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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A Thrush is “Reborn” with Upgrades & a PT6A-41

It was in 2010 that Thrush Aircraft introduced a new engine mount design for the 510 series Thrush, specifically the then newly certified H80 GE turboprop engine. The extension was approximately 18 inches forward of the hopper, creating a mini-storage area and eliminating the lead-shot ballast ring. Not only did this improve flight characteristics by moving the CG, but removed nearly 300 pounds of “dead” weight.

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The Douglas DC-3: 81 Years and Going Strong

The Douglas DC-3 Doesn’t Know the Meaning of the Word “Quit”

The same year the German airship Hindenburg crossed the Atlantic, the still-flying-today Douglas DC-3 was introduced to the world. The DC-3 is widely viewed as one of the most significant transport aircraft in history, due to its massive and long-lasting impact on the airline industry, and aerospace engineering. I got the chance to interview Ric Hallquist, the retired Chief DC-3 Pilot for Missionary Flights International who flew and worked on the beefy twin engine transport plane for over 30 years.

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King Airs and Caravans Serve Special Mission Needs

When it comes to special mission aircraft, Textron Aviation has a deep lineup of airplanes suited to the task, ranging from the single-engine piston Cessna 172 to its most sophisticated Citation jets. But its most popular mission-oriented aircraft come in two turboprop types, the Caravan single-engine and the twin-engine King Air series. Both product lines are prime examples of dual-purposing, with a large following in the civil market for everything from owner-flown transport to commercial charter and business aviation flight departments. But these aircraft, when equipped for specific non-commercial or military operations, show their true mettle.

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Maintaining Floatplanes

As one might intuitively guess, maintaining floatplanes and amphibians – particularly those which routinely operate commercial charters or scheduled services and need to provide very high levels of operational reliability – is a rather more specialized and MRO-intensive business than is maintaining aircraft which fly only from runways on land.

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