Category Archives: PT6A

Video Makes PT6A Engine Rigging Simple For Cessna Operators

This article originally appeared on the P&WC Airtime Blog.

Following the success of our King Air rigging videos last year, we’ve released new content for Cessna Caravan mechanics that helps make rigging easier and more transparent for PT6A operators.

IMPROVING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE THROUGH OUR BLOG AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Last year, we provided King Air 200 and 350 operators with videos that shed light on the complex art of rigging – the process of hooking up engines to the aircraft so they’re perfectly balanced and perform optimally.

Following the positive feedback from our customers, we decided to turn the videos into a series focusing on various models. We’ve just launched the next set of videos, which target Cessna Caravan and Grand Caravan EX operators.

“We continue to innovate so our customers can easily access the support and information they need, when and where they need it. Our Airtime blog and social media channels are great tools for doing that, as these videos demonstrate,” says Rob Winchcomb, Owner Pilot and Manager, Customer Service at Pratt & Whitney, who played a key role in producing both sets of videos.

For the latest series, the production team traveled to Belize, where our customer Tropic Air generously agreed to let us use a PT6A-114A-powered Caravan and a PT6A-140-powered Grand Caravan EX. With the help of their maintenance technicians, the team shot footage of the rigging process, including engine adjustments in the run bay, over five days.

Cessna 208B Caravan Powered by the PT6A-114A

CLARIFYING THE SUBTLETIES OF RIGGING PT6AS

Rigging is an important – and often underappreciated – aspect of aircraft performance, notes Rob. Properly rigged engines have many benefits for customers:

  • Reduced pilot workload thanks to improved engine handling
  • More time on wing due to fewer unscheduled maintenance events
  • Improved passenger and crew comfort
  • Lower direct operating costs
  • Less time spent on initial engine and accessory installation time
  • Reduced environmental footprint because of fuel savings relating to more efficient performance

While the rigging process is broadly similar from one engine to the next, each model has its own intricacies and subtleties. Explaining these in writing might require a couple of pages of detailed description. In a video, on the other hand, the explanation can be condensed into 10 or 20 seconds and is much more effective, since customers can see exactly what to do on an engine identical to their own.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, in which case a video is like an entire book. These videos take what’s written in our engine manuals and bring it to life. You can see the instructions being applied in practice.

 Rob Winchcomb, Owner Pilot and Manager, Customer Service at Pratt & Whitney

LESSONS LEARNED LEAD TO IMPROVED CONTENT

Like the King Air rigging videos, the new Cessna videos demonstrate the basics of setting up the control system, rigging the engines and making final adjustments. But, as Rob points out, thanks to the lessons learned from producing the first round of King Air videos, the new ones provide viewers with an improved experience.

“We’ve taken it up a few levels,” says Rob with satisfaction. “The content is cleaner and flows more smoothly.”

By analyzing how people were watching the King Air videos – such as where they would stop, go back and rewatch a particular section – the team also identified which information delivered the most value. The Cessna videos take this into account.

FOCUSING ON DETAILS THAT CUSTOMERS APPRECIATE

The videos contain what Rob calls “a-ha moments,” where the visual demonstration of a particularly tricky point immediately clarifies it for the customer. One example is serrated washers.

We knew customers were struggling with adjusting the serrated washers. In the video, we really break down why we want them to adjust it and why it’s important. When they see it on screen, it suddenly makes sense.

Rob Winchcomb, Owner Pilot and Manager, Customer Service at Pratt & Whitney

Likewise, the visual explanation of how to rig the condition lever makes it much easier to understand. The videos also share handy practical tricks that help technicians avoid the need for special tooling, such as how to use a folded piece of paper for measuring angles.

The goal with these rigging videos is three engine runs and you’re done. This will save our customers time and fuel by ensuring proper, consistent rigging, whether for a single aircraft or an entire fleet. The videos supplement our maintenance manuals by taking what’s written there and bringing it to life.

Rob Winchcomb, Owner Pilot and Manager, Customer Service at Pratt & Whitney

You can view the new video here (or below) and the King Air videos here. Next up in the series will be Air Tractor aircraft, with Rob and the team planning to start production as early as August.

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The TBM 700 Powered by the PT6A-64 Led to Even Faster TBM Variants

The SOCATA TBM (now Daher TBM) is a family of high-performance single-engine turboprop light business and utility aircraft manufactured by Daher. It was originally collaboratively developed between the American Mooney Airplane Company and French light aircraft manufacturer SOCATA.

The design of the TBM family originates from the Mooney 301, a comparatively low-powered and smaller prototype Mooney developed in the early 1980s. Following Mooney’s acquisition by French owners, Mooney and SOCATA held a series of in-depth discussions on the potential for co-developing a new enlarged turboprop design derived from the earlier 301; these resulted in the formation of a joint venture for the purpose of developing and manufacturing the envisioned aircraft, which was designated as the TBM 700. From the onset, the emphasis was placed upon the design’s speed, altitude, and reliability. Upon its entry into the market in 1990, it held the distinction of being the first high-performance single-engine passenger/cargo aircraft to enter production.[

Shortly after launch, the TBM 700 was a market success, which quickly led to the production of multiple variants and improved models, often incorporating more powerful engines and new avionics, amongst other features. 

