engine aircraft have lower operating costs, due to maintenance and fueling for only one engine.
If you’re mindset is safety first for pilots and passengers, a twin engine aircraft makes sense for peace of mind alone.
The Five Best Planes To Choose For Your Next Flight
Most people outside the “avgeek” community, and the frequent flyers who are exacting about what they want in a flight (even if they’re not planespotters), don’t pay much attention to aircraft types. That’s a mistake, because the type of aircraft operating your flight can have a huge impact on the overall flight experience – especially if you’re flying economy, where every advantage helps. It’s understandable though, especially when you consider that an A330 on one airline may mean older seats and no mood lighting, whereas on another the same model could have a much more modern and comfortable cabin. Knowing what to look for as you search for flights to book takes quite a depth of knowledge and interest, and most people don’t have time for that.
It is possible, though, to give some general guidelines for planes you should keep an eye out for the next time you’re shopping for flights. These are the top five to aim for if you want a better flight (plus one to avoid):
#1. Airbus A350
The A350 has entered a number of airline’s fleets over the past few years and it is quickly becoming a passenger favorite. This fuel efficient twin-engined, long-haul plane is unbelievably quiet (though it still feels powerful) and boasts a lower cabin altitude, higher humidity, taller ceilings and bigger windows. It’s a good bet it will also have all the modern airplane perks like mood lighting and the latest entertainment systems and WiFi. Oh and then there’s the stunning tail camera. Seats in economy are usually laid out in a 3-3-3 configuration – the same as most Boeing 787s – but the A350 cabin is wider, so everyone gets more room to stretch out.
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#2. Airbus A220
The A220’s benefits are covered here at length, but to rehash briefly: it’s a fantastically roomy plane considering it’s relatively small (seat count just over 100), it’s quiet, and it has all the newest tech like nice lighting and more.
Some airlines that have it: Delta, airBaltic, Swiss, Korean Air, Air Tanzania. Coming soon: Air Canada, Air France, and more.
#3. Boeing 767
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This might be a surprise because the 767 is an older plane. But it’s still a transatlantic workhorse (turns out it ranks number three across the pond), and there’s one simple reason to choose it: a 2-3-2 configuration in economy. That means only one middle seat for every row, and for those traveling in pairs it’s a nice option for sitting together and having a window without a stranger sharing your set of seats. And although it’s an older aircraft at this point, most of the 767s still flying have the nice 777-style overhead bins and reasonably comfortable interiors anyway. If it’s between a 767 and a 787 (with its narrow 3-3-3 configuration; see below for more on that), I’ll pick a 767 every time.
Some airlines that have it: United, Delta, American, LATAM, Austrian Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines. Coming soon: None, but there are rumors that Boeing may launch a new-engined variant and extend its life further. We’ll see what happens.
#4. Airbus A380
The A380 may soon be a thing of the past after Airbus announced this year that due to slow sales it would be halting production in the next couple of years. But the double-decker behemoth remains a fantastic airplane to fly on, even if it’s a little too big for most airlines to make money with. It’s quiet and smooth, handles turbulence better than just about anything out there, and evokes a romantic, cruise-ship-in-the-sky feeling. Downsides: it has relatively small windows, its lower deck is almost overly cavernous, and boarding and deplaning alongside so many people at once can be a slow process. But still, it’s a very comfortable airplane.
Some airlines that have it: British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, All Nippon Airways, Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Qantas. Coming soon: Unfortunately there are unlikely to be any new airlines operating the type, and some of the above airlines may soon start to phase them out.
#5. Airbus A320neo
The A320neo looks about the same as older A320 family planes, but you can tell it apart by its much bigger engines and distinctive winglets. As an older aircraft with some design improvements, it doesn’t change the game for passengers like the A350 does, but you’re much more likely to come across an A320-sized plane, and if you do, see if you have the option of a neo (look out for code 32N or A20N). The big plus is a much quieter flight, plus likely a more modern cabin with nice lighting. It’s also fuel efficient and puts out less emissions. Downsides: it’s still a 3-3 configured plane in economy, which means that those who like a window seat have to be sandwiched in by up to two strangers.
Some airlines that have it: Delta, American, Frontier, Spirit, Interjet, SAS, British Airways, Lufthansa, TAP, Turkish Airlines. Coming soon: With over 6,000 on order, there are many on the way across the world.
And for one to avoid? This may come as a surprise:
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
It’s a good new plane in a number of ways, with many of the benefits of the A350 including bigger windows and a more comfortable pressurization and humidity. But it has two distinct problems. The first is relatively minor, but annoying: it has high-tech dimming windows (instead of physical window shades) that can be controlled by the cabin crew, meaning if they don’t want you to look out the window, you won’t get to. The second one is the dealbreaker: nearly all airlines use a 3-3-3 configuration in economy, and the cabin is really a little too narrow for that, meaning a full flight in the back of the plane is borderline torture with narrow seats and no shoulder and elbow room.
