Aviation is an inherently risky activity. As a charter broker, Stratos Jets’ goal is to mitigate that risk whenever we organize charter flights for clients. It’s one of the reasons we choose not to use piston-powered aircraft when transporting clients. This doesn’t mean we believe piston aircraft are unsafe. Quite the opposite is true (as a general aviation enthusiast, company President Joel Thomas pilots a piston aircraft). It’s just that they’re not as safe as aircraft that utilize turboprop and turbofan engines. Given a reasonable choice, we always base our decisions on what’s best for the client. In this instance, choosing an aircraft that’s statistically proven to be safer is a no-brainer.

Simple Is Safer

piston engine aircraft are less safe for charter flights

Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp piston engine.

Believe it or not, jet engines are actually less complex than piston engines. The latter have more moving parts, which means there are more things that can fail. It also means there are more things to maintain.

Superior Performance

In addition to being simpler by design, turbofan and turbojet engines boast better performance characteristics than their piston-powered counterparts. Not only can they operate at higher altitudes, they can climb faster. This is a distinct advantage when flying in inclement weather. Modern jet charters can climb through, and fly above, adverse conditions to provide a safer, smoother charter flight experience. A piston aircraft, on the other hand, will be forced to:

  • Delay departure until weather improves
  • Detour around the weather system (takes longer)
  • Alter arrival point

One of the main reasons business and leisure travelers prefer charter flights is there’s much less risk of flight delays and cancellations compared flying on an airline. Travelling on a piston aircraft is far less predictable.

Pilot Experience

High-end private jets are worth a considerable amount of money. For example, the Charter flights require experienced pilots exquisite Gulfstream G650 jet charter is worth a cool $65 million. To protect their investment, charter operators and owners only want the most experienced pilots, which offers an inherent benefit to charter consumers. For instance, Stratos Jets requires all Pilots in Command (PIC) to have their Airline Transport Pilot license, as well as a minimum of 3,000 total flight hours, half of which have to have been served as the PIC. Piston-engine aircraft also require a significant investment, but not nearly as much as a luxury jet. As such, the standards for pilot experience tend to be lower.

Aircraft Maintenance Standards

In general, piston aircraft owners aren’t as well capitalized as jet owners (if they were, they’d own private jets). With fewer financial resources at their disposal, most will be less inclined to invest in the preventative maintenance required to keep their aircraft in peak condition. Instead, they take a more reactive approach. For more on this, read: Differentiating Beyond Price – Your Tool Kit For Making Intelligent Jet Charter Decisions Part 2: Aircraft Maintenance.

Third-party Audits

To provide clients with added peace of mind, and to ensure the charter planes we select are the safest available, Stratos Jets partners with third-party safety auditing companies like Wyvern and ARGUS. They scrutinize charter operators for key criteria, including:

  • Operational history
  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Pilot training
  • Financial stability

This service isn’t available for piston aircraft. Stratos Jets requires third-party audits on all charter flights to ensure the highest standard of air charter safety. Call us to learn why we Soar Higher than the competition in terms of safety, comfort and service—888-593-9066.