The prefix of the designation, TBM, originated from the initials “TB”, which stands for Tarbes, the French city in which SOCATA is located, while the “M” stands for Mooney. At the time of its conception, while several aviation companies had studied or been otherwise considering the development of such an aircraft, the envisioned TBM 700 was the first high-performance single-engine passenger/cargo aircraft to enter production. From the onset, key performance criteria were established for the design, demanding a high level of reliability while also being capable of an unequaled speed/altitude combination amongst the TBM 700 other single-engined peers.

The Pratt & Whitney CanadaPT6A-64 engine, providing up to 700 shp (522 kW) powers the TBM 700. According to Flying Magazine, the PT6A-64 engine is “the secret to the TBM 700’s performance. At sea level, the engine is capable of generating a maximum 1,583 shp (1,180 kW), which is intentionally limited to 700 shp (522 kW) on early TBM models; the limit allows the aircraft to maintain 700 shp (522 kW) up to 25,000 ft (7,620 m) on a typical day. Engine reliability and expected lifespan are also enhanced by the limitation. While the typical engine overhaul life is set as 3,000 flight hours between overhauls, on-condition servicing can also be performed due to various engine parameters being automatically recorded by the engine trend monitoring (ETM) system. Data from the ETM can be reviewed by the engine manufacturer to determine the level of wear and therefore the need for inspection or overhaul. The ETM, which is connected to the aircraft’s air data computer, also provides information to enable easy power management by the pilot.

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2019 Piper M600 at a Glance

Piper’s M600 is ideal for an owner-pilot transitioning out of a piston-engine-powered aircraft or for a corporate flight department needing short-hop or short-field supplemental lift.

In a little less than three years since the model’s introduction, Piper Aircraft has delivered 99 of these single-engine, six-seat turboprops. The $2.994 million airplane builds on Piper’s M-series fuselage, which dates back to the company’s piston-engine twin Navajo of the 1960s and its now-discontinued line of Cheyenne twin turboprops.

The M600 is one of three M series aircraft currently in production. (The others are the piston-powered M350, formerly known as the Malibu, and the M500 turboprop, formerly called the Meridian.) As the accountants would say, the fuselage is fully amortized, with development costs having been paid down back in the days when people smoked in airplanes. 

No one is going to call the inside of this airplane voluminous: the cabin interiors for all M Class Pipers measure 12 feet, 4 inches long; 4 feet, 2 inches wide; and 3 feet, 11 inches tall. Take a peek behind the pilot and copilots to the club-four configuration of facing passenger seats. If Procrustes had had an airplane, this would be it. Yes, you could throw four people back there, but you’d probably be accused of inhumane treatment. (To be fair, the same knock applies to several other single-engine turboprops and light jets). Not even the fresh, jet-like interior styling can compensate for going hip-to-hip, knee-to-knee with your fellow man. 

For many missions, though, that’s not an option: an M600 with a full bag of gas (270 gallons) has a sparse remaining available payload of just 422 pounds, barely enough for the pilot up front and one passenger and a small dog riding in the back. Still, on runs the length of Mackinac Island, Michigan to Chicago (269 nautical miles) you could conceivably go seats full in an M600.

2019 Piper M600 at a Glance 

  • Base price: $2.994 million
  • Crew: 1-2 
  • Passengers: 4–5
  • Maximum cruising speed: 274 knots 
  • Range: 1,658 nm (no reserves) 
  • Fuel capacity: 270 gal
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 6,000 lb 
  • Takeoff distance: 2,635 ft 
  • Landing distance: 2,659 ft
  • Engine: Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A- PT6A-42A, 600 shp 
  • Avionics: Garmin G3000 

Source: Piper & BJTOnline

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DHC-7: The quiet STOL multi-tasker

Article first seen in Skies Magazine here.

Fifty years ago, de Havilland Canada (DHC) was the global leader in the design and production of STOL (short takeoff and landing) aircraft. Beginning with the DHC-2 Beaver in 1947 and following with the DHC-3 Otter, DHC-4 Caribou and DHC-5 Buffalo, the Toronto-based company had developed a family of ever-larger airplanes that could access isolated locations — with or without a runway.

Continue reading DHC-7: The quiet STOL multi-tasker

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A Look at the Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer

The two-seat light trainer aircraft Pilatus PC-7 turbo was built by Pilatus Aircraft in Switzerland. It can perform various functions, including aerobatics and tactical and night flying.

The PC-7 can accommodate a crew of two members (a student and trainer) and has six underwing hardpoints.

Selected by 20 air forces to train military pilots, the aircraft is fully operational in civil and military pilot training bases worldwide, and is equipped with a single Pratt and Whitney PT6A-25A turboprop engine.