It is an interesting time for not only space travel, but private aviation, too. While larger and larger jets are flying farther and faster, smaller personal jets and enthusiast aircraft are thriving as well. And let’s not forget the vertical takeoff and landing craft that shifted into hyperdevelopment mode. There’s never been a more exciting time to be airborne.https://3bd377ec286ee5eaccdebbfc04e8ff1a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
BUSINESS JET OF THE YEAR:
Bombardier Global 7500
Bombardier Global 7500. Courtesy of Bombardier
After much anticipation, the first Bombardier Global 7500 business jet entered service in December of 2018—and to positive fanfare. Since coming on the scene, the 7500 has wasted no time in breaking as many records as possible. At press time, these include distance (between Singapore and Tucson, Ariz.) and speed (between New York and Los Angeles). While performance for a private jet got an upgrade, so did comfort—the Bombardier Nuage chair with its free-floating base is the first true seat revamp in 30 years for the private aviation sector. The 7500 accommodates 19 passengers, has a range of 7,700 nautical miles (8,861 regular miles—say, from LA’s Van Nuys Airport to Dubai or San Francisco to Singapore, among many other pairs) and has a top speed of Mach 0.925. Even the crew gets a posh boost with a private seat that fully reclines for sleeping and is separated by a privacy door. The flexible cabin plan could include, for example, a master suite with queen bed with storage and an en-suite bathroom with shower; a media room with sofa that can become a bed (more stash space underneath); a dining and living/conference area (with a table that folds out for six); the crew rest suite across from the galley (with all the secret hideaway drawers and popup stow slots as well as an oven and sink for fresh preparations); and another forward bathroom. This jet really has everything you might need for that ultralong-range flight.
Controlling sound, movies, blinds and lights—from any seat or bed— just got easier with a state-of-the-art pop-up dial with an OLED display. This dial, named the “nice Touch cabin management system,” is part of a platform developed in collaboration with Lufthansa Technik. And it’s pretty cool—as is the Ka-band satellite communications for fast internet speeds. There’s no doubt that the world’s largest and longest-range business jet lives up to the hype.https://3bd377ec286ee5eaccdebbfc04e8ff1a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Bell Nexus Courtesy of Bell
If anyone is going to truly take a vertical takeoff and landing (VOTL) concept to market, our bets are on chopper experts Bell. With seven decades of experience as a helicopter manufacturer, and as the builder of the V-22 Osprey and the V-280 Valor tiltrotor military aircraft, Bell carries cachet among the new and established companies developing vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that also fly horizontally like an airplane. So while you can dismiss some of the recent VTOL concepts as pies in the sky, you can’t do that here. The Bell name lends credibility to the four-passenger hybrid-electric VTOL, which features six 8-foot-diameter ducted fans that tilt to make the instant transition from vertical takeoff to horizontal flight. Plans call for the Nexus to initially be flown by a pilot, but eventually it could fly autonomously. The craft will have a range of about 150 miles and a top speed of roughly 150 mph. It will be small enough to take off from and land on most helipads. Bell hopes to begin flight tests with a prototype in 2023 and have the Nexus in service by the mid-2020s.
Bombardier Challenger 350
Bombardier Challenger 350 Courtesy of Bombardier
For those who need their private jet to be able to cross the country (or the Atlantic) on the regular, the Bombardier Challenger 350 has been the business jet of choice, averaging more than 60 deliveries annually in its first four full years of service (2015 through 2018), many going to NetJets, Flexjet and other private-aviation companies that appreciate the reliable, workhorse nature of the Challenger 350 and see its $27 million price as a solid investment. You just couldn’t fly into airports such as Aspen or London City because of steep approaches or shorter runways. But the aircraft’s capabilities and cabin comforts seemed to outweigh that negative. It has a range of nearly 3,700 miles, a max cruising speed of 548 mph, and room for 10 passengers. The cabin is just over 25 feet long, 6 feet tall and 7 feet 2 inches wide. The standard configuration seats eight passengers in two sets of four comfy club seats. Last year, however, Bombardier enhanced the Challenger 350 so that it could receive steep-approach certification. Now it can land at (and take off from) airports that used to be off limits. The latest version of the aircraft needs less than 2,400 feet of runway to land. https://3bd377ec286ee5eaccdebbfc04e8ff1a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Cessna Citation Latitude
Cessna Citation Latitude Courtesy of Cessna
The Cessna Citation Latitude was the third most-delivered business jet in 2018, behind the Cirrus Vision Jet and Bombardier’s Challenger 350. In its own midsize class, however, the Latitude was out in front, with 57 handed over last year, up from 54 in 2017. While three more wouldn’t seem like much in other sectors, when you’re talking about a $17 million piece of kit, each and every one is significant. Desire for the Latitude is growing.
