All posts by AaronAbbott

PT6 turboprop engine makes General Aviation history: 50,000th engine rolls off the Pratt & Whitney Production Line

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC, December 2, 2020 – Pratt & Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX), today announced that the 50,000th PT6 turboprop engine has rolled off the production line achieving an exceptional milestone in General Aviation. With the new PT6 E-Series™ engine now in full production, powering the Pilatus PC-12 NGX, the numbers continue to grow.

“From the first application more than 50 years ago, the now-iconic PT6 engine turns possibilities into realities for our customers around the world on more than 130 different applications today,” said Irene Makris, vice president, sales and marketing at Pratt & Whitney. “With each new model of engine developed and designed for a mission, platform, and customer in mind, our employees continue to build a more efficient, smarter engine with a shrinking environmental footprint– and they continue to rise to the challenge every day.”

The PT6 turboprop engine is the proven choice for demanding, high-cycle/high-power applications in single- and twin-engine aircraft for all kinds of missions and applications. The engine fleet’s current flying population is more than 25,000 units and it has accumulated more than 410 million flight hours and counting–that’s more flying time than anyone else in this segment.

Makris sees the 50,000-engine marker as the opportunity to pause and thank customers and employees for this remarkable accomplishment. It is a testament to the ongoing success of the engine and the innovation behind its ongoing evolution. The most recent example of this being the launch of the PT6 E-Series™ engine, the first the first turbine engine in the general aviation market to offer a dual-channel integrated electronic propeller and engine control.

“This production milestone is unmatched in the industry. It offers us another opportunity to celebrate the engine’s ongoing success as we continue exploring new horizons for even more flying possibilities,” Makris said. “The achievement sits as the collective cornerstone of Pratt & Whitney in General Aviation. With the PT6 E-Series™ engine now at the forefront, we remain committed to pushing innovation as we’ve been doing since the very beginning.”

The PT6 ran for the first time in 1960, entering service in 1964. Pratt & Whitney currently offers more than 70 PT6A models, ranging from 500 SHP to over 1,900 SHP. The PT6 E-Series, the latest addition to the PT6 line, was launched in October 2019 and powers the Pilatus PC-12NGX.

About Pratt & Whitney

Pratt & Whitney, a unit of Raytheon Technologies (NYSE:RTX) is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft and helicopter engines, and auxiliary power units. Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide. To learn more about RTX, visit its website at www.rtx.com. To receive press releases and other news directly, please sign up here.For further information: Pratt & Whitney, +1 (860) 565-9600, media@prattwhitney.com

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The History of the P&W R-1340 Powered T-6 Texan

The North American Aviation T-6 Texan two-place advanced trainer was the classroom for most of the Allied pilots who flew in World War II. Called the SNJ by the Navy and the Harvard by the British Royal Air Force, the advanced trainer AT-6 was designed as a transition trainer between basic trainers and first-line tactical aircraft. It was redesignated T-6 in 1948.

Continue reading The History of the P&W R-1340 Powered T-6 Texan

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The R-985 Powered de Havilland Beaver: Arguably the Best Bush Plane Ever Built

With a big, nine-cylinder Pratt & Whitney strapped to the front, this 5,100-pound workhorse boasts a useful load of around 2,000 pounds, and it’s built to operate out of short and rough airstrips.

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Trip Report: PT6A-34 Powered Quest Kodiak Series II

Driving on an early May morning to Sandpoint, Idaho, to see the Quest Aircraft factory and then fly a new Kodiak 100 Series II to California, it was clear that icing conditions were not only forecast but likely in the wet gray clouds that shrouded the local mountains. For the flight-into-known-icing-certified Kodiak, however, icing is not a problem, and in the 11 years since it entered service, the capable utility single-engine turboprop has proven its mettle in challenging flying all over the world.

Continue reading Trip Report: PT6A-34 Powered Quest Kodiak Series II

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The Cessna Conquest I: A Reliable Workhorse Is an Excellent Steed for Families and Small Corporations

This article first appeared over at AOPA here

Cessna was a little late out of the gate getting a turboprop into its lineup. First was the Cessna 441 Conquest in model year 1978, a full 14 years after Beechcraft’s King Air. Next was the Model 425 Corsair in model year 1981. The Corsair is smaller than the 441 and uses 450-shaft-horsepower Pratt & Whitney PT6s versus the 441’s Honeywell (Garrett) TPE 331 engines.

Concurrent with a max takeoff weight increase to 8,600 pounds, Cessna dropped the Corsair moniker and renamed the 425 Conquest I while reassigning the 441 the name Conquest II. Confused yet? The 425 is best described as a 421 Golden Eagle with turbines in place of pistons. Aside from sharing the same basic dimensions, the similarities between the 421 and Conquest I fade quickly. The 425 is substantially beefed up structurally and has more robust systems.

Since it’s based on a piston design, the 425 is easy to fly and an easy step up. In fact, with the easy-to-operate turbines, many would argue that the 425 is less complex than the 421. Cockpit visibility is excellent, as is the instrument panel layout. Cabin seats are comfortable once seated. Cessna’s “wide oval” cabin biases more toward elbow room than headroom, so there will be nothing close to stand-up comfort.

Performance-wise, the Conquest is good for 250 KTAS at typical cruise altitudes in the mid teens to low 20s. As is usual with turbines, the fuel burn drops off the higher you fly. Also typical of turbines, the winds will dictate choice of cruise altitude vs. fuel burn. Owners often figure 500 pounds of Jet-A the first hour and 400 pounds/hour after that. Blackhawk Modifications Inc. offers 425 owners PT6A-135 engines in place of the original -112s. The Blackhawk holds its max power to much higher altitudes than the original engines, resulting in faster time to climb and a 20-knot increase in true airspeed.

Range with tanks full is about 1,200 nm, which leaves about 700 pounds of payload. With six adults on board, range is about 700 nm. The 425 is confident at all weights on 4,000-foot runways at sea level. At lighter weights, 3,000-foot runways are doable.

Vref values a 1981 Conquest I at $625,000 while a 1986 model fetches an average of $875,000. Once an owner swallows the reality of six-figure engine overhauls, higher fuel burn, and other substantial cost increases of owning a turbine, he or she will be impressed with the Conquest’s performance and reliability.

Pete Bedell is a pilot for a major airline and co-owner of a Cessna 172 and Beechcraft Baron D55.

SPEC SHEET
Cessna 425 Conquest I

Powerplants | (2) 450-shp Pratt & Whitney PT6
Length | 35 ft 10 in
Height | 12 ft 7 in
Wingspan | 44 ft 1 in
Seats | 2+6
Max takeoff weight | 8,600 lb
Takeoff distance over 50-ft obstacle | 2,800 ft
Max cruise speed | 264 kt
Landing distance over 50-ft obstacle | 2,482 ft
Range | 1,200 nm

Peter A. Bedell

Pete Bedell is a pilot for a major airline and co-owner of a Cessna 172M and Beechcraft Baron D55.

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North Star Air Basler BT-67 – An Investment in the North, Fast Facts, a & Brief History

THUNDER BAY – AVIATION – Northern communities increasingly depend on a solid supply chain to get their food, fuel and medical supplies. Climate change and increasingly extreme changes in winter weather are creating problems for the winter road networks.

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Daher celebrates the rollout of its 1,000th TBM very fast turboprop aircraft

Tarbes, France, September 21, 2020 – The 1,000th TBM made its official rollout today from Daher’s Tarbes, France final assembly line for the company’s family of very fast turboprop aircraft. This milestone airplane – a TBM 940 version – culminates 10 years of investment by Daher in making the TBM a commercial and technological success.

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