Bigger, Faster, Better: The Cessna 425 Conquest I

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This entry-level turboprop was a winner in 1981, and is still one today.

June 2015-

When people ask me to comment about the Cessna 425 Conquest I, I get flashbacks. Having been a marketing type in what was then called the Commercial Marketing Division at Cessna Aircraft Co., I was a part of the introduction of the Corsair/Conquest I (425) and the Conquest II (441).
I often tell customers considering the step up to a turboprop to “think Cessna 182.” By this I mean that for so many pilots, the 182 Skylane was a great first aircraft to own. They learned in a Cessna trainer, and then bought a 182. Therefore, for many owners of Cessna pressurized cabin-class piston powered twins, the 425 becomes the perfect
“182-like” next step.

The 425’s introduction
When these aircraft were introduced, it was the heyday of General Aviation—and Beech had no jets. The King Air 200 was the hot selling turboprop at this time, and the 441 Conquest introduced in 1978 was Cessna’s answer to the King Air 200.

But for many piston twin owners, the step up to a King Air 200 or C-441 was just too great. All too often, a corporate pilot was needed for those airplanes.
The 425 Corsair was certified in 1980. A few years later, the 425 was changed to Conquest I and included certain improvements. At the same time, the 441 Conquest was renamed the Conquest II. The thinking was that Cessna might develop a family of Conquest turboprops (as was done with the many Citation models).

The typical buyer of a 425 was the owner of a Cessna 340A, 414A or 421B/C. The Cessna dealer that sold the twin would take it on trade and sell it to a first-time twin buyer or to the owner of a light twin, such as a 310R. An important sales element for use in persuading buyers was the fact that no FAA type rating was required to pilot a 425. It is not a true jet and has a gross takeoff weight under 12,500 pounds.

The reason to move up to a 425 has not changed since the early 1980s. More speed is always number one; greater loads, greater range and turbine engine reliability follow closely behind. (Plus, the desire to fly bigger, faster and more complicated aircraft seems to be part of the DNA of most pilots since the time of the Wright Brothers.)

Modifications
Since the 425’s introduction, several aftermarket conversions and modifications have entered the market. The most significant upgrade, Blackhawk XP135A, is offered by Blackhawk Modifications Inc. of Waco, Tex. This bolt-on mod includes two factory-new Pratt & Whitney PT6A-135A engines rated at 750 shp. The conversion is performed by a group of Blackhawk dealers.

In addition, like most aircraft engine modifications, there are several other component additions that are part of the Blackhawk mod. (See “Blackhawk XP135A Engine Upgrade for Conquest I Aircraft” on the right for more information. —Ed.) New propellers, such as four-blade McCauley Blackmac props, often companion with the Blackhawk STC.
Kal-Aero in Battle Creek, Mich., a Cessna propjet dealer, had the first certified upgrade to the 425. Other popular 425 mods are aft fuselage strakes, engine exhaust speed stacks and spoilers (speed brakes).

Important features
As far as the notion that the 425 was originally dubbed a 421C turboprop, this is absolutely untrue. It is a different aircraft. Aircraft based upon another aircraft’s original TCDS is a common practice in all categories of aircraft design.

However, a proven system is worth using again. For example, the 421C’s trailing link landing gear is an excellent landing gear system. The blow down method of emergency extension trumps cranking and pumping a problem landing gear.
I am frequently asked about the 425’s tail area because of the fatal incident in Nov. 1977 (just two months after the introduction of the 441 Conquest). The accident investigation found a failed single trim tab actuator for the elevator control, and the Conquest fleet was grounded until a dual actuator fix was certified.

From 425 unit number one, the elevator trim tab actuator was a dual unit, but the question still comes up from time to time. In 1980 during a business trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, I was having a poolside drink with Cessna’s president, Mal Harned.
When I was asked about 425 sales, I commented about tail questions (this was only a few years since the 441 crash) and Harned, an engineer, said, “You can tell anyone that the 425’s tail is the most tested structure Cessna has ever built.”

Buying a 425 today
In today’s world of 425 sales, the number-one question is about Cessna’s aging aircraft program and supplemental inspection documents (SID). This safety program is centered around inspections meant to insure the structural soundness of aging aircraft.
Like Service Bulletins, SIDs are optional in the United States for Cessna piston twins; however, compliance is required for turbine powered aircraft. A significant price difference on what may appear as two similar 425s may be due to the status of SIDs.

This entry-level turboprop is an easy-to-fly aircraft with simple systems and excellent performance, plus sound ownership and operational costs.
Moreover, the support system for quality maintenance and pilot training is excellent. Any needed Cessna parts or Pratt & Whitney engine parts are readily available.
A Conquest I is also highly customizable. Buyers often seek out aircraft with a newer interior, a modern panel and performance upgrades, or they plan to make those improvements after purchase. Either way, the 425 was a winner in 1981 and it’s still one in 2015.

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Jerry Temple founded Jerry Temple Aviation (JTA) in 1995. JTA provides pilots with hands-on service from the research stage to delivery and checkout. Before founding JTA, Temple worked for 20 years in several positions in the Cessna Aircraft system, including at the Cessna factory as well as in distributor and retail sales. Send questions or comments to .

