Tag Archives: pt6 engine

The PT6 Engine, Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence, Part 4

This is our final part in our series on the PT6 Engine, which celebrates it’s 50th anniversary this year! Make sure you catch part 1part 2, and part 3 if you haven’t read those yet, before reading this one. In the comments section below, let us know why you love the PT6 Engine

Many in the aviation industry call the PT6 Engine an aircraft that was ahead of its time.  Many of the original design elements were considered liabilities when the engine first appeared, as most aircraft manufacturers felt that piston engines were the better options.  In fact, those original design elements eventually became the standard for airplane engines that came after its development, mostly due to the free turbine layout of the engine.

Starting Easier

The PT6 Engine was the first engine to use a free turbine layout, whereas traditional engines at the time used a single shaft layout.  The single shaft led to limit engine performance and made maintenance difficult.  In the PT6 Engine, the gas generator turbine is not directly attached to the shaft that turns the propeller, so that starting the engine is much easier.   The starter in an engine only needs gas to ignite, and it then sets the rest of the engine in motion.  By disconnecting the turbine from the shaft, the starter does not need as much torque to start the engine so that the starting system is much smaller.

Simple Control System

The use of the free turbine and fuel distribution system allows the engine to require a single hydro-mechanical engine control system, which prevent s the engine from overspeeding and gets enough fuel to do what it is supposed to do.  In addition, the simple hydro-mechanical engine allows for a wider selection of propeller speeds, allowing the propeller to absorb full takeoff power.  This also allows the aircraft to have maximum thrust during takeoff and improves performance.

Other Benefits

PT6 Engine
(Photo courtesy of Vector Aerospace)

Because the PT6 Engine is also a popular choice for helicopters, the engine had to have a less complex simple sprag clutch arrangement compared to fixed turbine engines.  The design also allows the aircraft to use a simple propeller as it is configured with a spring on one side and a hydraulic piston on the other.  If it had required a double-acting propeller, the propeller control system would have been too complex, increasing cost and lowering reliability.

There is no doubt that the PT6 Engine aircraft engine was ahead of its times, and the benefits to aerospace engineering with the development of this engine literally changed aviation history.  For more information regarding the PT6 Engine or about aircraft maintenance services, visit Covington Aircraft online or contact us by phone today at .

Pratt & Whitney PT6 Celebrates 50 Years Part 2

The 12 engineers who gathered in 1957 to build the first turbine engine for Pratt & Whitney, and who can be considered the brains behind the PT6, created an engine in two sections that are easily separated for maintenance.  The creation of these engineers led to aviation history.

First Flight

beechcraft The PT6 first flew on May 30, 1961 as the power for a Beech 18 aircraft in Ontario, Canada.  Full-scale production began in 1963, and in December of that year, Pratt & Whitney shipped the first PT6 to Beech Aircraft Company to power their Beech 87, an aircraft that later became the King Air.  Experts said that the PT6 was an innovative gas turbine representing significant advances in technology, with great advantages over traditional piston-driven engines.  Much of this benefit was due to the higher power to weight ratio the PT6 offered.

Piper Milestone


In 1967, the Piper PA-31 Navajo first flew using a PT6 engine.  Despite enormous success building light aircraft engines since the 1930’s, Piper fought the adoption of turbine engines in their aircraft.  Instead, they preferred the more traditional piston-driven engines.  This marked an important milestone for Pratt & Whitney who had attempted to get Piper to switch to their turbine engines for many years.

Other Applications

 Although the Pratt & Whitney PT6 became the most popular engine for powering high-performance airplanes and helicopters, in its early days an industrial version known as the ST6 appeared in some interesting applications.  In 1966, the Thunderbird, a 10-meter boat owned by Jim Wynn, a racing-boat champion, used two ST6 engines.  It was one of only two boats out of 31 to complete the Sam Griffith Memorial Race on February 22, 1966, and although it came in first, it was denied official recognition as it was considered experimental.  The turbine engine powered Turbo Train was designed to provide passenger service between New York and Boston, and was supposed to be a centerpiece at Expo 67.  Unfortunately, it was not completed in time for the Expo, but by 1973, was regularly travelling at speeds of nearly 193 km in the Montreal-Toronto corridor.  In 1978, Andy Granatelli, President of STP, installed an ST6 in his custom-made Corvette after it was banned from use in the STP Indy cars by the USAC.

