The turboprop engine was designed to give the turbojet engine superior performance by adding the propelling function. Initially, the turbojet engine was designed to have efficient and superior performance at high speeds and high altitudes. While its initial climb and takeoff performance were not exemplary, the addition of propellers to these turbojet engines, turning them into turboprops, enabled them to provide a much better performance at medium speed and altitude as well. All in all, a turboprop engine brings together the performance attributes of a turbojet and propeller engine.
This combination makes it one of the top engines in the market in terms of performance. Compared to other types of engines, a turboprop engine offers several advantages that can visibly improve the flight performance of an aircraft. The major advantages of using this engine include the following:
- Turboprop engines are lightweight so they can provide a better performance during takeoff while maintaining fuel efficiency.
- There are fewer moving parts in a turboprop engine compared to other engines, making it more reliable in terms of mechanical aspects.
- The power output of this engine per unit of weight is higher, while the engine carries a minimum vibration system.
- The use of the propeller enhances the initial climb and takeoff performance quite remarkably while ensuring that the operation of the engine remains simple.
The best and most efficient performance a turboprop engine can deliver is when the speed lies between 250 and 400 mph and the altitude is between 18,000 and 30,000 feet. However, they give a substantially good performance at low altitudes, as well during takeoffs; and most importantly, they are fuel-efficient. Within the altitude range of 25,000 ft, the engine can function at a minimal fuel consumption level.
The power of a turboprop engine is defined in shaft horsepower which depends on not just the RPM, but also the torque applied to the shaft of propeller. Being gas turbine engines, these turboprop engines produce jet thrust using the exhaust leaving the engine. The total engine power is calculated by adding this thrust power to the shaft horsepower. However, the performance of a turboprop engine might suffer if the speed is increased considerably.
A turboprop engine is undoubtedly one of the best performing engines used in aircrafts today and gives a balanced performance managing speed and altitude perfectly. However, the limitations of this engine should be well understood by the pilot if they don’t want to cause damage to the engine parts.