The Perfect Personal Floatplane?

Soloy’s Mk II turbine conversion finds success on the water.



Soloy Mk II conversion

Sales of Soloy's MK II turbine-engine conversion kits for the Cessna 206 have cooled off considerably since the start of the economic downturn two years ago, but interest from an unlikely source is driving renewed demand, the Olympia, Washington, company says.

Soloy has completed a number of Mk II conversions for floatplane buyers looking for the extra power offered by the conversion to a single 450 shp Rolls-Royce 250B17F engine, which replaces the Cessna 206’s original IO-550 piston engine. Wipaire floats and door modifications complete the package, which can be purchased for around $900,000 complete.

“This really is the perfect personal floatplane,” says Soloy Aviation Solutions president Dave Stauffer. “Unlike a Cessna Caravan or Turbo Beaver, the 206 is small enough that it can be handled by one person at the dock, and the reversible propeller makes for great maneuverability on the water.”

Half the Mk II conversions the company has performed so far have been for floatplanes owners, who benefit from improved climb performance and higher cruise speeds with fuel burns of around 25 gallons per hour.

Soloy says it has also experienced an increase in interest from law enforcement for its Sentinel 206 conversion, which in addition to the Rolls-Royce engine upgrade also includes wing-mounted camera pods, wider doors and windows, four-point safety harnesses and additional headroom. One drawback of switching to turbine power in the 206? New airplanes equipped with G1000 avionics aren’t eligible for the upgrade because the Garmin cockpit lacks the needed software mods to provide turbine engine readouts and the higher indicated airspeeds.