Perhaps it’s because its flat-floor cabin has six feet of headroom. Or maybe it’s that 22-foot cabin’s ability to seat nine passengers. The pressurization system gives the feel of flying at 5,950 feet when the jet is actually cruising along at 45,000 feet. With four passengers, the Latitude can fly more than 3,100 miles without stopping at its 513 mph max cruising speed. Garmin’s G5000 touch-screen avionics with synthetic-vision technology give top-notch guidance in the cockpit.
Airbus ACH135 Helionix
Airbus ACH135 Helionix Courtesy of Airbus Corporate Helicopters
Quick urban hops and jaunts to remote areas that don’t necessarily have an airstrip got a lot more luxe—and safe—last year. ACH, the Airbus corporate helicopters division launched in 2017 that’s dedicated to corporate and personal choppers, delivered the first ACH135 Helionix in September. The initial example features a five-seat configuration (plus pilot) with ACH’s sports car–inspired Line series interior. Most noteworthy is the bird’s avionics system, which was designed to improve situational awareness and to reduce the complexity of the system and number of displays pilots have to keep track of. It also has a more advanced autopilot system to make flying simpler and safer, including an auto hover “pause” button (ideal when faced with low visibility or busy environments), a “go-around” button (the ACH135 will automatically fly around and reposition itself on the best landing approach) and automated engine management (ensuring a smooth and safe flight even if one of the two engines fails). Two turboshaft engines power the agile aircraft to a maximum cruise speed of 137 knots and a top endurance of 3 hours and 39 minutes. The cabin offers up large windows for great visibility, as well as its corporate jet–style finishing, such as hand-sewn soft leather seats. https://3bd377ec286ee5eaccdebbfc04e8ff1a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Embraer Phenom 300E
Embraer Phenom 300E Erich Shibata Nishiyama
The most-delivered light jet for each of the past seven years became even better in 2018, when Embraer began producing the Phenom 300E, giving the popular plane a tech and comfort makeover. Embraer redesigned the interior and installed, among other features, a new cabin-management and inflight-entertainment system by Lufthansa Technik. The system is housed in a panel that runs along the centerline of the aircraft’s ceiling and includes two 7-inch swing-down displays. Reading lights and fans have been moved into the panel to create more headroom above the seats. The panel also includes new ambient lighting. The redesign creates more space, specifically more aisle room (in addition to the extra headroom), while adding larger seats, which now have broader backs and extendable head and leg rests. The 300E, which is usually configured to seat six passengers behind the cockpit (but can seat up to nine plus pilot), has the same range and high cruising speed as its predecessor: 2,270 miles and 521 mph. (Base price: $9.45 million.)
Winch Design Courtesy of Winch Design
Founded in 1986 by Andrew and Jane Winch as a yacht-design company—both exterior and interior—London-based Winch Design has made a name for itself by creating bespoke aviation, yachting and land-based masterpieces, inside and out. This year, we applaud the studio for its custom-interiors concepts for Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Neo aircraft.
By employing irregularly shaped spaces within the cabin, with molded paneling and movable (but securable) furniture, the Winch team creates compelling, adaptable and livable spaces that inspire relaxation in flight but are at the ready to do business when the time is right.
Soft leathers, light-colored marble, natural shells, cream-silk carpets, rosewood accents and mother-of-pearl accessories—not to mention artwork—set a residential tone for the serene aircraft interior. Full-size bathrooms give the feel of home. Dare we bring the kids?https://3bd377ec286ee5eaccdebbfc04e8ff1a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
VSS Unity MarsScientific.com/Trumbull Studios
“It was intense and magical and serene and almost unlike anything anyone can imagine.” That’s how Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, described her trip as a passenger aboard VSS Unity, Virgin Galactic’s rocket-fueled space plane that, in late February, traveled beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and into space for the second time—and for the first time with a passenger. If all goes as planned, anyone who can afford a $250,000 ticket won’t have to imagine what Moses described; he or she will be able to experience it. So far, more than 600 people have reportedly purchased tickets to fly aboard a Virgin Galactic space plane. It’s doubtful any civilians will make the trip by July 18, the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 and the date by which Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson has said he hopes to make his first space flight. However, the February flight was certainly more than just a small step for the company, which Branson established 15 years ago; it was a giant leap for space tourism. After flying VSS Unity 51.4 miles above sea level (NASA places the border between the Earth’s atmosphere and space at 50 miles above sea level) and landing it safely in the Mojave Desert in December, Virgin Galactic’s two pilots were joined by Moses for the February flight, which reached an altitude of 55.87 miles and a speed of Mach 3.0. Moses was on board to evaluate the space-flight passenger experience: the intense, magical and peaceful sensation of weightlessness and the sights of the curve of the Earth and the star-filled sky.