Since the introduction of the PT6 engine in the early 1960s, this turbine has become a standard for airplanes in many smaller commercial fleets and with private pilots. The original engine design marked a significant turning point in aviation, since it provided a lighter weight option to radials, and could still deliver the horsepower that was necessary for extended flights. While this was applicable to industry use, it also meant that smaller aircrafts could perform at a stronger capacity.
However, part of the innovation of the PT6 engine is also the fact that this original design is adaptable. In the past 50 years, a number of alterations have improved the original performance levels of the turbine, and continued engineering is also producing new variations of the PT6. Fuel efficiency and the power to weight ratios represent some of the biggest changes to the engine, and the results have also increased the number of these engines that are used in private and commercial aircraft.
Tracking The Technology
It is interesting to note that the advances for the PT6 engine come as a combination of technical engineering as well as the incorporation of modern manufacturing practices. This means that both the design and the parts themselves factor into the high performance of the turbine. The introduction of a two-stage turbine in the 1970s improved the power output for the design, while current practices in manufacturing have increased the strong reliability of this performance and the ability to adapt parts.
Although the overall design of the PT6 engine is still very close to the original, many of the changes that are incorporated increase the safety factors for the engine. The result is that improvement and safety are also a part of the best practices for the industry, and this translates to the efficiency and applicability of this engine.