• Head-2-Head Feature XI: A Turboprop Versus Two Regional Jets

    Head-2-Head Feature XI: A Turboprop Versus Two Regional Jets

    By Ron Blehm

           

    Today, we set about to challenge some 70-seaters to a 900 mile "milk-run." After a couple of our past turboprop challenges I heard back from real-world pilot Dave Reed, who has flown some of these things himself. One of Dave's comments (which I've heard before) was that the Dash-8 is so fast that some companies opt to purchase Dashes over RJs. In this series we discovered (unrealistically or not) that the B-17 burns less gas than the B-52 even though it's a slug. We've also pitted the Dreamwings Dash-8 against an ATR-72 and found that the Dash-8 performed realistically well.

           

    Our challenge this time is an island-hopping adventure in the scenic Philippine Islands. I loaded 12,000 pounds (that's 60 people-and-bag combinations averaging 200 pounds apiece). Then I topped off the tanks with gas and set in a flight plan from the gates at Manila. The plan was to cruise at 8,000 feet (that's a 250-knot max speed zone). We'd land at several "remote" islands and roll to the far end where we'd shut down. Then, we'd immediately restart, turn around, and depart again. I hoped that the landings and stoppings and shut-downs and restarts and ... well, "cycles", would challenge the performance of each aircraft in a somewhat realistic manner.

    Again, we take the total time and then add 2 seconds for every gallon of gas burned to get an efficiency score.

           

    First up: the default CRJ-700 by Microsoft:

    Pushback Manila = 05:43
    Depart from Naga = 06:25
    Depart from Roxas = 07:04
    Depart from Dumague = 07:46
    Depart from Princessa = 08:48
    Arrive Manila = 10:02
    Time + Fuel Burn = 14hr : 40mins

           

    Next up: the EMB-170 by Dreamwings: (one of my favs.)

    Pushback Manila = 05:43
    Depart from Naga = 06:24
    Depart from Roxas = 06:57
    Depart from Dumague = 07:41
    Depart from Princessa = 08:43
    Arrive Manila = 09:56
    Time + Fuel Burn = 11hr : 00min

           

    Finally: the Dreamwings Dash-8 Q400:

    Pushback Manila = 05:43
    Depart from Naga = 06:23
    Depart from Roxas = 07:00
    Depart from Dumague = 07:44
    Depart from Princessa = 08:46
    Arrive Manila = 10:05
    Time + Fuel Burn = 8hr : 37min

    So, according to these models anyway, the Dash-8 is a slightly slower but burned less gas so wins in the end. Now, the fair question is: Longer flight? Faster Cruise? We'll look at that next.

    Ron Blehm
    [email protected]

    Tags: head-2-head

    8 Comments
    1. pilot2fly's Avatar
      pilot2fly -
      I know a few guys who work at Piedmont Airlines flying the Dash 8-200 and they all say the same thing. The Dash 8 burns less fuel and usually gets you there about the same amount of time it takes a CRJ to get you there.
    1. swanny's Avatar
      swanny -
      Quote Originally Posted by pilot2fly View Post
      I know a few guys who work at Piedmont Airlines flying the Dash 8-200 and they all say the same thing. The Dash 8 burns less fuel and usually gets you there about the same amount of time it takes a CRJ to get you there.
      That's what we saw here too. Just a few minutes difference in speed but burned WAY LESS gas. We'll see what the next challenge proves.
    1. ysfsim's Avatar
      ysfsim -
      ask Horizon Air how they like there Q400s
    1. KingAirDriver's Avatar
      KingAirDriver -
      I used to fly the Dash-8s at Piedmont, I can attest to the efficiency. There is a reason RJ's are getting parked in the desert by the hundreds, and the Dash 8 has a 5 year order backlog. Fantastic airplanes!
    1. radf's Avatar
      radf -
      Dash 8 Q400 is really impressive in terms of performance and fuel efficiency.. Taking it many times around the Philippines with Airphil Express Dash 8 Q400... Simulated it also with my FS9 Dreamwings Q400.. compared it with similar flight times and approaches...
    1. scottb613's Avatar
      scottb613 -
      How would the ATR's compare to the DASH's - I've seen them use a lot over seas but not so much hear in the US ??? Nice comparison...

      Regards,
      Scott
    1. jocelino's Avatar
      jocelino -
      scottb61 - i agree, ATR vs dash 8 is a great comparison....
    1. swanny's Avatar
      swanny -
      Quote Originally Posted by scottb613 View Post
      How would the ATR's compare to the DASH's - I've seen them use a lot over seas but not so much hear in the US ??? Nice comparison...

      Regards,
      Scott
      Q400 vs ATR-72 has been done in this feature in the past. Check out older versions of Head-2-Head and you'll find it there.
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