The aircraft on display is a Piper PA-42-1000 Cheyenne 400LS. Approximately 44 of this model were produced and only 22 of those are still registered in the U.S. It is powered by two 1650shp turboprop (de-rate to 1000shp) Garrett (now Honeywell/Signal) engines.
The fastest production turbo-prop in the world at the time of its introduction, the Cheyenne was designed to compete with smaller fanjets, having performance comparable to jets like the Cessna Citation but with a roomier cabin and significantly lower fuel consumption, especially at lower altitudes.
The Boeing 737 takes about two minutes longer than the Cheyenne to get to flight level 350, a Citation II takes six minutes longer. This means the 400LS gets to cruise speeds and low fuel burn rates more quickly than pure jets. In the hands of Chuck Yeager, the Cheyenne 400LS broke all the time-to-climb records in its class.
The 400LS will out-climb most small to medium business jets. In terms of hard numbers, it has a maximum true airspeed of 360 knots (414mph) and will cruise at over 40,000 feet at 340 knots for nearly seven hours giving it a range of over 2,200 kmi. It will accomplish this seating nine people in stretch-out comfort and at less than half the fuel burn of a Citation II. Because high altitude performance is so important to speed and fuel efficiency, the 400LS’s ability to get to altitude quickly is vital, particularly on short sector lengths of 150 nautical miles or so. The cabin pressure differential is a relatively high 7.6lbs, giving an 8,000 feet cabin at the certified maximum altitude of 41,000 feet. Single-engine ceiling could easily top Mount Everest.
The aircraft on display has been fitted with MT five bladed scimitar propellers which give it even greater performance than its paddle bladed brothers. The new props allow an even higher cruising speed allowing for a lower fuel consumption rate, greater ground clearance during taxi and significantly lower decibel levels inside and out.
The Cheyenne 400LS is that rare exception to the compromises required in aircraft design. It is an airplane that uses less runway, climbs and cruises faster than many pure jets. It carries more and it carries it further and does it all for about half the cost of a comparable bizjet.