The PT6 not only has a long and colorful history as an aircraft engine, but in powering other types of vehicles as well.  Learn more about the PT6 and find out more about the aircraft maintenance services at Covington Aircraft by contacting them online or by phone today.

Covington Aircraft’s Partnership with PT6A Engine Maker, Pratt & Whitney Canada

Covington Aircraft has been known for years in the agricultural community as a company that provides dependable, affordable PT6A engines and maintenance with high integrity and customer service. Now, under a new partnership with Pratt & Whitney Canada, Covington Aircraft will be able to bring that same type of service and commitment to the corporate world with the PT6 engine series.

For more information on Covington Aircraft, an aircraft maintenance company, visit http://www.covingtonaircraft.com

Covington Aircraft PT6 Engine Trainings

Popular Training Highlight:
Pratt and Whitney PT6 Engine Series

At CovingtonAircraft, we have a variety of customers come in and ask us about the different PT6 Engine training opportunities we provide. We realize that not everyone knows we provide trainings and that we do more than aircraft overhaul and maintenance. We asked our Executive Vice President at Covington Aircraft, Aaron Abbott, about what makes us special when it comes to trainings and this is what he said.


What is our most popular training at Covington?

Aaron: “Our most popular training is centered around the PT6A engine series.  We have pilots and mechanics looking for PT6A Pilot Familiarization as well as Line Maintenance training.”

How much do the trainings cost?

Aaron: “Our trainings can be an extensive process, but it also meets a customer need, so we provide it as an added value service to our clients for FREE. We do offer some charged-based training, but it’s generally just to cover costs associated with different catering, materials or something along those lines.”

What is the farthest distance someone has traveled for a training?

Aaron: “We have people come to us on a regular basis from all across the states as well as from Central and South America.  We will also work with customers in order to set up and conduct trainings at their facilities around the world.”

At Covington Aircraft, we do our best to provide the types of training clients need, and we’re happy to help anyone who wants to learn safety and the art of maintaining an aircraft.

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PT6 Engine Series: It’s the World’s Most Popular Engine for a Reason

As the world’s most popular engine in its class, the Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6 engine series continues to be the standard for aviators everywhere.  Ever since its development in the late 1950’s, the PT6 engine has combined dependability and versatility with the latest in technology to create an engine that withstands the test of time.


History of PT6A

After successfully designing and manufacturing the Wasp radial engines in the first half of the 1900’s, Pratt & Whitney Canada decided to branch out and begin working on a turboprop engine design.  The first PT6 engine took flight on a Beech 18 aircraft in 1961, and the engines began being mass-produced in 1963.  In just 40 short years, over 36,000 PT6A engines have been manufactured, accumulating 300 million flying hours.

Present Day

Today, there are over 65 different PT6A engine models, providing flexibility for various types of aircraft installations.  From commercial and general aviation to corporate and agricultural planes, Pratt and Whitney Canada engines can be found on aircraft in over 170 countries.

Servicing Your Engine

Since the PT6A is such a popular engine, parts are readily available for engine overhaul and maintenance.  If you own a plane with a PT6A engine, and are searching for a facility to provide maintenance and service, it’s important to find a place that provides the highest quality service at competitive prices.  You should only trust your aircraft to a Pratt and Whitney Canada authorized Distributor and Designated Overhaul Facility, like Covington Aircraft, that conducts thorough inspections of PT6A engines and other parts.

So, if you need maintenance performed on any member of the PT6A engine series, choose a facility, like Covington Aircraft, that will provide you with individualized service at low prices.  We’ve got one of the fastest turnaround times available, because we understand that time on the ground means less money for you.  Give us a call or stop by our facility today to learn more about our engine overhaul and maintenance services.

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