Being in the market for a corporate jet does not always mean you can afford to buy one. If you are considering the purchase of an aircraft for private operation or commercial charter on a corporate level, then maybe take a step back from the jets and consider a worthy second hand option – the Cessna 441 Conquest.
The popularity of the Cessna 441 has seen it in service all around the world, from air ambulance rolls on the African continent, right through to corporate hopping in the USA. In Australia the Conquest is most popular with charter operators (particularly those catering to the mining industry) as it is so suitable for making the average east coast journey between Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane with great ease, above the weather.
The Conquest is a twin turbo prop aircraft with a low wing and pressurised cabin. It was developed by Cessna in the mid seventies with the hope of filling the gap between piston and jet aircraft. The design is based on the Cessna 404 with the addition of the turbine engines. The gear is retractable and together with the fuselage provides for a sleek, high performing aircraft that won’t blow the budget.
At the business end you’ll find the usual array of goodies required for instrument flying at high altitude including weather radar and de-ice. Single pilot operations are comfortable where two crew operations are not required. Most pilots find the rate of climb more than satisfactory compared to the piston alternatives and are much happier out of the soup.
Entry to the cabin for passengers or freight is via a door in the rear port side. The cabin can be configured to seat seven in a VIP layout or nine for economy, utilising the co-pilot seat. The cabin is not high enough for the average person to stand upright in and loses a bit of width due to the curvature of the fuselage but, then again, so do most of the Conquest’s corporate jet competitors.
The Conquest is powered by two Garrett TPE331 turboprops driving three or four bladed propellers. With the turboprop power the C441 can expect to get along at a tidy 290 knots, slightly faster than a Qantaslink Dash 8.
Buyer beware of a 22,500 flying hour life limit. Cessna imposed the limit after reviewing its structural maintenance programme and determining that structural problems are likely to develop if the aircraft continues to operate. Some Conquests in Australia were grounded immediately but many are nowhere near the limit. There are currently thirty registered in Australia.
Crew: One or two
Capacity: 8-10 passengers
Powerplant: 2× Garrett TPE331 turboprops, 636 shp
Propellers: Hartzell or McCauley
Length: 39 ft 0 in
Wingspan: 49 ft 4 in
Height: 13 ft 2 in
Empty Weight: 5,488 lb
MTOW: 9,856 lb (4,470 kg)
Cruise Speed: 290 kts
Vne: 295 knots
Rate of Climb: 2435 ft/min
Service ceiling: 35,000 ft