When people ask me to comment about the Cessna 425 Conquest I, I get flashbacks. Having been a marketing type in what was then called the Commercial Marketing Division at Cessna Aircraft Co., I was a part of the introduction of the Corsair/Conquest I (425) and the Conquest II (441).
I often tell customers considering the step up to a turboprop to “think Cessna 182.” By this I mean that for so many pilots, the 182 Skylane was a great first aircraft to own. They learned in a Cessna trainer, and then bought a 182. Therefore, for many owners of Cessna pressurized cabin-class piston powered twins, the 425 becomes the perfect
“182-like” next step.

The 425’s introduction
When these aircraft were introduced, it was the heyday of General Aviation—and Beech had no jets. The King Air 200 was the hot selling turboprop at this time, and the 441 Conquest introduced in 1978 was Cessna’s answer to the King Air 200.
But for many piston twin owners, the step up to a King Air 200 or C-441 was just too great. All too often, a corporate pilot was needed for those airplanes.
The 425 Corsair was certified in 1980. A few years later, the 425 was changed to Conquest I and included certain improvements. At the same time, the 441 Conquest was renamed the Conquest II. The thinking was that Cessna might develop a family of Conquest turboprops (as was done with the many Citation models).
The typical buyer of a 425 was the owner of a Cessna 340A, 414A or 421B/C. The Cessna dealer that sold the twin would take it on trade and sell it to a first-time twin buyer or to the owner of a light twin, such as a 310R. An important sales element for use in persuading buyers was the fact that no FAA type rating was required to pilot a 425. It is not a true jet and has a gross takeoff weight under 12,500 pounds.
The reason to move up to a 425 has not changed since the early 1980s. More speed is always number one; greater loads, greater range and turbine engine reliability follow closely behind. (Plus, the desire to fly bigger, faster and more complicated aircraft seems to be part of the DNA of most pilots since the time of the Wright Brothers.)

Modifications
Since the 425’s introduction, several aftermarket conversions and modifications have entered the market. The most significant upgrade, Blackhawk XP135A, is offered by Blackhawk Modifications Inc. of Waco, Tex. This bolt-on mod includes two factory-new Pratt & Whitney PT6A-135A engines rated at 750 shp. The conversion is performed by a group of Blackhawk dealers.
In addition, like most aircraft engine modifications, there are several other component additions that are part of the Blackhawk mod. (See “Blackhawk XP135A Engine Upgrade for Conquest I Aircraft” on the right for more information. —Ed.) New propellers, such as four-blade McCauley Blackmac props, often companion with the Blackhawk STC.
Kal-Aero in Battle Creek, Mich., a Cessna propjet dealer, had the first certified upgrade to the 425. Other popular 425 mods are aft fuselage strakes, engine exhaust speed stacks and spoilers (speed brakes).

Important features
As far as the notion that the 425 was originally dubbed a 421C turboprop, this is absolutely untrue. It is a different aircraft. Aircraft based upon another aircraft’s original TCDS is a common practice in all categories of aircraft design.
However, a proven system is worth using again. For example, the 421C’s trailing link landing gear is an excellent landing gear system. The blow down method of emergency extension trumps cranking and pumping a problem landing gear.
I am frequently asked about the 425’s tail area because of the fatal incident in Nov. 1977 (just two months after the introduction of the 441 Conquest). The accident investigation found a failed single trim tab actuator for the elevator control, and the Conquest fleet was grounded until a dual actuator fix was certified.
From 425 unit number one, the elevator trim tab actuator was a dual unit, but the question still comes up from time to time. In 1980 during a business trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, I was having a poolside drink with Cessna’s president, Mal Harned.
When I was asked about 425 sales, I commented about tail questions (this was only a few years since the 441 crash) and Harned, an engineer, said, “You can tell anyone that the 425’s tail is the most tested structure Cessna has ever built.”

Buying a 425 today
In today’s world of 425 sales, the number-one question is about Cessna’s aging aircraft program and supplemental inspection documents (SID). This safety program is centered around inspections meant to insure the structural soundness of aging aircraft.
Like Service Bulletins, SIDs are optional in the United States for Cessna piston twins; however, compliance is required for turbine powered aircraft. A significant price difference on what may appear as two similar 425s may be due to the status of SIDs.
This entry-level turboprop is an easy-to-fly aircraft with simple systems and excellent performance, plus sound ownership and operational costs.
Moreover, the support system for quality maintenance and pilot training is excellent. Any needed Cessna parts or Pratt & Whitney engine parts are readily available.
A Conquest I is also highly customizable. Buyers often seek out aircraft with a newer interior, a modern panel and performance upgrades, or they plan to make those improvements after purchase. Either way, the 425 was a winner in 1981 and it’s still one in 2015.


Jerry Temple founded Jerry Temple Aviation (JTA) in 1995. JTA provides pilots with hands-on service from the research stage to delivery and checkout. Before founding JTA, Temple worked for 20 years in several positions in the Cessna Aircraft system, including at the Cessna factory as well as in distributor and retail sales. Send questions or comments to .