Category Archives: PT6A

Piper’s Impressive PT6A Powered Cheyenne III

When Piper Aircraft announced its plans to build a big-cabin turboprop in late 1977, time was of the essence – only, we didn’t know it. It took another three years to get the airplane certificated, during which time the robust state of the general aviation manufacturing economy had begun to unravel. The Cheyenne III’s main competition, the Beech Super King Air 200, introduced in 1974, had an established head start, and industry sales volume was no longer the rising road to riches during the 1980s that it had been in the 1970s.

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PT6A-67P Powered Pilatus PC-12 NG: The Survivor that Keeps Adapting

When the Pilatus PC-12 first landed on the scene back in 1989, expectations were fairly modest. Earmarked for sales in the 200 region, nobody would have been surprised if the PC-12 had come in, served its purpose, and been resigned to history along with a plethora of similar aircraft.

But this was not to be the case.

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NBAA: Pilatus puts PT6A-Powered PC-12NG in the Spotlight

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”.

PilatusPC12NG

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.”

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We Fly: PT6A Powered Beechcraft King Air 250

Settled into the left seat at our final cruise altitude of 26,000 feet, we were showing a true airspeed of 304 knots and burning about 700 pounds of jet-A per hour. As the lush rolling landscape of central Pennsylvania slid by far below, a nagging question had entered my mind. What is it about the Beechcraft King Air family of twin turboprops, I asked myself, that keeps these airplanes rolling out of the factory in Wichita, Kansas, more than 53 years after the first one emerged? I always thought I knew the answer to that question, but there in the confines of the King Air 250’s cockpit a quiet crisis of confidence was beginning to bubble up in my mind. Who, precisely, should be buying this airplane anyway? I wondered.

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A Look at the PT6A-67F Powered Air Tractor AT-802 Series

When Air Tractor AT-802A, bearing serial #0700 took off last month for its home in Valencia, Spain, the occasion was not just an airplane production milestone. It also happens to be the 25th anniversary year marking FAA Type Certification of the 800-gallon capacity agricultural and firefighting airplane. Jim Hirsch, president of Air Tractor remarked, “It’s been almost 27 years since the first AT-802 test flight over Olney, Texas. The airplane had to overcome some initial hurdles, but the 802 series has become a popular aircraft that is used all over the world for a wide variety of highly specialized applications.” He continued, “Over the years we’ve focused on improving the flying qualities and handling characteristics of the 802 so that it is as enjoyable to fly as our smaller models. This makes for an extremely productive aircraft that keeps pilot fatigue at a minimum—which is another reason for the airplane’s success.”

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A Longer Look at the PT6A-34 Powered Viking 400

An airplane that can go virtually anywhere, do anything, and operate in the most extreme weather—and that could sell for twice what you paid for it after 30 years—might sound like a fantasy. But the iconic DHC-6 Twin Otter, which de Havilland Canada ­produced, fits that description. It helped launch the commuter and regional airline industry in North America, remains the backbone of maritime coastal patrols for many navies, and serves the mining and oil industries worldwide. It lands on wheels, big tundra tires, straight floats, amphibious floats, and skis. Runways are optional. Nice flat surfaces of any kind are kid stuff. When it’s 60 below in Antarctica and some scientist needs to be medevaced, this is the airplane they send.

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