The first series of the aircraft was delivered to the Myanmar Air Force in 1979. It also received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) certifications for European and US regulations.

PC-7 orders and deliveries

More than 500 PC-7 and PC-7 MkII aircraft have been sold to 21 countries. Mexico purchased 88 PC-7s, deliveries of which began in 1980, while approximately 52 PC-7s were bought by Iraq, with deliveries beginning in 1980. However, the Iraqi fleet was destroyed during the US invasion in 2003. Malaysia acquired 44, deliveries of which began in 1983.

PC-7 development

The PC-7 was derived from the Pilatus P-3 training aircraft, which was launched in the early 1950s.

A P-3 prototype first flew on 12 April 1966, but the PC-7 development programme was delayed when the prototype crashed due to forced landing.

In 1973, the programme resumed using a modified engine and the new aircraft was named PC-7. The prototype completed its maiden flight on 12 May 1975, followed by a fully produced PC-7 on 19 August 1978.

Variants of PC-7 aircraft

The PC-7 has two variants: PC-7 MkII and NCPC-7. The PC-7 MkII variant is also known as the Astra, and was developed because of South Africa’s requirement for an advanced version of the PC-7.

MkII was derived from the PC-9 M aircraft and the M denotes the aircraft’s modular features. The PC-9 M aircraft is powered by a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-62 turboprop engine, which provides 863kW of output power.

This is equipped with advanced avionics and an onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS). The PC-7 MkII aircraft consists of two underwing hardpoints, compared to the PC-7’s six.

The first PC-7 MkII had its maiden flight in August 1994 and the first delivery of was made to the South African Air Force (SAAF) in November 1994. In total, 60 were delivered to the SAAF by 1996.

The SAAF’s 35 Pilatus Astra PC-7MkII aircraft were upgraded with advanced glass cockpit components by removing the disused avionics systems, under a contract signed with Pilatus Aircraft in 2009. This also included incorporating two new flight training devices, ground based training systems and spares.


Payerne, Switzerland – August 31, 2014: Swiss Air Force PC-7 display team flying Pilatus PC-7 trainer aircraft. 

PC-7 MkII maiden flight and orders

Upgrades of the first aircraft were carried out at the Pilatus facility in Switzerland during 2009. The maiden flight of the first upgraded PC-7 MkII aircraft took place on 23 September of the same year.

Aerosud, with assistance from Pilatus field service engineers, undertook the modernisation of the remaining MkII fleet at Langebaanweg Air Force Base in South Africa.

In December 2010, Malaysia unveiled plans to procure 12 additional PC-7 MkII trainers in two batches by selling its older aircraft to the Philippines. It is currently operating 17 of 19 aircraft, as two were destroyed in accidents.

Pilatus Aircraft was awarded a BWP40m contract by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in April 2011 to supply five PC-7 MkII trainers to replace its PC-7 fleet, which has been in service since 1990. The contract also covers a ground base training system, spare parts and support equipment..

The NCPC-7 was developed by upgrading the standard PC-7. New features include a glass cockpit, GPS, autopilot and a second VHF radio. It was developed for the Swiss Air Force for training pilots.

In total, 18 PC-7 aircraft were upgraded to NCPC-7 and a contract for upgrading ten more was signed in February 2008.

Cockpit and avionics

The PC-7 MkII features a dual glass cockpit and is equipped with primary flight display (PFD), secondary flight display (SFD) and secondary instruments display panel (ESDP), as well as an audio radio management system (ARMS).

In addition, it includes very-high frequency communication (VHF COM) 1, VHF COM 2, ultra-high frequency communication UHF COM, VHF NAV 1, VHF NAV 2, distance measuring equipment (DME) and automatic direction finders (ADF).

A mode S transponder, GPS, radar altimeter, attitude heading reference system (AHRS), emergency locator beacon (ELT) and air data computer avionics are also installed in the cockpit.

Performance and cruise speed

The PC-7 can climb at a rate of 865m per minute. It has a cruise speed of 415km/h and can fly at 460km/h. The range and service ceiling are 1,950km and 9,150m, respectively.

Take-off and landing distances are 590m and 625m, respectively, while the maximum g-load capacity is -3 / +6 and maximum take-off weight is 2,700kg.

Turboprop engine

The Pilatus PC-7 is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A-25A turboprop engine and a three-blade Hartzell HC-B3TN-2 propeller. It can generate 485kW of output power.

The PT6A-25A is a two-shaft engine with a multi-stage compressor driven by a single-stage compressor turbine. It has another independent shaft coupling the power turbine and propeller through an epicyclic concentric reduction gearbox.

A single 522.2kW Pratt and Whitney PT6A-25C turboprop engine powers the PC-7 MkII. This offers a lower engine operating cost than the PC-7 engine.

The main difference between the engines used in the PC-7 and the MkII variant is the output capacities.

Meanwhile, the NCPC-7 has a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A-25A turboprop engine, similar to that used in the standard PC-7 aircraft.

Post from https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/pilatus_pc-7/

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