TurboProp Aircraft

Turboprop aircraft are similar to turbojets in that both use gas-turbine engines. Turboprops, however, use a turbine to rotate a shaft that then spins a propeller. Notable manufacturers include BAE Systems, Beechcraft, Cessna, Commander, De Havilland, Fairchild, Piaggio, Piper, Pilatus, and Socata.

Generally louder and more expensive up front than piston-powered aircraft, turboprops are also considered more reliable. They are able to carry heavier payloads, fly at higher altitudes (generally up to 35,000 feet), travel faster (roughly 250 to 300 knots), fly longer distances (typically up to 1,000 miles), seat more passengers, and require less time between scheduled inspections and maintenance.

Hungarian engineer Gyorgy Jendrassik is credited with designing the first turboprop engine in the late 1920s before creating a CS-1 prototype engine in the late 1930s. Records point to the Gloster Meteor EE2227 running on two Rolls-Royce RB 50 Trent engines as the first turboprop aircraft to fly in 1945. The Vickers Viscount, which took flight in 1948 powered by a Rolls-Royce Dart engine, is considered the first turboprop airliner and first turboprop with four engines. A Boulton Paul Balliol prototype that first took flight in 1948 is credited as the first single-engine turboprop.

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