Pilatus’s new PC-24 may be taking centre stage at this year’s show, but the Swiss airframer is also keen to promote its long-established single-engined sibling, the PC-12NG, as a worthy contender for the spotlight.
The all-metal aircraft is the best-selling pressurised executive turboprop-single with over 1,500 units delivered since its introduction in 2004 – including a healthy 91 units in 2016.
Pilatus says it is now exploring numerous growth opportunities around the world for the 10-seat aircraft “to sustain its sales leadership position”.
Ignaz Gretener, vice-president of Pilatus Aircraft’s general aviation business unit, says the bulk of the sales are from repeat customers and word-of-mouth recommendations. “We constantly listen to their feedback and have a continuous improvement process in place to ensure we provide them with a reliable and efficient aircraft that they can depend on for many years of operation,” he says.
While the North American market is home to over 60% of the PC-12 fleet, the Stans-headquartered company sees “more untapped potential for its unique capabilities” in South America, Europe, and Asia. “We are cultivating relationships to grow the Pilatus footprint in those regions,” says Gretener.
Since the first example of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-powered PC-12 was introduced, Pilatus says it has continuously improved and enhanced the basic airframe, incorporating gross weight increases, integrated avionics systems, higher cruise speeds, modern interior designs, reduced maintenance requirements, and airframe life extension programmes.
The current model, launched in 2015, features: a Honeywell Primus Apex integrated avionics suite with Smartview synthetic vision; a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P engine; a maximum range of 1,845nm (3,417km), cruise speed with four passengers of 285kt (528km/h) and a stall speed of 67kt.
“Our biggest competitor is pre-owned PC-12s and these aircraft are really holding their value right now,” says Gretener. “We still see a lot of potential for the PC-12, and we are excited by new technologies that our engineers and suppliers are offering us in this segment of the market.”