Fly These Aircraft to Asheville

Light jets and piston singles provide stylish transportation into eclectic Asheville.

A HondaJet Elite S airplane in a gray camouflage livery sits on a tarmac with green trees and hills in the background

The HondaJet Elite S light jet is built in Greensboro, North Carolina, just down Interstate 40 from Asheville. [Courtesy: Honda Aircraft Company]

The stunning mountainous terrain around the city of Asheville, North Carolina, makes for an awe-inspiring descent into the area by air—and given the choice, you might want to fly in a light jet that's nimble enough to handle the local approaches with aplomb, when you’re filing IFR into the primary airport at KAVL—or you might choose a sleek piston single for flying into a local reliever such as Hendersonville.

Local Favorite: HondaJet Elite S

Built just down Interstate 40 from Asheville in Greensboro, North Carolina, the HondaJet Elite S light jet combines unique design characteristics to achieve solid performance with a compelling ramp presence. The inaugural winner of FLYING’s Innovation Award in 2016, the original HondaJet has been improved since its first iteration with changes to the fuselage, and additions in range and useful load, along with updates to the flight deck.

With the capacity for one pilot plus five passengers, the HondaJet Elite S has a minimum takeoff distance of less than 3,500 feet. Powered by two GE Honda HF120 engines mounted over the wings, the Elite S can climb at more than 4,000 fpm—needed to make takeoff profiles out of KAVL—and speed away at up to 420 ktas.

Up front, the Garmin G3000 integrated avionics suite has been updated to enable more precise calculations with an updated graphics processor, and tools such as graphical weight and balance. In the back, Garmin’s Flight Stream 510 can be used to connect the aircraft’s audio system to an iPad, allowing for flight plan transfers and wireless database updates.

A Step Up: Phenom 100EV

The Embraer Phenom 100EV has a maximum range of 1,178 nm and can take you to Asheville in style. [Courtesy: Embraer]

The efficiency of operating a turboprop combined with the capability of a light jet, the Embraer Phenom 100EV represents a great next step for those who wish to keep flying single pilot yet reap the benefits of turbine equipment. Especially if you’re flying in from your home hangar more than 800 nm away—the Phenom 100EV makes a stylish way to land yourself at KAVL, with its maximum range of 1,178 nm.

And the Phenom 100EV is speedy too, with a MMO of 0.70 Mach or 406 ktas in maximum cruise. With a takeoff distance of 3,190 feet and a landing distance of 2,430 feet, it will make short work of the main airport at Asheville. Mounted in the back are two Pratt & Whitney PW617F1-E turbofan engines. On the flight deck is the Prodigy Touch avionics suite featuring Garmin touchscreens and other safety features.

Fuel-Flexible Friend: Tecnam P2010

The Tecnam P2010 single-engine piston has a variety of engine choices. [Courtesy: Tecnam]

One of the most modern yet approachable of the four-place, single-engine piston airplanes on the market, Tecnam’s P2010 comes with a series of engine choices so that you can find the one that best suits your mission.

For your flight into the Asheville area, you might go with the P2010 slung with a 180 hp Lycoming IO-360 engine. The P2010 will cruise along at a maximum speed of 137 ktas, and carry a useful load of 893 pounds. With the power back, you’ll sip 10 gph at 65 percent power.

The P2010 makes short work of your average GA strip with a landing distance of 1,709 feet and a takeoff distance of 1,952 feet. In the instrument panel, you’ll find the familiar Garmin G1000 NXi and the GFC 700 autopilot to help ease pilot workload. With a carbon-fiber construction, the ramp appeal of the P2010 pleases your aesthetic sense as well.

This article was first published in the 2022 Southeast Adventure Guide of FLYING Magazine.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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